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letter # 12: ear wax: the adventures of ola y chau

Dear Chau

We got the news yesterday morning that Shams was born. Shams is the son of Basma my second cousin and Philip, and he is the grandson of Hind my cousin and Nabil and the great grandchild of Huda my aunt and Haidar. I love shams, I loved him since I knew he existed, and I promise to love him for ever. I am usually blinded by love, but not this time. This time I know why I love him, you always tell me there are no whys in love, but with Shams I know why.

Not to put pressure on you Shams, but you came when I needed you. You are the present, past and future. I have come to see clearly that there is no way I can grow, evolve or transform if the three—past, present and future—are not listening to each other. Listening with humbleness.

I love you.

I am now forming beautiful friendships and connections with the younger, people who are 20+ years younger than me, I might be very close to surpassing my ageism.

A few weeks ago, as we conducted the workshop with the students at Aman, I felt a big transformation in me. The participants were mostly between 19 and 22 years old. I saw us equally learning from one another. They showed me how much they knew, what they went through, how honest and open and curious they were. They gave me a lot of power to be vulnerable and silly in a very sincere way. With them I was not scared to share my teachings. It felt like I was continuing a conversation and not starting from the beginning or repeating myself, and this is what I was hoping for when we closed Makan: to always be in motion engaged with what was happening now and not stuck in the absence of what was no longer there.

During the workshop, we walked silently, moved our bodies intensely and like swans, played music and used our voices to listen to the wild in us. We spoke about fear, loss, death, isolation, the body, the family and love and mostly the monster under the bed.

Thank you Ala and Fadi for opening Aman and for being you. Thank you Reema, Hiba, Laila, Dalal, Aya, Hussam, Mohammed and Shukri for who you are, and for inspiring me to continue.



Dear Ola


Help me. I want to learn to listen.

When my mother says: “she disapproved of everything I said.” I look at her and say: “yeah she does that.” Then, I cannot stop thinking how I wish I’d said: “but why do you think she does that?” I assumed I was being asked to offer a judgement and I shied away by ending the conversation. If I had listened I would have heard that she only wanted to talk. I forgot to listen. I forget to listen. I do not know how to listen. I panic sometimes. You say it is a misconception of what is asked of me. I think I am asked for a solution. I think I am asked for an act. A judgement. But often time, most time probably, what I am being asked to do it is to listen. I fail.

The doctor showed me the wax in my ear, could not see the eardrum through the stickiness. The doctor cleaned the wax with water and I should be able to hear better now. I have been given a second chance. Please me, listen.

The doctor looked at my hearing chart from the test in 2016 and said: “there is nothing wrong with your hearing, you are just anxious and do not focus. But go get them tested again.”

Here it is again, or they are: anxiety and lack of focus.

Tone deaf

I have always thought of myself as tone deaf. It is hard to believe but I did play the violin for a small moment as a teenager. I always gave my violin to Ramzi to tune it. I love music, I listen to a wide spectrum of it. Sometimes I can even sing along to some songs. But generally, I cannot hold a tune or repeat a note. However, during the sound exercise you conducted at the workshop in Aman you mentioned above, I was part of one of two teams, each team had a leader who vocally produced a sound which the team repeated, in turn the other leader and team respond vocally, meanwhile we are all playing an instrument. For whatever reason, for the first time ever perhaps, I heard myself repeating the same sound I heard. At will, my own! I think I did. Accordingly, I went for it and did not as usual make the sound a whisper or just move my lips, I filled my lungs, my stomach large and went for it. Fun!

Being swan

I do not know when my sister and I came up with our ballet moves. Our signature move being: arms raised high, fingers touching with pinkies erect, standing tall (as ballet dancers do, on toe-tops), and then: Twirl! Rush in this direction and then that, forward and back, light like a feather. Zizi brought that to the مداعبات الفضاء مع زيزي session during the Rocca Family workshop at Aman. Zizi said: Imagine you are a swan and now: Dance! Dance! Dance! Zizi also said: imagine you are butter melting on the surface of the hot pan reaching smoothly across the width of it, before you fry the egg: Get up!


images by ala abu qasheh


هذه المدوّنة هي جزء من المراسلات بين علا وديالا توثّق مغامرات أولى إي تشاو

This blog post is part of the correspondence between Ola and Diala documenting The Adventure of Ola y Chau

For more information | للمزيد من المعلومات

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