Friendships, Learning, and Loving [GUEST POST]


Halloween has come, and gone. I couldn’t help but wonder, with all the funky costumes of mystical creatures believed to have super powers, what my ultimate superpower would be. I put much thought to it, as I am huge on imagination and things unknown.
I looked at the different possiblities I had. From flame throwing to turning things into ice, the possibilities were unlimited.  However, I sat back and thought... if I could gain any supernatural power, it would have to be the ability to be invisible. Yes invisibility, not because I could do a lot of things where nobody can see me, but because I can sit back without being detected and truly know the people around me and what  really goes on behind the “curtains” of frienships. It’s not so much because I care about what others think about me, as I find myself to be very confident and people’s opinions don’t affect me, but still... it is good to know.
Throughout my life, I have come across many people. Most of them have affected me in their own way, but I recently came to the relization that many of them have had a negative affect on me.  It’s really quite funny, I realized, a bit too late may I add, that friendships aren’t what they always seem to be, nor are they bound by a rope that makes the two individuals be completely “mukhliseen” to eachother forever. Things change, and by human nature, we are expected to cope with them.
I had a group of friends, whom I had thought would never hurt me or turn against me. Like most people, I gave the friendships my all, from financial help to emotional support... I was always there. You needed it, I had it. But times changed, and I slowly realized I was just someone that made all things accesible to people who “needed” it, but when I needed something (which was usually just someone to talk to) I found that I stood alone. It hurt me, but not as much as it angered me. I gave friendships my all, and to some degree I guess I expected it back. I never got it back.
Time passed, and my friendships changed. I began to search for people who searched for the same things I searched for. I looked for people who shared the same values, and had ambitions and dreams. Most importantly, I looked for people who I can relate to, both in my life, and in personality of course.  I found them, usually, in people I least expected it. For example, during my days I have met many Lebanese people who I treated like family, like my blood. I did not get the same treatment back. Being in, what we Lebanese call ,“The Ghorbeh”, I stuck to the Lebanese population. I had the mentality, that if we are outside of our country together, we should stick together...help each other. But soon enough I learned that wasnt the case. I ventured out of my Lebanese bubble, and became good friends with someone. Through time, I found that this individual knew a lot about the Middle East, about Arab culture, and through conversation much about the “Arab-Israeli” issue. I was curious... so one day he told me that he was a Jew. A Hungarian Jew to be exact. But it struck me, this man who our country sees as an “enemy” treated me with more respect than those of my own kind...and through him I learned what friendship was supposed to be... unconditional, true, and sincere. 

It is quite funny, our country demonizes his people, his culture, and their existence,yet through him I realized that a friendship isn’t about what you can gain, instead it is about what you can give... something my fellow Lebanese here did not understand. The most intriguing part of all of this, I was reminded  of the people I left behind in Lebanon, the dear friends that were there through everything, and for everything. The ones who knew I was sad or hurt through a simple sigh, the same ones that knew my day was great by the gestures of my hand. It was awesome.  I am now more aware of what a friendship is, what makes a friendship, and what ingredients go into a healthy and strong friendship. From my experiences I realized that God gives and takes. He gave me “friends” that I thought were true, took them from me, and gave me a lesson about life. A lesson about friendships. Imagine one that was born as my “enemy” was actually the one that displayed the beauty of a friendship.
It taught me that, no matter who the person is, what they believe in, or who represents them, they can not be judged by the mere color of their skin, where they go to pray, or how they dress... I mean if that wasn’t the lesson God wanted me to learn, he wouldn’t have showed me the betrayal in my own kind, and the honesty of someone completely opposite of me. Right?

Friendship is beautiful, it is pure, it is support, unconditional, honest, and remarkable on so many levels. It’s based on the person, and not a group. It is based on things that tie two individuals together, and on things you agree or even disagree on. Look around you, and think about it... are the friendships you have so unconditional as the one I was shown? Many will say no. Many might even say yes.  I don’t know. But what I do know is that through my invisibility, I sat back, listened in, and understood life and friendships. And guess what? It was worth it.  I am now surrounded by the most remarkable people, I know how to differentiate between a friendship and a “masla7a”, and I can expect to get what I give (not that you necessarily need anything in return).
So this is to true friendships, to true people, and to being invisible. Don’t be scared to find the goodness in people you least expect it, don’t be scared to admit you need something real, something true, and something beautiful. May everyone reading this realize what friendship is, and take precious care of it. It truly is valuable.

By Ali Seifeddine
Ever since I got to meet him through Twitter, Ali has been such an inspiration, a bundle of wisdom and a great friend. I'd like to thank him so much for taking the time to write something so beautiful and true and for sharing it via my blog.
A person worth following and reading on a regular basis, I'm sure you'll learn something new with every one of his posts:
Follow him on Twitter: @BloggerSeif
 

This One's for You

It was about time that I wrote this small letter of thanks and gratitude.
You see, no matter who you are, there will come a time when you just feel the need to spread your wings, to grow beyond yourself. That time was not so long ago. It was by total mistake that I have found a website, a blog to be precise, where there were interesting posts of Lebanon and the Lebanese but which was posted by a total "stranger" who turned out to become nothing close than that. I got hooked to this blog of her stories of Lebanon, her small comments and started noticing how she connected to a group of people who shared and interacted in a somewhat nice way.
This total randomness fed a part of me that wanted to grow and branch out, that wanted to share and interact with people of another caliber...and it was then, that I felt I had touched something quite interesting. But it was only after I started following Dani (@meinlebanon) on Twitter that the snowball effect took place.
I'm not going to go into how it all happened from there, I'm sure most of you will understand how it all catapulted from there. From Danielle, I got to meet some of the most amazing people I've ever got the priviledge to connect and interact with. People of a magnificent caliber, with hearts of gold! My God it got me both surprised and quite happy! From a follow to another I found myself surrounded by a small (huge actually) family of my daily (hourly migh be better) connections. And it was about time that I thank you guys, yes every single one of you, for showing me how magical and magnificent some of the people are in this world. By meeting you, by reading your posts, looking at your pics, enjoying your comments, trying to help you out, that I have felt so much, grown so much and gave so  much back. Some of you, well most of you, are my everyday fuel, small gifts of joy in a world missing its essence going about living empty lives of pure and utter nothingness, pain, regret and sorrow. I cannot get enough of your ideas, your emotions, your celebrations, our tweetups (even when I'm not there), the jokes, the good morning messages, and the simple smiles. There's so much complexity and beauty in everyone that I'm overwhelmed with your spirits, the greatness with which you shine, each in his/her own unique way.

This is a letter of gratitude for every single one of you for blessing me, my life my daily rouine with your presence, your support, your words, your laughter...everything! There's so much I can say but it all dissolves in the truths you bring to everyday, the fruits you share of the magnificence you live. It has trully been amazing ever since Danielle triggered my interrest with her interesting take on our daily routine, and I can only wonder how much passion for this life she has, leaving her safe zone, her family, her home to live such an adventure.
It makes me proud to know people like you, and I hope that everyday I can give back to you a little bit of inspiration, laughter, and some of the pure me (no matter what that is hehe).

Thank you for being part of my everyday life!

But in the end there are a few people who have made this time so very special that I just have to mention and thank. And please if you're reading this, do follow them and read their posts...trust me you'll be oh so glad you did:

(posted in no specific order, descriptions are understatements to these people's real truth)

- Danielle (@meinlebanon): Thank you again....you're truly one of a kind [http://thisisbeirut.wordpress.com/]

- Ali (@BloggerSeif): There are no words to fully describe you (I've mentioned you as cupid, Franky and a true brother) you're one of a kind, a true friend with a heart of gold. [http://seifandbeirut.com/]

 - Michelle (Machmouchette) (@mich1mich): A bundle of blessings, positive energy and uplifting joy. A wonderful heart with so much to give, such a special gift to know. [http://michcafe.blogspot.com/]

- Ibrahim (Eby) (@ebyking): The reason I got so passionate about branding and identity. A master (king) of people skills, filled with wit and professionalism not seen much in our days. [http://ilahoud.wordpress.com/]
- Sareen (@Sareen_ak): I can't wait for her cartoons every week (usually the first to comment as well). A delicate and fun character [http://inkontheside.com]

- Emilie (@Emiliehasouty): she's one of the few who render me speechless with her complex yet simple yet mature yet deeply layered posts. Absolutely amazing soul! [http://emiliehasrouty.blogspot.com/

- Imad (@TrellaLB): The least I can say in Arabic "fashit khele2", wit, smarts and the perfect comment at the perfect time, always keeping me up to date with the latest political "films" (in some way) with his tweets [http://trella.org]

- Abir (@abzzyy): Although we might have not been talking quite regularly, I adore her wit, straight to the point attitude, her comments, and of course beautiful pictures! [http://abzyy.com/]

- Krikorian (@KrikorianM): Another photographer to keep on your list, amazing shots indeed and a great person indeed! [http://krikorian.wordpress.com/]

- Darine (@sdarine): The first time we met will always be memorable, jumping and laughing....hehe what can I say...amazing? smart? kind? all of the above and more? [http://theidentitychef.com/]

- Naeema (@Naeema): The sunshine of the twitter timeline, she sparks positive vibes, an amazing heart & soul with so much care, joy and passion to give! A spectacular being! [www.naeemazarif.com]

More amazing people with golden hearts to follow:

- Elena or Lou (@ElenaKassab) [simply amazing, a heart full of magic]
- Jenny (@Jennhaddad) [a sister, a friend, your support system, nice beauty on feet]
- Chantale (@chantalej) [my neighbor, physically when I'm at work and I'm guessing emotionally with her link to Jenny. Such a fun person to be around]
- Nadim (@Nadiml) [ebn el king...the prince around here]
- George (@ZAMGEO) [a true friend, a caring gentleman to say the least]
- Rasha (@RashaRteil) [honestly, a total and beautiful surprise, such a pleasure to know you]
- Marie (@MarieNakhle) [I got to admit, give me ideas of where to go with her tweets, a romantic, smart person]
- Liliane (@FunkyOzzi) [the leader with a sense of purpose & fun around the timeline and the tweetups]
- Doja (@DiAyDi) [ A beautiful young soul going for her dreams, looking for the best. A delicate, pure & honest heart]
- Octavia (@octavianasr) [Finally met her, a smile that lights up a room with the brains of wisdom & passion, an amazing leader to follow]

I'm so sorry if I missed anyone of the list, you are all magnificent and all dear to my heart but adding you all here with all details will make this an unreadable post. I hope everyone understands.

All the best wishes in the world!