A Dose of Beirut

How many times have you found yourself thinking “Carpe diem” is so cliché? When did it lose its effect? I’m certain Horace would’ve never anticipated that the phrase would turn into a way of life. But the truth is, most of us don’t seize the day. We think we’ll be superhuman today and tomorrow. We think we’ll get yet another chance to do everything we want to tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow *sings Annie’s musical for you*…. but the way I see it, the cliché here is assuming we’ll still get another tomorrow, and a bunch of tomorrows where everything works out in our favor. Pessimist? I think not. A few months ago, I didn’t want another tomorrow. I was on medication that was meant to help increase my energy, and it did wonders, but left me immensely depressed and horribly sad. I was angry at the world, at my existence, and I was just unmotivated. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, and when I did, I complained about the possibility of yet another day stuck in a suffering body. 

 But this post is supposed to be about positivity and life. One of the beautiful things I have re-discovered is friendship. I met someone who was eager to get to know me and listened to my complaints, my heartbreaks, and my fears. Sara, my good friend, pushed herself out of her comfort zone to help me out of mine. She was surprised when she found out that there were many things I was afraid of doing, many places I hadn’t seen, and that I was struggling to make sense of pain, in all of its forms. So Sara and I both helped each other recover a sense of youth and positivity. We planned a trip to Beirut, Lebanon, and I was worried I would not be able to keep up with her and her friend, who was also traveling with us. I have not been able to keep up with people my age for years. I simply have learned to avoid trying to keep up. I have felt embarrassed and worried, and I used to hate being called a “party pooper” – the person who goes to bed early and cannot go crazy, as crazy as young and healthy people are supposed to be. Sara was an amazing tour guide, a beautiful friend, and a great deal of support. She has been referred to as “too kind” by those around her. That’s where I think people are wrong. When did kindness become a flaw? Because of this supposed excess of kindness, Sara helped me out of my comfort zone. Beirut wasn’t just beautiful because of its scenery, its simplicity, its people, but it was beautiful because it was an experience that reminded me of the ability to live, to move forward, and to have friends who love you just the way you are. Traveling and sight-seeing requires effort, both physical and mental. I was scared I would not be able to do it, but I did (and it was no easy task). But again, my friend was understanding and supportive, she drove most of the time and kept urging me to take naps in the backseat of the car. 

We went to a place called Faraya, where we rented snowmobiles and drove around in snow. Because my hands are not so trustworthy, and my physical stamina can betray me at any given moment, I wasn’t sure I could drive. Sara understood, but then asked me to just try. The magic words: “Just try.”  Cliché? You’d be surprised. I joked about allowing someone with MS to take control of the wheel (or pedals). But I did ‘just try.’ And I loved it. The thrill for me was not simply driving a snowmobile- it was actually being able to do something different, something I usually cannot do. Of course the pain comes afterwards, but as usual, no regrets, no regrets. 

 Here are some pictures of Beirut . And again, people, seize the day. Really. And that’s all for now.

Bahrain Visit

I recently planned a quick trip to Bahrain. It was anything but planned. I even missed my flight, and had to rebook in order to actually get there, because I promised my family that I would make it. Bahrain is a place I had never really thought about. Yet after visiting, I’ve realized that it is a wonderful place to live, and it has a certain atmosphere I haven’t experienced in a long time. It has a calmness about it, a certain tranquility, and you feel right at home. I was really lucky though. I met someone who was very welcoming, very genuine, and very kind to me. We instantly became friends. She showed me her country, took me to see all of the best places, the landmarks, the major tourist spots, and opened her heart to me, treating me like a lifelong friend, rather than a complete stranger. Her approach to me reminded me that there are still kind people out there, that there is still some goodness left in the world, and of course, of the hospitality of us Arabs! My friend took me for a traditional Bahraini breakfast, she insisted that I taste everything on the menu (and this really touched my heart), and made sure I was well taken care of throughout my very short visit. I had arrived to Bahrain with a heavy heart, as I was dealing with some issues, and found that sometimes, you just need to be reminded that good people still exist. Of course, Bahrain as a country did not disappoint, and the hotel was classy, elegant, and comfortable, the weather was great, and the food was mouthwatering. Perhaps I had a great tour guide- but either way, it is definitely worth checking out. Only fifty minutes away from Kuwait, and feels just like home!ImageImageImageThe Usual Oud fragrances- but with a Bahraini twist!