Living in Palestine: a year in review.

It’s a year, exactly tomorrow, since I moved away from home, the only home I have ever known. Montreal was pretty much my sanctuary; I was free to do what I wanted, whenever I wanted. I know that life isn’t about just that, but I felt free to express myself even though I was an outcast due to being part of a visible minority. I felt more myself in Montreal than I do here in Jericho to be completely honest. This post is to share my story and my transition into living in the Middle East…more precisely Palestine. First of all, whenever people ask me how it has been, I simply say that it was the hardest year of my life…not because I didn’t have all the goods or all the money or all the materials in the world, but mostly because of how easily I seem to have lost my true sense of self. It is probably hard to understand for many because I am an Arab, I should easily fit in…but on the contrary, I was and will continue to be an outsider and that people remind me of every day.

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One of the main issues that had me so depressed was the fact that due to political unrest and issues in this country, I ended up losing my Canadian citizenship here and was treated just as those poor stateless citizens, which is fine by me (now at least), but I will not lie and say that I took it with a grain of salt. I felt like I lost a big part of my identity. I was not used to be stopped and interrogated and watched and followed. I felt alone and hopeless. Being away from my family felt hard and not having much here made me depress even more. Nothing seemed to cheer me up and for the longest time, I buried myself at home and didn’t want to see anyone or go anywhere. I wasn’t interested in making friends or going out with my husband even. Besides, It wasn’t even easy making friends, girls can be so vicious and hurtful sometimes, it’s scary. I was considered an idiot because I didn’t spend all my waking time painting my nails or brushing my hair. There was no girl power to say the least…that made me realize how lucky I was back home to have my girl squad by my side. My girlfriends helped shape me and push me out of my comfort zone. They lifted me up when I was down and I did the same with them. That to me is pure gold! Therefore, I guess what I am trying to say is that my experience here in Palestine further pushed me to stay safe in my own house at all times. Months passed and losing myself seemed more easy; I let everyone use me, abuse me and step over me.

I couldn’t for the life of me find a job to keep myself occupied…like no one wanted to hire me!!! They all knew I had the qualifications, but for some reason everyone seemed threatened by my baggage. I never wanted to take anyone’s place, I just needed a job to keep me busy and occupied. Unfortunately, everything I tried but I failed, miserably. I felt ashamed, hurt and very much incompetent. I know it really wasn’t my fault, but I couldn’t help but think that I sucked at life pretty much. I couldn’t even get a volunteering gig because I seemed too nice and by that, I mean, I was probably hiding something (totes wasn’t). Adjusting to my new life was quite difficult, but I did it anyway because I was at least with the man I love. Then when light seemed to appear at the end of the tunnel, I worked in a tourist area for a good three weeks only to have the owner not pay me anything. It has been seven months now since stopping that job and still got no money from them…every time something bad happened to me, I kept saying I deserve it; it’s what happens when you’re nice; which ended up pushing me into my sinkhole further down. I think I ended up being harsher on myself than others were. I mean yes I was labeled as an outsider, but for some reason my will to keep fighting has faded and I was completely unhappy with the life I had. If it wasn’t for my husband being by my side, my depression would have been tremendous. I went to other touristic related jobs, here in Jericho, only to be told that I needed to remove my veil. Like why??? I never removed it in Canada and worked pretty much my entire life, why would I remove it now??? It was such a struggle for me to find any job that I gave up on that and that led me to feel like a failure to humanity.

I am not saying it was all bad, life is certainly difficult for many people here and I am thankful that what I went through wasn’t as hard as what others go through, but never in my life have I felt completely alone as I felt here in Jericho. I asked for help only to be rebuffed brutally. I tried to make my surrounding better but I was laughed at for caring for stupid things such as the environment, charity and kindness. People are so oppressed here that they lost all sense of care for others in their own community. No one has the time to be socially charitable, which is very sad because I know it’s not their fault but that doesn’t have to stop them from holding on to what’s right. I think this is what bothered me the most in my stay here, not finding someone with the same values as me made me sick to my core; so sick that I too wanted to be evil. Twisted, I know! I felt like everything I learned from my mother and family no longer had a meaning.

I guess what I am trying to say is that even though life hasn’t been easy for me here, I am thankful for having went through what I went through because it showed me to be even more grateful for what I have in my life; my family and friends are more important than any amount of money one can have. Living simply and modestly is even more of a mission to me than it was before; being around the people you love is enough to keep you happy abundantly. Life is too short for us to waste our time to fight for titles, positions and social/political status. It is all meaningless!! Just be content and satisfied with what you have in front of you, and then life is so much sweeter!!!! I would never have made it through without my loving, understanding, selfless husband. I have been hard on him many times through my stay and was probably my punching bag but never did he ever complain about my stinky attitude and for that I am truly and utterly indebted. So, even though this year was hard, I think I came out stronger and more focused to remain humble and happy.

See, no one pushed me to go through with this change or with this adventure, but taking the chance was worth it in the end, because the love I have for my husband is endless. I will treasure this year in my heart and use it as a guide to lead a life of yes! I will follow my dreams relentlessly and ensure that every moment goes by with a purpose; never wasted and never meaningless. I know that many might judge me for being somewhat open about my experience here in Jericho, but this is my side and I stand by it!

The festive “pregnancy” dress edit!

This is the last wedding I attended before finally heading home to Montreal for the next couple of months and I am so glad it was the last because I started running out of clothes that fit me. I know that I can buy, but my plan of no buying maternity wear has gone pretty well and I am so proud that I haven’t had to spend crazy amounts of money to look fabulous. I was able to scavenge my way through mom’s closet and also through the clothes I own. I got this dress during my engagement period from my travels to Jordan and I absolutely fell in love with how detailed it is. Therefore, technically speaking, this dress isn’t maternity at all and I am so glad it still fit me perfectly even with the bump in the way. From the embroiderey to the colors to the Swarovski stones…everything about this dress makes me so happy. It’s so festive without being too much. I wore it to a little party my sisters threw me before leaving Montreal last year and haven’t worn it after that, this event was prefect for an encore.

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Since the dress is very colourful and out there, I kept the styling pretty simple; by adding plain black heels and clutch. I felt like a total princess in it; flowy, airy and just prefect in every way.

I also kept my makeup pretty simple since I didn’t want to look to clowny. Glowy and highlighted skin was pretty much was I went for.

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I am finally starting to get the hang of pregnancy. Going in my second week of my sixth month of pregnancy, it finally hit me that I am carrying a little soul inside. My belly has been super prominent unless I ate something that made me bloat. But, today, my belly is pretty much out there. However, in this dress, I didn’t feel as fat as I usually do…and it isn’t bad, but it’s just different.

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Nonetheless, so glad this is the last big event and yet so sad to leave my hubs behind.

 

 

 

The 5 things I learned from my mom.

In lights of mother’s day…which was yesterday, I wanted to write a little blog about the things I learned from my mum growing up. I can safely say that my mum is my hero, I look up to her so much and I couldn’t be more blessed to have her in my life. Whenever anyone asks me who my idol is, I always say it’s my mum, as cheesy as it may sound, but it is super true. My mom raised five rascals on her own, well we weren’t really rascals, but sometimes (rarely) we gave her a hard time. My dad shipped us and dropped us in Canada when the Gulf war started and it was a little overwhelming for all of us. I was only 7 when we moved to Canada and it was so surreal for me. I was confused and quite honestly I felt abandoned by my dad. Long story short, we couldn’t get to higher education where we were because we were immigrants and my parents being both university graduates, they wanted to offer us the same opportunities as they had, so Canada was obviously was the fitting option. My dad said that it was only for a couple of months until things settled down back in the Gulf region, but a year passed and two and three until it has been over 30 years being there. So basically, my mum was stuck learning a new language, trying to provide for us by working full-time and raising us and helping us with school. My mum gave up a lot to get us where we are today. I am humbled and touched by how much she has given us and today I want to pay tribute to her and share what she has taught me.

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1-Being kind and humble

Amongst her friends and acquaintances, my mom is known for being overly kind. She often times puts herself before others. She always has that when slapped give the other cheek kind of attitude. We (my sister and I), for the longest time, followed in her footsteps and I wouldn’t have it otherwise. I know it sounds kindda petty, but I would rather be kind and taken advantage of than hurting anyone. Although, today I am more wise and try as much possible not to be naïvely kind (hard but doable). Being humble was super important for my mom, I wasn’t the most humble teen I must say, I had attitude problem and sometimes borderline selfish. My mom would always tell me to avoid looking up to the sky, because I would stumble onto something, then fall and hurt myself. She always told me that to be better than others; I must stay humble and kind and not be a show off. I had a hard time to adjust really, but she showed me balance. Kindness gives me peace of mind and helps me live life happier and better. My mom takes care of everyone, so much so that she forgets about herself. I feel like giving her millions and telling her I love you daily isn’t even enough for how much she has given us. I feel like being kind and being humble goes hand in hand and these both help you live a modest but very wonderful life.

2-Being strong

Through her attitude and her way of being, my mother was always the strongest woman I have known. She was a trooper, always battling and always running after what she wanted to be able to provide us with the best possible. She had a horrible job and was super underpaid, but she stuck by it, because she had to, then she ran to English school and then finished up with French school. During the winter times, when we didn’t have car, she would carry boxes of grocery over her shoulders to make sure there was food on the table for us to eat. Yes, perhaps she wasn’t all that present in our lives, but we knew that she did that all for us, so we didn’t complain that much. My mom, for as long as I remember, has had loads of hardship and many humiliating moments in her life, but despite it all, she always kept her head high. Yes, I have seen her cry many times, but I never took that as a sign of weakness, on the contrary for me that was strength, for her to battle through life and still wear her feelings on her sleeve, that to me is the epitome of bravery. I am quite like my mom actually, and I get it a lot but she truly is one of my best friends and I am proud to be compared to her (even in the slightest way possible).

3-Being charitable

Very much like kindness, this is the core of who my mom is. She makes sure to help others and give back to the community as much as possible. Doing charitable things and giving to those in need is big in our family, thanks to mom. Volunteering could be a part of it; she always pushed me and still pushes me to volunteer if I have a lot of free time on my hands. Put better use to your time, she always says. Donating, whether it is money or food, is a big part of the Muslim religion but sometimes, people don’t apply that in their daily lives. My mom, on the other hand, made sure to instil this in us from a young age and we make sure to donate as much as we can. It almost feels like you live a healthier, happier life in doing so.

4-Forgivness

Forgiving others, no matter how much they hurt you, is key to inner peace. I took that from my mom and some may say I am very naïve but I cannot explain the feeling of letting go, it’s truly magical. Yes I get hurt and get down and beat myself senseless, but forgiveness is much more important to me than revenge. My momma always says, what goes around comes around, so make sure to put good into the world. If someone hurts you, just believe than God is there to help you through and that others will get their punishment one way or another. Move on, let go and keep living life simply. Sometimes, I get sucked into this bitchy, revenge mode, but my heart stops me and the guilt build in. Balance is key and I still got yet to learn, but we always learn till the day we die.

5-Wildness and free-spiritedness

Although she would never admit it, my mom is super adventurous. She likes a little risk and a little danger. She lives on the edge sometimes which is super cool on her part. I remember her telling me stories of her childhood and teen years about some risks she took while following her guts and she is an impressive woman to say the least. She would never ever tell anyone that she likes risk but she’s a silent live it on the edge kinda woman which makes me fall in love with her even more. I would safely say that this is a side I got from mum; being wild and carefree. Although, nowadays, she’s always worried about us and the future even though we’re all settled and married and go about our own lives. She secretly is the type of woman that cannot be tamed. She accommodates, yes, she compromises, but deep down I know that the wild will forever be in her. She always up to trying new things even though they’re scary! And she’s always interested in visiting new places and traveling and meeting new people. Way to go mom!

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Even though this post does her no justice, my mom is the woman I strive to be when I grow older….a little less stressed though, but at the end of the day, she’s given us more than we can ask for and for that I am forever grateful. God has blessed us in more ways than we think, because no amount of money can ever get us the love that we got from her! So for that mom, happy mother’s day, today, tomorrow and forever!!! You are my hero! Heaven truly does lie under her feet!

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To all the moms out there working hard, struggling to make ends meet…keep killing it! You’re doing great xxx

 

 

 

Jungle Fever

Weather’s been crazy these days, either chilly, either too hot…and it’s a bit confusing on what to wear in Jericho. There were a few rainy days and they were awesome, feels nice to see something else than sun; makes me kinda miss living in a 4 seasons (almost) country. We had a few errands to run and a little visit to hubs’ uncle today and since it was blooming hot, I figured a dress would be perfect; airy, comfortable and light. Since I have had this little number for a good 3ish years now, I figured it was time to wear it (I think I probably only wore it once). I know it ain’t everyone’s cuppa tea, but I love it! The main reason why I bought this dress is for the fact that obviously it is striped! Yes you got it! But also because it’s so unique with the embroidery on it!! I got it on a little visit in Egypt for a little tiny nameless boutique that my mates took me to. I knew that I wanted to have this piece in my wardrobe because of its one of a kind element. In fact, it was the only piece in the shop and it was a size medium, it might be slightly too big for me, but I am okay with it and I bought it anyway. A collector’s item, I would say! Besides, I find that it works well with my 21 weeks growing belly. How time flies! I remember only yesterday puking my life away at only 6 weeks.

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I honestly get mixed reviews when wearing it and I know it’s a love/hate piece. You either love it or hate it and I am okay with that, because you only dress to impress yourself. I have had a few questionable looks, but I really didn’t care, because this dress makes me feel all kinds of special. It’s bohemian, it’s rebellious, it’s glorious, and it’s girly. No need to say more!

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WHAT I WORE

Since this dress is overwhelmingly detailed (for some), I didn’t need to accessorize much, I just went for a simple black clog heel and a red veil to tie the whole look together. I wanted to sport a turban, but I felt too lazy to spend the time to wrap it up nice.

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These are the kinds of pieces I like to invest in and keep for a long time because they are so special. Even though it’s very colourful, I find that it works for a lot of different occasion! Besides, this is all me in a dress! Crazy, spirited and colourful.


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How to mix different prints: pregnancy edit!

Needed to play with some textures and patterns on this one and I love the way my outfit came out. So effortless! I feel like when I spend so much time working out and planning an outfit, it turns out just meh but when I am spontaneous, my outfit is va va voom. I haven’t worn this skirt in a while and I missed it, so I made an effort today to put it together in a somewhat of a decent outfit. Since the skirt doesn’t zip up all the way anymore, I needed to wear a longer shirt to cover up that up and what perfect way to pair it with a black and white striped shirt. You guys have this shirt a million and one times on my blog, it’s a staple piece for me and as long as it’s still in good condition, I will keep it and wear it proudly. When you love your pieces in your wardrobe, you feel so much more confident and that how I feel when I wear this shirt.

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Since the outfit was a little loose all over, I knew I needed to cinch up my waist somehow to bring back some shape into my life. Then I remembered I have this vintage belt that’s super comfortable and adjusts to whatever width or length you want it to be, which is prefect for my belly! I need all the space to breathe!

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Since I was still all out with my prints and patterns, I figured I could just go all the way and finish up my outfit with leopard print shoes and massive colourful earring. Because why not!?! I know that it make seem like a lot of print in one outfit, but I actually really loved how it came out and it really does feel effortless.

 WHAT I WORE

SHIRT: Mango ◊ SKIRT: Zara ◊ BELT: Unbranded (vintage) ◊ SHOES: Lord & Taylor ◊ EARRINGS: Aldo ◊ BAG: Aldo ◊ SUNGLASSES: Kate Spade

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We were going out to a coffee shop for drinks and so it’s a dressy yet casual outfit and it was perfect for patio seating. The outfit gave me room to wiggle and be completely comfortable. It’s breathable and airy. What more could a pregnant lady ask for?

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We have a couple of wedding to go to the next couple of weeks and so I feel like I could sport this look to one of these events. Perhaps change up the bag and go for a simple clutch or even the shoes to add even more length. That’s the beauty of fashion and dressing up; you can take the same clothes and recreate multiple different outfits depending on your mood!

So basically, you shouldn’t be afraid to mix different patterns together, as long as you are liking the end result! My look is a little bit more subtle because the patterns are in the same hues and tones, but I like the idea and would like to mix some more prints in the near future.

 


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Pregnant and vegetarian

Yes that’s right, my pregnancy has turned me into a vegetarian mama. I was never a huge fan of meat to start with and I was a vegetarian for a couple of years when I was in college, so this really isn’t new to me but I was worried about my baby’s health. I had and still have loads of people bashing me because I cannot eat meat or poultry right now and it wasn’t a decision I made, it’s just how it ended up. And I quite often get asked if it’s because of my love for animals that I decided to turn vegetarian, um, not really! I do believe that there’s a food chain that exists and you can choose to follow suit or not…but my decision to become vegetarian was because I truly started hating the taste of animal produce. Every time I ate either meat or poultry, I ended up being either too nauseous, too sick or simply couldn’t digest it. Being in my fifth month of pregnancy, I am still worried that I am not eating enough good nutrients to give them to my baby. I searched loads of forums online to feel better about my condition but really couldn’t find anything helpful. I didn’t want to be classified as a bad mother even though the baby is not out yet! So, I spoke to my doctor who then reassured me that as long as I eat veggies and fruits that my baby will have enough nutrients to grow healthy, the only issue was my own health, because I could end up with major health issues after birth, he advised me to take extra vitamins to get my energy and health going. As long as you eat, he said, the good stuff will go directly to your baby through the placenta and he/she will grow healthy.

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Because I didn’t want to end up sick after giving birth, I forced myself to eat hearty vegetarian recipes that included a lot of proteins and vitamins like dates, sweet potatoes, avocados and nuts. Now I cannot say I am completely vegetarian as I luckily started loving fish, which I hated once upon a time.

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My cravings currently are mostly healthy food, which is so weird, because I always thought that women crave fast food or naughty treats. Although I do have the salt & vinegar chips cravings once in a while, I mostly want fresh lettuce and peaches. I don’t complain because that helps me maintain a steady energy level and keeps my health going. Plus on the good side, not that I really care, I haven’t gained that much weight up to now and so I am trying to enjoy that as much as possible because movement is easier.

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So if you’re pregnant like me and worried about not eating meat or poultry, don’t worry too much, just eat a healthy and balanced diet filled with proteins, vitamins and antioxidants to keep your blood pumping and your energy flowing. And most importantly don’t listen to other people’s judgements; you do you as long as you and your baby are healthy.

 

A little bit of stripes…

Today was our anomaly baby scan and I was pretty nervous. We had to go all the way to Ramallah to make it happen as there aren’t any doctors available to do so in Jericho. I am not gonna lie but I was iffy all day and kindda unsure about everything and I needed to get the scan done and over with. I needed to know that my little baby is healthy and safe. Although we cannot control destiny, all you can do is pray and hope for the best. Hubs took the day off work so we can spend time together and then go to the doctor. We had a few walks and drinks and ended up having a quick lunch and I couldn’t have been happier than to spend the day with baby daddy. Ramallah was nice, warm and sunny and so we enjoyed walking and driving around the city. Although it is much busier than Jericho, it is nice to be stuck in traffic once in a while; it gives me Montreal vibes and I miss it quite a lot these days.

Today’s outfit was pretty simple. I opted for something light and fluid to make sure I didn’t get too heated…getting halfway through onto my pregnancy, my body temperature has been spiking and the heat waves are a real struggle. Not looking forward to menopause. Since I knew we were walking around, I opted for flats and here’s how the look came out:

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WHAT I WORE

SHIRT: Como Black ♠ PANTS: From a local shop in Jericho ♣ SHOES: From a local shop in Jericho ♥ BAG: Aldo ♦ SUNGLASSES: Kate Spade

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The main reason why I bought these pants is because of the stripes! Obviously! For those who know me and have been following me for a while know that my obsession with stripes is unreal. I want to buy anything in stripes!

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our doctor appointment passed successfully and now I can semi rest because I know that our little baby girl is going to be okay. Thank God!


 

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