Om Kalthoum, Jasmine and Coffee

My friend explained to me today an idea he came across about cultural intelligence. In simple words, he said that humans have two levels of attributes; core and flex attributes. the core ones are the ones we believe that if we give up, we are no longer who we are, whereas the flex are the ones we are willing to negotiate or compromise.

My friend’s idea left me with some thoughts about what my core is. I left a big part of me in every house I lived in, but I was also lucky to be able carry parts of my houses everywhere I went. As an architect, think a lot of the three-dimensional space, I always check places around me and analyse how designers think when they build things. I evaluate and compose a silent opinion about everything. It is annoying sometimes, but it also makes me feel special in a way. However, I believe that the emotional and the sensual dimensions are more significant to the space. I am starting to recognise this in London, especially in evenings like this when I open my window and a breeze brings the smell of the rain into my brain, “oh God! This smells like our village” I think. then I realised that places also can travel 🙂 .. In moments like these, I play Om kalthoum and I can grow roots wherever I am.

Well, there might be three dimensions for a house and five dimensions for a home… I started to recognise the sensual dimension of our home from the moment I started to be aware of who I am. I remember that our house in Damascus smelled like a specific soap. that smell was home, until spring came, then the Jasmine blossomed, and our windows would always be wide open and our house smelled like jasmine all the time. Evenings and mornings smelled like a mixture of Jasmine, coffee, and lemon blossom.

Om kalthoum’s music takes me back to the time when I was six years old playing in the yard while my parents listened to her songs and had coffee near the Jasmine tree. Familiar music notes pile up, they hold each other to build walls and ceilings, they build a home, a womb where I hibernate. I remember that I used to dislike the music my parents listened to; Their taste made me think of them as old backward couple.  Tonight, I couldn’t spend an hour at a club with my friends. I told them I have to work tomorrow then returned home to play my parents’ “backward” music and grow my roots again. After seeking change for a long time, we then seek familiarity.

looking back now, back to my friend’s idea about cultural intelligence, I think my core is not made of big ideologies or beliefs, instead it is filled with om kalthoum (in relation to my family), jasmine, lemon blossom and coffee …

a year, a tear and a smile …

Two days ago, I typed the word “Levant woman” in google search engine, my blog was the first search result. I clicked on it and noticed an orange cup, it was the first time I get such a notification. I clicked on it and waited for it to tell me what is this cup standing for, the internet doesn’t always help me here. then this sentence appeared “Happy anniversary with wordpress.com!” ….

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yes, It’s been a year since I first tried to speak up my thoughts. That sentence made me smile and go back in time. It sounded a long long time to me, and that depressed sad lady who lost her way seems to have foggy lineaments that makes it hard for me to recognize she was “me” but the truth is, she’s really me, though my hair is longer than hers and my eyes are colder with less tears waiting on my hem. but we’re the same.

a year is a long long time…

In this long time I learnt that time doesn’t heal as we’ve been told.

I learnt that we don’t over come the pain in time unless we decide to.

I learnt that in time, we become the character we choose to play in life theater. if we choose to be the victim, we become what we choose. if we choose to be the hero, here we are , the heroes. it’s all about your attitude.

finally, I learnt that I’m the queen of the universe 🙂 and that was the most precious thing I discovered this year.