28 = 18 + 10


I woke up yesterday and I was 28. And if it wasn’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t have remembered it.While last year on my 27th birthday I was all cheery and happy about the possibilities, my 28th birthday was overshadowed by pulling all-nighters, homework, trying to find decent accommodation and the logistics of settling down in a new city which has proven more challenging than I thought.

I woke up yesterday and I am 28, but felt almost exactly in the same situation I was when I was 18. Here I am in a new city (and country), couple of months into the first year of a university program and kind of lost in between all the administrative nonsense that has to be done.

Last year, I was super excited about not knowing where I will be in a year and while still in the same city, I am half way into the first semester of a terrific yet challenging program, quite a change of what I thought I’d be doing, but after living on the road, out of a suitcase for a while getting back into real life is not very easy.

Last year was a great learning year with a lot of travel and a mix of random experiences. I was getting ready to settle down again (however briefly) and going back to school is proving to be quite the adjustment.

Being a grad student at 28 while starting up in a new country and a new language presents its own challenges and it is different from 18. I realized that it is much more difficult to be conforming into a schooling system at 28, it is much more difficult to pull all-nighters and life is certainly not as care-free ( not that care-free was ever the right adjective to describe me or my life) as it was at 18. I guess time has its dues and age does eventually take a toll on you, I didn’t think I was going to get to these conclusions until my 30s but its seems like I am getting there a little sooner, which despite the realization doesn’t make the experience less important.

I am excited about the potential a new program in a new city with a random mix of people have in store. Challenge is good and even at the times when I want to pull out my hair in frustration, it is enough to be reminded that I am where I am because that’s what I have chosen, because I wanted to move to Paris and because I wanted to study philosophy.

If anything hasn’t changed from my 18th birthday is that! Taking charge of my life and choosing my battles (even if sometimes I underestimated the challenges) is the most liberating decision/capacity I acquired and for that I am thankful. And here’s hoping that in the last ten years, I gained the maturity required to stand up to the challenges and use the opportunities presented to me in the best way.

Cheers to a year of less moving and uncertainty, yet more challenge and responsibility!


I woke up this morning and I am 27 …


The serene view of the Luxembourg garden that I was enjoying while I was reflecting on my “youth”…

And it is a bit shocking actually, how did I get to be 27? But yesterday I was so young, I was still a teenager, I was still in my early 20s and now I am not. I am in my late 20s, a tad too close to 30 and wow how did that happen?

Growing up, we are given standards, milestones and goals that should be reached by a certain age, whether by our families, by society, by ourselves and even by nature itself, and usually we set sail aiming or at least hoping we would reach them.

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A Shadow in the Sun


Of course, they (creative people) are crazy! There are thousands of writers and artists, most of them their dreams will never come true, you have to be crazy… that’s reality … Art is not something you choose to do, it is something that chooses you

I don’t usually watch movies nor write about them, but recently I came across “A Shadow in the Sun” on Netflix as I was working on a sewing project and it was inspiring enough that compelled me to write about it.

It is about a writer who goes from London to Tuscany to convince a former writer to start writing again and while at it falls in love with his daughter. The setting already calls for some cheesy romanticism, which like most movies this one offers. But what it also offers, is some witty dialogue and honest expression of human feelings and vulnerabilities. It touches on issues from fear, to bitterness to self-pity and trying to find oneself, very subtly without overwhelming the audience. It is the one passage here and there that just touches on an issue while filling the rest with rather superficial and stereotypical scenes.

A two-minute dance on “Sway” music really fits in.

On a couple of occasions, this overall feel-good movie brings the “why one writes” question and how to push ourselves out of our comfort zones in order to feel and experience what we are writing and be able to better express it, and if you’re in the mood you may enjoy some descriptions of the sunset, a beautiful woman or how to feel to be in a fight.

Talking about the writer’s daughter:

What was God thinking when he created women?

He was probably trying to make up for creating us.

You think?

Sure, I mean most of us are smelly, hairy morons, with one foot out of the cave. But women, that’s where God outdid himself.. I mean out of all the things he created what would be more perfect than a woman

Overall, it is a decent feel-good movie to kill and hour and a half while ironing or cleaning. Personally, I would have done with less cheesy scenes, for example, when the town’s priest tries to baptize the guy, who then says that he is Jewish, but without this having any role in the movie other than pointing out stereotypes. Or with a less silly ending, (spoiler alert) when the guy changes his mind and leaves his luggage in the train while jumping from the window to go back into town on a horseback (when he himself has admitted to never riding a horse before) with his “love”. Oh and did I mention, this was plotted by the priest and executed by his mother?


Two years in review


This morning, wordpress sent me a “Happy Birthday” notification that reminded me it was two years ago that I published the first post on this blog I quit my job, 10 days after quitting my job and embarking on an undefined adventure of all kinds.

My goal was to publish something every month, which I have somewhat succeeded at. I say somewhat because I have published 38 posts in 24 months but there were months on end when I did not publish anything.

The categories, I picked are somewhat arbitrary and (surprisingly) I wrote mostly about climate change and philosophy.

My favourite and most viewed post is Maybe we’ve got it all wrong on climate change being a product of human nature. The day with the highest hits was December 8, 2012, same day I published this post.

A word on being alone came as a close second and my first (and so far only) photo blog Wisdom on the streets (Mar Mikhael edition) came in third. Both of these were based on different districts in Beirut.

The third blog I wrote on the city (and my favourite) Beyrouth ton horizon m’appelle was the second lowest in terms of hits. Getting to Durban before COP17 got the least hits.

I wrote about politics and activism, books, slightly about feminism and a whole lot of random stuff.

I very poorly documented my travels and wrote about Beyrouth, Paris, and Portland, despite visiting many more cities. Some cities that would have been worthy of a blog: Bordeaux, Dubai, Durban, Vancouver, San Francisco, Doha, Osoyoos and Seattle.

My largest readership is based in Canada, followed by Lebanon, the UK and the US almost equal thirds.

My readership increased exponentially is 2013 and the hits to my blog doubled between January and May and have been going steadily since.

Over the last two years, I debated the purpose of the blog and so far it is still what it always was, an outlet for me to write, although I have to admit, there is a self-esteem boost that comes with a blog getting higher than unusual hits and strangers commenting on my posts.

I have been semi-regularly using this outlet to document specific, real life events and personal and family history and I’ve been struggling a fair bit with how public and personal reconcile, if at all that is. Perhaps, the closest I got was with When I wasn’t born a boy and Guilty of perpetuating Homophobia.

In the last two years, wordpress and my laptop have somewhat replaced my notebook and pen, (which I particularly dislike) but also became close friends, and so did many strangers across the globe. I have managed to share a lot more than the many notebooks stacked in between stuff away from my and anyone’s reach have taken me and will ever do.

I still have many unpublished posts and many more waiting to be written. So see you soon wordpress!


About procrastination


You know this compulsive feeling that forces you to look for things to do other than what you absolutely need to be doing? Yes this is what I am talking about. I am currently writing two articles about topics that I more or less love, enjoy writing about and have a broad understanding of (so it shouldn’t be a difficult task, especially that I currently make a living out of writing).

They are due tomorrow. I’ve had more than enough time in the past few days to have them done already but I didn’t. In fact, I found I was procrastinating in ways that I’ve never done before, not even when I was in school.

You see usually, I procrastinate by doing something somewhat useful that I’ve been putting off for a while such as reading op-eds, learning about the proper way of running, finding a new recipe, plucking my eyebrows, or even cleaning my room.

This past week however, I’ve been procrastinating by doing odd things such as checking the weathernetwork and every single email account, I had for the past 10 years, some that I haven’t checked in years. And I keep getting disappointed to find that there is nothing new on those sites. Yeah right!

Well, I hate to break it you self, but your high school friends whom you gave your first Hotmail address either have a better way to get a hold of you or have forgotten that you exist and well it is no surprise that the weather network won’t have any new information every five minutes and even if it does, it doesn’t matter because you are supposed to stay indoors and get your work done.

So, I decided to be responsible today. I looked up a software program that blocks the internet for a chosen amount of time and in some way it works. Now that I can no longer check the weathernetwork, I managed to focus on my article and progress it significantly. Now the one thing I noticed, is time goes by so much slower or maybe I somehow managed to be more effective. And so, with the absence of fun sites such as “Hotmail”, I started playing Spider Solitaire. Yes the old-fashioned way of procrastination!

It threw me back to what feels like a century ago when we used computers for the purpose of playing Spider Solitaire! Seriously?!

–        “I mean come on self, this is ridiculous!”

–        “Of course,” I responded in my inner dialogue, “I cannot possibly be that shallow. Playing Spider Solitaire when I am living this is a bizarre experience of being away from the internet, I am going to blog about it instead.”

And here comes my new and improved way of procrastination!