Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Boxing Day2

Yey! I'm so proud of myself I made it to Day2 at the gym. Yes, an achievment to a person that enjoys spending money on yearly membership at almost every gym in Bahrain and visits it for a day or two all year!
Okay, I won't get over excited and aim to make it to day 30 =)

Highlights of the day:
- Upon arrival, the instructor asked us to write on the wall. Anything we want. I grabbed a spray bottle and wrote (Jump!) right beneath the long mirror I face when excercising.
- We had the usual fitness routine that felt harder today as we had to repeat them faster & we had to fake climbing the mountain
- I noticed that I started punching the bag harder and faster. My movement while boxing improved too.
- My stomach aches now as I had to do multiples of sit-ups
- I like how I suddenly became consious of my dinner habbits. How I think twice before nibbling on a piece of cake or any leftovers in the fridge.
- Dinner today was a bowl of Yoghurt and plenty of water

Can't wait for Day3

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Boxing- Day 1

I can't believe that I have finally attended my First boxing session at the Gym. My work friend has been going there for over three weeks and I have seen her body transform and shape up. I'm doing Mauy Thai ( still not sure of the spelling)
I'm weak with commitments, therefore my first promise to myself is to keep up the (3 times a week) schedule. So, I'm planning to post here the outcome of each session. How I felt before it & after!

Before Day1:
Dragging myself to make the first move. Giving myself excuses to why I couldnt attend the first session( I dont have sweat pants, invited to a party, have to drop mom to the airport... ) and the list went on. Until I promised my work friend that Sunday will be the day! She is a great support, kept on reminding me and telling me how committed she is now on going to the gym everyday! I guess I loved her passion the most. My cousin tagged along and off we drove to Sahel Gym in Budaiya

Day 1:
We arrived at 8 and started the warm up by walking around the room. The instructor asked us to run, but we couldnt at the time so we tried to walk faster and pretend to run :)
The fitness routine was fun to do. The best part was punching the bag with all your power! Never knew hitting something was that good;) no wonder men fight all the time :)

Outcome: happy, proud that I finally made it to the gym. Worried if I will keep my promise and go to Day2.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Laugh together

They say that (People who laugh together, Stay together). What do you say then about the people who have been laughing together for the past 10 years? And in the most random places like Sudan!

I feel blessed when I look back at 10 years I spent at Zain Bahrain. Proud of whom I have become and proud of all the friends I laughed with.

My story with Zain started back in 2003 on a summer afternoon when I was walking down the registration area at University of Bahrain trying to get my transcript verified for a job I had accepted in an Auditing firm. I passed by a group of young and energized people giving away red and royal blue caps with (MTC-Vodafone) logo on top. I was pulled in to attend the conference held by their HR team to explain to students what the company was all about. ‘I can spare a few minutes for this. Let me sit at the back so I can sneak out if it gets boring' - I was thinking to myself as I walked into the hall.
Leaving that room after around an hour, looking around for the head of HR (Salwa) to hand her my CV after falling in love with what they said! Yes, It was Love at first sight. A moment that changed the path I had been working on for 4 years in college. She tells me that the company is not looking for accountants, instead for customer services and sales agents. I straight away told her, get me into customer services. I want to get into the company from any door, and then I will find my way into a suitable position.
Everyone thought I gambled with my future and took a wrong decision by letting go a well paying job to an entry level position in an irrelevant field of a startup company.
Despite the harsh feedback I got, I was super excited about going to Crowne Plaza everyday for almost three months with all the new recruits to be trained on Telecommunication technologies, terms, trouble shooting, systems, and much more. The excitement came from my passion to start up and set up something from scratch. I find myself all the time, dreaming of something and waking up the next day trying to achieve it. I succeed sometimes and in other times I feel happy that my brain thought of something as unique as that at least :)

Months have passed, experiences piling up from my experience with Customer Services in the morning time, then rushing up to the Marketing department to help them with (ANYTHING) they might need after my working hours. I used to stay till 10 & 11 pm daily and even work during the weekends with a wide grin on my face :)
It was then that I found out that (Product Development) in (Marketing) is where I belong.
..... To be continued

Sunday, May 12, 2013

@ MD Anderson - Part 4 (Volunteers & a BIG supportive family)

Being a patient at MD Anderson turns you & your caregiver into a big family with other patients & their caregivers, doctors, nurses, workers, security, volunteers and more.

This blog is dedicated to every one of them. Thank You for making our journey as delightful as possible despite the pain, homesick, worries of cancer & the rest of the cancer worry list.

 Imagine walking one day into your hospital and seeing it filled with jade green & purple balloons all over! Wouldn't that put a surprise-smile on your tired face? It sure did. We were very happy to see that the whole hospital is celebrating patients & CAREGIVERS! How cool is that? 

Below is a picture for two sweet volunteers that roamed around the hospital with big smile on their faces, giving free turbans and head covers to patients whilst taking their chemo session.

Here are some pictures from the different activities.
Scattered tables with free gifts & cards for survivors and caregivers

 The card baskets for everyone to pick a free card that has been designed by kids and volunteers.

 Free biscuits ( All year round, and not just during the celebration week)

The store selling MD Anderson related merchandise from Tshirts, magnets, notebooks, mugs, and much more

How cool are these volunteers? I wish our youth generation take an hour or more from their busy time to spread a smile to those in need in their own capacity.
Let us put hands together to share the similar experience at different hospitals in our areas. You can make a difference in their tough journey, start now!
Share the link with others

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quick & Healthy meals

I woke up this morning with the determination to have a healthy day. Not wanting to have my usual toasted cheese sandwich, I looked around for healthier options. And just like every other thing I cook, it usually takes me a minute to pick the ingredients & 2 more to cook them together.

I made a healthy oatmeal porridge-like mix that was based on low fat milk, a spoon of honey, a spoonful of chopped almonds & pistachios , and a sprinkle of cinnamon & cardimom - all mixed together on light fire.

Well, it feels good to finally have a (tasty) healthy meal afterall!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Amwaj Farah - Part Two

The team of Ahlia University recieved their briefing by Injaz on Thursday, and came today to class to kick- off the first session of (Ripples of Happiness) regional competiton.

I still cannot get over the awkward feeling from walking into what once used to be the coolest hangout and the spot where I saw most of the movies. It's amazing how the place turned into a UNIVERSITY all of a sudden. Funny

Anyhow, the team arrived late and this is not a good start. Time is money and it needs to be respected by the future generation of Bahrain.
Oh well, we move to another shocking incident with what was supposed to be a very high tech classroom. Smart board aparently turned out to be not so smart :-) No internet, No laptop, No Projector, No white board pens.... I think to myself (Now What? How on earth will I present what I prepared?)
Being an ex-girl scout, we live by the foundation rule of (Be prepared) & Make do with what you got 'cause the show must go on  - so, I start getting to know the team and try to break-the-ice.

At first, I spoke about InJaz & Coca Cola. Then we discussed the importance of CSR and the vital role it plays in the business-life nowadays. How companies like TOMS relied on CSR to market their brand globally.
At Ripples of Happiness, each team member is supposed to talk about his/her life map. A one minute about their name, age, current studies and future aspirations.

Mine was a bit dramatic to them (I guess) - Here is  summary:
A Science Secondary graduate, who then studied at UOB, Accounting for it was the most challenging, then decided to work at MTC-Vodafone at any available job just to be in Marketing someday. Born in Lebanon, Lived in Bahrain, Turkish Grandmother & Name, represented Bahrain in the National Team for Table Tennis in 1996, School Champion in Table Tennis for 5 years in a row since 1994, lived in Sudan for 100 days, got my Executive MBA from Duke University in the States then worked for Motorola for 4 months - to say the least

I am so excited to be with them, and to volunteer to support such an energetic program.
Let us hope they come up with innovative CSR project ideas next week

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Amwaj Fara7 - Part 1

Ripples of Happiness, A term I am trying to learn about as it will be my upcoming volunteer project.
I have been nominated by InJaz Bahrain to volunteer at a Bahraini University to deliver this exciting Social Development program called (Ripples of Happiness) or as translated to (Amwaj Farah).

My role will be to run a class once a week for a period of 6 consecutive weeks at a university for around 25 students that have been pre-selected to participate in this fun program that is funded by Coca - Cola as part of their CSR initiative around the Arab Wolrd.

The program aims to develop students' Social Consciousness and help them improve their community in a fun and innovative way.
The students will get together to represent their university in the nation-wide competition and then be judged and voted for winning at the regional competition in terms of creativity, scalability and usefulness of their idea
All of that will be achieved in a very fun atmosphere and with great emphasis on the role of Social Media  - as described ( they will become socially active towards the community, creating happiness for themselves and for the lives they touch.)

Oh well, I must look for exciting ice-breaking activities and some mind-blowing initiatives that my team can benefit from & hopefully win the local and international competition.

Here is a link for the website. http://www.ripplesofhappiness.com/microsite/en/university.php?id=4

Feel Free to post some ideas & do share any social/community project you may feel is worth exploring. The more relevant we are the more chances we get for winning.

I am inspired today!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

We Love Chemo

There was a time when I feared the word (Cancer). I tried as much as possible not read about it,  not to say it, not to even ask my closest friends or family members about it.
Recklessly thinking that doing so will keep it away from me & all the ones I love & care about.

I was wrong.

The first victim of (Cancer)  has been sweet little (Nadine). My cousin's 14 year old daughter who's pure soul & face never left my father's wallet for as long as I remembered. I grew up hearing her story and loving her so much even though I never saw her as she passed away a few years before I was born.
Her struggle introduced me to this awful disease and ever since, the word (cancer) is linked to the darkest memories.

Life moved on, and so did we. Though, the love we had to those we lost never left our heart. It grew bigger day by day. May god rest their souls in peace.

30 years later, life challenged my family with another (Cancer) story. This time affecting a 19 year old angel that is so dear to my heart.

I have been struggling for 2 weeks to find the right words that can express what I felt , but I found none. So I will keep the blog blank for now and move on to the part where I urge each one of you not be like me!
Read more about Cancer. Ask. Be comfortable about it. Know deep in your heart that everything happens for a reason, no matter how sad or angry you may feel about it, there is always a (hikma) behind it. We may never realize it at the time, but we will eventually.

Chemo sounds like the end of the world for us; It supresses the immune system, kills active cells in our bodies and destroys the hair & nails. However the reality is, it supresses the growth of Cancer & therefore, we should be thankful for chemo & for the brains behind finding the best combinations of it.

Cancer has 4 main stages. Each stage requires a different set of meds. Some Cancers require a set of Radio therapy to shrink the tumors in the early stages. Other Cancers require a combination, while the higher stages cuts it directly to Chemo.
MD Anderson introduces Proton Therapy too. Something I personally never heard about until I saw it Houston. It's the friendlier version of Radio Therapy as they explained. Here is a link about it incase you want to read more about it. http://www.mdanderson.org/patient-and-cancer-information/proton-therapy-center/index.html

Be safe. Be strong. Be thankful

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Inspired by the Office Boy

Studied Accounting in a reputable university for 4 years, graduated with honor & top of class - life gets cruel and makes him leave home & family to come work in Bahrain as an Office Boy. This is the story of Anil who will always be remembered. Especially that he was my inspiration to persue an MBA degree.

One hot summer morning, I decided to walk into our small kitchen at work to make my own coffee. Anil steps up to make it. I ask him not to bother as I'm already on it. Instead I asked if he was alright as he seemed worried. He told me that we were very similar as we both earned a bachelors degree in Accounting but my luck got me into Marketing with a good pay and his luck got him this simple job away from his family.

Count your blessings everyone & be thankful for living between your family. Look around you for inspirations to progress as you move on.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

2Mins Recipe - Cinnamon & Cardamom Paratha

Whether you're having a few friends over for dinner or a need to satisfy a sweet - tooth craving... Here is a quick recipe for a delicious quick n crispy dessert

I invented it in 2 minutes. I Really recommend it for your ghabga's in Ramadhan.
All you need is a bag of frozen (paratha's), sugar, cinnamon & cardamom. Whipped cream to garnish.
In a small pan, heat a partha and keep flipping it on low fire. Once it turns pink, sprinkle sugar to each side. Stay flipping them till both sides get crispy. Apply a hint of Cardamom & Cinnamon before serving.

I highly recommend serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Bon Appetit

Thursday, January 17, 2013

@MD Anderson #Houston (Part Two)

Going to Houston anytime soon? For medical treatment or study, here is my Houston Guide

1-      Weather
The weather in Houston is somehow similar to Bahrain. It rains a lot in the Winter & storms may disrupt electricity so watch out for the weather every day. If you're packing, make sure to pack two heavy jackets and one rain coat. Also, get a closed shoes & many casual tracksuits. Don’t over pack, as you will find many good options to buy at amazing prices & awesome quality.

2-      Places to stay
      I recommend that you stay at (Domain At Kirby) . The Address is( 1333 old Spanish trail, Zipcode 77054) it is 7 minutes away from the Medical Center and is very close to a pharmacy, a bank, a phone shop and the two most important grocery shops.
You should contact the leasing office mentioned below, and sign with them if you want a furnished appt its approximately ($3000) a month for a two bedroom fully furnished room.
Step one: Email this lady mjmclean@corplodge.com and mthomas@corplodge.com  and give her the dates of your travel so she can check the availability.

3-      To Shop
 Daily Grocery: Fresh Fruits& Veggies & Arabic stuff from FIESTA. Across the road from the apartment. You can get quick stuff from Walgreens, CVS too. Kroger is best for their delicious Roasted Chicken, quick sushi & dumplings and other gourmet groceries. Get your organic grocery from WHOLE FOODS on Kirby Drive.
Home stuff: FIESTA & Target
Halal Arabic Grocery & Meat (Al Quds)
Clothes : Casual, Brands for less at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack. Walmart & Target has day to day clothing & PJs
Premium Outlet: an hour away by Car.
Galleria: Largest Mall in Texas. Across the road there’s a plaza that has Nordstrom rack, Marshals and Old Navy. Across the road there’s DSW ( Discount Shoes Warehouse) - visit the Container Store for home stuff.

4-      Your Financials
      Open a current account in Chase. The most convenient bank in the area. Visit the one on (Main St) which is a 2 minute walk from the Apartment. I personally like their service & the fact that their ATM is located inside the hospital is very safe. I can withdraw & deposit cash safely & easily there. 
The same current account can have two ATM cards, if you want to share the account with someone.
Give the account details to your family in Bahrain to transfer you money. The bank will charge you $15 each time you get a bank transfer. You can also receive amounts by Money Gram (in Walgreens) or Western Union (in Kroger)
You will need an ATM to pay for your petrol! So get one quickly J
Try to hold 2 $20 maximum in your wallet. Don’t walk around with more than that! Be careful when you are withdrawing cash, try to use the one in the Hospital as I felt its safer than the ones on the road

5-      To Communicate
I used T-Mobile during my stay. It is located near the Bank on Main St. which is also a walking distance from the apartment. Look for ABEL. Tell him you know PAKIZA. You will have to pay $60 (+tax) if you require a Blackberry service. If you need a normal prepaid sim then ask them for the cheapest option. If you feel you are going to stay for over a year, then get a postpaid package that gives you a free phone and a yearly commitment.

6-      Internet
Most places have WiFi so as an option, you can take the prepaid voice simcards & use WiFi if you have a Samsung or an iPhone to use whatsapp, Viber, Tango or Skype for example.
Use GPS on your smartphone. Google the address of the place you want to go to, copy paste the address on the Map and zoom in as much as possible. By the time you're driving, the blue dot will move with your car, along the route of the pre-downloaded route. This works without WiFi or 3G service.
7- Important Addresses: (Will post a full review on the restaurants at a later blog)

  • Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center, Houston, TX 77096, USA
  • Premium Outlets 29300 Hempstead Rd #400, Cypress, TX, United States  +1 281-304-5820 () · premiumoutlets.com
  • Jerusalem Halal Meats 3330 Hillcroft Street, Houston, TX, United States  +1 713-784-2525 () · jhmeats.com
  • Cedar's Bakery 8619 Richmond Avenue, Houston, TX, United States  +1 713-706-4141 () · cedarsbakeryhouston.com
  • Mantra Fine Indian (Halal) 15295 Southwest Frwy, Sugar Land, TX, United States  +1 281-325-0071 () · mantraofsugarland.com
  • Fleming's Prime Steakhouse 2405 West Alabama Street, Houston, TX, United States +1 713-520-5959 () · flemingssteakhouse.com
  • Samurai Japanese & Sushi  5317 Bissonnet Street, Bellaire, TX, United States +1 713-432-1858 () · samuraisteakandsushi.net
  • Fadi's Mediterranean Grill  4738 Beechnut Street, Houston, TX, United States +1 713-666-4644 () · fadiscuisine.com
  • Cafe Caspian (Iranian) 12126 Westheimer Road #116, Houston, TX, United States +1 281-493-4000 () cafecaspian.com
  • Phoenicia Specialty Foods (Arabic Stuff & Buffet)  12141 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX, United States +1 281-558-8225 () · phoeniciafoods.com
  • Edwards Cinema   3839 Weslayan Street, Houston, TX, United States  +1 713-871-8955 () · regmovies.com
  • Pasha Turkish Restaurant   2325 University Boulevard, Houston, TX, United States +1 713-592-0020 () · epasha.com
  • Walmart Supercenter  2727 Dunvale Road, Houston, TX, United States  +1 713-977-2099 ()
  • The Chocolate Bar  2521 University Boulevard, Houston, TX, United States  +1 713-520-8888 () · theoriginalchocolatebar.com
  • Hermann Park  Outdoor walking area, fountain, Zoo, flowers, train, lake +1 281-233-1730 () · fly2houston.com

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

'The Violinist at the Metro Station'

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people.

The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

I am inspired by what I read & felt like sharing it with all of you...
Let's ask ourselves & reflect on the answers for a while: How many times do we pass by talented people, beautiful artwork, delicious food and pre-judge what we see, feel or taste due to its LOOKS! How many times a day/week/month do we pause our busy lifestyle to enjoy a simple meal, a cozy outing, a musical show without the need to pay an arm & a leg for it? Do we appreciate our blessings? Do we, truley?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

@MDAnderson #Houston (Part 1)

MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of the original three comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. It is both a degree-granting academic institution and a cancer treatment and research center located at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, United States.
For nine of the past 11 years, including 2012, MD Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in the "Best Hospitals" survey published in U.S. News & World Report.

The hospital is very comfortable, clean and spread over multiple buildings. It took us a while to get the hang of it. With the help of the mini maps and the extremly helpful staff/volunteers, we were able to commute smoothly. We sometimes had to take the golf carts to move from a building to another - it was fun to hear the nice stories of the drivers especially during Christmas where they would be wearing Santa Clause outfits & ring their little bells around the corners.

This is the main building. It is located on Holcombe street. Despite the thousands of cancer patients & caregivers that walk into this building daily, parking & transportation services are unmatched! You can either park your car in a large building, you can use the hospital shuttles that roam around the area (to hotels & appartments), use a cab or have your car parked via Valet parking service like no other! Extremly dedicated outsourced staff & very friendly to the extent that they would greet you every morning with your name and ask about you if they haven't seen you for a while. We can never forget the sweet ( Frey )

Before getting into the building, one can enjoy the scenery of the beautiful seasonal flowers. I believe it makes a great impact on the patients morale to see such amazing colors before or even during taking chemo.

I will have to conclude part one. Will take you all into a tour in the building & introduce you to some of the great staff there. Stay tuned