Sneak peek into an estranged world. Cheers!

Archive for October, 2013

It’s all about the socks!

Did you ever sit at a restaurant, club, pub, touristic area or even at work and noticed the vast array of socks being worn by the people surrounding you?

Dear readers, after reading this blog I would love to hear of strange socks you might have seen around.

So why socks? I’m not sure exactly, but I find them to be so interesting sometimes! It’s the only clothing people don’t usually look at. You can find all kinds of socks, from the simplest to the most colourful and complex.


I for one have always loved wearing the most colourful and intriguing ones I can find, for no specific reason, I enjoy the comfort of my toes ,and having something flashy in my clothing is sometimes too much fun to ignore. I sometimes even try to match my shirt or underwear to them (I hope I’m not the only one).

So why socks? Why not socks! I’ve met the most interesting couple a year ago, during winter in the cedars; which means shoes off at the door and socks at the chimney to warm your toes; upon walking in I saw the most eye catching socks I’ve ever seen (really wish I had taken a picture back then!), so colourful, full of intricate designs.
So of course, me being as curious as you know, I pointed them out and asked if there was a story behind it.

I honestly never thought it could be a love story.
So mrs.T and mr.T went through a bad divorce a couple of years after getting married and moving to the states (USA-washington). Ten years later, children were all grown up, heading to college, so she decided to move back to lebanon.
On the flight back in (which is a pretty long one), she removed her shoes to get comfortable; and that’s when mr.D saw her (well her socks as starters, then her). They got to taking about socks the whole way, sharing pictures and favorites.  A couple of years later they were married, and have the best couple matching socks they could ask for.
Their best romantic getaway travel would be to go sock shopping for the best two matches.


So why socks? Just because it’s something different to fall in love through. What do you think?


My Super-Smiling-Hero

A blog post not like the others.

Upon entering college, I joined a group of students from all over campus in sharing our common hobby: playing cards; quatorze, likha, trixx; most games except for gambling (Except for a few individuals)were always played in the upper and lower campus of AUB. You could join in a game during your break by replacing a player that had a class to attend without necessarily knowing your opponents.
This is how I met him, tall skinny handsome guy, quirky glasses, unshaved beard and a smile that enlightened the whole area. R.N joined the table where I was playing.
Me, being a naturally -a bit over the top- curious human being, felt this urge to know his story and his secret to such happiness.
I have to mention I met him during some dark times of my life, where ghosts and skeletons were my everyday companion. So knowing his secret became a must for me.
I slowly became friends with him, chatting over card games and sharing a cigarette during our breaks, taking my time to get to know him, learning his story by bits and pieces before later fitting them into the puzzle of his life.
It took me a full year, if not a bit more to compete this puzzle; and when I did; the painting I had drawn wasn’t what I had expected at all. This man standing in front of me had been through hell and back so many times dark spots were filling the image.
I remember at that point wondering: how could such a man have the energy to smile so much, on a daily basis?
R. Had been through two near death accidents, each causing a head concussion that pulled him between weeks to months in a coma. He had at some point in his life drowned in gambling before finding the strength to swim back to the surface and fight his addictions. He had impaired vision in one eye, his nerves kept ticking, and even had ADD (attention deficit disorder). He was the most joyful, hopeful, optimistic person I have ever met.


Always a smile on his face, whether it be directed to strangers or friends, always a funny comment up his sleeve with (probably) an action or gesture to turn your frown into a full on smile.

R.N left us after Christmas Eve 2011, and with his departure left a gaping hole in my life, as well as his family and all those that admired him for being him.
The year 2013 is almost over, and I must say he taught me well, for the first time of my life I will have kept my new year’s resolution; smile at least once a day, even if you have no reason to or feel like weeping, for you never know who might see you smile, and get contaminated by it. His lesson to me was that all emotions are contagious, if you generate one in public, soon you might notice that people around you will have a smile on their faces too.

I wrote this post to remind myself, as well as those who cared and/or still care for R. To smile. Even superheroes like him have so many reasons to weep, but all the smiling kept them going on and surviving where others would have given up.


Confessions of a -might be- hoarder

If you ever see my room, you might say I’m a hoarder, or :”cooool!” Like most of my friends react. I prefer referring to it as my caverne d’Ali Baba; for those not familiar with the casern, here is a short resume of the story of Ali Baba and the Fourty Thieves Where Ali Baba finds a cavern full of riches and gold; and soon finds that only he knows its location and how to open it.


I’ve been collecting random items over the years, reusing some for crafts and others as display, some that I simply keep close by till I figure out a way to use them; while others I use a couple of times a year during Halloween and masked parties.


A couple of days ago a friend came into my room for the first time and pointed out pretty bluntly that I am a hoarder, not an avid collector, like I usually refer to myself as being.
So I decided to research hoarding; one of the worst or best mistakes of my life, I am not entirely sure yet.

I have to confess, I think I am a hoarder; after reading the first symptoms of a hoarder, I’ve been convinced.


I openly admit to doing four of these symptoms; I collect pieces of articles from newspapers that I find interesting to keep,  believing I might want to re-read them later in life. 
I definitely collect useless objects such as broken keys, beer bottle caps, and toilet paper cartons that I sometimes use for crafts (didn’t find a use for the keys yet, so if you have any ideas please share).


I even collect broken stuff that I might one day use such as broken umbrella parts; though I do regret having gotten rid of these on my mum’s account, since I desperately needed them a little while later and had to instead go buy metal rods for an art project.

Reading more about this article, and starting to seriously worry about my sanity, I found my mum included in hoarders, as a book hoarder; it prefectly describes her actions (Mum if you’re reading this I think we might have a serious problem).


She’s been collecting newspapers, me and my siblings high schools books and notepads as well as post-its, and childhood doodles.

But; Thank god for that but; I have also noticed that neither me nor her have any of the problems stated to be typical of hoarders;


(Except for the endless arguments; but that’s typical of any family living under one roof). So how did we survive? I think it was my mum’s OCD in tidiness as well as my OCD in counting and arranging that has saved us from drifting down the deep end of hoarders.

What do you think? Should I be considered as a hoarder or as a weird avid collector?


Save My Home!

So I was checking some Facebook posts earlier when I came across this article that one of my friends had reposted, and it shocked me.
I didn’t even know this country could still shock me this much but it has, and has once again, failed me in so many ways.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is still and will always be my home and the place I love more than anything, but I’m not sure how much my ego can handle in let downs.

This article portraits once again an act of eco-friendly harm, even without being just about that, but more about the rich history of Lebanon. [link: October 25.]
This country has seen so many civilizations that I believe even historians might get confused in; these civilizations go back to thousands of years, and yet we still find rests of each in our everyday life, such as speaking 3 languages since birth, having bits of traditions that have evolved but started during the Ottomans or Byzantine times. We have always had this richness we were once so proud of, to say that we are all the world living on a tiny piece of heaven, each come from a different end, but sharing and caring, saying we are purely 100% Lebanese and being proud of it!

But, then again, look at what we do now, we try to copy other more “civilized” countries yet we destroy our heritage in the process. This article shows how blind we have grown to become, how sinful (if you want to recognize them as mystical and religious; I prefer to recognize them as respect of Humans all together, regardless of any stereotypes, and including nature, the ecosystem that protects us for the survival of an intelligent species) we have grown to be. Our wrath has been proven in our endless wars, our hate of each other. Our greed, lust and gluttony is all over the newspapers, in our everyday actions. Our lust and envy has been thought to us since childhood. We live and survive through these deadly sins and wouldn’t know how else to live.

Through all the wars we have been through we have seen so much of our heritage being destroyed in front of our eyes and cried for their sake, we have stood up in midst of the ashes trying to save them; so what do we do? we destroy them in the blink of an eye for the sake of “progress”. Our ego pushes us to overtake nature by all means, we enjoy these destructions, and will probably never learn from our own mistakes.

Why don’t we get more tourists to Lebanon you may ask, but the answer is simple, there is nothing left to look at.

Still hoping for a better future tho.


Pub vs Club toilets

Now I know this might be a weird subject, but I think someone should point it out eventually.
If you’ve ever been to lebanon you would’ve probably seen the difference between the two. As well as the difference between a “fancy” club and a normal one.

Now let’s explain a normal pub’s toilet. Most probably shared, one cubicle, small, and sometimes dark; but these are the best during happy hour since both parties sharing it will be conscious of themselves, and the fact that it is shared. On the other hand, once the party gets rougher, so does the aiming; I would advise to be careful where you put your feet and hands.

A little bigger pub, or more referred to as a bar, where more people can fit usually has 2 cubicles, one for each party; the female side is usually cleaner when it comes to aiming issues, unfortunately as the night develops you might find smells of puke around this area. As for the male’s toilet, the aiming goes from bad to worse, but with a distinct smell of only pee. In this case I’m not sure which is better to use.

Now on to clubs. Big, dark, underground, coke free, but good music to drum your ears kind of club. That’s where toilets are clearly defined and divided. Female cubicles have a huge mirror for makeup and hair checking, where you might find white powder on small shelves and a arm rest to put your phone on while attending to your business. Those are the scary toilets I find. Where you must expect to find anything and everything; from passed out girls to couples having sex, pucking girls and those taking pills or sniffing. As for the male toilets; they are more or less the same, except for the fact that no guy is passed out, but you can hear them endlessly and loudly bragging about everything and nothing; and this is the place to find a fight always starting.

Finally and most importantly, “fancy” club’s toilets. Now those are the most interesting I find, just last night I noticed how fun these are. The female version comes with a hostess, endless mirrors and light, and even free tampons on a shelf. Walking in there was like a trip to a beauty salon, some were fixing their makeup, one even pulled out a can of hair spray out of her tiny purse to fix her hair. Waiting in line for my turn to one of the 9 cubicles, I noticed two weren’t going out, and that’s when I heard the faint sound of polite pucking in classy places, I didn’t even know it could be so silent and ungross (I’m not sure that word even exists but I honestly haveno idea how to explain it exactly) at 2am, but I guess that’s what you learn how to do in such fancy places. Now the male’s toilets are more fun, my friend had to recount for me his experience so I could explain it since security guys stayed at the entrance of each party to make sure only females used their toilets while only males used theirs. I was quite surprised when I heard that aiming was better in their area, but the bragging kept going in more forms of richeness, where the car you were driving, the money you were pouring at the party, and your date’s beauty were more important than the rest.
Now the most important thing in both toilets at fancy places is the fact that your host/hostess will make sure to hand you tissues right after cleaning your hands, or a cotton to fix your makeup, and even hold your hair in cases of solo pucking. Some clubs even had more hostesses to clean up the cubicle as soon as you went out and before the next person would go in to make sure all was good and safe for you to go in.

Now I’m not sure which I’m more comfortable in, but I find it amazing how shared simple small cubicles can make me feel better than show off ones.


Watching football in lebanon… what a feast!

I have to mention, I rarely watch games unless I’m with an interesting crowd of friends; but tonight, I randomly walked into my new favourite pub for a couple of beers before heading to the party. The place is full! I’ve never had trouble finding a place here before tonight, so I simply sat on the bar, behind the hanging TV screen.
Honestly, it’s the first time I have an overview of the crowd watching the game. Trust me, it’s a brand new experience that opened my eyes to a new perception of things, in more ways than one.

[Now I have to do a bit of advertisement for the pub to explain the seating; as well as its understanding and professional bartender Diego. The place is called Moscow Mule -you can figure out the specialty alone- in hamra Street, beirut. It fits on a normal day nearly 30 people in front of the screen, indoors and outdoors; tonight a record had been broken with nearly 50 people more or less]


So back to the game, Barca vs Real Madrid, quite an exciting duo if you ask me, but watching the crowd’s reactions while watching the game is so much more interesting than simply watching the game.  Now the crowd here is mixed between the two teams, but that doesn’t stop them from sitting at the same table, as well as sharing drinks, shots, laughter and excitement.
Unfortunately I’ve never seen that much excitement in a lebanese crowd watching a lebanese team (that is when they do watch the game); but it makes me wonder why can’t we all just get along living and sharing this country like we do during football games; but that’s off topic, so back to watching people watching. I’m loving this phrase

I can feel the tension and excitement, I can hear the crowd holding its breath and sometimes even squeaking (yes even the guys). When you’re away from the crowd, the screen, and watching from the outside; it feels so much more alive. Not knowing exactly why each reaction is overtaking the other at different times is like watching a blind movie where you can’t really see the topic.

Now think about this: A little screen is currently controlling your emotions and reactions, whether it be playing a show, a series, or even a simple movie. I still am amazed when watching any of these fictional characters living these fictional lives, but always controlling us.

Television; what a great, disturbing, mind controlling, fun object of technology. Anything you watch might alter your mood or fit it in more ways than one, but I agree, it’s pretty awesomely addictive sometimes.

There is no real moral or point to that story, I just felt the need to share this experience and hope it might make sense to you as much as it did to me.
In the meantime; Cheers!T.

Bombs, fire shots or simply fireworks?

I have to say living in Lebanon can be quite exciting sometimes. Don’t misunderstand what I mean by exciting, since it’s not necessarily in a a good way. Sometimes it’s more of a scare, that you might laugh at a few minutes later, at other times it’s a scare after which you’ll call your loved ones and make sure they’re  all safe.

Living here you learn to live with these explosions sounds, and learn to make up the difference between each on a daily basis, sometimes you might misunderstand them because of the city’s echo; and sometimes they might be so loud that they will confuse you.

Now I’m not sure if that’s the right way to live, but hey, I’ve been here since forever, I can more or less easily recognize the difference between a bomb and a garbage truck; fireworks and gun shots. But I have to say it doesn’t make things any easier.


I sometimes wonder. Why?

Why aren’t we trying to change that? why did we simply accept that this will always be our way of life instead of working for the opposite? why do I have to live in constant fear? why aren’t we, the Lebanese crowd, tired of this?

So many questions, but who has the answer?

I personally would never leave this country, for my own sake, I love it too much, I love my habits in this city, the mountains, the sea, the plains, and the valleys; they are a part of who I am. Even though staying here might be the end of me, in more ways than one. 

Todays’ youth, and the many generations before it, as well as the future ones I believe, will travel to more stable countries, find a good and stable job, and live a happy life with no such excitements. But I can’t help but wonder, will it ever end? or is this the simple yet ugly life that will always be expected of this country? is this what we will always be known for and recognized as?


I don’t know about the rest of the Lebanese, but I believe that sticking around and taking a stand, at least speaking out our mind might help sometimes, or at least make it all clearer and better until the next time we hear these explosions of excitement.



Bbm Vs Whatsapp… or the loss of human contacts?

So I have to say, I don’t usually care much about such trivial matters, but this subject has been taking up too much space on my Facebook newsfeed, so therefore have decided to point it out and deal with it accordingly.

Whatsapp versus blackberry messaging: the epic battle of two new titans in today’s lebanese crowd (I wouldn’t say youth since all generations alike have been sparring on the battlefield).

Since Android and Apple have decided to provide their services with bbm, a lot of quarrels have risen. Part of the consumers have decided to re – embrace the bbm services while others decided it would be best to stick around to whatsapp.


At first it started with random people posting their new bb pin as a status, as well as taking screenshots (quite a normal thing is you ask me) on Facebook.
After a week or so other crowds started attacking them with sayings such as: [original] “fle2oona ba3ed bb pins PLZ, instead of evolving you go back in time” (C.A) [translated]: overwhelm us more with bb pins PLEASE”.
Others decided to make jokes out of them:


Which is the Arabic alphabet song (G.K). Even (lebanese) joke sited have joined in the battle of pushing down the spread of bb messaging addiction by posting funny pictures:



Some people’s comments were even judgemental:


I honestly don’t care if you shift back to bbm or stick to whatsapp. Last time I checked we were all born with the right to have our own preferences and make our own choices.

The bigger issue I find is the tele -communication between our peers.  Conversations have evolved a lot during the past years and centuries, they have gone from face to face, to letters being sent out, to land lines; and nowadays I rarely see a person using their phones to actually talk; messaging had taken over our lifestyle wherever we are.

Look around you in restaurants, pubs, clubs, beach, and ski slopes etc.  People are always on their phones, whether it be messaging, talking, or even playing games.



We have forgotten how to talk face to face with each other and grown shy of our thoughts, ideas, and even from sitting alone.


The fake proximity that technology provided us with has been gradually destroying our actual emotions (now replaced with emoticons), reactions (now replaces with Lol, Wtf etc), and the physical proximity of the next of kin which our ancestors have been longing for and craving in the past.

So while you’re all fighting over Bbm vs Whatsapp; this same technology that is supposed to “bring you closer together” has been pushing you further apart right under your nose; but you don’t even see it…


Cedars… RIP

Lebanon, land of the Cedar trees… More like WAS.

Brief history overview:

The farthest I’ve been in the mention of cedar trees over the years is 2500 BC, in the tablets of Gilgamesh [tablets 4, 5, and 6] where the cedar forest is considered as the realm of the gods of mesapotamian mythology. Namely known nowadays as the “cedars of God” aka “أرز الرب”.

There was one a time when cedar trees used to cover all the lands of lebanon (a very very long time ago), now barely any forests survived; most of which were turned into eco-areas. But even then they are not respected as they should be.
Though over the years people have tried new ways of preserving them, and sometimes replanting them. Unfortunately cedar trees [the original cedrus libani) cannot fully grow and develop majestically like it’s ancestors workout get mother and grandmother by her side, their roots stay linked hundreds of meters underground to form a single Web where all help each other in sharing nutrients and water.

Now I know I’ve gone a bit astray in history and biology; but this information is vital to explain my story.

Take the cedars forest mentioned in Gilgamesh’s tablets.  The eldest one still barely standing in lebanon. Their roots reach up to 400 meters underground in a calcarious rocky and dry area to reach the underground water bin.
In the 1800’s Queen Victoria commissioned a wall to be built around the forest to protect its seedlings from sheep grazing; and for the past 20 years more than 4000 cedars were planted in a half circular way surrounding the forest to help young seedlings reach a mother to grow tougher and reach maturity faster


Oh but wait! Here comes the surprise!

A couple of months ago a well respected man decided to make his son’s wedding in the forest. After many complaints he agreed to simply build an amphitheatre next to it to hold the wedding party; unfortunately no one knew how close. ..

He partially destroyed a side of the ancient wall, adding to the fact that he built the whole thing in the middle of the new forest, severing the lines between mother and Child.



So I don’t know about you, but I honestly think the lebanese people should make a choice: either protect these majestic and rare creatures; or stumpy change the emblem of the lebanese flag.



Waiting for the train

So a couple of weeks ago Achilles (NGo) brought together different people in lebanon from different backrounds such as painters, graffiti artists, landcape designers, and many other.
The main idea behind the “waiting for the train” paintings was to bring life into one of the abandoned train stations in lebanon.
As some of you might know there were two main train tracks in lebanon. One heading south to tyre and one heading north to tripoli from beirut.
These tracks stopped working nearly 37 years ago during the civil war and were never reestablished.


The artists were given a week to fill out 0arta of the walls where crowds used to sit and wait for the next train to take them home, to see loved ones or to go to work.


Each artist saw the wall differently. Some just pointed out the people waiting, others showed how they would have felt while waiting indefinitely, and some even showed some bad habits most of the lebanese culture picked up during the years of civil instability.


But the most interesting in my opinions are the small tags that were added alongside these wall murals of artistic history; these tags were ignored by most of the crowd, as I later noticed from watching the news.
But they were the best:



They purely show how lost, confused we are and how deeply our dreams of a stable future were destroyed in a blink of an eye.

“Waiting for the train” was an eye opener for me. It was the youth of lebanon begging to have the right to dream. T.

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