These are the things that don’t fit in any particular category, but fit into my life.

The Summers of Trips

In my last post, I mentioned that I will be heading to the Middle East this summer. I figured it was time to give a few details/background info on the trip!

In 2010, my family and I went to the Middle East for a relative’s wedding. It was my first time ever in the Middle East, especially the place where my family grew up– Ramallah, Palestine. It was truly a trip of a lifetime! We went all around Ramallah,  Sea of Galilee, Nazareth (where we had the best shwarma), the old city Jerusalem, Petra, and Amman Jordan.

Qubbat As-Sakhrah aka Dome of the Rock Mosque

The experience is something I will never forget and keep safe in my heart. So much happened and so many things were seen–good and bad. It made me proud to be Palestinian and see where my family grew up. And then to relate it to all the events that have happened in the West Bank, Israel, and Jordan was so interesting.

We are going back again for numerous family parties/gatherings and I am just as excited! We were going to try and visit different places, like Turkey or Egypt, but we decided to go back to Ramallah since other relative got engaged. Pack as many parties in while EVERYONE is here.

Did I mention that these are basically family reunions too? Yeah, aunts, uncles, cousins that I haven’t seen in awhile are coming too! And we are all soooo excited! I honestly cannot wait! I’m trying to work on speaking Arabic more (I’m so bad at it though. At least I’m trying, right?), getting all my outfits and clothes ready. Ah!! Just can’t wait!

The Beautiful Sea of Galilee

I truly hope I am able to post here a few times on the trip. Imma be busy with the family–aka no private/alone time, so we’ll see what I can do. But a relative owns a nice cafe in Ramallah that has wifi, so maybe it’ll be quick posts from my phone, with some pics…well LOTS of pics.

Speaking of pics, My guy and I did Bay to Breakers this past weekend. If you don’t know, Bay to Breakers is a 12k from the Embarcadero in SF to Ocean Beach on the end of Golden Gate Park. There are costumes, serious runners, naked people, and so much energy! It was the longest run I’ve ever done and the most fun!

I’m so glad I got to take part something as amazing as this and was able to run at least 5 miles of the 7 (it’s a 12k). Let’s hope I can improve even more on my next run!

Here is a pick of people on the famous Hayes Street Hill and a random waterfall in Golden Gate park.

Wait, a waterfall in San Francisco?

So many people on Hayes Street Hill on Bay to Breakers

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One Row Down…


My hair from this weekend in Santana Row.

Super cute, right? I loved it and I loved getting pampered. 🙂

Santana Row was great this weekend! The weather was great, the area was nice and fancy, and the company was fabulous. Hehehe. We went to 2 places at Santana Row: El Jardin Tequila Bar and Restaurant and Sino.

El Jardin was in the middle of the actual Santana Row and was an open restaurant– it wasn’t in a building, just outside. I liked that, since the day was so nice. You could people watch, check around the area for stores that might be interesting, while listening to their Latin inspired music. There were also some TVs showing basketball games and a random movie that I couldn’t recognize.

El Jardin’s outside restaurant in Santana Row.

We got to sit at the bar area, which were basically just high tables around the place. The Bottomless chips and salsa were our snack of choice. We would have gotten the guacamole, but it was $11. Yes, this is Santana Row, where everything is expensive and fabulous! I guess we weren’t down to have fabulously expensive guacamole that I could have made just as easily for a lot cheaper.

None the less, I got a lovely Chambord Margarita- a take on sweet and salty flavors and the boy had Negra Modelo beer. The margarita was interesting and I really enjoyed the salty-sweet flavors, much different than any other margarita I’ve tried before. I’m not a huge sweet person, so it was nice to get a drink that wasn’t too sweet but still captured all the flavors.

My last comment about El Jardin, the salsa’s were not very spicy, a little disappointing, but not unexpected.


For dinner, we went to Sino, a Chinese fusion restaurant that turns into a night club in the evening. We made reservations online and they had all our information. The ambiance of the place was of a typical Asian Fusion restaurant: intimate lighting, wooden tables that looked ancient (in a classy way), and red being the dominant color. The chopsticks were red, the curtains were red, and lots of other red accents around the place.

Our first table we were seated at was close to the bar and a little lower than most restaurant tables. We decided to ask to be moved to a booth, though the hostess wasn’t as keen to our move. It ended up working out a lot better because it was toward the back of the restaurant and away from the bar. It was playing loud music and the boy and I wanted to be able to hear ourselves talk without yelling.

Our waiter was great and very attentive, checking up on us numerous times and always giving advice when we had questions. One of his best advice was the White Lychee Sangria. We got a carafe of that, which had apples, pineapples, oranges, lemons, and lychee with white wine. Tons of fruit, tons of sweet, tons of flavor, and dangerous if you drank too much–my favorite!

We got Shanghai Dumplings as an appetizer, which were dumplings in a silver cupcake holder of sorts. Inside was pork, garlic, black vinegar and ginger, with the sauce being soy sauce with ginger slices. I loved the flavor, though with them being cooked in the silver cupcake holders, they were a bit soggy, making it messy to eat. Lucky for me, I never mind a little mess when eating. And it didn’t get on my dress! 🙂

We then shared Hong Kong Crispy noodles (scallops, shrimp, crab, shiitake mushrooms, and bok choy) and Szechuan chicken (chicken, golden peas, squash, and a chili garlic sauce). Both were very tasty and the portions were perfect for us not to get too full. Again the chili garlic sauce was not as spicy as we would have liked, but everything had good flavor and was cooked perfectly. Nothing dry and nothing undercooked.

Over all, it was a good weekend. We walked around the row a bit more before we headed out, which was nice. Santana Row may be a bit too pricy for me right now, but it still had a nice laid-back feel to it. And there is never anything wrong to splurge a little and celebrate life (or a belated birthday. :p)

Categories: Food, Life, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Effects of Movies and Music

“The wind talks back… my bones are shifting in my skin, and you my love are gone.”

This quote is from a song by Ingrid Michaelson called The Chain, which you can see here:

It’s by far my favorite song of Ingrid Michaelson.  The lyrics are relatable to people who’ve been through heartbreak and the desire of taking that previous lover back.  I definitely have been there.  But that’s not what gets me about this song, it’s how the music is composed and how intense it is, and yet so simply.

This song includes a musical composition called a round. Most people know what it is because they’ve done it in elementary school with songs like “Row, row row your boat,” and “Are you sleeping, are you sleeping, brother John…”  But for those of you that are unsure, a round is when more than two voices sing a melody but begin at different times while still maintaining a harmonious fit.

If you listen to the song, you can here the music building throughout the round, and all the voices are doing are singing the same thing louder than softer, and yet it has such a dramatic effect.  I always get chills when I hear this song, ESPECIALLY with the cello! (The live version of the song, which is above, has it.  The recorded one does not.) I just love how strong this song has an effect on me when it’s quite a simple song.  But that’s what’s great about Ingrid Michaelson.  She’s an artist that seems to understand less is more.

The Fighter seems to have done that to me as well.  I just saw the movie roughly twenty minutes ago and I was completely drawn to it and completely… how should I say this… emotional after watching it.

If you don’t know the movie, here is the wikipedia article on it:  It’s about this fighter, who struggles in the ring and with his family.  And they have a WHOLE lot of problems.  It’s a very good movie, and Christian Bale was spectacular in it.

When I compare how the song effected me like the movie, I in no way am saying that this movie is simply, because it’s not where close to that.  But a single moment, a single action can effect you so strongly in a movie.  This movie had MANY of those scenes.  I don’t want to give anything away, but there were many arguments and fights in that movie, but the ones that seemed to affect me the most were the ones that seemed so real to me.

I’m being very vague because I’m not really sure how strong the effect of this movie was on me.  I didn’t cry, but I felt emotional.  I felt sad and hopeful all at the same time.  It was like I could relate to this movie, even though I’m not a fighter, a crack head, or a white, christian family in Boston.

Music and many movies have this strong effect on me sometimes to where I just feel inspired, compassionate, and just FEEL in general.  They help me think about my life, what I’m doing with it, what’s good and bad about it, and how thankful I should be for everything.

I think that’s why I named my Blog “The Wind Talks Back.”  It’s a lyric of a song I really like, but it’s also a symbol of life and how there is more than one way for someone or something to talk to you and make an impact on your life.  That’s how music and some movies are to me.  They make an impact on my life and let me see how everything else in my life has done so too.

It’s not just my loved ones talking back to me, but the wind talks back too. And it is just as important to know what it has to say.

Categories: Life, Music | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Hello Blog World!

St. James Cathedral

The end point of El Camino de Santiago

Hello Blog world! This is my first public blog and I am quite excited about it!  I don’t have anything real specific to talk about besides my life, but there are some things I plan on discussing more than others.  Some interests are food, cooking, singing, music, friends, family, and traveling!

Speaking of traveling (I guess I’ll start with that!), as much as I’d like to say I saw the picture above in person, I did not.  The lucky person to have done a portion of this walk and saw this amazing structure is my boyfriend.  Just last week, after two weeks in Spain, he finally finished El Camino de Santiago and was able to see this.  I love traveling to new countries, cities, neighborhoods…traveling in general! But unfortunately, I was not able to go anywhere too special this year– mainly because my family and I went to the Middle East last summer.  However, I am living my travel dreams vicariously through him this summer, as well as my sister!

Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey

This picture to the right is the Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey, where my sister is! I don’t know much about this, but I figure when I talk to her/ when she gets back, she’ll have loads to tell me about it.  Two very important people in my life are off traveling Spain and Turkey and I am stuck in the same old spot I’ve been stuck in for the past four years, yearning to get out! But, with friends here to keep my spirits up, it’s still been a great home to me.

I live in Davis, California, but I grew up in a suburb-like city of San Francisco.  Davis is NOTHING like San Francisco, which is the kind of city I was born to live in.  Davis embodies a small town and a college town–cuteness and crazy college kids all in one place.  It’s been great, but I’m ready for something new.

Well, this is my first attempt at blogging! I’m done for the night but I’ll be back soon!

Categories: Life, Travel | Leave a comment

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