This is me, getting a little too personal.

Tomorrow I’m attending my first ever Advertising, Marketing, and Media conference in Mzaar Kfardebiane, Lebanon.

When I found out I would be attending, it really got me thinking about how my life has changed not only personally, but professionally since I moved to here.

When I first started this blog, I made it a point to keep my personal/professional life out of it, mainly because the only readers I planned on having were my parents, grandparents, a aunt here and there, and mayyyyy..just maybe, a couple of friends from back home..so I took for granted the fact that they already knew all there was to know about my life and my past..

But fast forward 11 months (I started my blog in March 2010)..and my blog has evolved into so much more than a personal diary (or at least I’d like to think so)..and honestly I have all of you to thank for that.  Ask any blogger and they will tell you that there is nothing better than knowing that people actually take the time to read (AND comment!) on your blog.  It makes all of the effort we put into it worth while.

Where am I going with this?  Well, for some time now, (and ever since I posted a contact address on my “Moi” bio page) I have been receiving weekly emails from readers asking me about what I do for work in Lebanon, and how I managed to get a job in the first place..  Aaaaand after careful consideration, I have decided that it’s time I open up a bit more to you about myself and my life.

Are you ready?  Here goes..

This is me, getting a little too personal.

Let me start off by answering the “What do you do for work?” question.

Well, I’m a creative copywriter, blogger, and social media community manager.

Shocked?  Yeah, didn’t think so.

But I will be the first to tell you that it wasn’t always this way!  In fact, when I look back on my 24 years of life, I think I must have jumped around, tried out, or considered at least 10 different professions.  And Copywriting was never really one of them.

Well, until I came to Lebanon.

Anyway, to illustrate this (I’m taking a risk here and assuming you care to get to know me better) here are a few bullet points about me and my life:

High School:

  • Had a inclination toward the sciences..was part of the medical track where I took classes in Anatomy, Physiology, Genetics..etc etc..
  • Was almost certain that I wanted to be a doctor.  Did a semester long rotation with doctors and hospitals..even saw an autopsy.
  • Volunteered with my High School’s physical therapist during athletic events to help injured athletes..and was also the manager of my High School wrestling team (if you can believe that one!)
  • Got a job working at a Family Practice office part-time after school.  Got a real feel for what it would be like to work as a doctor in the States.  Long hours, high malpractice insurance costs.. forcing you to see 30 patients (for 5 minutes or less) a day just to pay the bills.  Saw patients who really needed medical help, but couldn’t get any because they didn’t have insurance.  Began to question whether or not I wanted to be a doctor in the first place.
  • Applied to the Pre-Med program at University of Miami.  Got accepted, and was given a 50% scholarship.  Still would have had to take out a loan for around $60k to attend..wasn’t sure if I really wanted to spend the next 12  years of my life in school, and get into hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
  • Chickened out in the end.  Got a 100% scholarship from the Honors College at Florida International University.  Picked an entirely new major at the behest of my father: International Business. Go figure.

University

  • Began taking Business courses.  Hated every minute of it, but still managed to do very well.
  • Started working as a salesperson in a high-end ladies shoes store (heard of Giuseppe Zanotti?) at Bal Harbour Shops in Miami.
  • Got fed up of listening to professors babble about nothing.  Started to take all of my classes online so that I could work  and travel more (most of the traveling in my biography “Moi” was done during my University years.
  • Took a course in Asian film.  Fell in love.  Went to China and Thailand.  Decided to do a minor in Asian studies.
  • Started my first blog to document my travels.  Realized how much I loved writing.  No one read my blog, so I quickly lost motivation.  Decided to let it die a miserable death.
  • Quit first sales job.  Took another at Bloomingdales department store, this time selling mens shoes, suits, and accessories.  Boy was that fun.
  • Told my dad I hated business, wanted to switch to PR.  Switched all of my Business courses that semester to PR courses.  He flipped.  Preceded to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to feed my family if I worked in PR.  I flipped, and switched all of my courses back to International Business.
  • Still wasn’t convinced about anything I was doing.  Quit job at Bloomingdales to take PR Internship at a Promotional Marketing, Modeling, Talent, and Staffing agency.  Quickly realized, I wanted to be on the ground, and in the field..working and interacting at all of the events we were staffing.  That’s right, I wanted to be STAFF.
  • My boss agreed.  I worked at events, conferences, sales/incentive meetings, restaurants, nightclubs, lounges, and bars on behalf of a range of clients mostly in the beverage industry.  Loved every minute of it (and made some really good money and contacts too!).  It was the perfect college job.
  • Got to know Miami like the back of my hand.  Wondered how I could ever make the transition into the corporate world.
  • Did a 6 month Communication/Event planning internship at St. Jude Hospital’s Fundraising office in Miami.  Wanted to get a feel for a different side of PR.  Dabbled in press release writing, cold calling, and being an office errand girl.  Didn’t like it.
  • Was really frustrated toward the end of my last semester in University.  Realized I hated my major, and wondered how my past three years of work experience would get me anywhere in life.  Had a chance to go to Lebanon for a week in October of 2009.  Booked it on a whim.
  • Fell in love with Lebanon.  Decided I would live here one way or another. Booked another ticket to go back two weeks after I graduated University.
  • Graduated with a degree in International Business with a minor in Asian studies on December 15th, 2009.  Left, two weeks later on December 29th, 2009, bound for Lebanon once again.

Lebanon

  • Arrived just in time for New Years Eve festivities.  Had the time of my life.
  • Reality hit a week later when all of my friends were back at work.  I had no job, no plan, and money was running out, and FAST.
  • Started to study for my GMAT.  Looked into getting my MBA at AUB.  Got half way through my GMAT book, and asked myself what the hell I was doing and why was I trying to perpetuate something I hated.  How would I be able to pay for AUB anyway?  I still couldn’t bring myself to take out a loan.
  • Threw my GMAT book in the garbage.
  • Started looking for jobs in Beirut..not an easy task.  Heard about a Digital Agency who was looking for a Copywriter.  Remembered how much I had always enjoyed writing.
  • Took a risk.  Applied.  Got the job.  Went through a learning curve.  Realized I had found my passion and my professional calling.
  • Discovered a couple of Lebanese blogs..the first being Maya’s AmalgamJoe’s Box, and +961..  Decided to start a new blog (which you are currently reading🙂 ).
  • Kept hearing about twitter..decided to give it a go.  In no time, (and I credit this to the Lebanese twittersphere) I was hooked.
  • Started to make friends with some amazing people.
  • Starting putting more effort into my blog, twitter, facebook..into everything social media..They became my second full-time job.  Started to take on more social media/online community management responsibilities at work.
  • Hit my one year mark in Lebanon on December 29th, 2010..celebrated it with my family right next to me (finally convinced them to come and visit)..gave thanks for the path my life had taken and for getting to where I am today.

Present Day

  • Sitting here. Writing this. Wondering if I’m being too personal.
  • Thinking, what the hell.  What do I have to lose?
  • Preparing to attended The MENA Cristal Festival tmrw..

End monologue!  And now back to my original point.

——————————————————————————————————

So, yeah, as I was sayiinggg..

I’m attending my first ever Advertising, Marketing, and Media conference tomorrow (The MENA Cristal Festival), where I will be taking part in a day of conferences, debates, round tables, and workshops about innovation in the communication industry (new creative challenges, innovative technology, evolution of economic models, etc..)..

I’m excited about this as it represents what I consider, my complete transition into the Communications Industry.  And, honestly.. I couldn’t be happier.  Sorry to say this Daddy, but you were wrong about the industry!  I WILL be able to feed my family.  Maybe not now,,but eventually!😀

Below is the program I will be participating in.

MENA Cristal Festival Lebanon

(click to enlarge)

I will be live tweeting from the conference using the hashtag #cristal.  Look out for my tweets to read insights from the conference, and reply to me (@meinlebanon) if you have any questions or comments you would like me to address to the speakers.

MENA Cristal Festival Lebanon

This year's edition of the MENA Cristal Festival is being held from the 31st of January through the 4th of February at Mzaar Kfardebiane, Lebanon

Look out for a recap about the conference on Friday, and I hope at least some of you enjoyed getting to know me a little bit better.😉

51 Comments

Filed under life in Lebanon

51 responses to “This is me, getting a little too personal.

  1. YOU’VE SEEN AN AUTOPSY?! =(
    Wow danielle, you gave me lotsa conversation topics for our long drive tomorrow =P

  2. Brock

    I can totally appreciate your story. I spend two weeks in Lebanon last April. It was incredible, with all the obvious negatives it still managed to be charming and incredibly alluring. Have been trying to find a way back in a permanent capacity ever since. Not having much luck, but still faithful. Enjoy your tweets and your blog.

    • Thanks Brock! Yes, Lebanon casts a spell over you..that’s for sure.. If there is anything I can help you with, please contact me! I may know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone who is looking for someone like you!😀

  3. Absolutely, sometimes we don’t listen to ourselves based on, mostly, what we think we should be doing or highly valued advice. But there’s always something that rears its head to remind you how you truly feel. Some people never listen😉 (I guess we are lucky on this one)
    I really loved your post. I’ve been through a similar path myself. The truth is, we are taught to value things by the way they are presented to us, and we forget that we will actually learn all though our lives, and a lot of that is about ourselves and what we are good at.
    Glad you are in Lebanon (well, in Lebanon for now)

    • Thanks for your comment Steph..glad you are happy to have me here. Well, when I graduated High School I was so confused about what I wanted to do. For the longest time I saw myself in Medicine, and then one experience was enough to make me think differently. Then I asked for my parents advice, and my father being in Business himself, thought it was the best thing for me to get into, so I listened.. only to find out that it wasn’t for me either! I’m thankful that I finally trusted myself enough to do what I really wanted to do. I’m glad that it happened sooner rather than later, that’s for sure! Can’t wait to hear about your path one day..😀

  4. What a great journey and yes, I did enjoy getting to know you better, not that it matters. I look forward to sharing your adventures and reading about them here. Good luck. You rock!🙂

  5. well finally a glimpse of the person behind the pen, or should I say the keyboard.. I do enjoy your articles, keep it up and good luck with your future steps..

  6. Loved reading it🙂 pretty interesting to read about how you jumped back and forth through majors-and definitely inspiring to a teenager like me!
    You lead such an exciting life🙂

    • Ahh you have no idea how happy it makes me to read comments like this..😀 thank you! Glad I could be a small source of inspiration for you! No go out and conquer the world, and do everything and anything you want to do!😀

  7. Farah

    Interesting bio🙂 enjoy MENA Crystal

  8. Dar El Akhdar

    Dare I say it… best post to date!
    Gottta agree with @stephanienour: The truth is, we are taught to value things by the way they are presented to us, and we forget that we will actually learn all though our lives, and a lot of that is about ourselves and what we are good at” – right on, Steph!
    I might go through something similar one day, and you’ll realize how closely related our paths are! (except for the minor in Asian studies – I envy you :P)

  9. Max

    Just discovered a heart beating in there despite the appearances.
    Good luck

  10. Duh! Loved this post. But you already knew that.

  11. I must say something to you though I met you once now and still looking forward to see you again soon , I feel like i know you from long time ago😀 I really do follow your blog and i really recommend every or foreign friends to read them , I appreciate putting effort and i guess you sure know now how effective it is
    bottom line

    YOU ARE AWESOME AND KEEP BLOGGING😀

    • Wooowww..I’ve gotten accustom to getting a “like” from you..but now that you have left a comment, I want you to do that more often! haha I’m really so happy to read that you feel that way. It means that when we finally do get together again we will feel like old friends!😀 Thank you for sharing my blog,..I really appreciate it. It’s reading comments like this that keep me motivated//😀 Maybe we can do a text/photo collabo one day!

  12. I’m at the graduation from university phase and feel like I wasted my 4 years of life to get an honours degree. As much as I love my women’s studies degree and as much as feminism has inspired me, university has pulled me down in many aspects. I look forward to being in Lebanon soon to explore the possibilities.

    Sometimes we overlook what we love because the world may not necessarily love what we do. I wish I realized that out of high school rather than now but oh well.

    Great post and glad to see that you found what you were looking for and in Lebanon specifically where many are pessimistic about that possibility🙂

    Good luck tomorrow!

    • Mariam trust me, I know exactly how you feel. I felt so lost on my graduation date..I was so anxious and nervous about what I was going to do with my life that I don’t even think I was happy when I was called up to receive my degree. There is comfort in being in University, and as soon as you’re close to the end, you feel the pressure and anxiety mounting. But I am here to tell you to just relax and take it easy. As much as it may be hard to look into the future,,,everything will sort itself out..and your degree in woman’s studies is not the be all and end all of your life. Just believe in yourself and follow your heary (I know that’s super cheesy but there is some logic to it)..and you will find yourself doing what you love..

      Lebanon is ripe with opportunity..It’s just a matter of you finding it!! 😀 Thank you for the comment and the wishes.😀

  13. ZouZeta

    Nice post… it is sweet to know you better and NICE MEETING YOU🙂
    just keep blogging, will keep reading… that is for sure🙂

  14. Gass

    so what’s next? i are going to run for elections ?
    Seriously, I’m very happy to see that you made it by yourself in Beirut but you have to wait a couple of more years before proclaiming victory. I was there, done that, been through all this.. And even if it feels like” Everything is possible” and “ NO one can stop me “ you should always be cautious with the unreliable species you are dealing with everyday. In this county, people look curiously nice in the beginning, but will end up turning their back when you really need them in serious situations. They can’t be trusted, that’s why we always had multiple wars, since everyone had a price.
    Hate to brake the mood but it’s genuine and from the heart. Good Luck ( :

  15. annie

    Well good luck on that ,although it’s hard finding jobs and have a decent salary here but I think it would be a better idea in studying at a university in Lebanon ,I love the uni and beirutnightlife here and the fact that even after we graduate we still catch up with old friends and that’s because it’s a small country .

    • Yes..I have to agree! It is very difficult to find a job with a decent salary..VERY DIFFICULT. I’m still trying to figure out how people can afford to go to expensive Universities here, and then after graduation, can only find a job paying them barely $1,000 a mnth! I’m quite sure that University life is amazing here..and no question about Beirut Nightlife!! Yes, and part of the charm about living in a small country is getting to run into people you know.. Already, I’m beginning to recognize faces in my neighborhood,,,and I think they are beginning to recognize me too!

  16. annie

    And I love the fact that you update you blog every couple of days unlike some other bloggers who take weeks to blog about something and it’s good you didn’t pick Medicine as a major,trust me it sucks ,I know that from a couple of friends ,they’re all stuck in hospitals for the rest of their life and have no time to party .

    • Thanks Annie! I always want my readers to read something new when they visit my blog. It’s hard work trying to find new topics to write about all of the time..but Lebanon is a fascinating subject, and as soon as I think that I’ve run dry..something always comes up to inspire me! And yes, I’m happy that I chose Int’l Business in the end. Couldn’t see myself in medicine at all!

  17. Youssef Chaker

    mmm… so I had this post open and waiting for me to get a chance to read it. i was expecting something juicy. but as i was reading the post i remembered what you told me before about being personal😉

    Tell your Dad one thing for me, will you? This experience and the decisions you have made may not feed your family’s stomach but will feed its brain, mind and soul. Lebanon might not be the greatest country in the world (thanks Gass for crapping on the mood!), and whether you ‘claim victory’ or just gain one good friend, you will come out of this experience a better person. Being bold, gaining trust in your own self, and doing what you want to do in spite of uncertainties and the many things that could go wrong is a strength that will prove necessary in life and in ‘feeding a family’.

    on another note, we almost became ACC rivals. So i’m glad you chose otherwise😛 Being the university that destroyed the U in their last home game at the orange bowl is embarrassing, so we might not have been able to be friends😉

    • My father was the most uneasy about my decision to move to Lebanon..but now he couldn’t be more proud. You know how parents are..sometimes they discourage you from doing things just because they want to protect you.. But now? He calls me every Sunday to get a recap of all that I have done that week. I’ve tried multiple times to get him into the habit of reading my blog,,but I don’t think he is into that just yet!

      Youssef, I have to thank you for taking the time to comment on my posts. You bring such richness and perspective to my blog, and for that I am very thankful! haha..and I wouldn’t mind being your rival..I think it would have been fun..good times man..good times! On a side note, would you believe I have never been to a College sporting event IN MY LIFE?!? Shameful I know..😀

  18. I’m so happy I read this post! So many cool insights on one beautifully complex person!😀

    Loved the experiences you went/still are going through since they have shaped you to become a wow of a lady, if I must say (yeah I kinda must)
    Oh and Asia???? Seriously?!?!? WOW!😀 Love the fact that you went back into those states in your mind and saw (and felt) how it all changed you to the better version of yourself. That’s why I cannot think of anything but gratitude for everything that goes on in my life….and I know you are (obviously)
    Thanks for opening up and giving us some insight on your journey, a magnificent one so far!
    Cheers to a magnificent person on a beautiful journey!

    • Thank you GABY, thank you! You were one of the first people who showed my blog support..so I should be the one thanking you for inspiring me, and pushing me to grow! Sometimes we have to stop and reflect on all of the things we’ve done, all of the places we’ve been..in order to truly appreciate where we are right now. And yes, reliving those memories has made me so much more thankful for where I am today. Life is really such an amazing journey. And I’m so happy that you could be a part of it! Thank you for your wonderful comments. They always put a smile on my face!😀

  19. I read ur “career bio” without a blink of an eye!
    Seems like u’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs and struggles…and still came out a winner in the end!
    Very inspiring Dani!

    • I’m glad it was an easy read. I know that long text can sometimes look very daunting..but I tried my best to make it digestible. Yes, I’ve been through a lot of different things..good, bad, ups and downs..but you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world. All of it led me up to this point, and for that I am forever grateful! I’m glad to share my story and hope to inspire others along the way! Thanks for readingg..😀

  20. Lipanantsi

    it’s fun to share isn’t it?
    Greatest Post EVA…on This is Beirut.

    Glad to see you’re making Lebanon a Home away from Home.

    Good luck with everything, and keep working out you mentally muscled pencil pusher you

    • Awww..Lipanantsi! Glad to see you here..it’s been a long time! You should come around more often! Thanks for the comment. The best post ever? Really?! I should share personal things about me more often then..😀 I’m thankful that Lebanon has so warmly embraced me..it was so easy to make her my home away from home.

  21. Farrah

    Wow, i thought ud been doing this much longer, you seem like such a seasoned blogger hahaha…i was on the medicine path for a while too but ive jumped into the creative/graphic realm now and its much more down my alley. maybe ill start a blog one day too😛 i love yours!

  22. Christine

    Wow, thanks for sharing all this. I wondered how you came to be where you are, and your post is really informative. I hope you don’t mind if I ask a couple of questions. For the sort of work you do is Beirut a good base professionally (in terms of contacts, career opportunities and projects etc)? and a practical one, is it necessary/very helpful to speak Arabic or is English sufficient? I enjoy your blog, and found this the most interesting post so far. Thanks!

  23. I usually come, browse your blog, enjoy experiencing things that are familiar to us through your eyes that are just getting to know them, and it gives me a feeling of excitement asif am rediscovering Beirut. I even recommended your blog to some people outside Lebanon who were interested in knowing more about Lebanon. Am saying this because we all need feedback on what we are doing, and though the views numbers are high we do need that extra human contact.
    I wondered often about u, most people are heading out of Lebanon, what brings you here. And more, how you managed to last this long and still loving it. Just today, by reading this post did I realize how passionate you are😀 and i guess that s the answer. It s good to follow your heart, it s good to find the right place for you even if it s thousands of miles away from everything you know, I admire your courage and determination not to settle for ordinary and seek beyond that. Most people look for comfort, rare are those who take these extreme steps into the unknown trying to find their true vocation. So girl, you do rock😉 keep going, you are doing a great

    • Ahh Maeiva! Thank you so much for your comment! You are right..even though I know that people are reading, it is SOO much better when I can actually read what they are thinking and feeling about me and my blog. I wrote the post because I felt it was time that all of my readers got to know me a little bit better, and learn about how I ended up in this beautiful country in the first place! It was a risk, exposing a lot of myself like that, but one that I think was worth taking. After all, I received such wonderful comments like yours! Thank you for reading, and I very much enjoy going to your blog and looking at your beautiful illustrations as well! You ROCK too Maeiva!

  24. hey Danielle ! I just saw ur blog ,Interesting life you have , many ups n downs !! and its great letting people know more about Lebanon …
    actually you may recognize me from this photo :

    http://beirutdriveby.blogspot.com/2011/01/hes-just-not-that-into-you.html

    Keep writing , you rock !! Im from Byblos btw , anytime your here it will be great to give you a small gide to the city !
    cheers !

  25. karen

    Hi Danielle
    Got to your blog through a comment you left on Nasris blog
    our man in beirut…

    found myself in your personal story. I am 24 too
    I studied Law, got a masters in commercial law in London, then studied finance and now im working in a bank.

    But my passion… is writing ! ive been writing everywhere, all the time since 2006. Part time before that.
    I wrote in the faculty of law’s magazine, in L’orient Le jour and on my blog.
    http://www.karenayat.com (2006-today)

    im dying to have your courage… but like your dad, i wanna make sure i can feed my family.

    maybe… one day🙂

    Karen
    +447508023475
    ayat_karen@hotmail.com

  26. Judith

    hey!
    glad running into your blog. very refreshing! I’ll come to beirut this summer for a few weeks do to research for my Masterthesis and now looing for a place to live. can you suggest an online platform for flatshare search? don’t need much. just a simple place to stay w/ a flatmate… no luxory or anything.
    hope you can help me out here!
    keep on writing!

  27. Pingback: Routine scares me. | This is Beirut

  28. You have made this narrative a very interesting read! The bulleted points make it even more crisper and I feel it’s all real experience from life. It’s more like taking a ride into your life. Cheers🙂

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