Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

Again, it is the time of year when we look back at the past 12 months. It’s not something I like doing, preferring instead to always live in the moment and look forward to the future.

It’s a pity that fresh years start in January, just after Christmas. Most of us are broke after the holiday spending spree and the weather is cold and gloomy in most of the northern hemisphere.

While living in London, this period was always the most difficult of the year. With very short days, it seemed like never-ending grayness until the first blackbirds announced that spring is in the offing and daffodils will soon be in flower.

Although I can’t remember any one year that was exceptional – well, maybe 2007 -- I find it difficult to say the rest were all good or all bad. There are always the ups, the downs and the in-betweens. And 2010 is no different. There were some slippery slopes, but still a lot to be thankful about.

With Lydia in the summer of 1983
The year began on a sad note. I bade farewell to my friend Lydia Georgi, with whom I worked for more than 25 years. I was able to spend four days with her in Beirut in January and was there again in February for her funeral. It’s a great shock to bid farewell to your peers and puts much of your own life into perspective.

And 2010 didn’t pick up after that. With Dubai still reeling from the effects of the global recession, work has been slow and selling my flat in Dubai Marina even slower.

But I am not one to dwell on the glass that is half-empty. Looking through the glass that's half-full, 2010 has been good because my family and friends are in good health, which is a blessing. And although I haven’t seen my brother Emile and his family for four years, my sister Asma and I were able to spend three weeks together in Beirut in November. Having both returned to base in Dubai and Cannes since, we can still talk and see each other and our brother through Skype on an almost daily basis.

The past year has also been good in that I have met so many people in Dubai, Beirut and the rest of the world through Twitter. A lot of them are now good friends and it’s a community where we help and support each other. I was overwhelmed by the welcome I got in Beirut in November and by how many of my Twitter friends went out of their way to meet me. This virtual world gets more real by the day and I thank you for being there.

Until something else comes along, Twitter is a wonderful and exciting extension to my days. It’s been a meeting place, a café of sorts, a school of ideas and a university on nearly every subject. I hope it survives for a while or is overtaken by a platform that is just as useful and friendly.

Mich Café by Kinan Jarjous (@jarofjuice,
But my godsend in 2010 was to create Mich Café last July. Thanks to you, my readers, and to your encouragement and support, it has become my compass point. While apprehensive at first as to what I would write and who would read my scribbling anyway, I now enjoy writing every word that goes into this blog.

...and by Rasha (@Lebanesevoices,

I am constantly looking around for the next post and sifting through experiences, memories and albums for moments to share. It is a relentless search for subjects that sometimes mean digging deep within, hoping you will continue to share them with me. Each comment I get and each time you share my posts makes it all worthwhile.

I dive into 2011 hoping Mich Café will continue to attract your time and attention. I rarely make new resolutions at this time of year, but this blog calls for an exception and I will continue to put my heart into every single post.

My wish for the coming year is to land a sponsor or some advertising that will allow me to blog full-time. I love writing about the beautiful Middle East and the Gulf -- our culture, customs, people, foods… It’s a dream and my goal is to make it happen.

I hope, come next December, to write a post saying what a great year it has been!

Thank you for reading Mich Café. You, the readers, are Mich Café! I wish you good health, peace of mind, fun times, love and happiness in 2011. Let us strive to make it a year to remember.