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Inspiration Travel

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!

Categories
Fashion Style

The Ramallah edit: OOTD!

Hubs and I went to the beautiful city of Ramallah in the West Bank today to do some shopping. We had a personal business affair to tend to and decided to spend the rest of the time shopping for the house. It’s kinda funny shopping with your partner, I find quite fascinating because we have opposite taste and despite me wanting to strangle him sometimes with his color blindness, we managed to compromise and find things we both love. I wanted to document my outfit today for many reasons and one of them is the fact that my kind, wonderful, loving hubs ironed my shirt, while I was getting ready with other things. I mean, what more could a girl ask for? And he did quite a bang up job at that. It is so cute because he doesn’t even iron his own and he took the time to do mine (I do his PS…always!). Relationships are based on trust, respect and mutual assistance; hence ironing each other’s things!!!

Ramallah is such a beautiful city, the air is fresh and the culture is super modern yet very traditional is some way. People are very driven there, it reminds me a little of Montreal with the sky scrapers and the beautiful homes and landscaping. Downtown Ramallah is insanely busy, it’s the hub of the West Bank….Most people go there to shop and dine and experience a modern busy life. The rest of Palestine is beautiful, but Ramallah is special for some reason. I always feel like a tourist when I go there, because I keep discovering new things!

So here’s what I wore today:

What I wore:

SHIRT: Topshop ◊ PANTS: Free People Denims ◊ SHOES: All Stars Converse ◊ BAG: Aldo ◊ SUNGLASSES: Kate Spade

 

I got this bag as a gift a few months back and this is the first time I wear it. I found that it suited the look I went for, which was super casual yet put together. It’s a cute backpack/shoulder bag from Aldo. What I love about this is that I can use it both ways and switch the straps to my liking. The pompoms add a touch of summer and that makes the look even cooler. The embroidery detailing adds a little bit of Palestine in my outfit; which is very fitting!

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The outfit was perfect for the weather, I did not feel hot at any point during the day. The shirt is flowy and airy and it’s perfect for the summer. The flowy sleeves add a little bit of 70s which I always like! It’s super lightweight and comfortable. What I love most about this is that it’s from Topshop, so I know the quality is there and it will last me ages and also, the detailing on the shirt…the embroidered flowers gives you a little oomph and you can totes dress this shirt up or down depending on the rest of your outfit.

As always comfort and style are not compromised. You can do both as long as you’re happy in your own skin!

 

Categories
Style Travel

Jericho update + OOTD

I have been feeling a little down these past few days…as I am getting home sick and I miss everyone and everything. I know it is a little rubbish of me to keep thinking of my life in Canada and that I should start to get used to Jericho…but I feel like I might not be able to assimilate with everything. Don’t get me wrong, people are super kind here and very welcoming and super wonderful….but sometimes they’re a little too aggressive, in the sense that they try to budge into the details of your life without you necessarily wanting to give all the details…Despite everything, I am super happy to be here, to be with my hubs, to be around so many beautiful, kind souls. Everyone has been an absolute dream to hang with…his family and friends… I guess I just hit a little low and needed a little rest…anyway, so to occupy myself a little bit, I decided to work as a little translator in a gift shop since have 5 languages in the bag, I met loads of wonderful people from all over the world…Malaysia, Italy, Mexico, France, Uganda, you name it! Tourists were kind and funny and witty…they all found it amazing that I spoke their language…so dressing up was required and this brings us to the main purpose of this blog…which is my outfit of the day! Comfort was necessary! An absolute must when standing all day. I kept things pretty simple but added a little pizzazz in the show department. I haven’t worn these babies in ages…but I am so glad I rediscovered them as they are too damn cute!

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The outfit was monochrome but the shoes just helped add a little more happy into my day.

WHAT I WORE:

SHIRT: Forever 21 ♠ PANTS: Zara culottes ♠ SHOES: Kate Spade for Keds

 

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It has been almost a month now for me since moving…I will say that overall, in the bigger picture, I have definitely adapted and I am surprisingly very cool, calm and collected about everything…these past 2 days have been a little difficult because I guess reality hit me right in the face. We sometimes perceive things one way and they end up in another. I wouldn’t say I have had a melt down just yet, but I definitely cried a little bit here and there but yesterday was quite “dramatic”, however, luckily I am blessed with such a  wonderful man that pushes me to stay true to myself and strong. I think it is necessary in life to find that one person that completes you and he totes does….he makes me such a better and calmer person; he’s the wind to my fire and for that I am grateful and blessed.