Tag Archives: Family

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.


Filed under Miami

I left Paris Hilton, and came back Mother Theresa!

*This is Miami – post 6.

My brother turned 13 a couple of weeks ago, but like the sweet little brother he is, he wanted to wait until I came home to have his birthday party.  So last Saturday, we had a pool party for him and all of his school friends..A pool party is one of the most stressful types of parties parents can have  for their children..soooo many things can happen!  So, to take some of the pressure off of my Mom, I told her I would help her with whatever she needed..little did I know what I was getting myself into!

The kids started to show up at around 3:30 -first came the boys..who, initially, were very interested in the humongous slide we had gotten for the occasion.

Water slide

Ha! This only kept the boys entertained for so long..

Well that lasted for all of 15 minutes..you know, until the girls showed up.   I shouldn’t have been surprised when my Mom told me that my brother had hand picked all of the girls that were to attend his party.  (Gone are the days when my Mom just invites everyone in his class)..and who did he choose to invite?  Well the entire cheerleading squad of course!  Ughhhh!  These girls,,these girls!  They looked more like 20 than 12!  One after one they began to stroll in.. with their short shorts, their faces full of makeup and their hair done – did they not get the memo that they were going to a POOL party..and the bathing suits they had underneath??!!  To all of my female readers out there – did you wear string bikinis when you were 12?  Please tell me NO!

With eyes wide open and a scowl on my face, I watched each girl walk past, taking note of every detail about them and watching their every move – nothing was going to happen today..Not under my watch!

You should have seen me!…standing at the side of the pool with my arms crossed and my eyes darting from the slide, to the pool, to the jacuzzi, to the bushes, to the snack station..scanning for any suspicious behavior!  Of course, the kids eventually caught on..suddenly their loud conversations turned to whispers when I came close..and the ones who were holding hands decided it was best to stop.

And then, I said it..those 5 dreadful words, that every child hates to hear..

“I was your age once!”

And with that, I covered my mouth with my hand..shocked that I had, in that very  moment, become my overbearing mother, and was doing everything I had always hated!  I decided to step off for a bit and go mingle with the parents who were all sitting in the patio completely unphased by what their kids were doing..

The pizza was eaten, happy birthday was sung, and the gifts were exchanged..

After the last kid left at around 10:30pm I collapsed on the couch, exhausted..muttering to myself how I was never going to have kids.  My family all found this very amusing, especially since I was known to be quite the wild child and the black sheep of the family when I was younger..My Grandfather said it best when he exclaimed..“9 months in Lebanon have done you well Danielle!  You left Paris Hilton, and came back Mother Theresa!”

lol..Grampa..I gotta give it to you, you’re good.

Paris Hilton

Then - Danielle pre-Lebanon

photo credit

Mother Theresa

Now - Danielle post Lebanon..

photo credit


Filed under Miami

So happy to be home..

*For the next two weeks, this blog will become “This is Miami” instead of “This is Beirut”..but not before I talk about my flight back home..

I arrived at Rafic Hariri International Airport with only one friend to see me off..You know, it was 2:30 a.m on a Friday morning, how could I have expected more friends to come with me?  I mean, it was a working and school day the following day..people have to get their sleep.

But that didn’t seem to stop everyone else!!..Families and friends swarmed around loved ones showering them with love..food..and gifts up until the last minute..It really was so sweet to watch..

Rafic Hariri International Airport

"Bye Habibi! Bye Habibti!"

Rafic Hariri International Airport

At the airport..When is my gate going to show up? arghh!

Check-in and passport control went quite smoothly.. I wasn’t asked a barrage of questions like I was anticipating..the most exciting thing probably being the herd of leggy Eastern European models that sauntered past everyone  – naturally attracting stares (from men) and glares (from women).  They looked as if they had just left a fashion show or photo shoot..fully made up and with their hair done..I suppose these types of things are normal, as many of the flights to Europe coming out of Rafic Hariri Int’l Airport leave in the weeee hours of the morning.

We boarded the plane and I suddenly became very happy that I had decided to change my seat from an isle to a window at the last minute..Although I was given a seat in the last row of the plane..I was the only one that had a whole row to myself!

And it was the same on the second leg of my flight as well..except this time, almost everyone had a row to themselves..I really was surprised at how empty the flight was from Rome to Miami..these airlines must  really be operating and such a massive loss!  In any case, it makes such a difference to be able to relax comfortably and really sleep on a long flight..it’s probably why I feel so good now..

Alitalia Airways

Me..stretching out my legs on z plane..

Aside from having extended leg room, the other highlight of the flight was when the crew members of Alitalia handed out delicious gelato..not some gelatinous desert or tasteless cake..but delicious Italian gelato..I was in heaven!

Alitalia Airlines

Me..with my legs stretched out..reading about sushi traditions in Osaka, and enjoying my Italian gelato..yes I took off the paper before I ate it! 😉

As was to be expected US Customs and Immigrations officials made up for the lack of questions I was asked at the airport in Beirut..I’ll spare you with the details, but let’s just say I felt like I had been subjected to an hour long interrogation!  Exhausted and sweaty..I came away from it scot-free, it probably helped that I was traveling in my birthday, and was even able to keep my Lebanese sweets that I had packed for my family!!

Speaking of those sweets, they were quite popular with everyone..especially with my Step Father whose grandparents are Palestinian..and even with my brother and sister who had never tried them before!

Lebanese sweets

I wasn't able to make it to Tripoli to buy the sweets..but Al Baba (or as I mistakenly called it, Ali Baba lol) did just fine!

I can’t even begin to describe how it felt to be in my father’s arms at the airport,,or how it felt to watch my brother and sister running down the driveway with “Happy Birthday balloons” when they saw me pull up, or how it felt to hug and kiss my best friend – my Mom – and my grandparents after 9 long months..

Let’s just say, I’m so happy to be home..


Filed under Miami