The pomegranate originated in the region of modern-day Iran and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region and northern India. In Lebanon it is typically in season from September to February. Its name derives from Medieval Latin pōmum “apple” and grānātum “seeded”. While the apple usually takes the blame for humanity’s fall from grace, some biblical scholars have suggested that the forbidden fruit of the Bible wasn’t an apple, but this red beauty.
I gaze upon this landscape, mountains, hills, valleys appear endlessly. Showing the beauty of life, nostalgic feelings surge relentlessly of what nature must have been like here. As you begin the sharp ascent up the rocky path, you are teleported into one of Lebanon’s richest biodiversity zones, seemingly miles and millennia away from reality.
In a little forgotten area in Beirut, amongst a small forgotten community, reside a group of incredibly brave and strong independent women. They have taken the decision that they will no longer be a victim and stand by watching their life go by. Today they fight for what they want, and most of all fight for the women they want to become.
Sunday breakfast is that moment of the week where time passes unhurriedly. The slow rhythm of the city outside and the yearning to spend some quality time at home in our pajamas make for the ideal setting, to what I call the feast. While the boys are busy doing boys stuff, I head to the kitchen. I love breakfast, especially on Sundays. Sitting all together for a meal and talking, while enjoying a good Lebanese breakfast as the smell of fresh brewed coffee fills the house with its aroma, is one of my little pleasures in life.
The literal meanings of common phrases of courtesy in Arabic are so much more elaborate than the rest of the world. They are beautifully rhymed and phrased short little sentences that reflect so much about our culture. Respect and proper greetings are pillars in our social fiber. We smile, say hello, and ask about the other’s person’s day all in a cordial manner. Yet the most beautiful of expressions, I find, is “ya’tik el a’fye, a shortened version of Allah ya’tik el a’fye (may God give you health and vigor). Most people translate a’fye as only health, but I believe it has more depth to it. Soha in Arabic means health, and a’fye means health and vitality, vigor, strength, or energy.
I always laugh when the mother in law in My Big Fat Greek Wedding is flabbergasted that her son in law doesn’t eat meat. A Lebanese version of that would be: “You don’t eat no Kibbeh? Kiff ya3neh? Ba3milak kibbet batata? Tayeb kibbet la2’tin? Shou? El borghol bya3milak nafkha! Ma a3m bifham!” (What do you mean? Shall I make you a potato kibbeh? How about a pumkin kibbe then? What? You feel bloated after eating bulgur? I don’t get it!)
There’s something beautiful about the way people drink their coffee in the morning. In their gaze are slow long sips of determination, routine, hope, and caffeine. I can’t help but wonder what daily battles they’re preparing for.