Life is good.

It is funny how life can take you on a roller coaster of ups and downs. We all get our share of happy and not so happy days, we vent about it, talk with a good friend, or we cry about it, to then laugh, or to remember or to forget –Hotel California anyone?- it is during those times when we find those who truly mean the most to us, it is during those times when we really come to appreciate people and how great of a difference a smile on someone’s face, a hug, a jok and a text of “just thinking of you” makes us feel special and good, just good about life in general.

I can never stop telling you how lucky I truly am by the people I am surrounded with. The friendships I have made throughout my life, the relationships with cousins, neighbors, professors, class mates, hall-mates, and just a nice talk with someone new at a shop or at work. All these just have shown me over and over again how life is truly blissful.

And, family, have I mentioned family? Parents are gifts we often take for granted, we sometimes “sigh” when they call, to find out all they wanted to say was “I love you” or “goodluck on your exam” or “I am proud of you”. They’re the epitome of goodness, giving, love and happiness on life.

Living so far away from home, with the 7 hour time difference, it is very hard to have a good talk with my parents and family, I never get that option of calling home on my way back after a long day, to just share how my day was, simply because they’re asleep, and they can’t do the same, because I’m either in class or asleep. And so, whenever I get to talk to them, it is always another big fat greek wedding all in a phone call! Literally. You get to know every single thing about all 30 cousins, and some – Yes, I have 30 first cousins, that’s one of my fun facts.- Today was one of those happy days where I got to listen to my dad’s talking about his conversations with my uncle who just married his daughter, to then hear my mom’s week of visits with her sister and their cousins. Another story of how my grandma finally settled on a style of  a new set of furtniture for her living room, and after it was ordered and made (you ask for things to be specifically made for you, totally arab style) she decides to give them to my uncle because she doesnt like them anymore(!!!) aaand so many more. This phone conversation brightened my day, brought tears of laughter to my eyes and made me realize that in the midst of all the work I have to do during this crazy time of year, things will be okay, and things ARE okay.

Life is much much more than just an exam or a paper or a project we stress so much about. Life is about these relationships we build everyday, it’s about the long phone call with your mom, or an old friend from home, it’s about a spontaneous coffe date you have with a friend, and a fun adventure you decide on taking with someone new. It’s about living the moment, appreciating where we are and what we have. These little things are what make life worth living, so when you’re in the middle of a stressful time, take a deep breath, check this out, go for a walk, call up a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, call your cousin or your parents. Listen to upbeat music and dance along with your friends, look at how beautiful life can be, because it will all be fine, and life is good.

Until we meet again,



Now that it’s Monday after Thanksgiving break, I’m continuing to appreciate how wonderful and relaxing the break was. A very much needed break indeed. Despite the fact that it started out rough, with my computer crashing and losing half of what I had written for a paper that was due by Midnight on Wednesday, I ended up staying up to rewrite it until 3AM. It was not pleasant, but, with a few tears, a TV show and a major support from my friend, I pulled it together and the paper was written.

Having never been to a parade before, going to the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia, was definitely a strong motive to wake up bright and early to hop on a train. The parade was definitely worth it all. We humans often take things we have for granted. Here at Bryn Mawr, are so fortunate to be living close to a such a great city. Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the US, the history this city holds is very rich, it is worth exploring and learning. The Thanksgiving Day parade here in Philly is the oldest in the country, a fact that is overshadowed by the glorifying New York’s Macy’s parade.

Last Spring, I was lucky enough to have my host family from Kansas (you’ll hear more about them in posts to come) come visit and we spent the break in Philadelphia, learning a lot about its importance historically and enjoying its beautiful cites. One of my favorite stories of Philly is about the beautiful building of City Hall which has the statue of its founder, William Penn.

City Hall
And so the story goes : William Penn statue used to be the highest point of the city, as if he was watching over his city. After building the One Liberty Place which was the first building higher than City Hall, Philadelphia’s major league sports teams started losing their games, and stories say that a curse of Billy Penn -that’s how Philadelphians called the statue- was started. To break the cures, in 2007 another statue of William Penn was built atop the highest building of Philly currently the Comcast Center, and the sports regained their wins since.

That story never gets old in my opinion, and whenever I go to the city with someone, I always tell them the story. The building is rather breathtaking, if you haven’t yet checked it out, it is worth the trip.

The parade was fun, glorious and full of happy families, kids, friends and pets. The sun was high and the cool breeze brought on funny hats on top of many heads, adding to the beauty of the day. A day filled with happiness, fullness of food, gratitude, great friendships and thankfulness was well deserved and will always be remembered and cherished.

Turkey hats!

Turkey hats all the way from NH. To complete the holiday spirit!

Until we meet again,

~Muna 🙂

Beautiful surprises.

It is crazy how busy people can be, and how we pass so many people everyday, without the thought of what the person is going through, what is on their minds, what have they done and what gift they’re bringing to life. People watching is one of the things I like to do-in a non creepily way, I promise- to just sit in a coffee shop and watch the many people that walk in, friends going for a break from school, a mother bringing her daughter and her friends for something sweet to drink, a couple enjoying an afternoon with one another, a tutoring session going on or a date; two people just meeting to get to know one another, with the hope of finding “something” special, something that shines. It is fascinating to me how much we get involved into our own lives, we forget to take a second to make a change, to look around, to get to know someone new, to help someone or learn something from a stranger.

My friends always make fun of how I often start up a conversation with the cashier at a store, a kid in a play ground or another passenger that sits next to me on a bus, train or a plane. To me, that’s something I absolutely love, I see it as a new adventure, a story I bring to the “party”. It’s such a refreshing thing to do, a true feeling of joy is brought to me when I meet someone new. And today was one of those happy days. I was going to Swarthmore to do my research for a paper that should’ve been started two weeks ago, but let’s not go there. On my way there, I was tired, just had lunch and decided that since we are so spoiled with this great technology we have, I could watch my show on my iPad (another luxury, I am thankful for) while on the van. Of course I was praying that my motion sickness doesn’t get the best of me, but who do I kid, it happened. The sickening feeling of drowsiness followed by shortened breath and then it happened -leaving that part out for your sake- it wasn’t fun. Moving on (this is when my friends usually pretend to fall asleep, because my stories are always “so long”) I get to the library, start my daunting research of counting graduates of the college – something to mention at another post, maybe- for three hours. Blurred vision from the intense focusing alarms me to the time that I need to go catch my van…which I for some reason think I missed, although I was 10 minutes early, but my worried thoughts took over…

As I was walking around, another girl approached me saying, oh you’re waiting for the van to bryn mawr? and I nod, and start the conversation. A totally new person, I have never met, she sounded french, but mildly so. I didn’t bother to ask, thinking it will probably come up, and we just kept talking about our majors, and classes, the kind of talk you would have with another fellow student, it turned out she goes to Haverford, and I was right, she is French. Both were tired, our accents were at their extremes, and our brains often went blank on english words, to go back to French then the nodding, it is quite funny now that I look back at it. Our conversations kept on going, enjoyable, from classes, to the Tri-co, to traveling the world, to food, to the inevitable culture of BMC and HC, our conversation was so enjoyable. Then we decided to go to dinner, I asked if she cared to join me and our feet lead us to the joy of Erdman (usually HC people prefer Haffner, but she welcomed the new place), we ran into mutual friends that were all surprised as how we knew each other to then be totally taken aback by the fact that we literally just met.

I chose to talk about this because it really left me whole-heartedly happy. It made my day to have made a new friend, met someone knew who I learned much from, and kept company for a little while. Promising to stay in touch, we parted ways at the blue bus stop, and that was the way the evening ended.

So, don’t understimate the beauty of us, of people. We are all meant to meet and share this beautiful life, to give and take, to learn and grow. So, my word for today, is, go out there and make a new friend, everyday. You never know what will come out of it. Always something good.

Until we meet again,


Thoughts on Sandy…

I am unsure how to start this post. Mixed feelings have taken over during the past couple of days, starting with denial, mixed with a want to ignore the news, but a need to keep a responsible mind to stay on the safe track, go on with my daily activities, yet take caution as the weather continued to get worse. People were going to stores, buying nonperishable food, batteries, water, and what they can lay their hands on. Aisles of stores getting emptied, and the atmosphere of crazies is exponentially increasing. It felt as if I was in a new world, or…a rather normal one, as I remembered the unfortunate days of curfews at home, when the news announces an israeli invasion to take place the next day; streets filled with cars, people freaking out, schools canceled… a scenario I am familiar with, but then again, this was nature, another unexpected opponent we’re dealing with, it’s something relatively new to me, growing up in a Mediterranean calm and nice weather…I managed to stay calm and do as common sense said.

Senior row trees fighting Sandy to stay tall.

It felt as if the weather was so mad, so angry, the wind picking up making noises I couldn’t ignore completely despite the sound of music playing. Passing time inside, trying to do work and fighting the sleepiness and the urge to nap, to then give up three times, and wake up to look outside, gloomy as ever, trees moving sideways so violently I kept praying in my head to keep those pretty senior row trees standing up tall, the view I have been waking up to for two years now.


Packing food for the storm. (Luciana Fortes '13 on the right)

Going to the dining hall, people were packing food, getting ready, because everything will be closed in the next few hours until the storm passes, everyone will be inside, awaiting for it to happen, the infamous “landfall” of Sandy was the absolute hot topic on everyone’s mind. I started to get overwhelmed, and confused, what is going to happen? In absolute denial and refusing to pack any food, until forced by my friend.. I guess I just didn’t know what to expect, but I went with the flow, packed food-a lot of food- made fun of the situation with laughs with friends…that’s how we get by through life anyway, isn’t it? Or is that just me?

Time went by, sleeping, reading, talking, trying to do homework all while trying to be “present” on the hall, since I am a Hall Adviser, not to mention the feeling of responsibility of my residence. Then the moment happened, and of course it was night, and already dark out. The darkness took over, people descended out to the halls and the “party” began. Although it was no party for me, the overwhelming feeling of the many people out there took over me. I couldn’t help but feel worried for so many people, the homeless, the poor, the people in NY, NJ, on the waters, praying that Sandy will be kind to them. Texts from parents expressing their worried feelings and sending prayers and positive vibes towards us were rather comforting. Yet, the overwhelming feeling, the endless thoughts of those out there were so loud in the silent darkness. Although a couple of fires started near campus, everything was going okay, I was sure that Public Safety are doing their absolute best to keep us safe..Overwhelming feelings were also mixed with how lucky and fortunate are we to be at such a great place, where community really is at its best.


Tree that took down our power. (Photo credit: Lee McClenon '14)

One of the popular trees on campus, taken down by Sandy. Next to Pembroke East (Photo Credit: Lee McClenon '14)

Words are failing me to express my gratitude, my thankfulness and my greatfulness for such a wonderful community we live in. Waking up on Tuesday to see a text informing us that Erdman will be open to serve brunch AND dinner, being open for 7 hours continuosly to provide the students with food! What an unexpected, wonderful surprise…Then, walking to Erdman, watching the sad nature outside, to then walk into the dinning hall and

Students lined up for lunch

see almost all of students there, the huge line for food, the loud talks and the relief, worries yet somewhat hope were in the air. Realizing that without the efforts of so many people who put themselves out there, left their homes, perhaps slept on campus, students who came in despite the cold weather, to work and help provide such a great service, without them, we wouldn’t have been able to eat, to get up on our feet and start our day with hope. I was in awe and still am for the beauty that is the bryn mawr community, that is the honor code, the beauty of human beings. Eating with gratitude, to go back to the dorm to find housekeeping going through the dorms, checking on needs students might have, left me with another speechless face, unable to express the warmth that was surrounding us all.

Super generator for Erdman to feed us all. (Photo credit: Lee McClenon '14)

It is in these moment when one must realize that the small things that make us upset, the small things that show us the “cup half empty” are the moments to be over looked, to see that life is so much more than a lost bag, or a bad grade on an exam, or a comment someone said that upset us, or having a bad day. Life is more precious than dwelling on what lets us down, and life can be so harsh, yet if we try to look at the “bright side” we can see that there are bigger things in life, that life is unpredicted, and we need to be prepared, to be there for one another, and keep up the good faith.

Thank you to Public Safety, Facilities, Dining Services and Houskeeping, thank you for being there for us, for keeping us safe, warm and fed as much as you could. We could never thank you enough for all you do for us, every single day. And, don’t forget those who are still suffering from Sandy, keep them in your thoughts and prayers, every little thought counts.

Until we meet again, Peace!