After passing through very hard times, perhaps the worst in my life, I decided not to spend time on writing about what happened during my third month in Colorado. Maybe I will some day in the future. After all, I am making it through and learning many lessons.
Today I want to talk about friendship. What is the definition of friendship?
How to identify friends from acquaintances? When trust becomes an issue and how to deal with disappointments? How to cherish and appreciate your real friends?
Let’s start by the definition of friendship. It has many, right? Though I am gonna give my definition today:
Friendship is a combination of feelings, actions, decisions and attitudes which connect and define relationship between two or more persons/creatures in various circumstances and situations.
Identifying friends from acquaintances takes time and requires sharing situations and experiences. It’s not possible to know what the other person feels about you if both of you haven’t shared any critical situation or experience whether positive or negative, happy or sad. Then you can decide if this person is a friend or acquaintances.
Trust is a big deal in our lives. Some of us give their trust immediately, others take years to trust. In both cases, we might be subject to disappointment. IMO There is a way to avoid this confusion. We need to see these people in their worst positions and observe how they deal with their worst problems. It says it all! Trust me ;).
If you ever been disappointed by people you considered as friends, try not to blame them. It’s okay to be sad about it, okay to grieve. Try to see the opportunity of learning lessons from this sad experience. I recently been disappointed by MANY people I considered friends. However, I was surprised by others.
Friends are SO hard to find, especially at our virtual Era. Time is not always a scale for friendship, keep this in mind.
If you have friends that you really love & care about them, here are 6 advices to keep and save your friendship:
Call/text randomly to check on them (5-10 minutes of your week won’t distract you from your life)
Be there when they need you. If they call for help, they are not kidding.
Today I chose to write about seven of the most remarkable people in my homeland Lebanon. Since I arrived to the States I have been asked a lot about my culture background, music arts and literature. Most of the folks over here have a stereo type about Lebanon as an Arab country in the Middle East. So I felt there is a need to write about the bright side of my country and show the world what kind of human potentials we do have.
Before I start writing about our human potentials, I would like to give a short intro about my country. Lebanon (pronounced as Lubnan in Arabic) is a tiny country in the Middle East and its Capital is Beirut. It is bordered by Syria to the North and east and by Palestine to the South as well as Mediterranean Sea by the West. Lebanon is famous for its ethnic diversity at just 10,452 km2 and it’s proven by having 18 different religious sector in addition to the atheism. The earliest evidence of civilization dates back to more than seven thousand year. Lebanon was the home of the Canaanites/Phoenicians between 1550 and 539 BC. Several nations stepped by our country such as Mamelukes, Romans, Ottomans, French and English.
There are a lot and a lot of great people from Lebanon who contributed to the world with their achievements. However, today I am going to talk about 7 of the most Influential Lebanese figures that you may never heard of from various backgrounds. By various background I mean arts, music, fashion, literature, science and more.
Let us take a look on how and what was their contributions.
Elissar, Princess of Tyre and Carthage
Elissar (Elishat, in Phoenician) was the princess of Tyre city (Lebanese coastal city) back in 810s BC. Her brother, king of Tyre, murderd her husband and she had to escape her country. Elissar and her Tyrinian entourage crossed the length of the Mediterranean is several ships and settled the shore of what’s today modern Tunisia.
Elissar and her colonial entourage founded a new city in 814 BC and they called it Carthage which comes from two Phoenician words that mean “NEW LAND”. In memory of their Tyrinian origin, the people of Carthage paid an annual tribute to the temple of Melqart of Tyre in Phoenicia. The city of Carthage slowly gained its independence from Tyre though it was initially controlled by its own magistrates carrying the title of suffetes It kept close links with Tyre, the metropolis, until 332 BC.
Gibran Khalil Gibran (Jubran Khalil Jubran) (1883-1931) was a Lebanese writer, poet and visual artist. As a young man, Gibran immigrated with his family to the United States where he studied art and began his literary career writing in both Arabic and English. In the Arab world, Gibran was considerd as a literart and political rebel. His romantic style was at the heart of a renaissance in modern Arabic literature especially prose poetry, breaking away from classical school.
Gibran was an accomplished artist, especially in drawing and watercolor, having attended the Académie Julian art school in Paris from 1908 to 1910, pursuing a symbolist and romantic style over the then up-and-coming realism. Gibran held his first art exhibition of his drawings in 1904 in Boston, at Day’s studio. During this exhibition, Gibran met Mary Elizabeth Haskell, a respected headmistress ten years his senior. The two formed an important friendship that lasted the rest of Gibran’s life.
While most of Gibran’s early writings were in Arabic, most of his work published after 1918 was in English. His first book for the publishing company Alfred A. Knopf, in 1918, was The Madman, a slim volume of aphorisms and parables written in biblical cadence somewhere between poetry and prose.
Gibran’s best-known work is The Prophet, a book composed of twenty-six poetic essays. Its popularity grew markedly during the 1960s with the American counterculture and then with the flowering of the New Age movements. It has remained popular with these and with the wider population to this day. Since it was first published in 1923, The Prophet has never been out of print. Having been translated into more than forty languages, it was one of the bestselling books of the twentieth century in the United States.
Elvis Presley was deeply affected by Gibran’s The Prophet after receiving his first copy in 1956. He reportedly read passages to his mother and over the years gave away copies of “The Prophet” to friends and colleagues.
One of his most notable lines of poetry is from “Sand and Foam” (1926), which reads: “Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it so that the other half may reach you”. This line was used by John Lennon and placed, though in a slightly altered form, into the song “Julia” from The Beatles’ 1968 album The Beatles (aka “The White Album”).
Johnny Cash recorded Gibran’s “The Eye of the Prophet” as an audio cassette book, and Cash can be heard talking about Gibran’s work on a track called “Book Review” on his album Unearthed.
British singer David Bowie mentioned Gibran in the song “The Width of a Circle” from Bowie’s 1970 album The Man Who Sold the World. Bowie used Gibran as a “hip reference”,because Gibran’s work “A Tear and a Smile” became popular in the hippy counterculture of the 1960s. In 2016 Gibran’s fable On Death was composed in Hebrew by Gilad Hochman to the unique setting of soprano, theorbo and percussion and premiered in France under the title River of Silence.
Hasan Kamel Al- Sabbah
Hasan Kamel Al-Sabbah and sometimes reffered to as Camil A. Sabbah was born in Lebanon 1894 and died on 1935. He was a Lebanese electrical and electronics research engineer, mathematician and inventor. He studied at the American University of Beirut and taught mathematics at Imperial college of Damascus, Syria as well as the American University of Beirut. In 1921, her travelled to the United States and for a short time studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining University of Illinois in 1923.
He entered the vacuum tube section of the Engineering Laboratory of the General Electric Company at Schenectady N.Y. in 1923 where he was engaged in mathematical and experimental research, principally on rectifiers and inverters and he received 43 patents covering his work. Among the patents were reported innovations in television transmission.
Michael Dabaghi (DeBakey)
Michael Dabaghi (DeBakey) (1908-2008). He received an M.D degree from Tulane University School of Medicine. Dabaghi helped develop the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital units and let helped establish the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center Research System. Dabaghi’s ability to bring his professional knowledge to bear on public policy earned him a reputation as a medical statesman. He was a member of the medical advisory committee of the Hoover Commission and was chairman of the President’s Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke during the Johnson Administration.
Dr. Michael Dabaghi served in the U.S. Army during World War II and helped to revolutionize wartime medicine by supporting the stationing of doctors closer to the front lines. This concept greatly improved the survival rate of wounded soldiers and resulted in the development of Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units during the Korean War.
With his mentor, Alton Ochsner, he postulated in 1939 a strong link between smoking and carcinoma of the lung Dabaghi was one of the first to perform coronary artery bypass surgery, and in 1953 he performed the first successful carotid endarterectomy. A pioneer in the development of an artificial heart Dabaghi was the first to use an external heart pump successfully in a patient – a left ventricular bypass pump.
Dabaghi pioneered the use of Dacron grafts to replace or repair blood vessels. In 1958, to counteract narrowing of an artery caused by an endarterectomy Dabaghi performed the first successful patch-graft angioplasty. This procedure involved patching the slit in the artery from an endarterectomy with a Dacron or vein graft. The patch widened the artery so that when it closed, the channel of the artery returned to normal size. The Dabaghi artificial graft is now used around the world to replace or repair blood vessels.
In the 1960s Dabaghi and his team of surgeons were among the first to record surgeries on film. A camera operator would lie prone atop a surgical film stand made to Dabaghi specifications and record a surgeon’s eye view of the operating area.
Dabaghi received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 even though his name was later found on Nixon’s Enemies List. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Science. He was a recipient of The United Nations Lifetime Achievement Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Foundation for Biomedical Research and in 2000 was cited as a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress. On April 23, 2008, he received the Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Rammal Hassan Rammal
Rammal was born in Lebanon (1951-1991). He was a Lebanese condensed matter physicist. He graduated high school ranking the first place in official exams of the baccalaureate section General Science. At the age of 18, Rammal traveled to France to continue his education and start his scientific career. In 1981, he achieved his international doctorate and started working at National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Grenoble.
He had a thesis that it subject addressed as follows: “The importance of statistical mechanics to explain the energy distribution in solids transparent (amorphous) spiral shape using numerical methods”, this thesis was discussed in front of 16 scientists, senior physicists in France and it was a subject of appreciation and admiration prompting then the French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac to meet student researcher Rammal Rammal. This thesis has caused a major stir in the academic community and in France.
Rammal became famous all around the world, he went to many important universities in the United States as a visiting professor and an especially in the US space agency, “NASA”.
During 1983-1984, Rammal served as a visiting professor for six months in Nuclear Physics, co-managing the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia Research Department (United States) and National Laboratory Brokmaven in Upton (New York). He had also served as a visiting professor for another six months in the Department of Physics at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec (Canada).
During 1984-1986, he served as a research professor at the National Center for Scientific Research at the University of Grenoble.
Rammal was deputed by the French National Center for Research for representation in several scientific conferences in France and internationally.
In 1988, he was promoted to become the head of research team and he was only 37 years old. He was the only person to be in this position in France, even though he didn’t have the French nationality.
Dr. Rammal has published 113 scientific researches in the topics of statistical physics research (Mathematics, thermodynamic, laws of motion applications specific heat in solids, liquids and gases, molecular hydrogen gas behavior in the lower temperature limits, extreme behavior of nuclear particles in the microscopic tropical systems, characteristics of the Fermi-Dirac statistics, etc. ..). Dr. Rammal research has contributed to build the basics and origins of modern physics and development. As a result of the importance of his research, the National Center for Scientific Research awarded him a bronze medal in 1984, in recognition of the best doctoral thesis in France. In addition, the French government awarded a silver medal for Scientific Research, and it was presented by the French Minister of education himself in 1988, in recognition of his research in the fields of statistical physics.
In 1989, the French magazine Le Point included Rammal’s name in an article in 11 December 1989 among the one hundred French figures representing the glory of France. He was named among the top twenty French character who will play an important role in changing France in the 2000’s. And as the magazine mentioned: “Dr. Rammal Rammal was a mathematician-physicist of Lebanese origin, and one of the leading specialists of the few at the global level in the intensification of material and energy storage research areas.”
FYI: Rammal is my mother’s cousin (Aunt’s son). She tells me that he died two month before I was born.
Nuhad Haddad, known as Fairuz (also spelled Fairouz, Feyrouz or Fayrouz), was born on November 1935. She is a popular Lebanese singer who was first noticed at the International Festival of Baalbeck. Fairuz is known as “Ambassador to the Stars”, “Ambassador of the Arabs”.
Fairuz was introduced to the Rahbani brothers, Assi and Mansour, who also worked at the radio station as musicians, and they discovered her talent. The chemistry was instant, and soon after, Assi started to compose songs for Fairouz, one of which was “Itab” (the third song he composed for her), which was an immediate smash hit in all of the Arab world, establishing Fairuz as one of the most prominent Arab singers on the Arabic music scene. Assi and Fairuz were married on 23 January 1955.
As the 1960s wore on, Fairuz became known as the “First Lady of Lebanese singing”, as Halim Roumi dubbed her. During this period the Rahbani brothers wrote and composed for her hundreds of famous songs, most of their operettas, and three motion pictures.
In 1971, Fairuz’s fame became international after her major North American tour, which was received with much excitement by the Arab-American and American community and yielded very positive reviews of the concerts.
Fairuz made her first European TV appearance on French TV on May 24, 1975, in a “Carpentier special show” called “Numero 1” dedicated to French star Mireille Mathieu. She sang one of her big hits “Habbaytak Bissayf” and was thanked and embraced after performing it by Mireille Mathieu.
Fairuz made a second and final European Television appearance on French TV on 13 October 1988 in a show called Du côté de chez Fred. Fairuz, who had scheduled a concert at the POPB of Paris Bercy concert hall three days later on 16 October, was the main guest of French TV presenter Frédéric Mitterrand, today France’s Minister of Culture (2009).
The Fairuz-Rahbani collaboration produced a total of 19 musical plays which most of them were recorded and video-taped. Fairuz starred in 3 movies and had featured appearances in 8 television programs. Fairuz discography consists of a large repertoire of around 1500 song out if which only about 800 have been released. Around 85 of Fairuz CDs, Vinyls and Cassettes have been officially released so far. Most of the songs that are featured on these albums were composed by the Rahbani Brothers. Listen to Fairuz on Spotify
Fairuz is the Arab world’s most famous and most listened-to singer. For decades, almost all radio stations in the Arab world have been starting their morning broadcast with a Fairuz song.
The Guardian stated that “she sang the story of a Lebanon that never really existed” and “essentially helped build the identity of Lebanon, just 14 years after it became an independent country”.
In 1997, Billboard stated “even after five decades at the top, (Fairuz) remains the supreme Diva of Lebanon”. In 1999, The New York Times described her as “a living icon without equal” and stated that her emergence as a singer paralleled Lebanon’s transformation from a backwater to the vibrant financial and cultural heart of the Arab world.
In a 2008 article, BBC described her as “the legendary Lebanese singer and greatest living Arab diva”.
In an article about world music, The Independent stated “All young female singers in this region seem to be clones of her” and that “she’s such an important artist that you have to get to grips with her”. Fairuz’s total sales pass the 20 million for the decade of the 1970s.
In 1999, she performed at the MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, where she is reported to have brought in the biggest crowd since Frank Sinatra. Well over 14,000 people were estimated to be inside the stadium and over 5,000 outside.
In July 2007, Fairuz became the first artist from the Arab World to perform in Greece, at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, to a sold out venue filled with 9,000 people.
Elie Saab is a Lebanese fashion designer who was born in 1964. He started his business in the early 1980s and specialized in bridal couture. His main workshop in in Lebanon with additional workshops in Milan and Paris.
Saab became more well-known in the United States after he became the first Lebanese designer to dress an Oscar winner, Halle Berry, in 2002. In May 2003, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture invited him to become a member,and he showed his first haute couture collection in Paris in July 2003.
Elie Saab, Tina Knowles, House of Deréon, Giorgio Armani, Versace, and Herve Leger served as the designers for the outfits of the 2007 The Beyoncé Experience tour. In 2010, Saab dressed 102 celebrities for events overall, up from 40 in 2009. The figure for 2011, up until March, was 88. In 2011, Madame Tussauds unveiled a wax statue of Kate Winslet draped in the Elie Saab dress she wore at 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards. In 2011, Elie Saab launched his first fragrance Le Parfum.
In 2012, he worked with the Lebanese American University and London College of Fashion to launch a bachelor’s degree in fashion design. As of 2013, the brand had boutiques located in Beirut, Dubai, Doha, Paris, London, Geneva, Hong Kong, Moscow, New York City, and Mexico, with 100 retail outlets total.
Elie Saab appeared as a judge on Project Runway: Middle East in 2016. Between 2015 and 2017, the Elie Saab company opened a second Paris boutique and a new location in London’s Mayfair and in Manhattan. The Manhattan store that opened in October 2016 was his first in the country. As of March 2017, his couture collections are available in Paris, London, and Beirut, while his ready-to-wear clothes were in 160 retailers and his own boutiques. Also that month, the Elie Saab Company opened a new Madison Avenue store.
He has been worn by Queen Rania of Jordan, Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, and Stéphanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.
Halle Berry wore a burgundy gown by Saab to the 2002 Academy Awards when she won for Best Actress.
Other notable clients of Saab’s work have included Eva Green, Yulia Alipova, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Aishwarya Rai, Anna Kendrick, Christina Aguilera, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina Jolie, Celine Dion, Elena Anaya, Elsa Zylberstein, and Taylor Swift.
In addition to the heroes that are mentioned in this post, I would like to add few more well known celebrities with Lebanese roots. For example: Shakira, Salma Hayek, Keanu Reeves, Vince Vaughn, Zoe Saldana, Wentworth Miller, Ralph Nader, Shannon Elizabeth, Gloria Estefan amd Tony Shalhoub.
What do you think about that? Isn’t it amazing that a very small country like Lebanon has gifted the world a bunsh of super talented humans?
While doing the research to find all these information, I felt so proud that I was born and raised in Lebanon. Regardless all the mess in our country, we have given the world a lot of human resources that inspired others and made a difference.
Wherever we go, we should be proud of our homeland and do our best to show the world what contributions we made.
I have been thinking back and forth if I am going to write about my second month in Boulder. Why? Because simply too many things happened and I honestly don’t know from where should I start. Though, I decided that I shouldn’t give up on what I started. It’s been a rough month, really a rough one. Things at work have been crazy and a part of my mission here is to get things proper and organized. Frankly, I love what I am doing in my life, helping vulnerable people. I have been involved in humanitarian field since I was 18 years old and I love it. Thanks to my friend, God mother and English Teacher Wissam who introduced me to this world through volunteering at a non-profit organization called the Permanent Peace Movement.
Anyway, I faced a lot of challenging circumstances this month which provoked me to ask a lot of questions of what I want to do next. Moving to the United States is a dream of many. But guys its not flexible and easy as it may seem to be. I had moments were I was emotionally drained and home sick. However, I decided not to surrender and keep racing. Simply this was my choice and gotta be responsible about my choices in life. Well, yes! I got lost and scared sometimes but here I am writing this post and enjoy sharing with you guys my experience.
I was not able to keep on track with all my plans of working out everyday and maintaining a healthy diet. I messed up a little bit in that, but I am still trying hard to keep it going. I met new friends, enjoyed comedy show at a random place in Boulder and hiked 3 times. Isn’t it exciting? Oh yes it is specially the hiking part. I had to hike with my friend Jacqueline, her boyfriend Philip and her cousin Ally :). I also attended my very first Meet Up thing in Boulder and met the sweet Becky and her partner Lindsey. We went to a community dinner together and it was so much fun. One of the best things that happened to me this month is meeting Dilara’s family whom they showered me with love and generosity. I am so grateful for them. They offered me a room at their place which I consider now a family for me here in Boulder. I just spent this weekend with them and we went for a long hike in Longmont. Not to forget my friend Alex whom I visited this month in Denver for dinner with her lovely friends.
You know guys, there are still too many good people in this world. Those who stand with us through the good and the bad are the best. Like Ginger who happened to visit Colorado this month for work and I got to spend a quality time with her. I am planning to visit her someday in LA next month. Let’s hope things get better and I will be able to make it.
A lot of times I miss my family and my friends back in Lebanon. I just cannot explain how heartily I miss my mom. I have been trying so hard to be strong but honestly she is my weak point in this life. I cannot imagine my life without her! I got too behind with my social communication with my dear friend Amer who I appreciate too much for always standing by my side regardless the long distance. This is life, we just have to move on, try our best to survive and take responsibilities for our choices.
Luckily I was able to connect again with one of my closest, heartily deeply favorite persons in my life. They know themselves very well and surely reading this now. It feels so good to resolve hanging issues in our lives.
Ah girl/boy I am yearning for stability and peace of mind at the moment! I am confident that everything will be fine and the perfect storm will pass sooner or later.
Speaking about storms, today marks my 2nd month in Boulder and guess what? It’s the first time I witness snow during Fall in Boulder! It’s a moment of graceful serenity to wake up early in the morning in your warm bed and watch the snow falling. Everywhere is just WHITE! Paradise do exists! The only thing that popped up on my mind is those vulnerable refugees in Lebanon who are just walking through their 7th Winter in tents. My heart and mind cry for them and they always inspire and remind me of the ultimate purpose of all what I am doing here. I will never give up and try my best just to keep on channeling support to them.
Throughout my 2 months over here, I learned a lot, like really A LOT! Pretty sure there are too many things to learn and discover in the coming days. This all what life is about, Challenges and Beyond.
I am sharing below couple of photographs with you. Enjoy until we meet again and as Yahya Saade said before ” It’s not over, until its over again”.
Today marks the first month since I moved to Boulder. I have left my whole family, my friends, my past and everything else. It looks like a new beginning right? Crossing seas and oceans, passing over continents, and letting go.
Well, If am going to talk about the first month, I should split it into two parts: Business and Personal parts.
For business, the first two weeks were really stressful and overwhelming, though its an exciting and challenging experience.
As you probably know, Boulder is well known for being one of the best ideal cities in the States for different aspects such as the quality of life, its weather, its people, and its openness. Everyone is warmly welcomed over here!
Exactly a year ago, I was spending my vacation in Nice, France and visiting a person that I truly loved. At the same time, I was preparing and thinking about my first trip to the United States of America. I finally made it on the 23rd of September 2016 were my feet ever touched America’s land. Since then i fell in love with this country. I got to visit Four States in only 15 days. I was lucky to get to know in person bunch of great people like Ginger in LA and my great friends Natalie and Julia in Nashville. In Boulder I spent 9 days and was the tourist. Anyway, my first trip over here was magical. I may need to write another post about it.
Lets talk now about my personal experience throughout this month. I got to follow a new routine in my daily life. I am waking up early at 6 am, working out, having my breakfast, taking a shower (of course) and going to work. Let me explain to you how it works:
Waking up early at 6 am is something I haven’t experienced for almost 4 years now. I feel more energized and healthy for waking up early as well as sleeping early.
Here comes the best part, working out every morning for an hour and being lucky AF for witnessing the sunrise every day with magnificent landscape views. This part is a whole different story! OMG! I feel so blessed for this grace I am living daily. Something really special about Boulder is that you get the chance to see the mountains from any spot. I am sharing some of the breath-taking landscape views in this post so you know exactly what I am talking about.
Boulder is very well known for its healthy food. Almost everyone here is vegan or vegetarian. This is what I was looking for years! Its the best place to start a new diet and clean your body. Since I have been here, I have eaten chicken twice and meat only once. I am looking forward to cut off chicken and meat. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find places to eat what you desire. There are plenty of restaurants serving all types of cuisines. You’ve got your options!
Going to work here is one of easiest things to talk about. People here get to either bike it to work or bus it. Biking here is incredibly exciting! You get to see amazing natural scenes and ride the bike trails which are perfectly networked. However, its hard to use bikes in winter, so taking the bus is a good substitution.
Wondering about the social life in Boulder? Ha. Its so easy to build your own social life over here. As I mentioned before, everyone is welcomed here. You only need to move your butt, go out and socialize. Personally, I don’t recommend using social apps. Nothing is better than meeting people at work place, meet ups, events, cafe shops, bars or even on the street. I made cool new friends over here and we hang out about 3 times in a month. I got to watch the American football game with them last Thursday and it was really fun. My friend Will is going to teach me the rules so I can enjoy watching it.
Speaking about football, yesterday I had a work meeting at the Broncos stadium in Denver which is one of the best football teams here. I think they won the Super Ball last season. Well, that’s pretty good information for a person who spent her whole life in the Middle East. No?
Nightlife in Boulder is kinda dandy. Again, it all depends on your preferences. There are few night clubs, variety of bars and breweries. My favorite place so far is Boulder House, place where I met my friends, and The Hookah House. But if you are a picky person and you’re into concerts, Denver is your next destination.
During this month I got to witness the Solar Eclipse of the Sun which was so epic. I also met with my friend Alex, her husband and her dog in Denver. Not to forget the amazing picnic at the Eben Park, Boulder Creek with Ash and Katie.
Only one thing to take into consideration is that Boulder is expensive than other cities but it worth living here.
I am extremely excited for the upcoming month to explore new things, do more activities and socialize more. The fact that I am going to be here in Fall and Winter is awesome.
So excited to write the Chapter Two and share it with everyone.
The first thing that comes up to your mind, what is the link between Yoga and humanitarian activities? It was the first time I hear about Yoga Activism when Shayma defined it to me with full excitement after 3al Autostrad humanitarian day with refugees that took place on May 7th 2016 in one of the Syrian refugee camps at Beqaa Valley – Lebanon.
Shayma and Sharon, Yoga teachers with their friend Myrna had a strong eager to do something for humanity, specifically with Syrian refugees in Lebanon. I met Sharon couple of months ago to introduce her to Humanwire. It was a cold rainy Thursday evening after her Yoga class at Shiva Lila Yoga Space. We brainstormed together many ideas until we came up with a good one which is to choose one camp and specify their needs and wants. Throughout the follow ups, I was astonished by the excitement and motivation the three ladies had to make this event happens. Our target was a small camp which includes 10 tents with around 15 families.
Four months later, everything we planned for was ready for the big day. By everything I mean pretty enough food parcels, bread boxes, hygiene kits, brand new clothes, toys, colors and coloring books for kids to sustain them for minimum two months.
Our day started with a meet and greet between the refugee families and the organizers, volunteers as well as friends. Toys and brand new clothes were distributed to the kids. Looking through the kids eyes while hearing their names to receive toys and clothes bags was completely a different happiness perspective.
The peak time was when all the kids gathered around Shayma to participate in a basic Yoga session. The scene was indescribable! It was like the kids were waiting such kind of activities to release their energy. Everyone was counting, smiling and enjoying the session. “During and after the event the feeling was priceless, cannot express it” Shayma says. “I have always wanted to do any kind of humanitarian work. But I got really inspired and decided to do something when I was introduced to Yoga Activism” she added.
Humanwire’s minivan arrived with food parcels, bread and hygiene kits. Volunteers from Salam NGO, organizers and friends all worked together to make sure every family get its parcels. Myrna took the lead in carrying boxes and she seemed tired less and extremely happy. Later on she grabbed the opportunity to do a face painting session for kids and draw giggles on their angelic faces. “3al autostrad was not an event, it was a life changing experience.” Myrna says. “The purpose was designed as an aid program for the refugees, raising funds to provide them with the necessary supplies they need, preparing a long day to be spent with the families and kids entertaining them and maybe put a smile on each of their faces and so it was.”
Belime band joined us and began to play music. They absolutely added a sweet taste to the atmosphere; everyone was singing and dancing. Sharon was entertaining the kids eventually all the day. “I felt that by being at the camp, surrounded by all these refugees, I was not wasting oxygen on earth – on contrary, I was actually making a difference because helping others in always possible. It is the most genuine and rewarding feeling ever! 3al Austostrad is just the beginning!” She said.
Lunch time has arrived and refugees were ready to grab their plates. We have distributed enough food portions per each family. A unique incident grabs everyone’s attention, most of them refused to eat until the rest of the family members are gathered. This action touched us and taught us a moral that family comes first, no matter in which situation we are.
Group images, selfies and videos were a must before saying goodbye to cherish and save the moments. “None of the event organizers nor of the volunteers who participated wanted to leave” Myrna said. This event is planned to occur on yearly basis. Join the folk and follow your heart. In humanity we are one.
It’s pretty normal how the Syrian refugee crises had a huge impact on Lebanese citizens whether positively or negatively. I am one of millions been influenced by the refugee crises.
At the beginning of the war, my head couldn’t accept the fact that a war is happening in Syria; the land of peace. I was stubborn that Syrian citizens shouldn’t leave their country, shouldn’t let strangers interfere with the biggest lie of “Arab spring” and devastate Syria. Regardless whether I was right or not, deep down there was a volcano to explode.
Unfortunately, in Lebanon there are two parties, one support the Syrian revolution and the other extremely with Assad regime. I bet most of these people never thought of how it feels when you live inside a tent on a stormy day with no blanket or oil to get warm.
Personally I was passing through a serious dilemma and was not able to figure out who’s telling the truth until I began working with a local Non-Governmental Organization, Solace Foundation in an initiative called Lebanese for Refugees (L4R). At first, I worked as a Social Media Coordinator for a period of one year. I was virtually involved until the first distribution trip to the camps on January 2015 (Campaign to keep them warm)
This trip was a turning point for me. It took me 4 years to realize how difficult and miserable to be a refugee. Back in 2006, Lebanon passed through 33 horrible days! A war between Hizbollah and Israel. I am one of those who ran away to Syria during that period. I started asking myself, what if the 2006 war lasted for 4 years? What if my family and I were obliged to live in a camp with no means of support? Are we able to sustain? Plenty of questions pumped up my brain and wasn’t able to sleep for 2 days after the distribution trip.
A year passed and many things have changed in my personality, specifically after moving to Humanwire and began working as Executive Director of Operations. Being in direct contact with these people daily is so much different than watching them on television or reading their stories on social media platforms. It’s much more miserable and much more harder than you think. For instance, one family may pass two days without having anything to eat and sleep under the rain drops coming from tiny holes on the ceiling. This is horrible!
Working on the field and following up on day-to-day operations with refugees, got me to change my perspective toward life as a whole. I turned out to be more grateful for everything I have, more humble and precisely a positive person.
Nothing is compared to the love, respect and prayers I receive from these beautiful souls whom they deserve to live peacefully in their own land.
Where Can You Travel with Your Brazilian Passport?
Have you ever thought of traveling around the world with a Brazilian Passport?
Today, I will help you discover which countries around the world do not require a VISA (Visa-free) or require a VISA on arrival. AFRICA
Botswana (Visa-free for 90 days)
Burkina Faso (Visa on Arrival for 1 month)
Burundi (Visa on Arrival for 3 months)
Comoros (Visa on Arrival)
Cote d’lvoire (E-Visa)
Ethiopia (Visa on Arrival)
Madagascar (Visa on Arrival for 30 days)
Malawi (Visa on Arrival)
Mauritania (Visa on Arrival)
Mauritius (Visa-free for 90 days)
Namibia (Visa-free for 3 months)
Senegal (Visa-free for 90 days)
Somalia (Visa on Arrival for 30 days)
South Africa(Visa-free for 90 days)
Sawziland (Visa-free for 30 days)
Tanzania (Visa on Arrival)
Togo (Visa on Arrival for 7 days)
Uganda (Visa on Arrival)
Zambia (Visa on Arrival for 90 days)
Zimbabwe (Visa on Arrival for 3 months)
Armenia (Visa-free for 90 days)
Cambodia (Visa on Arrival for 30 days)
India (Visa on Arrival for 30 days)
Indonesia (Visa on Arrival for 30 days)
Malaysia (Visa-free for 3 months)
Maldives (Visa on Arrival for 30 days)
Mongolia (Visa-free for 90 days within 180 days)
Nepal (Visa on Arrival for 90 days)
Philippines (Visa-free for 59 days)
Russia (Visa-free for 90 days for tourism purposes)
Singapore (Visa-free for 30 days)
South Korea (Visa-free for 90 days)
Tajikistan (Visa on Arrival for 45 days)
Thailand (Visa-free for 3 months)
Timor-Leste (Visa on Arrival for 30 days)
Australia (Online visitors E600-Visa, May apply online)
Fiji (Visa-free for 4 months)
Marshall Islands (Visa on Arrival for 90 days)
Micronesia (Visa-free for 30 days)
New Zealand (Visa-free for 90 days)
Palau (Visa on Arrival for 30 days)
Papua New Guinea (Visa on Arrival for 60 days)
Samoa (Entry Permit Arrival for 60 days)
Solomon Islands (Visitors permit on Arrival for 3 months)
Tonga (Visa on Arrival for 31 days)
Tuvalu (Visa on Arrival for 1 month)
Vanuatu (Visa-free for 30 days)
Austria (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Belgium (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Bulgaria (Visa-free for 90 days within 180 days)
Croatia (Visa-free for 90 days within 180 days)
Cyprus (Visa-free for 90 days within 180 days)
Czech Republic (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Denmark (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Estonia (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Finland (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
France (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Germany (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Greece (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Hungary (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Ireland (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Iceland (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Italy (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Latvia (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Lithuania (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Liechtenstein (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Luxembourg (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Malta (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Netherlands (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Norway (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Poland (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Portugal (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Romania (Visa-free for 90 days within 180 days)
Slovakia (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Slovenia (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Spain (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Sweden (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
Switzerland (Visa-free for 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry to the Schengen area)
United Kingdom (Visa-free for 6 months)
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES (Outside EU)
Albania (Visa-free for 90 days)
Andorra (Visa-free for 90 days)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (Visa-free for 90 days)
Georgia (Visa-free for 360 days)
Macedonia (Visa-free for 90 days)
Monaco (Visa-free for 90 days)
Montenegro (Visa-free for 90 days)
San Marino (Visa-free for 90 days)
Serbia (Visa-free for 90 days)
Ukraine (Visa-free for 90 days)
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
Bahrain (Visa on Arrival for 14 days, can be obtained online)
Egypt (Visa on Arrival for 30 days)
Iran (Visa on Arrival for 30 days)
Jordan (Visa on Arrival conditions apply)
Lebanon (Visa on Arrival for 90 days)
Oman (Visa on Arrival)
Tunisia (Visa-free for 3 months)
Morocco (Visa-free for 3 months)
Argentina (90 days, ID Card Valid)
Bolivia (90 days, ID Card Valid)
Chili (90 days ID Card Valid)
Colombia (90 days ID Card Valid)
Ecuador (90 days ID Card Valid)
Guyana (Visa-free for 3 months)
Paraguay (90 days, ID Card Valid)
Peru (90 days, ID Card Valid)
Suriname (Visa-free for 90 days)
Uruguay (3 months, ID Card Valid)
Venezuela (90 days, ID Card Valid)
Antigua and Barbuda (Visa-free for 1 month)
Bahamas (Visa-free for 3 months)
Barbados (Visa-free for 6 months)
Belize (Visa-free for 1 month)
Costa Rica (Visa-free for 90 days)
Dominica (Visa-free for 21 days)
Dominican Republic (Visa-free for 90 days)
El Salvador (Visa-free for 3 months)
Grenada (Visa-free for 3 months)
Guatemala (Visa-free for 90 days)
Haiti (Visa-free for 3 months)
Honduras (Visa-free for 3 months)
Jamaica (Visa-free 90 days for business, 6 month for tourism)