The Finale

It felt like the finale of Friends. I stood in my 19 metre square room with three people I spent the past four years with, two of which I spent partying enjoying my life. We all stood in that room looked around, we could all feel the same thing, a feeling of discomfort, a feeling of happiness, confusion, frustration, and nostalgia all juiced together. Even though I had only lived in that room for a year, but throughout that year we had so many good memories.

We were not just saying goodbye to a room, but to our moments together in that room; the day we cooked together, the DAYS we spent the whole night studying and drinking way too much caffeine, the nights we spent on the phone when there was a blackout and we were freezing our asses off in mid February, and finally the Friday and Saturday nights we spent drinking cheap alcohol because it was almost the end of the month and we were going broke.

I left that day, and I held my sadness and tears I decided to not think of it and I decided that I will not let this affect me until I actually say my final good byes in August, or hopefully September!

I spent the past four years learning in an educational institution that may have not been the best academically, but it was certainly the best thing that ever happened to me. Even during the times I hated the pressure of exams, papers, homework, articles, and the never-ending presentations it is the best thing that ever happened to me.

I did not just grow up physically or mentally; I matured and became a better person. It has to do with the fact that I lived independently for four years, yes I would call my mom by the end of the month begging for money, but I was “independent”, or that’s what I want to believe at least.

In my four years, I met some of the most amazing people, and even some of the worst people. I met six people that have changed my life, they made me laugh till I cried, they made me sad until I cried, and they even held my hand when I cried. Yes, they all included tears. We lived together in a three-story building, each one of us in a 4×4 metre room with a shared bathroom, each one of us with a roommate we hated, loved or simply could not handle all their negativity! But we pulled through and made it till the end.

Our third year we were separated, many of us parted and left the country or just moved out of that horrifying residence but we kept some of our traditions alive. Even of they did not happen as often as they did before we made them happen to keep our friendship alive.

To be honest I can’t find a way to end this. I know if I was to keep going most of you would just close this window and move on to watching your funny cat videos on YouTube, but I will end it now by saying that even with my discomfort of leaving Lebanon after four years, this is not the end but a new opportunity to build myself and follow my dreams. Like they say; the world is my oyster, and in this case a very good oyster!

All You Need is Love: A Friend-Zone Confession

I’ve never been a fan of writing about love. A few years ago I did not really believe in this four-letter word or that it even existed. I believed it was a myth and I needed more proof of its existence, something I sadly experienced with great pain.

Countless sleepless nights I spent wondering and hoping he would love me back; the nights included sad songs, and oceans of tears.

I am certainly not an over emotional person, I don’t have the tendency to cry easily. I am not rigid or fragile; my friends describe me as an emotionally cold. My emotions are always locked up somewhere deep inside, that I can’t even retrieve them when I need them.

I didn’t find babies cute, or cats adorable. I didn’t go around smiling to every baby I see. I didn’t have the tendency to think with my heart, I think with the most powerful organ I have…my brain.

So when he came along, I thought I would play it logical. However, sooner than I thought my heart was coming in the way of my logic. I started to act upon what my heart and body wanted, and not what I found logically correct.

We started off as friends, and then slowly the random monthly texts turned daily. I slowly found myself disclosing my secrets, and my feelings to this person, and he did the same.

I would see or talk to him everyday for hours on end, we shared everything together; our insecurities, our problems, our opinions and knowledge but never our feelings towards one another. He was my addiction, my heroin, my nicotine, and I needed him all the time, I was out of control. I didn’t have the guts to tell my girlfriends at first because I knew they would disapprove. I kept it all in for the first six months.

By the time a year passed, and we were still friends, I could not hold it in any longer. He was giving me signals that he felt the same way. We flirted non-stop, he shared all his insecurities with me, and we spent every waking hour together when we would go home for vacations. I introduced him to my friends back home and he did the same. I started to slowly feel like this was going to happen, and I waited longer and longer but still nothing would happen.

I needed more and more of my heroin to keep me happy and that’s all that I wanted, I was madly insane with an addiction that to my dismay turned out to be a placebo. He was not my drug, he was a placebo.

Until a year of flirting and spending too much time together passed, that he had told me about another girl. My heart started burning and my body began to get warm. My heart was traumatized and shattered into a million pieces, as I felt a tear in my eye I was speechless. I held my breath as long as I could until I could comprehend what he was saying, my hands began to shake and nothing would stop them.

All the happiness I felt when I was with him just went away, and all I could feel was despair. I finally told him how I felt; and to my dismay he did not feel the same. I never showed him how weak I became after that fateful night, but deep down I was broken.

I was a ghost for months on end, I spent my days and nights thinking if I should fight for him and I did. I fought, and every rejection came with more pain, worse and worse every time.I blocked myself from the world around me for months, even though we stayed friends and still saw each other every other day; I was able to hide my confusion and anger.

I constantly thought about the day I would wake up and have my feelings erased, and everyday I woke up with an ache in my heart that he was not mine. He brought out a side in me I never knew I existed I guess now that I see his true self which is selfish, self absorbed and arrogant, and I can’t think of him the same way.

We stayed friends after my confession, and I tried as much I could to put my feeling for him away. For a year I covered up my feelings and acted all normal around him, but I was not fine and I was not over him.

Now, two years later I still love him but no longer “in-love”. However, he will always be the first person I ever fell in love with and the first person to ever break me. He changed me. With all the pain and heartache I went through, he made me a better person.

I close this by saying:

To you, I thank you for changing me and I congratulate you on breaking my heart and for being the first to do so.  I hate you for breaking me, but I love you for giving me all the time in the world to make me love you as friend.

A Letter to My 16 Year-Old Self

Well…You made it. The goals you set for yourself are not all going to work out, you are actually going to develop new goals and so far you have accomplished the basic ones. You’re graduating university in less than four months, you’re a writer/journalist, you’ve been in love, and you live alone.Keep in mind that things will change, nothing is constant.  People will leave your life, and new ones will come in and turn your world upside down. Currently you have overcome any issues you had in high school, you are almost the person you wanted to be at sixteen.

“Our futures are unpredictable, and if we could gaze into them, we would know to avoid certain situations and relationships, which would allow us to sail smoothly for the duration of our short lives. But even at 16, you know this would be purposeless, as experience fosters growth. And I promise you’ll learn that lesson brutally throughout the following years.”  [Elite Daily]

You believe that relationships are not worth the time, falling in love is something that happens once and never again…In the past three years you have been through everything from a happiness high, to emotionally ruined, but you learned to pull through it. You might have hit some rough patches along the way, but until now you have risen through each and everyone of them.

What you think is really important is actually not! Surrounding yourself with friends that you don’t like just to have friends will change and many of them will not be part of your life anymore, but amazing new ones will enter and the good old ones will stick around through thick and thin. Remember to not take your family for granted, they know best and they are way ‘cooler’ than you think they are.

Appreciate the music you listen to because right now what is being done is just garbage.  Avril Lavigne is NOT YOUR IDOL! Yes, she is pretty and she seems cool, but no one is cooler, prettier or wiser than your mom. So give her your time, she’s not THAT old!

Work just a bit harder in school, you could’ve saved yourself a lot of trouble, and also don’t worry much about high school grades because at the end of the day your school doesn’t give a crap about you, they won’t fail you because all they want is to get rid of you and increase their capacity-and profit- for new naive kids.There is more to life than having fun and making people happy, you need to start doing what you want because in the end no one is going to re-pay you for your kindness, on the contrary they will take advantage of it and you will end up getting hurt.

“The next four years are not going to be easy, but they won’t be impossible either. Your mindset will help you overcome the unimaginable. Just remember to keep your heart and mind open and the rest will follow automatically. Start to give yourself a little more credit; you’re not half as bad as you may think you are.” [Elite Daily]

Also, you will never grow up…your body will grow older and you will become wiser, but at the end of the day your still the same person but you’ve learned to speak up.

I mean hey…if  Avril Lavigne isn’t growing up then neither will you!!

Same exact person she was in 2001, but blonder and she’s 29 not 17!

I Am Not A Martyr

What do I do when I wake up to the news that there was an explosion in Beirut? I am laying in bed in Amman with nothing to worry about and then my mother wakes me up to tell me there has been an explosion close to where I live in Beirut.  How do I react?

I am not Lebanese, but I have lived in Lebanon for the past four years and I have a certain belonging to the country, its people and its culture. When I wake up to discover that a young boy of 16 years old died in an explosion in an area that is supposed to be “safe” due to its political affiliations just breaks my heart.

What has this boy done to die a “martyr”, he did not chose to be one. This boy who was having a his morning coffee with his friends died a victim, not a martyr. He is a victim of the “zo3ama” that claim they want nothing but peace. Sadly, the only thing they want is to shed the blood of innocent people while they hide, living in luxury.

Lebanon was the Switzerland of the Middle East, it was the country where intellectuals would meet. It was a country where tourists used to flood during summer because it was such a beautiful country. As I spent the summer of 2013 in Lebanon, the streets were empty, there was no electricity, and not a single tourist was seen. I was too scared to go anywhere.

Now, I only have a few days until I go back to Lebanon and the only thing on my mind is that I don’t want my mother to call me everyday to check I’m still alive. I don’t want my mother to spend anymore sleepless nights wondering if I will graduate on time because a war might erupt at anytime.

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“I am NOT a Martyr” campaign logo

I don’t want to watch the news and see the dead bodies of innocent VICTIMS, being shown as a victory to political parties. I don’t want to wake up to the news that I might not return to Lebanon, I don’t want to hear about an explosion and say “yes, this is Lebanon”, I don’t want to be scared every time I leave my house that I might be killed, and I don’t want to die a victim stuck between crossfires. I want to live like any other Lebanese, and enjoy what is left of my time in Lebanon.

These “martyr’s” who are killing themselves in explosions are being brainwashed by “leaders”. If you are stupid enough to be brainwashed to kill yourself and kill others, then you must be given a place in hell. If you are planning on fighting violence with violence, then you are no better than George W. Bush when he said “We will fight terror with terror” when he invaded Iraq.

If you want to be a “martyr” and kill yourself in the name of God, then be well assured that you will not be seen as a martyr in the eyes of God.

I am not Lebanese, but I will not accept to see the population I have lived with for four years to be terrorized. I am not Lebanese, but I care about the lands and the people who have accepted me even though it is not my country. I am not Lebanese, but I want the people of Lebanon to live harmony together. I am not Lebanese, but I know all the “zo3ama” and political “leaders” need to be removed and sent to jail to serve justice for their crimes.

I am not Lebanese, but I refuse to be subject to death and be called a “martyr” if I die.

A song suitable for the current situation:

The Dream Matcher Experience

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When I first herd about the Dream Matcher, I wasn’t very optimistic about the results. However, I paid a visit to Alt City in Hamra, to see what I would get out this.

A rainy Thursday night it was. The first rainy night of this winter.

As I entered this cute little café, a very nice woman that gave me a name badge and three sticky notes welcomed me. “Write three of your dream, and good luck,” She told me.

I went on to sit at a table with this random person I have never met before. He seemed interesting at first but then I noticed after talking to him for a bit that he was nothing but a typical cynical guy that was sort of egocentric. He talked about himself a little too much…

I wrote down three of my dream; learn to ride and motorbike, fly a plane, and find a typewriter that actually works.

I went up to the wall of dream and stuck my dream on the wall with a bit of optimism.

A while after I went back up to see who had wrote their name to help me achieve my short term goals…and to my surprise I found a name on one of my sticky notes!!

“Learn to ride a motorbike” had a name under it. I felt ecstatic! I was going to learn to ride a motorbike!!

The whole concept of the event is that you get in contact with people who can help you achieve your dreams. It’s a whole network of connections!

Even though my two other dreams were not achieved, but having at least one working out was an amazing feeling. It made me want to come back for more!

Honestly, I feel like this is something that everyone should experience and everyone would gain something from.

I applaud this project, and I would advise anyone wanting to achieve his or her dreams to go!

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For more info go : https://www.facebook.com/dreammatcher

Think Like Zuck: Review

“I believe that over time people get remembered for what they build, and if you build something great, people don’t care about what someone says about in a movie…they care about what you build”       – Mark Zuckerberg

Recently I read Think Like Zuck, a book by Ekaterina Walter published in 2013.

The book is a simple key to Mark Zuckerberg’s (creator of Facebook) mind, from Walter’s perspective. Walter is a marketer and writes and speaks on topics of leadership, business innovation, and digital revolution.

Walter’s talks about the five most important factors that affected Zuck’s success; passion, purpose, people, product and partnership.

Passion is what fuels everything, without passion you can never reach you goal without passion. That was something that Zuck had, his passion was to connect to world together on one network.

Purpose, is shaped by passion. What drives your passion gives you a purpose.

For example, Zuckerberg’s purpose was for the world to become connected so he turned his purpose into his passion via the creation of Facebook.

Next up is People, Walter’s believes that the people you employ and the people you work with are very important. Basically they need to have passion and purpose for whatever they are doing.

Product is another essential component. Zuck for example had a product- Facebook- that was very unique, and it was something the world needed. Therefore, having a product that is unique will bring in investors.

Partnerships…if you’ve seen the movie “The Social Network” you would have noticed how important partners are. They can make or break a product.

Something that I found extremely amusing and interesting was that even though I knew about some of these components, because Walter’s had explained them using real life examples aside from Mark Zuckerberg it made it more real and easier to understand.

She gave the example of TOM‘s shoes. TOM’s mission is that for every pair you buy, a pair is donated to a child in need. Personally, I only wear TOM’s. They are very comfortable, stylish, affordable, and have different sizes to fit everyone. (I have big feet, so it’s hard to find my size anywhere.)

My favorite three chapters were Passion, Purpose and People. I learned that it’s not just money that makes a product, it’s passion, purpose, people, and something I concluded after was timing.

The timing of each entrepreneur was perfect. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, McDonald’s, and Mark Zuckerberg. Zuck’s timing was great, because the internet was there and being used by almost everyone, social networks were there -MySpace- but they needed an easier interface, and the need for connection was there.

The reason that I loved the book so much, was that I could relate it to what I want to do after I’m done studying. The book opened my eyes, to an opportunity that was there, it helped me gain a vision of what I want, and it created a passion in me I never knew existed.  To this passion there is a purpose, one that I and much research showed is essential.

Occupation Post

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Blazing green eyes stared at me as I stood in a crowd of thousands of people. A drop of hot sweat found its way onto my forehead, burning my skin. The man moved his piercing green eyes to the woman in front of me, as he clutched his M16 rifle tightly.

His fear filled the room with tension, the kind that enraged me even more. His eyes penetrated every soul in line; the more people stood in line the harder his grip.

He moved his glance to a female soldier with a blonde ponytail, and sunglasses covering her eyes. She looked back at him and nodded her head slowly. A sign, of reassurance that the day is almost over.

I took a deep breath and walked towards the counter, I gave the man behind the glass my passport and crossing papers. He looked at me with a smile and asked me nicely, “What business do you have in Israel?” I looked at him and replied with a fake smile, “I have family in Palestine.”

He repeated the word “Palestine” with sarcasm as he shook his head with disapproval. He stamped my papers and gave them back to me as he laughed.

After countless hours of being treated like a goat in a herd, my family and I had made our way to Palestinian territories, Ramallah in specific. A city I had spent most of my childhood summers in with my family.

Throughout my visit to Palestine, I had the chance to visit and explore different areas. Jerusalem was a must, my father took us on a nostalgic trip of which he made us walk on lands that were once hiked by Jesus and his disciples, and the lands of which my father’s family had once lived on before the Israeli invasion of Jerusalem.

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Walking through old Jerusalem, I was able to see people from different areas of the world, the people stood in line to pray in Al-Aqsa mosque, catholic priests walking The Church of Holy Sepulcher, the same floors where Jesus’ body was laid after his crucifixion. The Jews who were being dragged by guides explaining the history of the “Wailing Wall”, and the Temple of Suleiman.

There was something in the air that day, it felt like even though all these people were here from different countries, they were all here for the same reason; praying to God.

As we drove around old Jerusalem, I saw houses with the Palestinian flags on the roof and others with Israeli’s flags all over. Compounds such as “The City of David”, of which people from Israel’s settlers had taken Palestinians homes and lands by force.

Seeing all this made me remember Ghassan Kanafani’s “Going Back to Haifa”, a classic about a family who had left their home in panic during the invasion with their baby boy at home. Unable to go back for years their son was raised by an Israeli settler.

My thoughts rushed about the countless homes that were left for Israeli settlers to take over. Pictures, furniture, valuable assets were all left in these homes. Families were left homeless, without any penny to feed themselves.

Their lives were all taken away, and they were forced to survive without anything.

As my father took us to his old house and his old school in Jerusalem, I could see the joy and sadness in his eyes. At first he would be filled with joy laughing and smiling with his eyes glistening with happiness, and by the time we moved on to somewhere else his eyes turned sad because he was leaving again.

The next day we went out for a hike on the outskirts of Ramallah, in “Ain Keenia”. My nostrils tickled with the fresh air, something that I was not accustomed to, living in a city like Amman.

image (2) The hills my eyes were seeing were all so green, and scenic. I had never seen this side of the country before. I was amazed by how beautiful and natural it all was. No matter how happy I was to see all this, I couldn’t help but feel sad for these lands that will soon become new homes for strangers.

Our final trip was to Bethlehem. The road from Ramallah to Bethlehem used to take almost thirty minutes by car, back in the old days. Our trip took us an hour and a half to get to the checkpoint outside Bethlehem.  As we entered the city and passed through huge the wall that separated the sides of the country, my eyes were viewing the great works of graffiti artists.

A man behind a fence holding a white dove with an olive branch in its beak shackled to the fence. Next to that were a pair of big dark eyes looking directly through me, and it said “To exist is to resist”.  I thought of how much time and effort it took, it was a clear sign of the people’s will to fight even it was through expressive art.

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Bethlehem was the last area we visited, a day after our journey on the lands were over. As we went back to Allenby Bridge to cross over the Jordanian side, I thought of nothing but of what the future of this country would be. I felt sad for leaving without knowing if I will ever return.

 On the bridge, my Jerusalem crossing papers were taken away from me for the reason that I did not live in Jerusalem. The woman who withdrew my papers enraged me, to her I was a Jordanian citizen with a Jerusalem ID, I was a risk and I should be terminated.

The fear of never going back was real… The future of whether I would ever go back is sadly undetermined…

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