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30 Seconds to Mars are my latest favorite rock band (even though Jared Leto seems to be intent on being the male Lady Gaga, when it comes to fashion)-with most of that likeness attributed to Hurricane and the amazingly well-structured album: This is War. 

So consider my dismay when I knew they were going to be playing in Abu Dhabi on March 11- a concert that I cannot go to simply because I live in Beirut!

*Insert Jared-Leto-style-scream here* 

I can bitch for days and days about how here in Lebanon, we only get the crappiest  groups to play because the general population here seems to think that raves and electronic beats are music. I can bitch for days on end about how even when the above-mentioned events happen, they’re mostly unorganized, drink-infested, with no control over minors/legal age of drinking.

But perhaps my biggest gripe with these events is the ridiculous costs they charge! I know that a lot of hard work and effort goes into these events and the artists themselves only get a meager portion of the earnings. That’s very reasonable and understandable.  

The thing is though, we don’t need to have all those flashy strobe-lights, the loud sound system, and all the other things that the concert promoters throw in to make the concert an “experience.

PLEASE! 

No one believes that the above-mentioned experience could simply be the audience and the artist sharing their connection and love for music in a completely simplified setting, which would a- decrease the costs of tickets and b- make the whole event unforgettable. 

Back to the 30 Seconds to Mars concert. General admittance tickets are being sold for 150 AED- roughly converting to 40 USD. For double that, you can be in the fan pit! That’s still less than 100 USD. 

Let’s see what 40 bucks will let you do at a normal event in Lebanon?!

Tom and Tal: Once more?

In June 2010, I started a little project called TnT: A Blog About Life And Everything In Between with someone very near and dear to my heart. We decided to blog under our nicknames (even though Tom is as far away from that person’s given name as possible) and just write about what we know best. 

In my case, it was mostly all about music and “fun” lists, while he blogged about sports and such. 

It seemed to be working out for us- this little arrangement. It taught us a lot about ourselves and one another, as well as the online world. 

People actually liked what we had to offer- this was a great boost for our self-esteems, and for me, a great affirmation that I could still write after all those years of not doing so. 

Somewhere along the line, we just started making excuses for our lack of blogging and left it in a sort of dead state.

Today, Tom informed me that even though we haven’t done any new changes in around two months, we’re still averaging about 30 views a day- an amazing feat. He also proposed we go back to blogging there. 

I honestly don’t know. TnT is a Wordpress blog and I don’t really feel comfortable blogging on such a rigid medium- unlike Tumblr which allows me to be as random and “flow” as I am in reality. 

I also started feeling incredibly bored of not revealing anything about myself. While I don’t want the entire world knowing my business (there’s Facebook for that), I still didn’t like distancing my blogger persona from who I actually am. 

Another reason that discouraged(s) me from returning to the old blog is because of expectations. It’s undeniable that the Lebanese blogging scene is booming- and just about anyone with an opinion is writing. In that huge world, I know I’m still a tiny fish with very little expertise- something I need to build by discovering and making mistakes. Living up to people’s expectations and having to constantly deliver (taking into account that I am not a full-time blogger either) has led me to be completely apathetic and just write here whenever I can, whatever I want to. 

So back to the main point.

I’m not at all sure if I should go back to blogging with Tom- especially given how much I enjoy writing here. 

The response to the question in the title has to be- I guess- “It depends” (as the utilitarians in my ethics course would have said). 

One of the most random things I have ever done in my life
After day 1 of the Bicharaf Leadership Camp ended and the students headed up to their rooms to “sleep,” I went for a walk with several of my colleagues to the Our Lady of Lebanon shrine and statue. Having never been there, I was very excited to see the panoramic view that everyone enthuses about.
Did I mention that this particular walk happened at around 12 am? 
I was very content seeing the panoramic view from the base of the statue- it was very clear and I felt completely enchanted (after all, I am slightly terrified of heights). Yet, several of my coworkers insisted I go up with them, especially since this was my first time.
And so I did! 
It took my breath away. 
There is nothing more beautiful than seeing my beloved city all lit up and welcoming- the true city of blinding lights. 

One of the most random things I have ever done in my life

After day 1 of the Bicharaf Leadership Camp ended and the students headed up to their rooms to “sleep,” I went for a walk with several of my colleagues to the Our Lady of Lebanon shrine and statue. Having never been there, I was very excited to see the panoramic view that everyone enthuses about.

Did I mention that this particular walk happened at around 12 am? 

I was very content seeing the panoramic view from the base of the statue- it was very clear and I felt completely enchanted (after all, I am slightly terrified of heights). Yet, several of my coworkers insisted I go up with them, especially since this was my first time.

And so I did! 

It took my breath away. 

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing my beloved city all lit up and welcoming- the true city of blinding lights. 

Papouf, Kinda, and I backstage at the Beirut Souks Christmas Celebrations
When I first came to Lebanon, after having lived in Saudi Arabia for the first six or so years of my life, I didn’t know any French at all-but my school here taught that language and so I had to catch up to other kids in my class.
That’s when I started watching MiniStudio/Kids Power to enrich my language. I must say that went a long way.
Now in college, and fluent in French (even though my Frenchie friends don’t want to believe it), one of my closest friends, Kinda, works at MiniStudio/Kids Power and today due to us having pressing project matters to finish, I visited her and the crew backstage at the very same place I ringed in my New Year.
Never one to miss out on an opportunity to take photos, we got this one snapped and I have to say, it reeks of adorableness.
Kinda, as well as everyone involved, was also fantastic on stage, singing and dancing her heart out and making sure all those kids were smiling- I knew I was. 

Papouf, Kinda, and I backstage at the Beirut Souks Christmas Celebrations

When I first came to Lebanon, after having lived in Saudi Arabia for the first six or so years of my life, I didn’t know any French at all-but my school here taught that language and so I had to catch up to other kids in my class.

That’s when I started watching MiniStudio/Kids Power to enrich my language. I must say that went a long way.

Now in college, and fluent in French (even though my Frenchie friends don’t want to believe it), one of my closest friends, Kinda, works at MiniStudio/Kids Power and today due to us having pressing project matters to finish, I visited her and the crew backstage at the very same place I ringed in my New Year.

Never one to miss out on an opportunity to take photos, we got this one snapped and I have to say, it reeks of adorableness.

Kinda, as well as everyone involved, was also fantastic on stage, singing and dancing her heart out and making sure all those kids were smiling- I knew I was. 

New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Beirut Souks, Beirut, Lebanon 

New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Beirut Souks, Beirut, Lebanon 

New Year’s Eve: Why I Stopped Caring

There are three days of the year I hate the most: Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and my birthday-in that order. The point behind celebrating all three doesn’t make sense to me because I am mostly stuck with nothing to do.

As I type up this post, however, New Year’s Eve is rapidly approaching, and I am once again without any plans. For me, doing something on that night is an exception not the rule. Especially when it comes to how people look at NYE here in Lebanon. 

You absolutely HAVE to spend it somewhere super-fancy with a pre-planned package or else you’re a sorry loser. 

I disagree. That is overrated! 

There is nothing wrong with spending the evening at home (or a friend’s home) making things up as you go.

It all begins with the fact that I don’t drink alcohol (and neither do most of the people in my inner circle of friends), not only because of religious beliefs but because you don’t need to be drunk out of your mind to have a good time. Why would I want to spend the evening with people getting intoxicated, where we can’t have a normal discussion? As sad as it sounds, in Lebanon, getting drunk on New Year’s Eve is an absolute must, which is why restaurants and clubs rush to advertise an open premium bar in the weeks leading up to this event. 

I also don’t need to spend my entire year’s savings on one night of my life that I will probably look back at and laugh at my stupidity. The music will not be what I like (because let’s face it, everyone here is either electro or tish-tiki-tam-tam*-obsessed), the food will probably be made haphazardly because they have so many people to cater to, and let’s not get started on the “one man show” phenomena. 

There’s also the element of comfort. We live in Lebanon. That means going out in your favorite pair of jeans and most comfortable sweater is an absolute no-no. If you do, people will talk! (*gasp*) 

You have to be in tip-top shape, dressed in the skimpiest of dresses, the highest of heels, and a ton of makeup splattered on your face.

No thank you!

The last thing I want to care about on that particular night is how people perceive me. It’s not enough that as a young woman in this country, I have to deal with this everyday.

I used to lament my luck that I never was one to go out and celebrate, but this year (I owe it to growing up), I’m more than happy to stay at home with my family-who I barely see, in my Hello Kitty pjs, listening to my music, and blogging my way into 2011.

*tish-tiki-tam-tam: Horrible Arabic music that’s supposed to get people dancing and me straight to the nearest pair of earplugs.