Tag Archives: life

Puzzle of Life

It doesn’t matter whether you’re living in a little tiny home or a big wide one since by the end of the day we all feel the same. We all nurture the same feeling of dissatisfaction and fear; fear of this mysterious life with its unknown future.

As human beings, we are never satisfied. When one has the money, he wishes for the family, and when he finally has the family, he wishes to go back to his solo life. We are all rotating in one big circle “life” always wishing for the change and for more and more.

At some point, we reach an uncontrollable feeling of love and happiness that drags with it a strong pitch of pain and misery. We experience a diverse mix of unknown feelings that we are incapable to understand. Until the time we lose someone/ something that the agony arouses.  We feel emptiness that once was filled while we lacked the ability to understand its value. It is the feeling of loss! It is a feeling derived from our own wishes; a wish to exclude someone or something from our life. Only after its loss, one becomes aware of its value, understands the importance of it and the huge empty space it left behind, and how much harder life would be after its loss.

This strong agony drags us into a huge storm of thoughts. We struggle upon thinking of this mysterious life and its secrets, about the future, about tomorrow, and what would happen next.  It’s not the end, the list of wishes continues with us along the journey of Life.  Our mysterious journey was once filled with mixed feelings that now unveil itself as dissatisfaction, fear, and misery.

We lose, gain, fall and stand up again, but we keep on going while fear is growing more and more inside us; the fear of tomorrow. Until one day, when we decide to stand up, face everything around us and understand every single particle in life. When we finally wander around us to see that it isn’t our fault that we lost something, it’s just life’s role, it’s our faith, and it’s our journey in life. It’s the role that in every time it gives us something, it takes something in return.

We understand, think and almost satisfied, but there is one more thing missing. We keep on living till our life’s puzzle is complete, then everything seems to be okay and it’s time to release our trapped souls to find its way back to the origin.

Puzzle of Life

The Laborer

“Parsley, coriander; parsley, coriander….; was it one or two she said?” I search ahead as I catch a sight of his figure at the far distance working in the fields. Now I just have to figure out where to stroll without stepping on any of the fields’ goods from mint, green onions, parsley, coriander, and all kinds of fresh vegetables. As I approach he looks up from where he stands; his shoes are dug in the mud, his old pants and bottom down shirt are stained with mud, his wool hat is covering his head, and upon his wrinkly face appears a shadow of a corner smile. Upon his appearance I get so lost in how he is able to manage all those organized fields and how can he know where each kind is planted?!  By the time I’m standing next to him in the middle of the field I would totally forget what I was coming to get “mm, was it parsley? Coriander? Lettuce and what else? Mmmm” .In his attempt to help me remember what is it I’m missing; he starts asking me what we are having for lunch; maybe he could guess what the last ingredient is.

I was just a little girl around six years old when my mom would send me out to our neighbor’s place “Abou Wafic” to buy some vegetables. The journey would take two minutes through a shortcut road; the first part of the journey consists of reciting over and over again the ingredients you were asked for, then figuring out in which field he is working today, and finally walk after him from one field to another to get it all.

Our neighbor “Abou Wafic” is a local farmer from my hometown village, he works in fields all day long, planting all kinds of organic vegetables with the aid of his wife “Em Wafic”. Whenever you reach his place during the day, you would catch a sight of his working in the field. On the days when he’s out of sight, his wife would step out of the kitchen to help you with what you want. As on Sundays the whole image changes, both of them would be sitting in the shade, surrounded with all kinds of fresh organic vegetables as they prepare bundles of each for Monday’s public bazaar in the area.

The journey to “Abou Wafic” was almost an adventure that always ends with me forgetting one of vegetables on the list, and always getting a special gift which is usually a small lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and once the biggest radish of the season!

This little adventure wasn’t exclusive for me, I was the forth in the raw to have it, as my two elder brothers and my sister share this peculiar experience.  My two brothers and although with a ten years difference, both share the fact that they used to be scared of him at some point for cutting their footballs when it comes across his field;  which later they come to understand that he is only protecting his fields from their evil childishness.  As for my sister she loved visiting them and she always remembers Em Wafic image as she prepares goods and viands.  As for me I was never scared of him, I loved that serious hard-working farmer who has a special place in my childhood memories.

I haven’t seen him for years though, but I do always remember him being back at my hometown village working in the fields as he always does. And whenever I open a package of chamomile, I’m instantly transferred back to be the six years old redhead standing in the light outside an iron door as he or his wife steps in the mysterious dark room to fetch some fresh organic chamomile while I wait outside with the escaping odor of chamomile.

Sometimes you only need one couple to remind you of the real hard work, to show you how hard life could be, and the true meaning of celebrating Labor’s day.

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Trains

At the subway; wandering around, chasing the leaving train with past memories and expecting a new train to come from the future. A subway; full of life, of people and moving trains in both ways coming and leaving and there you are struggling; as an overwhelming feeling wins over you. You’re dimming from inside as a melting candle. Darkness is getting larger as you strike, revolt and resist against it.

We are just sitting there; remembering what the leaving train took with, what was written on the windows with dust, What secrets were hidden under the seats, ages, moments, sweet &bitter memories, good &ugly faces, joy& sadness and the passengers that got into the train and left once and forever.

The tunnel is getting darker, gloomy, and scary as the darkness arouse within as well. As we struggle upon the darkness, a new train lights its way through the dark tunnel over there, carrying a new life, a new start and an ending for the past story. Again hundreds of questions are asked; where will we be? What events are going to happen? Who will be there? Guessing and drawing images as if we can control the time with its frequent changes.

At that busy subway we are lost between the leaving and coming trains. It is easy to be blown by the force of the leaving train, and left lifeless, meaningless and quiet as the dark.  Dark is easy to settle in with  considering all the fear, misery, troubles, and weakness you can hide there.  You’re invisible. You and the dark are one. While it is hard to keep up with the future train, there is too much light and with the light; comes pain, struggle, responsibility and courage; you can’t hide. In the light it is all clear, you have to fight, you have to rebel and you have to face. In the light you have to suffer in order to survive.

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Lost between the tracks of the dark past, and the future light, and forgetting the present! Forgetting that the leaving train was once the present and to reach the future train we have to live in the present one. Rather than looking right and left; just look in front of you on the present train.

Encourage the light within you, be the light, rage against the dimness, and get busy living in the present train; start creating events, meet people, hide secrets under the seats and draw fresh images on the glass windows. Don’t give up to the darkness; the darkness of the world is enough. Search for the light from within; nourish the dimming candle or reborn from the ashes.  With every struggle appear a new joy; and a new beginning. Take the lead and drive your own train to the future.

Farewell the leaving train and get aboard the present train to reach the future. The future train will never come to you if you sit in the darkness waiting for it!

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When a Mexican Series Becomes Real

Achieving your ambitions, dreams, and having a suitable life in a country like Lebanon is not an easy thing.  You find yourself struggling to overcome the social, economical, and political barriers, all of which integrated in a manner that you stuck in the middle and eventually find yourself escaping to a total different country. Immigration is then the only solution to an ambitious independent person in a search for a suitable fulfilled life.

The immigration phenomenon from Lebanon towards the massive countries of the world is not a new thing. It has always been there as ugly as the truth might be that this country fails in evolving and providing the minimal needs for a suitable life. In the 20th century a large number of youth got in ships and left towards Mexico, El –Salvador, America, Brazil, Australia, and  other countries in chase for a better life.Marcoplatefront

In approximately 1922 a young man, “Hassan Fayad Ismael”, accompanied by his brother “Ahmad”, got in one of the ships leaving behind a wife and three little girls “Fahima, Kamillah, and Mariam”. He left like many others in chase of the unknown.

The three girls never knew their father, they were very young when he left and he was never able to come back.  Time passed and each of the girls grew up and got married and had her own family, by then they knew little about their father through letters brought by a friend of his.

Fahima Ismael always spoke about her father mentioning how he left them when they were very young and how her mom suffered in raising them up. Despite everything she hung a picture of her father, which he had sent with the one of the letters, accompanied with his second wife and fourteen kids in her house. In her turn she had nine kids (4 girls and 5 boys) and their elder is Ibrahim Noureddine.

Ibrahim Noureddine happens to be my grandpa from my mother’s side, and the story of his grandpa whom left to Mexico long ago in the past century, is one that you never get bored with. We were raised with this story and mystery of our great grandpa whom left to Mexico and never came back despite the letters that the family received up until his friend who used to bring it died. Each time our grandpa retell the story, saying that he has fourteen Aunt and Uncle in Mexico, we wondered how they looked like.  It became to an extent that whenever a Mexican Series was aired on Lebanese channels we would joke that one of the actors might be our relative.

It was always a mysterious story, somehow a missing root in the great family’s tree. We grew up and scattered around this world and my grandpa still dreams of getting to know his extended family. Time passed and on new year’s vacation back in 2008, and while my elder brother “Ahmad” was visiting Lebanon from USA, with his family, the story was brought up again and this time my grandpa brought up some papers that showed how the great grandpa’s name was written in Spanish; it showed that the family name was changed from Ismael to Fallad (Fayad in Spanish) , and there the promise was made by Ahmad and his wife Erica that they are going to find the rest of the family.

When in Dallas, TX, Ahmad and Erica started their online search for the extended family members. They came across a name and an address within the same area where they lived, they called the number stated online. Well here luck strikes because they were able to get another number which happens to be to one of the Uncle’s kids, Uncle Miguel, Miguel was actually visiting his son that day and so Ahmad and his family paid them a visit that night and there the first encounter with the extended family was made.

A few was revealed about the great grandpa’s mysterious story, other than the fact that a connection was established again. Ahmad kept on communicating with the cousins, well actually my grandpa’s cousins, but not with the other members whom happen to be in Mexico due to language barriers; they only speak Spanish.

By March 2016, Ahmad decided to visit Mexico, with his family, there the Fallad family was more than happy to finally meet one of their Lebanese relatives. There during two days visit the mystery of our great grandpa was revealed and my grandpa’s dream was somehow becoming real.

The mystery unfolds and here is what Ahmad found out from the family in Mexico. It turns out our great grandpa was 23 years old when he arrived to Mexico. The first stop though for the ship was in another country which might be El Salvador, he didn’t like the country and he went right away to the ship. Then he landed in Mexico in Veracruz, a port city in Mexico, where he stayed for a little while before moving to Torreon; where there is a large Lebanese community.

When he first arrived he didn’t know a word of Spanish, according to his daughter Fatimah and he had suffered a lot. He didn’t even know how to ask for a glass of water. Back in Lebanon he owned a lot of lands in his hometown but in Mexico he had to start from null, at first he sold gum on the street to make a living. After that When he moved to Torreon, he learned from other Lebanese about business and became a trader.

A while later he wanted to move somewhere else where he could start his own business away from the competition. Accompanied with his brother Ahmad, who is known as now as Manuel, they took the train, got off in Nuevo Ideal. Nuevo Ideal the current village where most of his properties are and the one Ahmad visited with his family in search for the missing story.
There he started as a textile merchant selling door to door. That is how he met his second wife who lived on a ranch. Then he opened a store for all kinds of miscellaneous stuff he named it: “Manola Miscellaneous” and he opened a hotel as well.
His store and house where in one large building that consisted of three parts; his house, a large store in the middle, and then his brother’s house. That house is where he lived with his family until the day he died.
The store was opened before he got married, after getting married and being in business for a little while, he built a fortune and bought a very large piece of land with his brother where he started a ranch; the farm had cows, sheep, goats, chicken, and pigs and he planted Apple trees, fig trees, and all other kinds of crops.
He built a house on the ranch/farm and started splitting his time between the ranch and the original house with his eastern mentality girls were not allowed to sleep at the ranch. He preferred life on the ranch and spent most of his time there and every night at 11 pm in Mexico timing the radio in his room would be turned on Arabic news as he listened to the morning newscast according to Lebanon’s timing.

In the municipal office in the city, he is listed as the first outsider to the village to come as a merchant. He was very successful, build a fortune in the town, had a lovely family 14 kids from his wife, plus 3 others from another woman in a nearby town. He was known for his generosity as he donated land to the city where they build a large space that is the center of the village besides a land to build a church. He was loving, caring, and stood up for the poor although he was very strict with his family as he used to pick up his grandchildren from the school and take them straight home. He didn’t eat out or allow his kids to eat out. His father was poisoned (from what they’ve heard) so he didn’t trust to eat anywhere. He taught his wife how to make Lebanese food from Kibbeh, Malfouf, Mjadarra and other dishes. He was a very hard worker, owned many lands that he marked with Palm trees.
Despite everything, despite all his success he never felt that he could fit in. His Spanish was choppy and he couldn’t communicate very clearly. He was very private and didn’t talk a lot.

He kept his Arabian roots by keeping a drawing of a mosque or something like it in his house. A large one from what the family remembers which could be Mecca or al Akssa, and he kept his own Quran. He told his family but being originally Lebanese and most of his kids hold Arabic names which extended to their kids as well.

His family is not sure why he never came back since he was very private, but they said that his last memory of Lebanon is that of his mom standing at the port praying with her hands up when he sailed off; He talked about her a lot!

In 1974, he renewed his Lebanese passport and was going to come back but the Lebanese Civil War took off and he wasn’t able to. After that he got sick; suffered from problems with his throat and esophagus for many years, had multiple surgeries, and at some point the food would go down the wrong pipe. His lungs filled with water from all the issues which caused his death
and when he was on his deathbed he told them that he could see his mother coming to get him.

He died on 18 Feb 1978, with a total of 20 kids (9 boys and 11 girls). He couldn’t be united again with his family in Lebanon; ironically generations had passed until the family was reconnected again due to his grandchild’s grandchild effort and the mystery was solved for both parts of the family in Mexico and Lebanon. He lived a stranger and died a stranger in a strange country, like many others who left and were never able to come back.

storyThis isn’t a story of one man; it’s a story of a nation, a story of separated families, and a common story in every Lebanese house in search for an identity and in chase of a dream….

 

 

It Will Always Be There

Under the full moonlight, upon the sound of the striking waves, he lit a small fire on the shore and burned chapters of his life. Chapters he had written along fifty years. He cut off filthy papers out of the huge book. He wished for a fresh start, he wished for an easier life; without all the burdens of the past. He did a lot of awful things, his hands are dirty with blood, and his life is full of unforgettable mistakes that are hunting him every minute of every day.

He stood silently gazing at the fire eating pages of his life till the very last word, every mistake he did, all the people he caused harm to in the past, things he regrets every day, it is all being burned, it will disappear once and forever….

With the morning sunlight striking his face, he woke up on the shore. Sand covering his clothes, he straightened up, it has been a mad night and today it is a fresh new start, he thought, an empty book free of regrets. He sat there with an innocent smile drawing itself on his wrinkled face as he gazed at the striking waves, when it all came back again. The images of the past are reflected on the water, the sounds coming back to him with the light morning air, he thought the nightmare was over, he thought he erased it from the records.

He sat desperately screaming into the empty space as pain rose into his chest. When a young woman passed by him, jogging at this early hour of the morning, he scared her, she ran faster until he was out of sight. She caught her breath and walked slowly back to her house.

Later that day, she sat alone in her room flipping pages in her journal; from the very beginning till this moment. Tomorrow is her 30th birthday, she decided that from tomorrow everything will be different, she will be getting rid of all her mistakes and all the wrong people in her life will be crossed out.  She flips the pages again, tears some off, and crosses names. When she is done, she placed the journal aside and fall into a deep sleep.

That night she dreamt about all the events she cut off, all the people she crossed out, all the things she wished never existed, it all hunted her dreams. It was imprinted in her and will always be there…

On that same night, a teenage girl was weary with tears, earlier that day she fought with her best friend.  Terrible things were said and she is writing it all down in her journal, hatred words and descriptions.

With the early morning they fixed things between them, she hurries back to her journal and cut off that day’s incident, it will no longer exit. But from that day every silly fight, every kind of joke would bring that incident to the front again. It will always be there hidden in the back till a suitable moment…

With all the craziness going on this world, he closes the curtains and hid himself in the shades. A young man sits there drinking away his misery, he had messed things up this time, he hurt someone deeply and he cannot think of a way to fix the damage he did. He drinks it away in an attempt to forget it, forgetting is the best answer he has gotten so far.

It is over he thinks and goes out to the light, but all he could see is her image in the eyes of the people surrounding him, he hears her voice coming up with every sound, she is present in every way possible. She will always be there and he can’t change that.

Things we do in our life will always be present; our mistakes will always hunt us even after years and years. People we meet will always take a place in our memories. We might ignore all this, learn from it, hide it, and might as well cross it out, but it will always be there hidden for the purpose of coming up again at a certain time.

Things we write in our life can’t be erased completely, a trace of it will always be present somewhere else…

It Will Always Be There

 

 

Life’s Riddle

Who are we? Why are we here? What are we doing? What is this place? What is time? Can we touch the sky…infinite questions cross our minds How? When? What? Why?darkart4

We wonder silently and sink each in his own waves of thoughts and questions; not able to say, not able to answer. Disconnecting from the physical world into a storm towards the unknown or maybe to the real place, to the real known…

At some place kids are playing around the neighborhood, laughing for a while, fighting the other; then forgetting all about it the next day.

Some best friends over there are sharing moments of their life the miserable, the joyful and the fun ones; creating memories out of silly crazy moments.

Lovers falling in love, fighting, splitting apart, and longing for a while… then just moving on with their lives.

Couples growing up together, sharing their first white hair and first wrinkle and embracing every part of it, embracing the pain, the struggle, the joy, the hard and good times till the very last breath.

Others fight over something or over nothing; just for the sake of fight.

Several people are imprisoned within their own bodies while others are imprisoned in this huge world of nothing.

Cruelty, kindness, war or peace; by the end of the day we will all leave….

Where did we come from? Where are we going? No one knows , by the end of the day all what we’ll be leaving behind is some of what we did, some of our acts, how we behaved, how we treated others, how we lived and what did we create…

By the end of the day all what is left is some of our spirits and souls, all left in this world of nothing…

We leave the same way we arrived, empty-handed. If we were lucky enough we’ll be remembered as a name in the history book…

We might as well just come and go as if we never existed….6a00e54fcf7385883401b7c79ccdee970b-800wi

The Last Spark

As each afternoon, the mother stood behind the window watching over her seventeen years old daughter, as she rode her bike up the hill towards the old man’s castle. The mother can’t comprehend how her daughter can stand that cranky man and his creepy dog.

The old man is in his 70’s; he has been living in that castle alone with his guarding dog “Spark” for years now. When his wife passed away around ten years ago, he became unbearable even his own son left him and never looked back.images (1)

The girl is the castle’s only visitor, one day the dog let her in to the heavenly garden of the castle without harming her and from that day on she visits it every afternoon.

During her visit she grabs all what she like from colored flowers that fills the garden’s entrance, eats whatever she likes from apples, peaches, grapes and berries right from the trees, plays with Spark and enjoys the white headed man’s stories.

He tells her all about his wife, how they met, fell in love, married and had a great life together, he tells her about his son and how much he loves him and he shows her matching photos to each story he tells.

She enjoys his stories, finds him funny and entertaining, although he rarely smiles, always pissed off, well except when he plays with Spark and when he recalls stories, special moments and memories with his beloved wife and son; only then his face relaxes, his eyes shine and a smile could be traced at the corner of his mouth.

That afternoon when she arrived at her usual time, the castle seemed quieter than usual; there was no sight of Spark by the gate. She pushed the gate wide open and walked towards the front door, she knocked, waited, shouted over for her cranky friend, tried to peek through the closed windows for any sight of him inside but no one was there.  She sat on the stairs of the front door, in total silence, waiting for someone or anything to calm this arousing feeling inside of her and thoughts that filled her head.

“Oh kiddo, how long have you been here?” a voice disturbed her thoughts. She looked up, she recognized his face right away, he is the lawyer, she has seen him a couple of times in here, but why is he here now?! He passed her, opened the front door and invited her in.

Inside she stood in the living room, gazing around in search for her cranky friend to appear anytime now. Without any further waiting, he interrupted her thoughts and informed her that her friend was no longer with them.

The news was shocking, she freeze up in her place, tears filling her eyes, down her cheeks and pain arousing to her throat, she never knew that she loved him that much!

“Don’t cry sweetie, he was a great man, you knew that! Can you believe it; he left everything he has for charity, just think about all those people who will benefit from it. I think this is enough to make you smile”, said the lawyer.

Choking with a forced smile on her pale face: “what about Spark and his box of memories?” she asked.

“Well you can have the box, as for Spark”, he stops for a moment, “he left it for his son but when I called him, he said he always hated that dog”.

“So…?”

“I will take him to the nearest orphanage”, he said sadly.

The girl has just lost a friend and wasn’t welling to lose another one she exclaimed right away “Can I have him? Please, I’ll take a good care of him, I promise”.

With a trace of a smile on his face “that’s fine with me” he answered.

With a great joy overwhelming her, she grabbed the box of memories and rushed to Spark’s house in the backyard. She untied him as she noticed a small key clinched to his leash, Spark guided her to the backyard’s room where she found herself in front of a locked closet. She opened it with the key and for her surprise it was filled of money and gold with a note:

“The one who takes care of the last Spark of my life and my lifetime friend …deserves it all”.