Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ymn turned 33

My friend Ymn will be 33 in January 23rd and surprisingly, she removed her birthday from Facebook and shared her blogpost instead. As a single woman who turned 33 in August, who's in love with every wrinkle in her face, and who's living in a society where everyone but her, is worried because she didn't get married yet, I was very touched by the post because it reflects who I am, what I think and what I exactly feel.

Here's Ymn's Birthday Post. Too powerful not to be shared on my own blog.
Happy Birthday my beautiful friend!

"I wanted to publish this post on my birthday, but I figured I’d be too busy replying to Facebook birthday wishes from “friends” who got notified to celebrate it with me by wishing me a “Happy birthday”! On second thoughts, I might remove my birthday from Facebook anyway!

I’ll be 33 in a few days and I’ve never been at ease with my age or myself like I am now. I don’t hate my body anymore, I’ve accepted all my curves & how much I weigh and figured that weight, just like age, is just a number! This doesn’t mean that I won’t be eating healthy any more, but wouldn’t freak out on the extra kilos I might put on…

I’m witnessing the birth of facial wrinkles, especially on the sides of my eyes but that’s OK! In fact I’m thankful I haven’t grown any between my eyes, because as I age, I’ll not grow into that forever angry face due to those nasty lines on the front. I’d hate to be stuck in that look! I have always loved dimples and I like to think that I’ve been granted one in my thirties. I can see it when I smile, a tiny one on my right cheek… Could it be another wrinkle claiming its right to appear? who cares?  It’s just a point of view anyway :)

I have tricked my hair and dyed it many times over the years way before any gray hairs appear. In fact I haven’t seen any till now, pretty smart eh? I still like to take weird poses when having my photograph taken, I would love to race with anyone who challenges me to, even though I’ve never won any race my whole life but it makes me genuinely happy to grasp for breath and feel that ache in my stomach and knees, to hear my heartbeats in my throat! I would still draw on foggy windows then say it wasn’t me. I don’t think I would ever stop watching cartoon animations and will always get emotional and involved with the characters and would never be ashamed of weeping in public…

I’m still single, but that’s OK! And my message here is to all the ones who love me and care about me: Getting married is not my biggest of worries. It’s no fun ride, at least that’s not how I view it. I’m not against it but I still have the same high standards I’ve always had and time won’t bend that or break it! It’s annoying and  it hurts to see people you love hurling around to make sure you get married. I will not get married to an old guy just because I’m not in my twenties anymore and no I can’t accept someone who is divorced with four kids for marriage’s sake! I’m an independent working woman, I don’t need to throw away all my social life accomplishments or compromise anything that I’ve achieved just to please a potential husband. If I ever get married, it should be because I want to not because that’s the best thing I can get due to my age! Or because I must have a baby of my own!

Sentences like, what’s wrong? Or why are the guys so blind? Or why are you so picky? are really annoying and sometimes hurtful… I understand you want me to be happy but who said happiness is only achieved through marriage? Who said I’m not happy? I’d rather fall in love than have kids or raise someone else’s kids!

I’m single not incomplete dear society, a woman can be unmarried and happy, those two things are not related. You want me to be happy? Offer me a flight to India or Uzbekistan! Teach me a few tricks in photography! Would you go skydiving with me? I would really love to ride a Harley Davidson! Take away all the smart phones and communicate with me! I want to watch a musical! Fall in love and be loved back!"

Beautiful photos taken by Ymn

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My phone-less week

It was an exciting yet anxious November morning during the Beirut Marathon. I had forgotten to buy an armband so I had to keep my phone with me while running for 10 Km straight for the first time.

It took me more than one hour of running where I tried to forget about the shooting pain in my legs and focus on the finish line.

WOW!! The finish line beckoned. “Yes,” I thought to myself. “I did it… but with a damaged phone."

The result, obviously, was a phone-less Sunday afternoon.

The next day I started immediately working on fixing my six months old lovely iPhone. To cut the story short, my iPhone 5S can't be fixed. My only options were to either exchange it through Apple representatives in Lebanon with an extra $500 or buy a new one. And, both were impossible before two weeks. That's another two long and excruciating days without a phone.

But to tell you the truth, despite the sadness I had for losing a not very old phone, I started enjoying my new phone-less life.

And here's my story with this world called "Digital".
I am addicted to the digital world, there’s no denying it. I prefer digital reading. I spend approximately 30 minutes a day reading interesting articles and news.
I love Facebook and I do share daily up to 3 public posts that reflect me, what I do, what I love and how I think. I also, hit so many times that like button whenever I scan quickly the news feed.
Those who know me very well, know that I am a Google addict. Well, I guess I am! My Gmail is open round the clock, my Gmail social tab is bombarded everyday by more than 100 emails from people and pages I am following on Google+, and for me, Google news don’t count for my daily 30 minutes of reading. They’re a totally different story.

All these can be accessible through a smartphone or a desktop. Notifications everywhere.
And, don't forget the awesome WhatsApp!!

Recently, I became more paperless: my important files are always on Google Drive; Contacts, Notes, Events, Reminders are either on my phone, my Gmail or my Outlook.

All this is quite good, believe me. It keeps you updated and gives you the knowledge you need for your career and self-development. It opens you to the world. But, on the other side, it can seriously give you headaches and stress.

Sometimes, you feel like you want to switch off all devices and just look around you and forget about notifications. And, I do it from time to time. I do what I call a Digital Detox which is 2 days or 3 without 3G and any kind of social media. People can reach me only by calling me. It's a needed medicine for all the stress you feel and caused by social media and WhatsApp.

Well, here I am without a phone. No calls, no 3G. So why not benefiting from it? Why not enjoying it? From November 10 till November 17 I lived, or should I say survived, without a phone.

A typical day during my phone-less week went as follows:
“The first thing I see in the morning when I wake up, my room and not my phone screen; I dress up without WhatsApp distraction; I drive without notification temptations; I work without looking every minute on my phone; I read my book more quickly; I watch TV; I enjoy my lunch break; I look around; I give more attention to my surrounding; I focus.”

I simply enjoyed life.

Now I have a temporary phone and guess what? I am not taking care of it. I am not giving it the attention I gave to my old ones. I am having a life and giving my phone some space during the day.

Give yours a break and enjoy life.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Everything happens for a reason

I am sure you heard this cliche quote before: "Everything happens for a reason". I personally believe in this. From all what happened to me, the good and the bad, the laughs and the tears, the success and the fails, the love and the heartbreaks, the hellos and the goodbyes...I learned that nothing happens by mistake and yes, truly, everything happens for a reason.

We succeed for a reason
We fail for a reason
We are rich for a reason
We are poor for a reason
We meet good people for a reason
We meet bad people for a reason
We fall in love for a reason
We break up for a reason

Nothing happens because we're simply not lucky. Never! There is no such thing called luck. There is a hidden message in every single thing that is happening to us. These messages might be anonymous at the beginning and sometimes for years but they do exist. Sometimes we can know them on the spot, sometimes we discover them as we move on.
I kept on feeling sorry for myself whenever a bad thing happens until I started relating all the good things that are happening now to all the painful experiences I had before. It's what I call the "Connecting Dots" game. A funny game. Whenever you know how to play it, you will enjoy it! It will teach you how to be patient  and how to let go. It will grow your faith in God. And on top of all this, you will end up waiting for the message whenever something happens. But all this require an open mind and a faithful heart.

Didn't you hear about this beautiful saying: سبحان الله مسبب الأسباب? Which means, God creates the reasons! Why? To teach us, to help us, to protect us, to forgive us...
So next time, whatever happens to you, even if it's impossible to swallow, be patient and have faith. Open your heart, open your mind and think about the reason behind it. If you couldn't see it, just wait, because you will, sooner or later, and you'll be amazed by what you may discover!
This, and exactly this, will nurture you.

Open your heart, open your mind and think about the reason behind it

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The let go wall

I can't really explain why I'm that much attached and addicted to Ted Talks and Tedx events and salons happening in Lebanon. Inspiration, discovery and fun are the three main things hiding behind my new passion. 

Today, after attending my second TedX LAU event, Time Capsule X, a new word came up and summarize it all: Therapy.
Exactly, this is it! This is what I feel, most of the time, after watching a Ted Talk online. And this is how Tedx LAU event ended today, with a super funny and therapeutic activity. 

In the morning, a huge black wall was waiting for us in the social space, where we wrote all the things that are stopping us from moving on and that we need to get rid of and LET GO: poverty, fear, war, corruption, discrimination, racism, stereotypes, social classes, hate, self-hate, the past, beauty madness..... It was a HUGE WALL!!

At the end of the day, we all gathered facing this huge black wall and threw colorful powder balls! Oh and I didn't want to throw the green ball I had anywhere. No! I searched for the three words I wrote on that wall and threw my favorite color aggressively to them. Oh my God, that was amazingly therapeutic. Don't you wish to do it as well? Actually with all what's happening in this world and especially in Lebanon in addition to the stress we're facing daily, I wish I can do it everyday! 

And then, suddenly, the funny powder fight began. 

TedX LAU Let Go wall

Monday, July 14, 2014

How free is that

My current status on Whatsapp is "I am free". My cover photo on Facebook, taken from the beautiful Facebook page, The Eyes of Children around the World, has "I am FREE" as a caption. I wanted lately and for many reasons to remind myself that I am free.
Surprisingly, today, I came across a beautiful campaign about beauty, called Stop the Beauty Madness. It aims to say enough to the ideal images and standards we have about beauty and that keep little girls, young ladies and even old women from moving on. The campaign's ads are beautiful, touching and powerful. But It was this one that touched me the most.

Why? Because it simply reminded me of myself and how free I am now!
I had curly hair. Yes, I had! My hair is not 100% naturally curly now. It needs a special product and a soft styler to look like it was originally. And why is that? Because no one loved my hair when I was a teenager. The comments I was getting from people were mainly related to how classy I'll look like if I straighten my hair. So I was constantly doing it straight until I finally GREW UP, and I realized I have beautiful hair. 
Yes my curly hair is beautiful, because simply, it's like this. It's natural. It's who I am. Now, I feel a little bit sad when I do this extra effort to make it curly but I feel PROUD to know that it's originally CURLY, and most probably, my daughter will have it curly as well. And guess what? I see it CLASSY and ELEGANT. How free is that?

The photo just explained perfectly what I am really feeling towards my curly hair and the pressure I had from all the beauty standards. It gives a small idea about the kind of freedom I am talking about lately. 

Unfortunately, the hair is just one example. I believe there are lots of other beauty standards that are stopping so many gorgeous girls out there from growing up and moving on.
So come one beautiful ladies, take a breath and feel free.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

رمضان حلو...رمضان كريم

إجا رمضان وبلشت الذكريات تخطر عبالنا. ما بعرف شو بصير. كل الذكريات بيجو سوا. ذكريات قديمة، حلوة ومرّة.

أحلى ذكريات رمضان هي إيام الصليب الأحمر والافطارات يلي كنا ننظما. كنا كلنا نبقى شي ساعتين بعد الافطار بلا أكل لحد ما نتأكد إنو كل الناس والولاد أكلو وتحلّو ولعبو كمان. وكنا نمرّق لبعض تمر ومي ناكلن عل سريع ونرجع دغري على الشغل. وبعد ما نخلص نجتمع كلنا سوا على الافطار المأخر. رزق الله.

إجا رمضان وإجت العجقة بالمنطقة. أحاديث النسوان عن طبخة اليوم والفتوش والرقاقات وإذا فيّقوا الولاد على السحور. والشباب عم بتصرّخ لبعضا: "شو كيف الصيام معك؟". وضجة وزمامير وروايح الأكل والحلو. عجقة مش طبيعية ما بتحس فيا إلا إذا كنت عايش بمنطقة شعبية. وكل ما اكبر كل ما عم حبّا أكتر.

إجا رمضان وإجت العجقة بالبيت على الافطار والركض من المطبخ لقوضة الأكل كأنو في شي عزيمة مهمة وكل شي منيح بس ما تنسى شي غرض. عجقة يمكن بتوجعلك راسك لمّا تكون صايم بس ما فيك ما تحبّا لما تعرف أدي في ناس محرومين منا.

إجا رمضان وإجت صلاة التراويح. ومنظر الناس يلي عم تركض بعد صلاة العشاء تتلحّق الشيخ. هيدي من أحلى الاشيا يلي بتشوفا.

إجا رمضان وإجت المعايدات من الناس يلي صرلك زمان ما حكيتن. وأحلى معايدة بتكون من رفقاتي يلي مش مسلمين وعلى فكرة هن أول ناس بعايدوني عادةً: "رمضان كريم سوس"، صيام مقبول يا سوس"، "ينعاد عليك وعلى أهلك"...طب في أحلى من هيك؟ ايه في! لما يصيرو يسألوك عن عوايد رمضان أو لما يطلبو منك عزيمة علافطار لأنو كتير عبالن يشوفو شو بصير.

كل شي حلو برمضان، قربنا من الله كتير حلو، و قربنا من الناس يلي بحاجة لالنا كتير حلو ولك حتى جوعنا حلو، وعطشنا حلو.

بس في شغلتين بضايقوني برمضان: الناس الفقراء والناس الوحيدة.
الفقراء بينطرو الناس تياكلو آخر النهار وبالليل، وحدو ايمانون بانو "رمضان كريم والله أكرم" بيساعد عيونن تتنام وقلوبن تتطمن انو أكيد بكرا الأكل لح يتدبر.

ويلي وحيد متل يلي ما إلو حدا،  أو ترك بلدو وبيتو وأهلو، بتبقى حرقة الوحدة بقلبو ولو معو مصاري كتير وقادر ياكل أطيب أكل. بس مع كل لقمي بيغص على السّكت وما في ما يتذكر رفقاتو وجمعتن برمضان. ما في ما يتذكر شارع البيت والعجقة. ما في ما يتذكر الجامع يلي كان يصلي في ويلي ما بيعرف إذا بعدو أو راح. ولا في ما يتذكر عجقة البيت و ريحة طبخ إمو.

أكيد لح ادعي هي السنة إنو ينعاد رمضان علينا والله يتقبل صيامنا ويغفر ذنوبنا ويشيل من قلوبنا الحقد والوجع يلي فينا بس كمان لح ادعي إنو الله يشيل من قلوب كل الناس غصة الفقر وغصة الوحدة البشعة. لأنو الوحدة أوقات أصعب من الفقر.

 رمضان حلو... رمضان كريم والله أكرم بكتير!

الصورة لقسم الشباب في الصليب الأحمر (فرع سبيرز) في إحدى افطارات رمضان

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Switzerland...This is fun for me

Smiley faces, peaceful and helpful people, bicycles, chocolates, trees, flowers, white swans, peace and love. That's Switzerland, a country I wanted to visit a long time ago and stayed on the top of my to do list for more than 10 years. Finally, I did it. I visited the country in April. I spent an amazing week where I had the chance to simply forget all the stress and the problems, let go, and have some fun by visiting 4 different cities and experiencing everyday things.
Switzerland was simply what I was seeking after a very long and tough journey. For all those who asked me why Switzerland? Here are beautiful highlights from my trip! And yeah!! "This is fun for me".


People help the people. Yes they do and sometimes they do it without you asking for it. They're simply amazing, helpful and peaceful people smiling all the time.


Beautiful trees, yellow and red flowers, white swans, ducks...and much more.

Did you ever see an 80 years old man riding a bicycle? A special road for bicycles? A parking for Bicycles? Bicycles bicycles everywhere. Learning how to ride one is now on the top of my to do list.


Never thought I will fall in love with long trips in train. Trains are panoramic with a breathtaking and all-round views which make the trips magically enjoyable and relaxing.


I seriously didn't care about gaining weight!! I was on vacation after all. If you're a chocolate lover, you definitely need to visit Switzerland...ASAP.


Oh!! The Quiche is so yummy! The cheese is so different and the Italian food is wow!! Swiss people really know how to cook...


I stayed in Winterthur where I felt like home. Then from there, I visited Geneva, Zurich, Melide and Lucerne.

The Broken Chair, a symbol for peace in Geneva

Red Cross museum:

The humanity adventure. Henry Dunant, Solferino battle, witnesses, martyrs, prisoners, dignity...Things that only a Red Cross member can fully understand.


A park in Melide where you see a mini Switzerland.

Transportation Museum:

A very nice museum in Lucerne. This Museum is a creative way to learn about the history and the development of Swiss transportation.

What did I get from this trip? Peace of Mind, even if it was for a short period of time.

Travelling teaches you new things you never knew they exist. It nurtures your soul. But, never choose countries just because of a friend's feedback or a perfect review online. Destinations should be related to your values, your dreams and your heart. There, you will experience magic.