فجأةً، وجدتُ نفسي في لبنان

فجأةً، وجدتُ نفسي في لبنان، في العالم الآخر، العالم المليء بصعوباته.

لم أكن أقصد وطني الأم إلاّ في الأعياد وفي العطلات الصيفية. فهذه كانت المرة الأولى التي أستقرُّ فيها في لبنان. وجدت صعوبةً كبيرةً في التأقلم في بلدي والاندماج مع أبناء شعبه. وبما أنني وُلدت وترعرعت في عالم البساطة والنظام، وفي عالم الراحة والأمان والخير والحلم، لم أستطع حينها أن أتخيل نفسي أعيش في مكانٍ آخر.

وكان ينتابني شعور الحنين إلى الماضي. وأتذكر، كنت أتساءل يوميًا: ماذا الذي أفعله هنا؟ لما أوصلني القدر إلى بلاد تتخبط في العديد من المشاكل؟

شعرتُ بالغضب واليأس والارتباك لفترة طويلة. لكنّ هذه الفترة كانت فريدة من نوعها ومرّت بسلام. لم أعد أشعر بهذا اليأس بعد أن قررت التركيز على جمال وطني بغض النظر عن سلبياته.

أما الماضي فيُدفن عندما ترحل الأيام، ولا تبقى سوى ذكرياته… ذكريات ترسخ في بالي وشخصيتي… لا تغيّرني ولا أغيرها.

فأنا أحببت النخيل الذي تتدلى منه عناقيد الخير. وأحببت منظر الجمل وهو يتنقل في الصحراء عند مغيب الشمس. وأحببت ترتيب الشوارع والنظافة. وأحببت شعور الأمان. وأحببت خليط الثقافات في محيطي، وأحببت  سماع النشيد الوطني وغنائه قبل البدء بالدوام: « عيشي بلادي عاشَ اتحادُ إماراتنا ».

لكنني كرهتُ شعور الحنين إلى الماضي. فلِمَ يعذّبنا الحنين؟

 

 

Born Under Different Stars

We are all born under different roofs, from different parents, and in different times, and each one of us has a different diamond shining within; therefore, we are different.

What seems easy to some, may be difficult to others , and obstacles can be seen as opportunities in someone else’s eyes, thus, it is certain that we will not reach the finish line similarly. He might fly his way there, she might get there with golden medals, you might get there after everyone has already finished, and I might get there, all bruised and fed up. But one thing is certain: we will reach the finish line. How we get there however only depends on whether we choose to accept defeat or rise above all pain and fight our way to the top.

Being admitted to one of the most important universities in Lebanon, The Saint Joseph University, on September 2014, was a joyful event for both my family and I, although AUB was my main goal, but I gratefully took what was given to me. I expected to easily succeed, not knowing I had such strong and ferocious competitors. Once it hit me that there are smarter people, I lost all self-confidence and sunk in that stupid phase of depression that drowned me deeper. I did not know what it was I should do to get back up, but the more they rose, the more it was difficult for me to move forward. I was, at that time, evaluating them and not myself.

Failure stroke, and by the end of my fourth year, I was holding more than 6 courses, or were they holding me back? I had failed 9 courses out of 12. I was not disappointed though, because I knew what the issue was, I knew who’s fault it was… Mine! I was responsible for my failure, because I was trying to be a bird in the water, or a fish in a tree. I tried running as fast as my colleagues did, I tried to be as good as they are, and only when I failed to succeed, did I realize that I was trying so hard to run someone else’s race. Only when I realized that, did I choose to walk my own footsteps, and only when I walked my own footsteps, did I learn to embrace myself and accept my pace.

Long story short, if you are, as Einstein once said, judged as a fish by the ability to climb a tree, you will live your whole life believing you are stupid. So never doubt your capacities and do not compare yourself to others because if they can fly and you can’t yet, you might hurt your fragile wings, trying too hard. Don’t be the fish in a tree I was. Embrace your pace, love your brains, adore your talent no matter how small or simple it may be. Time will be your best friend and patience your mentor. And you! You will become your own idol, as unique as your own star… because we are all but born under different stars.

Erasmus Mundus: Gateway to the World

I, personally, was lucky enough to turn my life around by travelling and living abroad for six months. Earning the Erasmus scholarship was the “visa” to my dream country: my actual life. This experience gave me the chance to visit many cities that made me appreciate beauty and see life from a different perspective. In other words, it helped me grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually. But how?

Travelling is independence. Independence starts when you decide to leave your comfort zone and escape to a different country. Independence starts when choosing to stay home on a Saturday night, while cooking a hearty meal and listening to good music seems the right thing to do. Independence is when taking a decision, whether big or insignificant, without consulting the whole family, is the only option you have.

Travelling is pure education. It is a pot filled with a mixture of politics, geography, art and history with a pinch of human interaction and a squeeze of intense debates. In addition to that, it is the fastest and most efficient way to learn and master a language. In fact, there is something very pleasant when it comes to knowing how to say “Thank You” in Spanish, “Good Night” in Greek or when hearing a language that you did not even know existed before you set foot in a given country. In other words, travelling provides you with education on real-life matters that cannot be taught in the classroom.

Travelling means human connection as well as meaningful relationships and friendships. It is only when you get lost in a crowd that you discover new people that might turn out into spots on the world map to visit later on. A simple hello can turn into a walk in the park, then into a dinner, later into a valuable friendship that you would not trade for the world. A simple hello may also turn into a true relationship, into an engagement and later on, into a lifetime commitment. Well, who knows? All you have to do is try.

Travelling is the definition of adventure. Riding the waves in Mexico, getting lost in Florence’s narrow streets, contemplating Amsterdam’s breathtaking canals, catching sunsets in Los Angeles, zip lining over the majestic Niagara Falls, staying awake just to see the shimmering Eiffel Tower go to sleep, giving away your sandwich to a homeless person living in a metro tunnel…and the list goes on and on. These are priceless adventures that will make you very rich, not financially but spiritually.

Travelling is a natural remedy. It is a non-synthetic drug that heals the mind, soul and body. When facing huge life-related problems, depression, boredom, routine or when it feels like the weight of the world, hop on that plane and just leave. NO SECOND THOUGHTS. Go. Explore. Discover. Vent out. Act like a local. Disconnect from home and feel free to do whatever makes you happy, whatever fixes you. It is only when you are far away from home that you truly forget about your worries and problems weighing on you.

Travelling is money management. It is one very important benefit that you acquire when traveling, especially when living abroad. Parents spoil their children and would do anything to provide them with a decent and relaxing life. This is why, children do not really appreciate what they have and always ask for more. However, when they move away from their family and become independent, it makes them realize what is worth buying and what it not; it pushes them to appreciate and value each and every penny they earn.

Travelling is appreciation. It makes you move forward and be thankful for what you have in life. In fact, they say that you do not know what you have till it is gone. It is true, for when you leave your home and think of what you left behind, it opens your eyes to appreciation. This definitely applies to people as well; distance either makes or breaks relationships and friendships. When you travel or live aboard, it makes you think of all the people in your life and therefore, helps you filter who really matters to you and who does not. This will push you to either get rid of toxic relationships or to hold on to certain individuals.

In conclusion, travelling is the best investment you can make, for it is priceless. It pushes you to disconnect from your actual life knowing that there is so much happiness and culture to discover in a place you have never been to. It also gives you motivation to attain whatever goal you have in mind. In other words, it is the source of new goals and visions. It is leisure. It is joy. It is love. It is freedom. It is madness. It is bliss. It is positive vibes. It is wealth. It is gratitude. It is appreciation. It is rainbows and butterflies. This is why, we should travel every once in a while to remind ourselves of how truly beautiful our world is. Therefore, do not let fear hold you back, for life on the go is one very rewarding experience. After all, it is neither about the company nor about the destination; it is about the journey itself. As Hans Christian Andersen once said, “To travel is to live”. So, do not miss out on life; get ready, set, grow.

Home. Aix-en-Provence, France

 

 

 

الجار على وشك الانقراض

« جارك القريب ولا خيّك البعيد »،  » لولا جارتي لانفرت مرارتي »، « رغيف برغيف ولا يبات جارك جعان »، « الجار للجار ولو جار » أمثلة شعبية تكاد تختفي. ومع شبه زوال تلك الأمثلة التي توصّي بالجار، تغيّرت وتبدّلت بعض التعابير التي لطالما لفظها جيران الزمن الماضي ومنها:

« صباح الخير يا جار »

جملة لا تنفك تسمعها في صباحات الزمن الماضي عندما كان الجار فعلاً قبل الدار. لم يكن يبدأ نهار أبي جورج إذا ما لم يصبّح أعز الناس وأقربهم إليه.

« الركوة عالنار، يلا ناطرتك »

أيعقل ألا تعقد جلسة قبل ظهر كل يوم في منزل أم علي أو أم جورج؟ جلسة قائمة على مجموعة أخبار عن فلان وفلان وفلانة وتنتهي مع انتهاء الركوة بقراءة الفناجين.

« ناقصك شي من السوق لجبلك معي؟ »

حاشى أن تذهب أم علي إلى السوق من دون أن تسأل جارتها عما ينقصها. وفي حال لم يكن بحوزتها المال الكافي، تترك بضاعتها وتبتاع بضاعة جارتها. 

« ولادك هني ولادي »

هذا ما كانت تردّده أم جورج لأم علي عندما كانت هذه الأخيرة تترك أولادها عند جارتها لتزور أمّها المريضة في المستشفى.

ومرّت الأيام والأشهر والسنوات ليتزوّج كلّ من جورج وعليّ …

« مرحبا علي اشتقنالك. وينك مش عم نشوفك؟ ».

نعم هذا جورج الذي اشتاق إلى مصادفة جاره علي في المصعد لأنّه لو لم تجمعهما تلك الصدفة لما التقيا يومًا. فباب علي يتحسّر على أيام زمان عندما كان يأنس بطرقة جاره، أمّا باب جورج فيأسف على إغلاقه إذ كان طوال الزمن مفتوحًا ومرحّبًا بجاره.

« ضروري نعرف كلّ يوم شو عم تطبخ؟ »

 هكذا شكت امراة جورج لزوجها متذمّرةً من رائحة الطبخ التي تفوح من بيت جارتها من دون أن تذهب إليها وتقدّم لها يد العون كما كانت تفعل أم زوجها.

« شو بدي بأخبارها. بشوفن عالفايسبوك »

ها هي أم علي تستبدل جارتها وأحاديثها بموقع التواصل الاجتماعي فايسبوك الذي ما إن تفتح عيناها تتصبّح بصفحاته وأخباره.

« ولادن ما بيهدوا. طوشونا »

فبعد أن كان جورج وعلي بمثابة الإخوة في صغرهم، بات أولادهم كالغرباء لا يعرفون بعضهم ولا يتحمّل الواحد منهم صوت الآخر.

ما زال أولاد علي يسمعون أصوات أولاد جورج ولكن أتُرى سيسمع أحفاد علي أصوات أحفاد جورج؟

News « Papers »… No More

When technology devours papers and most companies “go green”, what will the fate of newspapers be? When society is going against you to rip the word “paper” out of your name how will you fight back? Who even reads newspapers in this era?

I have recently started interning at AnNahar, one of the best newspapers in Lebanon, one that was able to defy all odds and stand tall after every hardship or change that was thrown at it.

Going through the doors of that immense building, the first thing I imagined was going to strike me was the smell of ink, yet I was surprised to smell a flowery-kind-of-odor.

As I was going in the elevator up to the sixth floor, I imagined hearing the loud noises of HUGE printers; yet silence was reigning.

I stepped out, only to find myself facing what I thought was a glass soundproof door, muting all the chaos of loud hectic journalists running all around the newsroom, rushing to cover every single story, but silence had stricken me once more.

Keyboard tapping was all that was there. Everyone was minding their own business, was communicating though e-mails and was occasionally asking a work-related question out loud. Journalists were calling multiple sources over the phone all day long to check the veracity of the news instead of waiting long hours for an official statement.

Most of the work done in the news room is social media-related, publishing local and world-wide articles on their website about a variety of topics that would satisfy any curious mind. Their success is no longer only measured by the number of newspaper sales, but by the number of readers, likes, shares, and subscribers.

I was in complete shock and my imagination was a bit disappointed. I had an idea about newspapers built up in my mind, the way we used to see it in old movies, big rooms filled with immense printers and journalists in chaos shouting everywhere. I thought going there everything will somehow shift into black and white, even my vision, but instead a cup of tea and some soft music filling the office were soothing the hectic journalists.

Whether we like it or not, whether we accept it or not, social media has become the new newspaper. The first and easiest go-to source for the latest news, trends and gossips.