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going home after 9 years of absence-09/13/2019

September 15th, 2019.  Damascus, Syria

It’s the small things…..the small things that feed our souls and fill our hearts w sweetness, with happiness, joy, that feeling of contentment and complete bliss…..

I got my hair done yesterday, in Damascus, after a very long (almost) 9 years of absence. A no frills or fanfare kind of salon. An amazing hair dresser who definitely knew his craft, a very sweet assistant and the best mix of the latest Arabic songs 😊 $50 for hair color, highlights, cut and styling…..no rushing me thru any of it. 5 hours later I wanted to hug everyone and everything around (don’t ask…..yes, my heart was so full ❤️)

Didn’t want to take a taxi back to the hotel. I walked……After all, I was in our old neighborhood, it was a full moon and the jasmine was in full bloom everywhere…..and after all…..Damascus is the city of jasmine to all who have been blessed to walk its streets at night…..

I walked by my first boyfriend’s house (and a couple of other ones! Lol….heyyyy, I was hot stuff back then! 😇😂), the house of my best girlfriend growing up, the bakery we went to every single morning to buy the fresh bread we needed for each day…..I went to the same shop for mixed nuts (Damascus has the absolute best kind) and chocolates…..I strolled the same area I did every evening growing up (it was the thing to do for ALL the boys and girls in the neighborhood…..our group rendezvous without needing to make one…..

I walked the market that had everything from sweets and ice cream shops to the latest fashion for all…..crossed bab touma (one of the original old Damascus gates in its city walls and the one that separated the old from the new of the city and marked the beginning of the Christian part of town.

Not much changes in a city of 6,000 years…..and I’m still at an age that yes, I walked by so many places that were the thing to go to after a party or a dinner out on the town (man’ou’e منقوع-an apricot and sweet almonds drink w slushy shaved ice was my favorite to have late in the summer nights of my teenage years…..the shop is still there)…..

Then the street connecting bab touma (Touma’s gate) to bab Sharki (eastern gate)-a street not for the fainthearted to navigate or walk. People (LOTS of them), cars both crossing the street and those that are parked on it….on BOTH sides all competing for space on a anarrown enough street that was designed/made for horse drawn carriages on cobble stone! You just can’t stop and think of the real possibility of having one or both your feet run over by a moving vehicle of some sort! Yikes 😳😁 you just have to keep walking…..

And walking is what I was doing….by the place we had our Girl Scout troupe in (part of a French church foundation-azariyyeh) which means, I had made the same walk MANY times in my life through my teenage years…..and I kept walking to that left turn I take to get to our old house hotel where I sit this morning drinking my maté tea and still feeling complete happiness of being able to be in the place I call home……

Dinner was at the roof top terrace of narenj-a restaurant in one of the old buildings in old town thathoused the (large) workshop of a furniture making business, owned by my ex fiancé and his family (so it’s what I do know from way back when)……looking over old town…..an ancient arch (tale’e el fiddah), an old church with an old mosque next door…..and, as if god wanted to be extra good to us, the magic of the night was topped with the harvest moon over our heads in the sky……

I was in the company of three people, one I’ve known all my life (my sister Mada) and the other I’ve know for over fourth some years….Friendships in Syria are for life…..it’s as if the ancient city bleeds a fraction of its age in the relationships that develops in it.

I’m in Damascus y’all…..I knew this home coming of sort was destined to be sweet. No way it wouldn’t be….what I didn’t know is the extent of sweet it was going to be….

My heart is so full…..I have found myself closing my eyes a good few times each day and just breathing the air around me so deeply as if to allow myself to take it all in just a bit more fully so it lasts me till the next I am here…..

6000 years is too long to be broken…..and being here taking all on, I can see that the cracks of the 9 years passed WILL be mended….

I will be back Damascus and very very soon ❤️

photo gallery on FB

first blog…..

This is the first Blog on our website……long in the making (the website that is 🙂 and finally launched if you are reading this (YES!!! ‘high five’ someone for us/me pretty please 🙂  so here we go…..

We are WMDProductions, which is The Arabic Bazaar & Le Souq, Zein’s School of Bellydance, Zein’s Travel Tours and a good few other projects that I dream up then am crazy enough to bring to life 🙂 

But let me backtrack a bit and start at the beginning for those who are not familiar with us/me……

My name is Zein Al-Jundi.  I was born and raised in Syria (born in Homs, grew up in Damascus-the capital city). 

Ever since I can remember, I did two things–sing (dance/act too) and dream of becoming an architect.  And no, I am not talking about singing around our house in Damascus or just in front of my family and friends, I did so on the most prominent of theaters stages in and around Damascus and at times, spent more time in recording studios performing different things to be aired on Syria’s (at the time only) TV and Radio stations than at home or school.  I sang, I danced and I acted not because of any ambitions to make anything out of it nor claim it as a career…..I simply did so, because God gave me the gift of it all and, maybe with heavenly intervention, opportunities allowed me to do so in the public realm.   

Eventually, when I got to my late teen years, I decided it was time to hang that hat up and move on to more of what I had set out to do for myself in my future-become an architect (I have a magazine clippings of an interview someone did with me when in third grade and my answer to the question of ‘what do you want to become when you grow up?’ was…..yup, ‘an architect’)…….and yes, I DID indeed become an architect (attended the School of Architecture in Damascus for a bit then moved to the US and earned my degrees of the field from The University of Texas @ Austin)…..

But life throws curveballs that one needs to dodge……mine came in the shape of a car accident that put all my architecture aspirations on hold.  However ‘on hold’ (at times) comes with the beauty of room left in your life to fill with new and revisited ventures…….and I went back to singing, I started teaching bellydance and eventually opened The Arabic Bazaar that became the nucleus for all that I do and a small community center of sort for my Arab Culture heritage-something I am so forever grateful to have been allowed and honored by–and, in that sense, the store has never been just a store or a mean to make a living (trust me, there are far easier ways to make a living and if it was just that, I probably would have given it up a long time ago…..).  It has rather been the instrument via which I have been able to introduce anyone willing to receive, the beauty and multi facets of my culture and what The Arab World can offer (music, beautiful arts and crafts, travel destinations, dance, language course and more)!

Today, I continue to evolve with this business and expand or branch out so to never forget what all this is about……I pray and hope that we continue to prosper/persevere and will be able to reach people in far away places we can’t nor have been able to reach at our physical location so cheers to that!!!