September 11, 2018

Ashura begins There was a quiet beauty in the South of Lebanon this weekend as villages prepared for the commemoration of Ashura and remembrance of Imam Hussain’s (as) stand against oppression. Driving through the villages, I watched as communities came together to decorate for the activities that will stretch over the first ten days of Muharram. At two locations, I stopped to take in the immensity of the moment.  Men and women, young and old, quietly working together to erect… Read more

September 4, 2018

The Western Bekaa Region This weekend was spent in the heart of the Bekaa Valley.  An area rich in fertile soils and agricultural resources.  The extraordinary views leave me breathless with each visit. The beginning of its border is located approximately 32 km outside of Beirut and the vast area borders Syria, reaching across 120 km of Lebanon. My mother hails from this region.  Her village, Rafid, is located in the heart of the Bekaa valley. Lebanon is a land… Read more

August 29, 2018

Anxiety is real “I have anxiety.” Having to say those words once gave me heart palpitations.  I am past that, now.  Though overwhelming feelings still consume me at times, I am learning how to navigate my emotions as they bubble over. Given my active social life, one would never know the extent of my anxiety.  I hide it pretty well. There were moments I was a hot mess and needed to find a quiet place to breathe.  This usually ended… Read more

August 24, 2018

The first parental unit visit since I moved My parents came to Lebanon to visit me.  Mom for 5 weeks and dad for 8 weeks. They had not traveled here, together, in 26 years.  Barely traveling anywhere together for more than a week’s time, I was unsure how this trip would go. The furthest they had been from Michigan in the last twenty years was to Orlando, Florida. Traveling across international waters, on a 14-hour flight, was enough to make you… Read more

August 14, 2018

If only we could pay our bills with the opinions of people. It is a struggle, do not let them get to you I have been traversing the sea of people’s nasty attitudes and insecure comments for many years.  There are days when I feel like I am caught in an episode of Mean Girls. There will be people who tell you that you do not matter.  Others will seek ways to destroy your self-confidence or damage your spirit. Do… Read more

August 1, 2018

It is August 1 and the day the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) celebrate their National Army Day.  Today Lebanon honors its heroes, past and present, across the country. Rooted in commitment and dedication to serving the nation, LAF members are from diverse religious and social backgrounds. Together, they work side by side towards one goal, to assist and safeguard Lebanon and its people. (images captured from LAF photo albums: https://www.lebarmy.gov.lb/en) Military History Established in 1916 as the Levant Legion, men… Read more

July 25, 2018

Makeup cannot beautify an ugly heart This week, Kuwaiti makeup artist and beauty blogger, Sondos Alqattan made headlines speaking negatively about domestic workers.  Instead of issuing a sincere apology, she further explained her reasoning which only resulted in even more ignorance. Some say that all publicity is good publicity – though I don’t think this went so well. Backlash was unleashed after she went on a racist tirade regarding Filipino domestic workers keeping their passports and getting a day off…. Read more

July 19, 2018

They’re here! (Image taken at Deir Taanayel in Bekaa Valley) My parents have arrived to Beirut.  It has been 26 years since they came to Lebanon, together. I cannot believe we are here, together, after such a long time. During our first evening out, I realized how much I embody a mixture of their characteristics and qualities. I see the habits we share, both good and bad, and it leaves me smiling. I am grateful to be their daughter.  In… Read more

July 6, 2018

Embracing Human Dignity There is so much disregard and disrespect for humanity.  Many have forgotten what it means to live with kindness. Treating people with respect and courteous behavior is not a new concept.  Embracing human dignity is as easy as buttoning your shirt. You bring warmth to the hearts of others around you by being gracious and compassionate.  We should focus on how to positively impact the lives of others around us. Racism and misogyny is a global issue… Read more

July 2, 2018

A busy, busy Beirut Its summertime in Lebanon and tourism time!  The airport is bustling with expats flooding this tiny little nation and flights arrive each day filled to capacity. A nation already bursting at its seams with an estimated 6 million residents, Lebanon will greet over 350,000 tourists this summer. According to Lebanon’s Ministry of Tourism, the country welcomed over 650,000 tourists in the first half of 2017.  North Americans constitute 15-18% of those arrivals. Each evening, as I… Read more

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