A country I could call home

Galway, Ireland On the 4th of August, in Beirut, something horribly horrific happened.My heart didn’t break on this fatidic day.It crushed and pulverized in a million pieces. My heart was already breaking for over a decade; the fist tear happened when I was born, in the mid 80s, from the ashes of the civil war.  GrowingContinue reading “A country I could call home”

Wild foods for wild times

Glasgow, Scotland Living in this part of the world, when good weather comes you know to make the most of it. Usually, this means scanning the seven-day forecast and plotting trips to the mountains or coast as soon as a chance of sunshine reveals itself. Currently, the geographic boundaries of opportunity are somewhat smaller- anContinue reading “Wild foods for wild times”

The year the music paused

Nashville, USA When I first penned this piece I titled it – The Year the Music Paused, as a play on the Don McLean song –The Day the Music Died. In it, I wrote about the impact of COVID-19 on Nashville and my life here with my husband as a musician.  I wrote about how I’veContinue reading “The year the music paused”

Lockdown: A journey in emotions

Ottawa, Canada OptimismWhen my partner and I went on lockdown on March 13, I had just come back from a work trip to Toronto one week earlier. I was attending a large conference hosted by the Canadian food service industry. Thousands of participants were in attendance, including large numbers of food producers, restaurants, and bars.Continue reading “Lockdown: A journey in emotions”

See-sawing between gratitude and hopelessness

Philadelphia – Boston – Dubai – Islamabad  I was in tears while on hold with Emirates. During a span of 48 hours, I had gone from reassuring fellow international students at UPenn and saying we should stay put in Philadelphia to changing my flight ticket twice. First, I bought a ticket home for the endContinue reading “See-sawing between gratitude and hopelessness”

Houston, we have a problem

Houston, United States By Ansam Sinjab Entering week six of work-from-home, week 10-ish of social distancing (depends when you started to take things seriously in this country), week four of my Nike Training Club fitness program, day six of my guided mediation program (last one was two weeks ago), day 20 of not watching Trump’sContinue reading “Houston, we have a problem”

The Blackbird Show

Madrid, Spain A concrete planter next to the subway is no decent home compared to the coniferous forest, the blackbird’s natural habitat. But these are the kind of situations you have to deal with when you grow up in a city like Madrid, where housing price is absolutely nuts. March is the month in whichContinue reading “The Blackbird Show”

Go Home, Stay Home

From Maine to London Days before the quarantine became mandatory, Nils, my British fiancé, spotted the homemade sign taped to a second floor window in the block of brick flats across the lane. “Go Home, Stay Home” it read, in colored pencil. We could see it from our kitchen. I’d caught glimpses of a womanContinue reading “Go Home, Stay Home”

Them changes in Minneapolis

Minneapolis, United States In the brief moment that Thanos snapped his fingers to bring the demise of the Avengers in Endgame, is how quickly the social activities dissolved.  Many of us hoped this year would be the year; a year for expansion of travelling and seeing different sights. A year which might have seen usContinue reading “Them changes in Minneapolis”

Inaaya’s life under lockdown

London, United Kingdom Hello. My name is Inaaya Shah. I am an 11 year old girl living in coronavirus-affected England. Life here has changed a lot for me. School has shut down for one. You might think that’s perfect for me but it is not. You see, I’m in year 6 at school. I wasContinue reading “Inaaya’s life under lockdown”

Reflections from a London household

London, England ‘It’ all seemed so far away – China! And even when ‘it’ reached Italy, maybe having decided on Brexit, it was ‘over there and we felt removed from any threat. But….. we are all connected’ and this ‘Runway’ disease knows no borders. The Lockdown though, we should have anticipated it (other than toiletContinue reading “Reflections from a London household”

Confinamiento

Mexico City, Mexico Here we are in May 2020, in Mexico City, living the same confinement as everyone else. It has been six weeks already and I anticipate another eight weeks to start resuming activities. I am experiencing this pandemic with my family – my husband and three children – Luisa, 5 years old, Simone,Continue reading “Confinamiento”

Frontline to Backline

From the UK to the Persian Gulf I’ve spent 14 years working for the NHS. Spent a variety of years tasting many specialities spending days and nights walking along various hospital corridors. After this I decided to become a general practitioner and for the last nine years this is what I did until 14th FebruaryContinue reading “Frontline to Backline”

Every cloud has a silver lining

Toronto, Canada Go Train schedules, traffic jams, changing seasons, pressing deadlines, and take-out dinners. This is the day to day life in Toronto and much of the Greater Toronto Area (the suburbs outside the city). The COVID-19 pandemic caught us off guard. Usually when world-wide events happen, in this part of the world we tendContinue reading “Every cloud has a silver lining”

Lahore in Lockdown

Lahore, PakistanSpring brings out the best in Lahore, the city of gardens, of ancient architecture, of culture and heritage. In the last decade especially, the academic scene in Lahore has boomed manifold. Spring has been an usherer of all things creative and positive, like Lahore’s first biennale in 2018. Come spring and Lahore hosts itsContinue reading “Lahore in Lockdown”

Freetown

Freetown, Sierra Leone April 2020 Sierra Leone had been the only country in the West and Central Africa region without a case of COVID-19 – that’s out of 24 countries and something to be proud of. But on March 31, things rapidly changed when the President, in a nationwide broadcast, made an announcement that theContinue reading “Freetown”

Colorado to California

California, United States This ‘break’ was never expected nor called for. I was busy with my schoolwork – graduate school has been nothing but all work – when we got an email that there was a suspected case on campus and students would be taking their classes online until further notice. Until then I hadContinue reading “Colorado to California”

Dancing out of the lockdown

Islamabad, Pakistan It was March 18, 2020 when I realized I had been at home for two full days, avoiding any social interaction. My movement inside the house involved going from my bed to my sofa and then back. It took me a day to mess up my sleep cycle, and while I was workingContinue reading “Dancing out of the lockdown”

There are no foreigners in a lockdown

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia By Saqib Sheikh The world is in a state of harmonized chaos. A calamitous tumble of the economy and global order is visible through empty streets and vacant parks, not protests or violence. It is peaceful, yes, but an eerie peace that has been forced upon us. The Coronavirus has thus provenContinue reading “There are no foreigners in a lockdown”

Art in a time of Corona

Beirut, Lebanon I’m an artist from Britain, and have lived in Beirut, Lebanon for the past ten years. My home is in Gemmayzeh, a neighbourhood near ‘The Ring’ bridge at Tabaris and Martyrs Square, the central square of Beirut. Just three months ago, these locations were the epicenter of the Lebanese protest movement which beganContinue reading “Art in a time of Corona”

The shower dilemma

Paris, France I would have never imagined that the number one topic of discussion with my friends would one day be about how often we are showering. Two weekends ago, I started this discussion with some friends on a group video call. Ever since, we have been keeping each other updated of our shower time,Continue reading “The shower dilemma”

Fables

Toronto, Canada  There was this village, a farming village. It was not so big, not too small. Farmers there grew all sorts of crops: rice, wheat, maize, eggplant, lentils. And there was always plenty of food to go around. One day the rains did not come. Then another day, then a week. The farmers beganContinue reading “Fables”

Self-discipline in quarantine

Pennsylvania, United States It was the first week of March when I watched a documentary about life under lockdown in the Wuhan province of China. I empathized with the people living under the constant threat of Covid-19 but not even for a second did I think of being in the same situation sometime in theContinue reading “Self-discipline in quarantine”

Shock, Humour, Acceptance

Lahore, Pakistan The shock: It started as a dreadful email, informing us about the closure of university. It came as a shock to final year students who were busy planning their last two months at university. The awaited delights like the grad-trip, photoshoots and the final goodbyes.We were too oblivious of what was happening aroundContinue reading “Shock, Humour, Acceptance”

One step beyond

Pisa, Italy “When in April the sweet showers fallThat pierce March’s drought to the root and allAnd bathed every vein in liquor that has powerTo generate therein and sire the flower;When Zephyr also has with his sweet breath,Filled again, in every holt and heath,The tender shoots and leaves, and the young sunHis half-course in theContinue reading “One step beyond”

Accidental pandemic mini-break that should have never have happened

Aberdeen, Scotland & Colombo, Sri Lanka My feelings are mixed about what is probably the last “adventure” I will have for a long time. (When I say adventure, I am not including whatever spiritual and mental journeys we are all supposed to be making during the lockdown, according to the online influencers and self-righteous lifeContinue reading “Accidental pandemic mini-break that should have never have happened”