Showing posts from May, 2018

Ramadan Prep with Wesley’s

Here in the Land of the Cedars, Ramadan is in full swing, and with it, the daily ritual of fasting for many a Muslim faithful. The wave of heat sweeping across the country surely doesn’t help with the dawn-to-dusk abstinence of food and drink, but careful planning and guided preparation can. When it comes to inspiration surrounding mealtimes and hosting, Wesley’s Wholesale is your mecca. As soon as you enter the store, pick up an American Cart flyer and leaf through the innumerable deals carved around the month-long holiday. Prices on staples like Royal basmati rice , Mazola corn oil , Hunt’s canned tomatoes , and Durkee paprika are all slashed, so stock your pantry liberally! Explore table stations throughout the megastore decked with ingredients to stir the senses and get the culinary creative juices flowing. This week, the spotlight’s on pasta, salad, nachos, and garlic bread, so be sure to visit in-store for live demos of delicious mash-ups. One hot item to try is Mike’

In Loving Memory

My cousin Josette Cherfane Mezher passed away on Sunday, May 20, 2018, after battling with a very rare form of cancer. Years before, when it first showed its ugly face, she had been treated successfully. But it resurfaced toward the end of her pregnancy in December, and after numerous operations and three months of hospitalization, she breathed her last stifled breath. She was only 33. I still remember meeting you for the first time, in 1991, on my first conscious trip to Lebanon. I asked you whether you spoke English, but you shook your head, so we quickly fell into Arabic. We wore matching Where's Waldo? T-shirts my mom had gotten us from California. I saw you wield a fork with your right hand, and I was so envious that I trained myself to do the same, even though I am a lefty. To this day, I continue to grasp fork and spoon with my right hand because of you. We instantly became best friends. You're the first person I exchanged letters with, and you'd write b

Why We Come Back to Lebanon

The below post was originally written in the summer of 2012 and later picked up for publication by  Annahar  newspaper in the winter of 2014 . I've reproduced it below because from time to time, I secretly reread it to remind myself why I elected to vacate the proverbial grassier side. I often wonder how much different my life would be had I taken the job offer at Tesla in 2009. Back then, I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed grad student who craved adventure in an international setting. I fought tooth and nail to plant myself in Lebanon, when logic and sanity would have dictated otherwise. The country's poor and ailing infrastructure paints a grim future for our progeny, and the polluted environment threatens to curb our lifespan and quality of life. Can one ever truly justify living here when the opportunity to take flight abroad exists? Do our kids have a viable future in this shattered model of a country?  Or has the sun already gone down on us? And w ill we continue to

The Almighty Power of a Greeting Card

Ask an adult what their fondest memories of childhood are, and you’re certain to hear mention of a festive birthday party, or graduation from elementary school, or perhaps a visit from the tooth fairy. Life is punctuated by tiny moments of pure, unadulterated happiness. Capturing those precious memories with a greeting card allows us to celebrate them again and again as we grow older. As children of the '90s, the overarching philosophy taught at school was “it’s not the gift that counts but the thought behind it.” In fact, gifts took a backseat to charming, sometimes handmade, greeting cards. Mother’s Day around the corner? We’d fashion a colorful card from construction paper and insert silly vouchers Mom could cash in, like “one free carwash” or “breakfast in bed” delivered by us kids. If we were on the receiving end of someone’s generosity, we'd eagerly anticipate the greeting card that accompanied the present. I’m not exaggerating. The first thing we did when we rec

International Workers' Day Musings

Seven years ago, I was celebrating May 1, International Workers' Day, in a way completely different than today. May 2, 2011, marked my inaugural day as a full-time employee at one of Lebanon’s leading financial institutions. My first taste of Lebanese corporate life was in the capacity of “Strategy Officer” at a salary I will never be too thrilled to admit. “If you excel and exceed expectations,” the Head of HR coaxed me over the phone as I tried to negotiate my pay, “you’ll be impressed by how rapidly your remuneration will grow.” I finally acquiesced at the prodding of my parents, who perhaps innately knew that if I held out for something more in line with my lofty compensation visions, it might be a very long time. So I threw myself into my new job, thirsty for knowledge of a field – banking and finance – I knew virtually nothing about. As engineers, we’re trained to think we can tackle anything, and that’s been my mantra until today. “If someone offers you an ama