I was born in a small village in Lebanon’s north. I saw almost the same faces every day and I knew that nothing was meant to stir after nightfall when we and the village slept. As peaceful as this might sound, it irked me greatly and I longed for movement, for change, for a world that does not sleep, for an energy that is unstoppable. I found that in the big city. I spent my teenage planning my way to move to a big city and to live in the middle of the whirlwind of humanity. Since then I have lived in Beirut, New York City and now Shanghai with several other city stops in between. I feel alive in the big city, I love its people, I am driven by its energy and it inspires me.
With the last New York post from this month, I am realizing how much of it is still in me. It has been one of the most personal months in my blog so far, so I will end it with a photo from then, from the time I was 21 and celebrating every single second I had in the city that never sleeps. We explored New York with so much openness, with inspiration, with joy, with boundless energy and that does something to you. I love photography because it captures moments that take you back, to feel, to remember to relive.
Spring goes so well with New York City I think! Newness, freshness, color, crispness, high energy, vibrancy, originality, creativity, Spring, are certainly words that go with it. I love New York in every season, but in the spring, I love it passionately!
I have been drawn to sports that involved moving fast and risking your neck since I was a very young child. I loved to water ski, snow ski, jump from very high places and skate. Growing up in Lebanon that was considered radical at the time, but determination to do what I wanted led me to push the limits of social tolerances. So, while in New York, I loved seeing skate boards on every street corner and rebellious teenagers zipping and flying by annoyed pedestrians. It just spelled for me the strong wish of young people to cause a change, to see a new world not dragged down by the old and to simply be free.
Don’t you love it when you find yourself so free in your mind to just break into a dance in the middle of a crowded park simply because you ‘feel’ it? Don’t you wish we could alway be reactive like children without the weight of inhibition and the shackles of self enforced rules of behavior?
Ask anyone who rides the subway for more than one hour a day and they will be sure to have some strange stories to tell you. I have a few. I realize that with this month’s postings a lot of memories and stories keep floating by, and that is because I left them there. On the subway at the age of 20 I met the first and hopefully last flasher. It was evening and I was engrossed in my Herman Hesse book ( Narcissus and Goldmund) not realizing that I was alone in the subway car after everyone filtered out, when I felt a shadow looming in front of me. I Looked up and there was the classic open raincoat with an extraordinarily large man standing in front of me exhibiting his pride. Funny how react in expected situations, and me being totally caught off-guard, I cried. Then I ran to pull the emergency brakes which caused the train to stop, the doors to open, the giant man to run away and I was directed to another car with people in it. I was then hugged by a big bosomed African American lady who giggled and said: “relax darlin’, that was entertainment for free!”
And there were the other stories, but one is enough…
When you live in a big city with very tall buildings and millions of people, you find yourself focused on the immediate area around you, navigating the ocean of people, avoiding the cars and bike zipping by and keeping close watch on any impending danger that you forget to look up. I remember that we could always tell if someone was a tourist in New York because they looked up!