If you’ve ever been to Italy, you know there are temptations around every corner. All the restaurants and bistros look supremely inviting, and my friends and I had to resist stopping for a bite at each one. Of course, when it came to dessert… well, that’s a completely different story.
The one thing I wanted to try the most was a genuine, Italian tiramisu. And I did. Dragging our weary selves back from the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica, we came upon a lovely restaurant called Il Falchetto where we sat out on the terrace and had our first Italian dinner and I had my first tiramisu. With a twist. Did you know tiramisu could come in pistachio? I didn’t either. And I fell in love.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard some (or many) people complaining about the trainwreck that was 2016. Many famous people died, Brexit happened, Donald Trump got elected President, we’ve had a number of terrorist attacks and a coup in Turkey, etc. And yeah, sure, these are all bad things, but that doesn’t mean the year was any worse than any other.
People forget that bad things happened in 2015, 2014 and every other year before that. Why, we’ve had a lot of famous people die before… Leonard Nimoy and Christopher Lee in 2015, and Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2014. Plenty of terrorist attacks occurred… in fact, I feel that 2016 has been calmer on that front than 2015.
On a personal level, I had an uncle pass away in 2016… compared to an aunt and uncle in 2015. I know it’s not a nice comparison to make, but I’ll still take the year with the one less tragedy.
But a lot of good things happened this year too. People simply choose to forget them.
I turned 27 last October, and try as I might to pretend that age is just a number and you’re only as old as you feel (20!), I still can’t deny that my thirties are just around the corner. I don’t like it. The 20 landmark was awesome, but the 30 one… not so much. No offense to any readers older than 30! You’re all wonderful people, but this is just something I’m trying to handle on a personal level.
So recently my friends and I adopted a particular system. As of this year, we are no longer “aging”. We are leveling up.
Of course this came with a whole new set of rules and variables. In the game of life we’re now playing, things like eating and sleeping have a whole new meaning. Continue reading “Level Up”→
It has been such a long time since I did one of those… and not for the lack of sweet things either! If you check out my Instagram, you’ll find it full with pictures of food and sweets (and the occasional stack of books or nature shot); given where I live, there’s never a shortage of delicious things to try.
Sunday is the beginning of the week for us folks in Dubai, so it’s the equivalent of a Monday for almost everyone else. I was in no mood to work. Plus I had an eventful weekend and I couldn’t coerce my mind into getting with the program and accepting that today’s a work day. To shake off my Sunday blues, I went to my favourite dessert shop after work and grabbed myself a cupcake. Got home, changed into my PJs, made myself some karak chai* and curled up with a soft blanket and watched some How I Met Your Mother reruns.
I am someone who has no patience for surprises. I have this urge to find out about things before they actually happen, and get all antsy when I don’t know what’s coming my way, even if I know for a fact that it will be good. When I think about it, it really is an amazing feat on my part that I do not flip to the last chapter with every book I read. But endings are sacred to me – and let’s face it, you can’t really enjoy an ending without knowing the beginning.
Still, I have to admit that sometimes it is better not to know.
I was jolted awake yesterday morning with the insistent ringing of my doorbell. I was greeted – after hobbling around for a couple of minutes frantically looking for pants to go with my short, short night shirt – with purple balloons, cake and streamers and a whole chorus of “Happy Birthday, Zen!” Let it be known that I have never been surprised on my birthday. I always expect or know what’s going on, and I already thought we had a plan for the day… so for them to show up at my door like that, I was actually so speechless I forgot to blow out my candles, and I just stood there with puffy eyes, grinning like an idiot, before I got pulled into hugs and kisses and a little bit of, “Zen, why are you in jeans?”
Well, technically, International Chocolate Day falls on the 13th of September, but I had driven myself into a sugar coma yesterday and absolutely could not muster up the energy to put up a post. That said, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t get a celebratory post even if it’s a day late, right?
Okay, okay. I just want an excuse to share pictures of the things I ate. I feel this would be best expressed through a timeline.
10 a.m. I had a delicious, warm, buttery chocolate croissant. The only thing that could’ve made it better is chocolate sprinkles.
12 30 p.m. Lunch time. I opted for a triple chocolate muffin with a gooey chocolate centre that exploded in my mouth (and got all over my fingers) with each bite. It was one of the best muffins I’ve ever had.
Here in Dubai we’ve basically skipped Spring and jumped right into Summer, but I’m going to pretend it’s Spring because the heat is not yet overwhelming enough to melt my eyes out of my sockets. Taking a little inspiration from Maddie, I feel it’s time for a post long overdue; after all, it’s been almost five months since I moved and I have yet to say anything about that. So this is a sort of “cleaning” post – I’m dusting off my blog and poking those cobwebs out of the corners, in hopes that I’ll be more active here over the coming months.
Though I’m from Lebanon, I was born and raised in UAE, and spent over 19 years of my life here – it’s more of a home to me than Lebanon will ever be. In Zen’s Grand Life Plan, returning to this country was a high priority. I had to make it happen. It wasn’t just an option. It was difficult, but I made it happen. So now I’m back home, and I feel happier than I’ve ever been in a very long time.
I finally have my own place in the middle of a skyscraper community. It’s a cute little studio, which I’ve decked with purple. Seriously – purple crockery, cutlery, bathroom stuff, bed sheets… it’s not completely Zenified yet, but I’m getting there! Next step – a PURPLE COUCH. Maybe. >.>;
The neighbourhood is lovely, I have a park right under my building, and the towers are all built around big lakes, which are pretty despite being artificial! In fact, here’s a picture from my bedroom window.
I’m moving on Friday, to a whole new job, a whole new city, a whole new country in fact. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. This is a whole new level of independence and responsibility that I’ve never had before, and knowing me, I will either screw up badly or do brilliantly. There’s no middle ground.
One of the things I’m really looking forward to is having my own place and furnishing it the way I like (priorities, amirite?). I’ve started looking at apartment listings and furniture catalogues already. I have visions of myself strolling through IKEA, seeing my perfect living room/bed room and saying, “This is it. This is so me.” I am also on the lookout for the perfect bookshelf… which brings us to the title of this post.
HOW THE HELL DO I CHOOSE WHICH BOOKS TO TAKE?
Books, I’ve discovered, are very heavy indeed. 10 paperbacks and 5 hardbacks together weight 6.7 kg (14.7) pounds. I’m only allowed 40 kg for my flight, of which 10 kg have already been taken up by the weight of my bags themselves. Speaking of bags, I had absolutely no idea they could cost so much; I was so shocked! Anyway. I have about 400 books on my shelves, out of which there are 65 books I haven’t read it (give or take). My first solution?
I thought I was making good progress. I was reading one book per day. But with a sinking feeling, I realised that if I were to read all my books before leaving, I would need to go through at least 6 per day. Impossible. Distraught, I started thinking of other tactics. Continue reading “A Bibliophile’s Packing Dilemma”→
Going for nearly three years without a proper vacation can do terrible things to someone’s mental health, especially if that particular someone is a workaholic. So during the month of April, I went away on vacation… which would explain my long absence from the blogosphere. It was something I desperately needed, at a time when I was dealing with a lot of personal issues and work was starting to take its toll on me.
I went to UAE for 20 days during which I stayed with one of my best friends. We had a blast I swear. It was so much fun, so amazing, that it was difficult to imagine anything else. When I woke up in my own room after I came back, it took me a moment to register that I was not in my friend’s place anymore, especially since I’d come to consider it home more than anywhere else. Still though, I had a really good time. Continue reading “My Vacation in Pictures”→
The defendant, Zen of Zen Scribbles, writer, editor and chocoholic extraordinaire, charged with spamming the blogs of several innocents here on WordPress and disturbing their peace, pleads innocent! She has always left comments relevant to the subject matter being discussed in the post, and even when she had nothing substantial to say, she tried her best to be supportive in the very least.
It was a bit shocking for her to find out that for some reason the claimant, Akismet, had flagged her and thrown her into the darkest corners of the blogosphere along with genuine spam, where she was subjected to grammatically incompetent Chinese advertisements and overly enthusiastic individuals singing the praises of blogs they had never read. Not to mention the ones that looked so normal it was difficult to discern whether they were trying to trick her or not. It was a nightmare! If she wasn’t simply interested in being released, she would have pressed charges on the grounds of abuse and mistreatment!
The defendant turns to the jury and pleads with them to review the quality of her comments and decide for themselves whether they are really so bad to warrant being given the spam treatment and banished away from the public.
So… yeah, haha… I’ve found out that the comments I’ve been leaving are getting marked as spam. 😦 It would be awesome if you could rescue me from there, otherwise Akismet will keep flagging me and that’s… well, that’s just mean. Unless, of course, you do not like my comments… so feel free to ignore this message. >.>
While we’re on the topic, do you tend to check your spam folder at all? Have you ever been marked as spam yourself?