I am an English Arabic student named India who studied in Scotland, Syria and France and now lives in Lebanon. I graduated from the University of Edinburgh last summer with a degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. Sadly, this does not mean I can actually speak Arabic, so last September I moved to Lebanon, to write, read, improve my Arabic and meet some new people and at the moment I have no plans to leave. I currently live in Beirut with my boyfriend Everitte Barbee, an Arabic calligraphy artist, and work as a freelance writer and translator for a couple of local news sites. Lebanon is an amazing country: beautiful mountains, Mediterranean beaches, skiing in winter and white water rafting in summer, as well as all the Roman ruins and Crusader castles even the most ardent archeologist could ever desire. It also has a fascinating culture, a mixture of Middle Eastern and European influences, and a turbulent but equally fascinating history. I’m learning a lot on my adventures – if you’d like to join me read on…

50 thoughts on “About

  1. I would like to live for several months in an arabic country. This year I want to learn how to speak arabic, I only know a bit tunisian so far. I have been in Tunisia 16 times, 1 time in Egypt & I will follow your blog, so I can hear more about how life is for you in Beirut :)

    Best Regards, Frauke

    • Thanks Frauke. I would love to go to Tunisia, it looks so beautiful. The only problem is that I don’t understand North African Arabic very well at all – I visited Morocco a couple of years ago and ended up speaking French the whole time! After living for 4 months in Damascus and another 4 months here in Lebanon my Arabic is definitely Levantine. Still, I’d love to travel there at some point just to see the countryside – I enjoyed looking at all your photos of Tunisia.

      • Tunisia is wonderful – my fav country. I think I lost my heart somewhere between Sousse & Mahdia ;) North African countries all have their own dialect, it s hard to understand it if u only know Arabic. Thanks, I m glad you liked the photos :)

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. Sounds like you are living an interesting life at the moment – you must have lots to write about. Looking forward to reading more.

    • I know one place gone totally crazy over uhmmus, UK. All the supermarkets have their own range of uhmmus and you can get it everywhere there. It’s so nice to hear you found something home-like to you on your travel and even more so it apparently topped your expectations! The place looks real nice For me it’s nice to find something reminding me of home while staying abroad. Though if it’s a short visit or just couple of weeks travelling I don’t really long for anything home-like. But if I stay longer, several months, then I’m always delighted if I find Finnish candy or food, food makes me feel like home! When I was studying in UK, it was really relaxing to cook or bake something finnish. But it was also fun to act as finnish food ambassador for my friends and see that they actually enjoyed the tastes and food so dear to my finnish heart. Also reading something in finnish is another way to transfer myself momentarily to Finland. And with something I mean book or magazine, not online..

    • Thank you so much! What a lovely surprise to wake up to – you’ve just made my week!
      I’m at work at the moment, but can’t wait to blog about it when I get home. Thank you!

  3. Hi,
    Thank you for liking my posts. :-) I like your blog and definitely love your profile picture, such an inspiration!

    I hope we could follow each other to keep the light of inspiration aflame..



  4. Love your blog! Stunning photos and very well-written posts about a life I can only imagine. I also started taking Arabic classes, but I’ve decided that until I can commit myself to living in an Arabic-speaking country and truly dedicate myself to that language, I’m going to focus on the blog, the banjo, and an upcoming book about my first year in China. Look forward to reading more of your adventures and it’s a pleasure to meet a fellow world traveling woman!

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It’s certainly necessary to live in an Arabic speaking country to learn a lanmguage like Arabic – as I’m sure you can imagine having been in China for a year! That said Lebanon is not ideal in that respect. Lots of fun in other ways though. When is your book coming out? I’d love to read it.

    • Just came across your blog and have read only a few posts but so far I love you style of winrtig and find your topics quite interesting =).. what’s your background? how long have you been living in Lebanon?

  5. Thanks for visiting my blog, it brought me to yours and made me see Beruit in a completely different way then what we see on news channels in America. My husband lived in Cyprus for some time and visited Beruit, he loved the food!

    • Thanks, I’m glad you like it. The food is amazing here, definitely worth coming for in its own right. It would be interesting to see what Lebanon looks like from an American news POV. In the UK it’s just not on the news really, unless it’s something to do with war. It is such a shame how many amazing things about this country are never shared with the rest of the world.

      • Yuval, for me the food is not something which gives me a small comofrt zone outside of my country. I prefer authentic food from the country if I’m go visiting and exploring other regions in the world. Usually the local food is much better and I enjoy trying new things as these kind of restaurants are mostly expensive at home.Of course when staying abroad for months on end I would probably crave homeland specialities.For me meeting people from my country gives me a comfy feeling like being at home as I have to speek English (which is not my mother tongue) when travelling. English is no problem but after some time I love being around people who speak the same language and have similar backgrounds for some hours or even only minutes.Otherwise feeling like home is when getting the chance to visit local families, perhaps even stay overnight at their home to learn about their culture, daily live and food. If you get one of these meals you really feel like you visit some friends who try to offer their best dish they know how to cook, that’s something I just love.

    • Thank you! That’s just the kick I needed to get me going again – I’ve been so busy the past few weeks that I’ve let the blog slide, but I’m hoping to give it the attention it deserves again from next week.

  6. I know how you feel. I’m from the Philippines but have lived, studied and wkored in Singapore, the US and now the Netherlands. I moved here for my grad studies, and never came across any of my countrymen in my university! But I made so many good friends of various nationalities so it didn’t matter. I have to agree though that one of the most effective ways to conjure up the image/atmosphere of home is through food. The way food evokes emotions and nostalgia is quite unparalleled. Unfortunately, there are no Filipino restaurants here so once in a while, I cook them myself and let my friends try it (so far, 100% satisfaction rate ). I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago and cooked a Filipino dinner for three French friends anyway, I digress Other than food, I’d say music has the ability to do the same thing too, but still, nothing compares to food as it touches on different senses. The sense of smell, sight and taste as the obvious ones, and maybe even touch too with the food’s texture and hearing when you hear the sound it makes when being cooked.

    • Thank you! That’s great – I’m away in India visiting my grandad at the moment and keep meaning to update but haven’t had time. As soon as I get round to catching up I’ll check it out properly. Thanks again for the blogging complement!

    • Thank you so much – that’s really kind of you, especially when I’ve been so bad about updating it recently. I love your blog though – still read all your updated posts even though I haven’t had time to write my own.

  7. Hi sorry if I use this post, but I could not find your e-mail. I am Italian and live in Gemmeizeh and look for a babysitter till the 7th of July for my two children (5 and 2)…could you be interested?? Thank you again…. veronica

  8. My son just returned after 9 months there, also trying to improve his Arabic. He absolutely loved it. We visited for a week–he toured us through Sidon and we went to Baalbek, which was fabulous. Where did you take your profile picture?

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