Category Archives: Miami

A taste of Lebanon in Miami..

So, my stepaunt stopped by this evening and brought us some Lebanese food she picked up at a place called The Daily Bread in the HEART of Miami.

While quite different from what I’ve had in Lebanon (I think I can safely say I know what Lebanese food is supposed to taste like!)..it was nice to have some kibbeh, hummus, tabouli, and grapeleaves after a month of only American fare.

Oh, did I ever mention that my stepfamily is Palestinian? That’s why my stepaunt was buying this food in the first place..

Yep, both of my stepfather’s parents were born in Nazareth. They then emigrated to Cuba seeking better opportunity in 1908..and stayed there for some 60 or so years before emigrating again to Michigan when Fidel Castro became too much to bear. After about 10 years in Michigan they were fed up of the cold,,and decided to head south towards Miami! ..and here they are today. The Farah Family. From Palestine, to Cuba, to Michigan, to Florida. Interesting huh?

When I think about it, between my step family, and my backwards Arabic tattoo, I had quite a few Arab influences in my life before deciding to move to Lebanon.. ;)

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The logistics of friendship

For some reason or another, I’ve always been “the planner.” When it comes to my group of friends, anywhere I go..I’m always the working out the logistics involved in getting people together..be it for dinner on a Friday night, or for a semi-spontaneous weekend in NYC. I’ve always enjoyed this role (probably cause I’m slightly controlling ;)),.. but I have to admit, that it’s not without its frustrations.

Now, it just so happens that most of my friends here in Miami work full-time jobs and are also in school full-time, as was the case with me up until I left for Beirut a year and a half ago. The other thing I realized is that 95% of my friends work jobs with non-traditional working hours. Not only that, but their work schedule changes week to week, and sometimes day to day..(again, as was the case with me.) So, it’s not uncommon for them to work 9-6 one day, 5-10 the other, and 2-8 the next..

So picture this..6 friends..all with different work schedules, school schedules, family, boyfriend, and personal obligations..and you can see where it gets difficult for me (aka. the planner) to somehow find a time, date, and place that works for everyone. NOT TO MENTION, we live between 30 – 40 minutes away from each other depending on traffic!!

The logistics of friendship

All this to say, I’ve been home for a few weeks now and have only managed to see 2 of my friends on 1 single occasion. I got to a point where I had to resort to using Facebook and email to plan a night out since phone and text were just proving wayyy too complicated. Either my friends are just THAT busy, or they don’t want to see me! (I seriously hope it’s the former and not the latter!)

This insane amount of back and forth (mind you, these are people I’ve known for at least 10 years), made me think about what I like to call “the logistics of friendship…” and how proximity and lifestyle really do play a role in how relationships progress in any given place.

The logistics of friendship

You see, when it comes to friendships, and the rate at which they develop, my experience in Lebanon has been completely opposite from what I just described. Any given night, I can put my planning skills to work and guarantee that about 8 – 10 people will show up…Hell, I think it’s even easier to plan a 35 person tweetup in 2 days in Beirut, than it is to try and get 3 of my friends in Miami to meet at the same place within a 2 week period!

The one thing I have to say is that because it’s so difficult to come up with a plan that is convenient to everyone..usually when it’s set..it’s SET. The cancellation rate is significantly lower than what I’ve experienced in Beirut..

someecards

However….when I compare Miami vs. Beirut in terms of the frequency that I see my friends/hangout/socialize..I have to say that Beirut takes the cake by farrrrrr! Even if (some) people have the tendency to cancel frequently, it really isn’t hard to come up with something equally as exciting in under 30 minutes. Ohhhh,,the perks of living in a small city..

When I really think about it, I must go out an average of 5-6 times a week (what can I say? I’m a social butterfly! ;)), And the other thing I noticed is that Lebanese people are nowhere near as anal about only going out/partying only on weekends. During the week? Weekend? It’s the same to the Lebanese! Which, I looooove by the way! Work hard and play HARDER.

To any of you who have lived abroad at some point in your life..what are the differences you’ve experienced in terms of the dynamics of friendship between that place and Lebanon? To those of you who haven’t, how do you go about planning nights out with your friends? Are you the planner among your group of friends?

The logistics of friendship

Me and my diverse group of friends..

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The Old Women and The Sea..

No..this isn’t a sequel to Hemingway’s Pulitzer prize winning novella..

The Old Man and The Sea

Hemingway's last major work of fiction..

It’s a post about stepping outside of your comfort zone..

So tell me..when is the last time you challenged yourself..or did something new just for the sake of it?…when you knew that the only thing you were going to gain was a sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment.. when you knew that there was no monetary reward? ..when you didn’t have to do it as a requirement for some course or job?

If you’re anything like me..it’s been a while.  Call me opportunistic, but as I get older I’m finding that I only undertake certain hobbies/challenges/tasks..when they are sure to yield tangible results.  I think it’s a combination of maximizing my time and making sure I put forth effort into only the most worthwhile things.  Life is short after all..

Let me demonstrate..

The last thing I did to challenge myself (well apart from moving to Beirut) was start this blog.  And to be quite honest..if it hadn’t taken off like it has..it probably would’ve died just like my last blog!!  (I have no problem walking away from something when it seems like it’s just not working out).  But thankfully, knowing that people are reading what I write..and some even taking the time to comment, is what keeps me coming back time and time again.

Where did all of this come from? ..

Well my 50 year old Mom competed in a ocean swim relay race this weekend around the island of Key West, the southernmost point of the continental United States.  My Mom and her swim-mates (average age, 48) have been training for months for this event..going to practice 2, sometimes 3 times a week.  And all to be able to work towards a challenging goal.  (And I suppose as a means to keep in shape..but surely there are easier ways.. right? Hellooo elliptical machine!)  I put my mom and her team mates (they called themselves  “The Old Women and The Sea” for the Key West race, hence the title of this post) in the same league as people who train for marathons and triathlons..  Writing this reminds me of a fellow blogger Lindsay who ran her first half-marathon, participated in her first triathlon, and ran 75 miles all in the month of May!  I don’t know where people get the inspiration, motivation, and energy to train for such things.. But I definitely admire them!

Key West, Florida

Greetings from Key West!

Swim around  Key West

Map of the relay race..

Now,..back to my Mom..I wouldn’t exactly call her a risk taker.  She’s very ok with always coloring inside of the lines if you know what I mean.  So when I first found out that she was going to participate in an ocean swim AROUND Key West..I was shocked!  This was sooo out of character for her!  At the time, I was still in Beirut and I hadn’t decided to come back home for the Summer yet..so naturally I was really worried about not being there should anything go wrong.  But the tables turned, and I was able to accompany my Mom and her swim-mates while she participated in one of the most adventurous/daring/crazy things she’s ever done in her life.

Swim around Key West

The swimmers in action..

Swim around Key West

The ladies swam in groups of two to help them navigate the waters..

Spending the weekend with this group of incredibly inspiring women really put things into persepective for me..and made me feel like I need to take a different approach to life.  These women are all career woman (or were at some point), have children, and have accomplished a lot in their lives..yet, despite that..they still wanted to challenge themselves..isn’t that just soooo admirable?  I mean, they were just BEAMING with pride after completing the 12 mile ocean swim.  And I couldn’t help but be so attracted to their energy and their contagious sense of accomplishment.  Did I mention these women are at or around 50, and only started their swimming hobby a year and a half ago? yah..just incredible.

Swim around Key West

My Mom (at the far left) and her fellow swim mates during the award ceremony!

Key West Conchs

My Mom's trophy..a conch shell! They won 2nd place in the 6 person relay swim :D

So while I think about new ways to challenge myself..I turn the attention to you..when was the last time you challenged yourself to step outside of your comfort zone?

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Dating in Miami

Dating in Miami

Begin scene. (Setting – somewhere in a South Beach nightclub)

Guy: “Damn girl you look good.”

Girl: “heheh..thanks!”

Guy: “Can I buy you a drink?”

Girl: “Sure!”

Time passes…………………………girl starts dancing and giggling with her friends..making sure to stay close (but not too close) to guy

Guy: “Can I buy you another drink?”

Girl: “Sure!”

Time passes…………………………girl gets a little closer, starts to rub up on guy a little

Guy: “Girl you so sexy…”

Girl: “hehehe…I work out”

Guy: “Want another drink?”

Girl: “Sure!”

Time passes…………………………girl begins to kiss guy on neck, then on the side of the mouth..

Guy: “Wanna get outta here?”

Girl: “Ok!!!”

End scene.

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Meet the newest addition to my family..

I haven’t had a pet since I was 5 years old..when my family found out that I was allergic to practically all animals with fur.  (Giving away my cat Sofie still haunts me to this day! :()

Me and my dog

Me..my mushroom cut..and my cat Sophie. (Don't you just love old pics?)

A few months after I moved to Lebanon, my Mom decided that she wanted to get my brother and sister a dog.  And although I’m allergic to her (I’m sneezing as I type this)..I just can’t get enough of how adorable she is!  It’s only now that I understand how people get so attached to their pets.  They seriously become a part of the family. :D

So, without further ado..meet my new dog..Bella!

My dog Bella

Isn't she just adorable? I've been playing with her since I came home!

My dog Bella

cuite patoootie!

My dog Bella

She even drives!

Do you have a pet?

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I’m baaaaack!!

*This is Miami/Beirut – post 20.

After sitting on a grounded plane for three hours in Miami while they tried to fix the AC, missing my connecting flight to Beirut by five minutes, standing for two hours at the Alitalia transit desk in Rome, getting re-routed on Royal Jordanian to Amman, almost missing my connecting flight again to Beirut, aaaaand last but not least, losing my bags (which thankfully appeared a day later yay!), I am back in Beirut!!  And to the surprise of everyone, am sooooo happy to be here!  That being said, I’m exhausted..  Not only from traveling (and the emotional strain of leaving my family again), but from blogging my heart out for the past two weeks.

So, for this week..facebooking, blogging, and tweeting will be kept to a minimum while I catch up with all of my other responsibilities.   So if you haven’t gotten a chance to read all 20 “This is Miami” posts please do so, and if you have, please bear with me for the next week!

Hope everyone is well, and if there is anything of importance that I’ve missed, please include it in the comments section and I will be sure to check it out!

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There comes a moment..

*This is Miami – post 19.

There comes a moment..(you know..when you’ve passed through airport security, and can no longer see your loved ones)..when the tears that you have been holding back (as to not make your Mother even more emotional about the fact that you are leaving) begin to stream down your face..

..and you think to yourself whether this incredible adventure, that has taken you half way across the world to Lebanon, is worth leaving your family behind – especially you’re younger siblings, who, even though they don’t know yet, need your guidance.

To my family, leaving you wasn’t easy.  I miss you and love you with all of my heart.

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Shop till you drop!

*This is Miami – post 18.

If there is one thing that you can do in Florida better than anywhere else, it’s shop.

I know I know..Lebanon has fantastic shopping as well..but I think the shopping people refer to when speaking of Lebanon is mainly in the area of designer dresses and designer labels – both of which I can’t afford!  I have really been hard-pressed to find a brand or a store in Lebanon that has good quality clothes (that fit me) and is affordable!  (and yes, I’ve tried Mango, H&M, Stravidius, Bershka, and Zara..but none of them seem to make me happy!  I love Massimo Dutti – but let’s face it..there stuff is a littttle on the pricey side.)

Anyway, my search continues..but in the mean time..I’m happy I was able to come home and stock up..!

DSW - Designer Shoe Warehouse

Is this heaven or what? One of my favorites - DSW - Designer Shoe Warehouse...which sells designer shoes at discount prices.

I mean, there really is something for everyone in Florida.  Even for those people who like to buy panties with the words “YES PLEASE” printed on the butt. lol.

Victoria Secret Store

Had to snap this photo in Victoria Secret..it was just too funny. Maybe we have TOO many shopping options in Florida?

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