How it Feels to be Lebanese Living Abroad

Living in Lebanon almost my whole life, and witnessing every single bomb, assassination, and war ever since – I never understood why Lebanese people abroad are so attached to Lebanon, whether it’s their Lebanese map tattoos, or their patriotic face book posts, their choice of Arabic songs, or their never dying habit of smoking shisha and their eagerness of following our local news more than the locals… I never got it.Whenever a bomb happened and someone abroad shared sad posts telling us what to do, I always felt like “shut up, you’re not here to talk, just go back to your Lala Land”

– Then corona happened, I got stuck away from Lebanon, (something I have always wanted to do, live abroad but never had the guts to do) and I finally got it. I understood how it feels to be away from your land when it needs you the most.

Snapseed

“الجمرة ما بتحرق إلّا محلّها”

When you’re a Lebanese living abroad, you suddenly understand what it means to belong not just to a land, but also to a group of people, to a way of living, to a shared pain, and to a common history. You suddenly miss food you always took for granted, places you passed by every day, and people you thought will stay by you forever.

When you live abroad, you appreciate your Lebanese resilience, adaptation, and pride. We have been through a lot, not just individually but as a nation. We are a flock of phoenixes rising up again and again, stronger and faster each time. We are clowder of cats, throw us anywhere and we will land on our feet each time. We are leaders by nature, with an innate pride. We will work anything perfectly, but don’t mess with our dignity; we would rather die from hunger than get tossed around.

When you’re away, you understand your upbringing. We don’t accept living in lower standards than the ones our parents brought us up to – at least when it comes to cleanliness of the environment. When we’re abroad, we understand that our survival depends on our hard work, we become responsible.

Also,

When you’re far and Beirut EXPLODES, you feel guilty, selfish, helpless, and heart broken. You feel guilty because you are safe, because you abandoned your land, because you gave up on it – guilty because you can’t help on the ground, you can’t pick the pieces, and you can’t hug those who hurt. You feel selfish – selfish because you sought comfort from all the pain Lebanon caused us, selfish because you wanted a better future outside your home, selfish because many people wish to be in your place but simply cannot. You feel helpless because no matter what you do, you are far. No matter how you feel, it is nothing close to what it feels in Beirut. No matter what you say, words won’t be enough. Your heart will be shattered, because no matter how adapted you are in your current city, nothing compares to Beirut. You will be heart broken to see your memories being wiped out, your people crying angry and hopeless, and your whole future questionable.

When you leave, you hurt just the same but you must keep going. You can’t take a day off, you cannot weep, curl up in bed, and feel sorry. You must work. You need to survive. Your new city won’t understand your pain. You decided you wanted to live in better conditions. You decided to live in another city, and you must cover your tears, build a wall, hurt from the inside, pretend to be fine from the outside because Lebanese people are the energy ball of the party; they are fun, sociable, and talkative – and your sorry ass won’t ruin that Lebanese stereotype.

So you offer help in any way possible. You donate. You share blogs, news, and posts. You tattoo the Lebanese flag on your arm, you listen to “Raje3 Yet3ammar raji3 Lebnan”, you invite your local friends over for some Lebanese food, you get them hooked on shisha, while keeping MTV Lebanon on in the background and your phone close for the latest news of what’s going on. You tell your Lebanese friends what’s going on in Lebanon and you constantly remind everyone how good HUMMUS is.

And if you stay away for long you eventually die, feeling guilty selfish helpless and heart broken – but #BLESSED that even if it did hurt, it could never hurt as much as those who were in Beirut.

M

My TVC Archive – Main Role Actress

 

More on my Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/mayaakra08

 

 

 

 

Snips Baked Chips:

Miss Unstoppables – Downy Arabia:

Bank Audi/ Middle East Airlines:

Sylphide:

Gandour Oil: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puck Arabia:

Bou Khalil Ad:

Life Buoy:

Arthriflex:

ABC Loyalty Card:

Al Shiaka:

 

 

Jiff:

Arla’s Milk:

YORKKSA:

 

This Valentine’s is All About Gifts!

Valentine’s is around the corner & I have decided to gather some giveaways for you!

The first giveaway is an Honor i10 Lite – I am using it currently and the only comment I have about it is the emoticons. I am a fan of iPhone emoticons and Airdrop, since I have an iPad and MacBook – but the copy/past method never hurt no body (actually in that sense, androids are always better). PS: The front cam makes you believe you’re 10 years younger and makes you wanna hit on your son’s friends please – please don’t! This phone is only 200+ $ but acts like a 900$ phone (just like a young stud who behaves like an older mature gentleman – who does not exist nowadays!). Tag your friends in the post below to WIN – FYI I use a website to announce the winner – so i’t a fair game for all. 

The second giveaway is for GIRLS! NYX Cosmetics decided to sign a PETITION to get makeup instead of other cliche gifts on Valentine’s Day and is giving out a #PetitionForLippieLove box for girls who participate in the below competition:

Screenshot_20190212_143550

 

I am announcing another giveaway the next couple of days, so make sure you follow my instagram!

Goodluck!
M

Only If You Really WANT to STOP SMOKING: Slighter

I enjoyed interviewing my previous colleague, Samer El Gharib, on Startups on the Spot to get to know more about the smart invention I’ve heard so much about. Slighter has accomplished great milestones and won prestigious international honorable awards. I’m very proud it originated from the Middle East.

|| Remember two years ago, when I shared a blogpost where I asked my snapchat peeps of hints on How to Stop Smoking. 

I advise you give it a read. I remember I stopped smoking cold turkey after posting that, but got back at it after 8 months of being smoke-free. Then again, I stopped smoking around 10 months ago when I decided I want to feel more oxygen in my lungs. It was again cold turkey and free will. Now, it bothers me when I second smoke.

If the tips on How to Stop Smoking don’t help you stop, then Slighter might be your last option! ||

Slighter is a lifestyle solution that helps you master your smoking habit and reduce cigarette consumption until you quit. It suggests a tailored plan to gradually reduce the amount of cigarettes you smoke, while avoiding withdrawal symptoms.

Slighter studies your smoking pattern for one week then creates a personalized program, designed by top-notch engineers and behavioral therapists to help you gradually reduce smoking or quit. 

Watch the episode to get more details, and pre-oder it now if you’re a smoker wishing to stop smoking.

The Episode:

 

You can do it!

With Love!
M

Startups on the Spot: Falafel Games with Vincent Ghossoub

Starting on my first article on this thread chronologically –

My very first episode of Startups on the spot (also the pilot episode) was with Vincent Ghossoub, the founder of Falafel Games – a startup that develops and publishes mobile app games, the first to develop a game with Arabic content and one of the best game-startups in the Middle East.

 

I had met Vincent Ghossoub in 2016 when I went Live on 7nujoom app and played “Action Anime” with a professional player from their team. I remember when I went to their offices to discuss our project, I heard Vincent speaking Chinese and thought I was hallucinating. I wasn’t. That’s when I figured he communicates in Chinese with his investors.

 

What I like more than doing this show is meeting entrepreneurs and getting inspired by their proactive nature, their hopeful ambitions, and their dedication.

 

So far, Vincent has a funding of 4 Million Dollars.

No spoilers watch the episode and teaser below:

 

global_games_market_2012-2021_per_segment

The global games market is expected to grow from $137.9 billion in 2018 to more than $180.1 billion in 2021, according to market researcher Newzoo.

Those numbers reflect the constant growth of platforms, such as smartphones. This year, mobile games are expected to hit $70.3 billion — newzoo-games-2or 51 percent of the total — and they will grow to $106.4 billion by 2021 — or about 59 percent of the total. Newzoo estimates there are about 2.3 billion gamers across the globe.

The 2018 total for the global games market will rise 13.3 percent — or $16.2 billion — from $121.7 billion in 2017. About 91 percent of the newzoo-games-3global market is digital, meaning that $125.3 billion worth of games flows through digitally connected channels as opposed to physical retail.

125.3 BILLION DOLLARS!!!
Thank God to people like Vincent, Lebanon is sharing a part of that!

Watch more episodes of Startups on the spot here.

With all the support to the Startup Ecosystem,
M

Startups on the Spot

You probably noticed me sharing some links on my Facebook Page and Linked in account featuring startups and covering tech-events.

Startups on the Spot (on Facebook & Linkedin) is a show produced by Klangoo; its main goal is linking investors and venture capital firms to startups with good working models. Other goals are showcasing the hard work of entrepreneurs in the MENA region, meeting the entrepreneurs, and ultimately encouraging the reluctant people with good ideas to make the leap: believe in their ideas and try to execute them! 

Being fascinated by the world of startups since the 2012, I realized that people who work in startups aren’t bound to the working hours, are not naturally followers but innovators, and are risk takers. Since every member in a startup usually owns shares in the company, its growth means their growth – which is not the case of typical employment. Recently with the drop of employment and the overall economic recession (perhaps depression) the startup ecosystem is providing new opportunities for the dynamic youth to dream. Every time I hear of a startup acquiring their rounds of funding, I smile; and breathe in some positivity.

I will be sharing all the featured startups and events on this thread make sure you keep on coming back!

Featured Picture by Skylinkd

 

Wanna Dinner or Go on A Round Trip to Adana?

Dinner in a fancy restaurant with two bottles of wine costs us around 240$ right?
So does a ROUND TRIP to Adana, Turkey with Nakhal and Cie / Wings of Lebanon

Departures of this shopping trip as they call it (since shopping their is so cheap comparable to Lebanon) is every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday.

The fees include:
Air Ticket BEY/ADA/BEY with airport taxes
Hotel Accomodation
Transfers on arrival and departure

Things to do in Adana: 

1- Shop Shop Shop – Malls Malls Malls.
Prices are cheaper, especially the items on SALE;
It is actually a SALE there. 
2- Visit the giant central mosque
3- Watch movies outdoors (we couldn’t do this one unfortunately)
4- Drink Starbucks (American Coffee is for 1$)
5- Eat Kabab
6- Taste the Ayran
7- Visit the old bazar souks

Check out this video by Bilal Hax of our shopping trip there (I was super exhausted super sick with a projecteuron my forhead) sorry about that!  

Enjoy it!
Much Love!
M

A Civil Marriage in Lebanon; Absolut-ly Almost!

A civil marriage happened only 22 km off the Lebanese coast Saturday noon, attended by the friends and family of Tarek Mallak (31) and Anastacia El Hajj (29) – and ofcourse the creators: the advertising agency, Interesting Times, and Fawaz Holding as the distributor for Absolut.

CivilLove_Tarek Mallak_Anastacia_El_Hajj_Husband and Wife.jpg

Instead of traveling to another country to celebrate their wedding, this young couple decided to celebrate its as close as possible to the land where they were born and raised, the land they love – the land that does not accept them falling in love.

The logistics of doing such a wedding is not easily replicable. The boat has to be registered in a separate country that accepts civil marriage, in this case in Cyprus. The minister had to be a Cypriot marriage officer.

CivilLove_Tarek Mallak_Anastacia_El_Hajj_Female Cypriot Minister_Wedding Ceremony

“When you enter international waters, you can then follow the law of where the boat is registered. This was our way of expressing that we all believe it’s high-time we bring civil marriage to Lebanese shores.” stated Rita from Interesting Times.

Coming from different religious backgrounds, these young love birds are the pioneers of An-Almost-In-Lebanon-Civil Marriage without having to lose their civil rights*. The thing is Lebanese people are getting civil married in other counties both ways and legalizing it is a win-win situation to the state and the couples in love. In addition to it being a way to express that Love should know no race, color, gender, or religion, it creates additional revenue to the Lebanese economy and minimizes the expenses of Lebanese couples.

 CivilLove_Tarek Mallak_Anastacia_El_Hajj_Birds Eye View of Wedding

‘Civil Love’ is a campaign that represents Absolut’s vision for a better, more open world. A world that celebrates human unity, diversity, champions openness, and promotes self-expression. It suggests that the best way to heal division in Lebanon is for the youth of different backgrounds to fall in love with each other. ‘Civil Love’ is the hope for a unified tomorrow in Lebanon.

 

Amen to that!
Keep falling in #Civillove!
M

 

* In 2013, a legal loophole allowed a few couples to marry civilly, but in order to do this, the couples had to erase all traces of their religion from their National Identities which led to a loss of civic rights. This act not only meant that the couples were criticized but it also cost them their right to vote, work in a public office, and meant that their child would be born with the same civic issues. This doesn’t seem suitable for a celebration of love and commitment and since 2013 there have been no civil marriages in Lebanon.

 

Against Oppression

 “I Disapprove of What You Say,
but I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It” – Voltaire
"أنا أرفض ما تقوله ،
ولكن سأدافع عن الموت حقك في قوله "- فولتير

Freedom of Speech goes both ways, I will defend whomever is persecuted simply because he was brave enough to express himself – whether I approve with what he said or not – and I expect to be respected by those who don’t agree with what I say out loud.

ادافع عن اي شخص يعتقل لانه كان عبر عن رأيه، حتى اذا لا اوافقه الرأي – واتوقع ان انال احترام كلّ من لا يوافقني افكاري.

Yesterday‘s turn out was beautiful I had to share some footage & pictures (below) 🙂
ما تخاف من الحرية خاف عليها


Be Free!
M

kame3 1kame3 2kame3 3kame3 4kame3 5kame3 7kame3 9kame3 11kame3 13kame3 14kame3 15kame3 16kame3 18kame3 20kame3 a

 

 

 

personal blog

%d bloggers like this: