hope


My heart is heavy, my mind is clouded. I don’t know where I am going only where I’ve been. I am in a dark strange place with few candles lighting the way. Unsure when I used to be so confident. I know not what I want. I think of the past that cannot be regained, the present that is so prickly and a future that is so uncertain. There are things I know in my heart that I won’t let my mind know and things in my mind that my heart won’t hear.  Yet there is a voice deep down in my soul that is always carrying me through my darkness and in my darkest of hours it always tries to calm me. It shouts “it will be OK”. It is faint and sometimes the wind carries it strong and loud to drown out the noise in my head and heart and other times it just fades. But that voice is always there. It never stops and for that I am grateful. Even when I can’t hear it inside me this message manifests itself when it is least expected in a gesture, a laugh, a hug, a memory, a hope, a smile and I know It will be OK. To those manifestations (and there were many this weekend) I say thank you!

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On December 24 I wrote a blog post that I never published. It was entitled Here is to 2009. I thought I would wait a bit before publishing it and then the Gaza Massacre happened and other things became more important than my personal rants and raves about 2008 and 2009. Yet I have been thinking about the post and I have decided to post it below. I post it and yet want to comment on how three days after the positive note the year was ending on was turning sour, the big bang I wanted to start 2009 with was not that of guns and bombs.

 

Yet I look at it on a personal level again and though I first felt impotent, angry and I didn’t know what to do with my energies, I put my first resolution to the test. I did get more involved with different initiatives and will continue to get more involved on different levels.

 

In positing this I am still thinking there is much to be done and some of what I want to achieve is trivial but these trivialities are a privilege and I am thankful for the privileges in my life.  2009 did not start on a positive note with occupation, genocide and abuse being the dish of the day. But I am an optimist and I think that things will change and turn around. I think that because in my own way I know I can help initiate change even on a small scale with a word, a picture, an action. Small change can become big change and there are ways to turn misfortune into small wins. We just need to find that silver lining.

 

So if you wanted to know what I was thinking that happy day here it is, but do watch this space to know how things have changed and progressed in the mundane life that is Shalabieh’s World!

 

 

Here is to 2009

 

Last year I ended the year with a Thank you note (And I want to thank…)

 

It was a review of a year gone and passed it was year that ended positively for me 2007 was great. It was the year I turned 30 and it was definitely a milestone year. Looking back at 2008 I can only say it just keeps getting better. My thirties are definitely better than my twenties. And as the fortuneteller in Bangkok said: “30 good, 31 better, 32 BETTER. Good money, good job, good lover!” So 32 here I come. But not before I say good bye to 2008.

 

The year 2008 was a wonderful year. This year saw some much growth and change and all for the better. This year was a turning point in many ways with many wonderful things happening:

  • It was the year I reconnected with Palestine after an absence of 8 years
  • It was the year I met my nephew for the first time and really knew what it meant to be an aunt
  • It was the year I got connected at home with a new laptop and allowed internet to reinvade my private space (not so sure that’s a good thing)
  • It was the year I took a passion to the next level and bought my first SLR camera and I love taking pictures with it
  • It was the year I made a lot of new friends near and far and got close to a lot of them
  • It was the year I realized how much I liked development work and working with people underprivileged and underserved to better all our lives
  • It was the year I explored more of the Middle East than any other with travels to neighboring and not so neighboring countries and I realized how much I love the Middle East
  • It was the year I reclaimed me once again from the clutches of an unfulfilling love.
  • It was the year in which I stood my ground
  • It was the year I asserted myself

 

It is a year that is ending on such a positive note that I can only look forward to 2009 with anticipation and excitement. I am looking forward to a number of things on so many different fronts that I will have different kind of new year resolutions’ list. 2009 will be the year that

  • I will get more involved
  • I get out of debt no matter how miniscule
  • I will work on a photography project that will result in an exhibition
  • I will write more here and start a writing project too
  • I will take up learning to ride a bike again
  • I will reclaim the kitchen again and start cooking for myself
  • I will go somewhere new I have never been before and I am not just talking about travel

 

2009 is my year because I want it to be, not because a fortune teller told me it would be. So I will defiantly be drinking to 2009 and bring it in with a nice big bang!

 

Happy New Year everybody and see you in 2009.

  

 

On this day I remember the loss of land. I am not attached to the land as many may be. But I am attached to other things and want other things. So on this day I think of those things and here are some of them:

  • I remember the warmth of my grandmother’s and its warmth
  • I remember the smell of the land after crossing the bridge
  • I remember the olive trees lining the roads
  • I remember walking the streets of Jerusalem
  • I remember sitting in the Haram and feeling a peace like no other
  • I remember family gatherings with laughter
  • I remember the taste of the fruit sweet like no other
  • I remember the walks to get fresh milk from the lady with the goats
  • I remember the farmers coming up to the house with fresh produce and gossip
  • I remember the hot bread fresh from the bakery next door and the fresh olive oil we would eat with it
  • I remember the sea

 

On this day I think of how I can not go and come as I please. About borders, check points, guns, anger, angst, depression, disposition, Diaspora. I think of identity crisis and guilt. But al that makes me want something, not just for me but for all involved. I desire freedom, freedom to visit, to explore, to live, to meditate, to be. I desire peace. 

It was snowing all morning and as the a blanket of pure white covers the streets I can’t help but think how pretty it all looks. The purity of white cover the streets and all its potholes, broken pavements and naked trees. The flakes lightly cover the old and the new, the tired and the energetic. Everything that is outside is kissed white buildings, cars, streets, trees, and all.  The snow gift wraps our life and with a stretch of the imagination you can see the silver bow tied around the gifts. But the truth remains, even as we watch from our windows, as the flakes from, the world has not changed.   

The views, the look, the symbolism of white, all give us hope that a new life is buried below. But as the snow melts what it has hidden underneath will come back to the surface, a bit shinier, somewhat wetter, but unchanged in essence. The potholes of the roads are still there. The tired old cars will still cough into life, the bare tress will shiver with the wind until spring is here, and we will continue on our merry ways doing what we do. 

The snow though gives us a bit of a respite, a break, to look at a white, brighter hope. Knowing things could be different, things could hold hope for us. This is what rejuvenates the world, this is how we know the cycle of life continues.   

I hope that with every flake fluttering down that the earth is invigorated.
I hope that with every flake fluttering down that hope is born.
I hope that with every flake fluttering down that life is renewed. 

Stay warm, stat happy, stay healthy. I hope that with ever white flake the new white dress worn by this city inspires change for what potential exists.