Robine Fiani-Azar: her memory will be eternal in so many hearts…

Ce n’est qu’un au revoir” Mama Habibi: Bambi did not expect to tell you “may your memory be eternal” now… but life and death always seem to know how to surprise us with their apparently mysterious timing. In the end, despite our DEEP sorrow, it is simply your time to leave our world now.

This post is the toughest EVER, but Bambi insists on trying to pay a tribute to her mom to the best of her capacity, even if she is speechless now. Indeed, her jet lagged brain has been confused by wonderful celebrations of love (Mabrouk again Michael and Stéphanie ❤️; Robine’s pride and joy), which went hand in hand with a bitter process of acceptance of an imminent death. Not any end of life since it is her own mom’s death… Yes, the finality of the one who has given life to the groom’s mother and to her two sisters, including Bambi.

May the memory of Robine Eliah Fiani be eternal…

Robine Fiani-Azar, Bambi’s mom gave her, and her sisters, roots and wings. If Bambi loves personal freedom, it is because of her mom. If Bambi is grounded, as much as possible, it is because of her mom. If Bambi followed her dreams in her personal and professional life, it is due to the agency fostered by her mom (and dad). If Bambi believes in romantic love, it is because of her mom and dad with their 64 years together as a couple, including a 57-year-long married life. If Bambi (and her spouse) adjusted to three recurrent miscarriages, while growing through this life journey, it is because of her mother’s wise advice and outlook in life. Same for her censorship saga, thanks to her mom and dad’s continuous love and support. Last but not least, Bambi’s biggest source of inspiration in life, especially her reproductive one, was again her mother, Robine. The latter unfairly lost her first newborn (who would have been Bambi’s brother). Earlier in her childhood, she went through adversity, especially at age 10 with the loss of her own mom (with her baby-fetus). Yet, Robine never complained, never saw herself or forced others to see her as a victim. Instead, she preferred to live her life with dignity and agency, in addition to love.

Talking about love, here is how Mr. Georges Abou Araj, Robine’s 50-year-old dear neighbour (owner of L’Objet, the store across from her balcony) described her. His original French follows the quick English translation:

“An angel has left us. Yes, an angel left us. Robine was my neighbour for more than half a century and, day by day, I had the privilege of her friendship. Never during all this period did I see her revolt even when the situation had become intolerable. I got to know her in the hard days, she was always the same lovely, decent, helpful, and always selfless human being.  In life I have met many people but Robine has always known how to rise above the little things. A true “lady”. Robine has always been an angel, and today she is an angel among angels, she has regained her place in a better world. Everyone who knew her, I’m sure will miss her. My sincere condolences to Tony to his daughters and their families and to all who knew and loved her”.


Un ange nous a quitté. Oui un ange nous a quitté Robine a été ma voisine pendant plus d’un demi-siècle et de jour en jour j’ai eu le privilège de son amitié. Jamais durant toute cette période je ne l’ai vu se révolter même quand la situation était devenue intolérable.
je l’ai connu dans les jours difficiles, elle a toujours été la même personne adorable décente et toujours serviable altruiste et désintéressée. Dans la vie j’ai connu beaucoup de personnes mais Robine a toujours été la personne au-dessus des petitesses. Une vraie ” lady”. Robine a toujours été un ange, et aujourd’hui elle est un ange parmi les anges, elle a retrouvé sa place dans un monde meilleur. Tous ceux qui l’ ont connue, j’en suis certain vont la regretter. Mes sincères condoléances à Tony à ses filles et leurs familles et à tous ceux qui l’ont connu et aimé
“. GAA

Many thanks to Georges for his deeply moving public words (on social media), which moved the heart of Antoine who is grieving his beloved wife. In turn, Bambi allowed herself to share them with her readers, as a tribute to her mom.

From this superb tribute, Bambi now wants to share a beautiful video at the very end of this post. The latter shows what Robine’s most caring daughter AND friend, Roula Azar-Douglas, did to honour her parents in Athens, 2-3 days ago, as the mother of the groom (in addition to taking care of Robine until her last breath across the miles…). She read a meaningful and powerful text to Michael and Stéphanie, which was carefully chosen by his grand-parents. Through her excellent reading (and pronunciation) in standard Arabic, Roula reminded the bride and groom, along with their guests, of the meaning of love. Those deep words, by Gibran Khalil Gibran (1883-1931), were taken from The Prophet (available publicly at; English is followed by Arabic; just like Fairuz’ song, which Robine was very fond of).

In conclusion, as Father Joe (the wedding’s priest) said: love is about creativity, sacrifice, word/act, as well as resurrection (or hope of life). He was talking about romantic love (+ Christ’s love). Well, today, it is Robine’s and Antoine’s love to us all and to each other. It is also our love and gratitude back to them. Antoine’s incredible sacrifice to allow his daughter to keep enjoying her son’s wedding. Roula who did the same with her own son. Robine who has been the ultimate example of a reserved (or private) yet most powerful love… to us all. Bambi thanks her family and especially her mom. She loves you beyond words and death. Fly in peace mom. Your memory will be eternal … in all our hearts.

Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love.
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself
He threshes you to make your naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your heart you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,

Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”

And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

 Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
 But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
 To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
 To know the pain of too much tenderness.
 To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
 And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
 To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
 To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
 To return home at eventide with gratitude;
 And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.”

Arabic lyrics now…

2. المحبة…

حينئذٍ قالت المترا: حدثنا عن المحبة.


إذا المحبة أومت إليكم فاتبعوها,

وإن كانت مسالكها صعبة متحدرة.

إذا ضمتكم بجناحيها فأطيعوها,

وإن جرحكم السييف المستور بين ريشها.

إذا المحبة خاطبتكم فصدقوها,

وإن عطل صوتها أحلامكم وبددها كما تجعل الريح الشمالية البستان قاعاً صفصفاً.


لأنه كما أن المحبة تكللكم, فهي أيضا تصلبكم.

وكما تعمل على نموكم, هكذا تعلمكم وتستأصل الفاسد منكم.

وكما ترتفع إلى أعلى شجرة حياتكم فتعانق أغصانها اللطيفة المرتعشة أمام وجه الشمس,

هكذا تنحدر إلى جذورها الملتصقة بالتراب وتهزها في سكينة الليل.


المحبة تضمكم إلى قلبها كأغمار حنطة.

المحبة على بيادرها تدرسكم لتظهر عريكم.

المحبة تغربلكم لتحرركم من قشوركم.

المحبة تطحنكم فتجعلكم كالثلج أنقياء.

المحبة تعجنكم بدموعها حتى تلينوا,

ثم تعدكم لنارها المقدسة, لكي تصيروا خبزاً مقدساً يقرّب على مائدة الرب المقدسة.

كل هذا تصنعه بكم لكي تدركوا أسرار قلوبكم, فتصبحوا بهذا الإدراك جزءاً من قلب الحياة.

غير أنكم إذا خفتم, وقصرتم سعيكم على الطمأنبنة واللذة في المحبة.

فالأجدر بكم أن تستروا عريكم وتخرجوا من بيدر المحبة إلى العالم البعيد حيثما تضحكون, ولكن ليس كل ضحككم; وتبكون, ولكن ليس كل ما في ماقيكم من الدموع.

المحبة لا تعطي إلا ذاتها, المحبة لا تأخذ إلا من ذاتها.

لا تملك المحبة شيئاً, ولا تريد أن أحد يملكها.

لأن المحبة مكتفية بالمحبة.


أما أنت إذا أحببت فلا تقل: “أن الله في قلبي”, بل قل بالأحرى: “أنا في قلب الله”.

ولا يخطر لك البتة أنك تستطيع أن تتسلط على مسالك المحبة, لأن المحبة إن رأت فيك استحقاقاً لنعمتها, تتسلط هي على مسالكك.

والمحبة لا رغبة لها إلا في أن تكمل نفسها.

ولكن, إذا أحببت, وكان لا بد من أن تكون لك رغبات خاصة بك, فلتكن هذه رغباتك:

أن تذوب وتكون كجدول متدفق يشنف آذان الليل بأنغامه.

أن تخبر الآلام التي في العطف المتناهي.

أن يجرحك إدراكك الحقيقي للمحبة في حبة قلبك, وأن تنزف دماؤك وأنت راض مغتبط.

أن تنهض عند الفجر بقلب مجنح خفوق, قتؤدي واجب الشكر ملتمساً يوم محبة آخر.

أن تستريح عند الظهيرة وتناخي نفسك بوجد المحبة.

أن تعود إلى منزلك عند المساء شاكراً: فتنام حينئذ والصلاة لأجل من أحببت تتردد في قلبك, وأنشودة الحمد والثناء مرتمسة على شفتيك.

Roula reading Gibran Khalil Gibran’s text on love (chosen by Robine and Antoine for the bride and groom, our dear Michael & Stéphanie)

A surprise to Claire: happy birthday!

Notre chère Claire, c’est à ton tour de te laisser parler d’amour…” . Yes, Bambi is singing now. Lucky you, along with the readers of this blog, because you can’t hear her frog’s voice! Happy Birthday to you dearest Claire from Bambi, Louis, and all the family “tribe” in Canada, Lebanon, and… Greece as well :). Bambi and your nephew, who love you beyond words, wish you a wonderful day!


Nayla: a forthcoming birthday… and an enriching friendship!

Bambi will forever remain grateful for Nayla’s late dad who gave a little push to destiny, asking their elementary school if his daughter and Bambi could be in the same section of their class. Since then, a sisterhood was born, not just a friendship.

Nayla has enriched Bambi’s life and inspired her in so many ways, which are hard to put into words. Of course, like real sisters, at first they had their funny moments of little fights, in addition to their MUCH bigger and frequent moments of fun, humour, care, loyalty, and a deeply fulfilling friendship. The latter stood the test of time, civil war, migration, and other related hardships, along with many blessings.

When Bambi left Beirut at age 17, she had the impression that, if her life was a book, it would be written in two volumes called: Lebanon and Canada. In a few seconds, under heavy shelling and in-between street fights, back from a trip to Cyprus to the Canadian Embassy, she and her family said their good-byes to their loved ones while quickly packing. This felt like an abrupt end of the first volume of her life. Indeed, there were tears with everyone. Shy smiles or crazy laughter, along with the tears. Not with Nayla. They left each other with a waving hand in the air (after a hug), as if they would see each other the next day… at least with the same apparent certainty, even if in reality war always had the power to not let them see each other, ever again, at any point in time.

For years, the two childhood friends exchanged letters by mail (which took an entire month to reach both destinations) or via loved ones, who travelled between Montreal and Beirut back and forth. Then, for some time, they found themselves back to being neighbours in Montreal, just like in the olden times in Beirut. Later, there were many summer or Christmas holiday trips to Lebanon where they saw each other again. Not a long time ago, there was a very quick yet enriching tea-time in Montreal. Of course, the connection with childhood friends is always magically instant. No matter the age. No matter the place. No need for lengthy words to catch up on. It always feels as if they had left each other the day before… just like this unforgettable June 16, 1990.

Of note, Nayla is an integral part of this blog, enriching it with interviews and her lucid insights, following the Lebanese financial crash and the surrealistic Beirut explosion. Her husband is also a reader and a contributor. To both of them and their beautiful children, Bambi sends her love and fond regards. Just like Bambi’s own parents, Nayla and Rony brought their children to safety, far away from their beloved and troubled birth country. It is not easy to be parents at any time. Imagine during armed conflicts, a historic economic crisis, a pandemic, and a double blast. Surely it is also not easy to be migrating parents, adjusting to a new life in an adoptive country (during its lockdowns) while caring for their children’s own adjustment. This is why they have Bambi’s utmost respect and admiration.

In conclusion, now that Bambi celebrated her 43-year-old friendship with Nayla in just a few words, she would like to wish her a Happy Birthday :)! She urges her to continue to be what she excels the best at: her authentic and beautiful self; of course, in addition to all the inspiring rest, that is her multiple hats of the wonderful spouse, mother, daughter, sibling, friend, etc. Thanks “Nayoul” for being a third sister in Bambi’ life ❤️.

The Rupa Subramanya Show: how refreshing to hear your thoughtful chat with the inspiring Mr. Ari Goldkind!

I love when people use their brains!

Bambi would like to thank Louis for sharing a True North interview chat between the courageous and clever Ms. Rupa Subramanya and her brilliant guest, Mr. Ari Goldking. What a refreshing discovery. Bambi encourages you to listen to this discussion about “the woke takeover” of the justice system of Canada, whether you believe it is a noble approach or not.

Mr. Joe Dassin… more alive than ever

The late Dassin was known to be the most American French singer. Mainly famous for his superb French melodies, he recorded songs in several languages, including English, German, Spanish, Italian, and Greek.

When Bambi was eight-year-old, she and her family were on a trip to Russia and Ukraine when they were shocked, like the entire world, by the death of Mr. Joe Dassin. Of note, the hotel they were staying at kept playing his songs over and over, as a spontaneous tribute.

What happened to Mr. Joe Dassin? On that unforgettable August 20, 1980, he was only 41 years old when he died from a heart attack. The tragedy happened during his family vacation in Tahiti. Forty-three years later, his legacy remains as alive as ever.

Thanks to Mr. Joe Dassin for his INCREDIBLE talent and may his memory be eternal. Bravo to his two sons for contributing to keep his legacy alive. Same for all the talented singers who know how to melt our hearts with his unique songs.

The Economist: “why you have an accent in a foreign language”?

I love each person’s unique accent and creative self-expression

Today, Bambi came across an excellent video by the Economist, which is basically about the following, as described on YouTube: “Ever wondered why it’s so hard to sound like a local when you go on holiday? Discover the pronunciation tips your teachers may have missed“.

Accents are very interesting for the excellent cross-cultural linguistic reasons explained above. Of course, we all have our unique way of speaking, often also influenced by the languages we have been exposed to since childhood. Bearing the latter in mind, how do you sound when you speak, even your own mother tongue? Do you speak fast or slowly, usually or under stress only? Do you “swallow your words” or do you take the time to pronounce them? And how do people react to your accent? Last but not least, are you amused by talented comedians, or friends, who know to imitate accents well?

In conclusion, following the the Economist very informative video on accents in foreign languages, please find the following: (1) a Team Coco brief interview in which Mr. El Maleh performs a song in nonsense or “gibberish-English” since “before Gad could speak English, he performed songs at a French piano bar in total gibberish-English“; and (2) a sweet French song entitled “Mon accent” [or My Accent] by Sangria Gratuite in which we are reminded that “accents are the spices of a language“.

Honouring Mr. Honoré de Balzac

Mr. Honoré de Balzac was a French novelist and playwright. He was born on May 20, 1799 and he died on August 18, 1850 (; May his memory be eternal and long live the beautiful French language.

Balzac is the founder of realism, which depicts stories from everyday experiences, as they are in real life ( This means without any romanticizing, if Bambi recalls well from her French literature courses in high school. Of note, Mr. de Balzac is famous for his great daily writing self-discipline.

Bearing the above in mind, this post will end with some of Honoré de Balzac’s thoughts, which can be easily found in English on the internet. His quotes will be followed by two videos, both in French. The very brief first one features Balzac’s differentiation between friendship and love. It can perhaps be summarized in English with his following statement: “What makes friendship indissolute and what doubles its charms, is a feeling we find lacking in love: I mean certitude“. As for the second video, it is a musical celebration of the French language, thanks to Mr. Yves Duteil’s eternal song entitled “C’est une langue belle” [“It is a Beautiful Language“].

Our greatest fears lie in anticipation.

When women love, they forgive everything, even our crimes; when they do not love, they cannot forgive anything, not even our virtues.

People exaggerate both happiness and unhappiness; we are never so fortunate nor so unfortunate as people say we are.

The more we judge, the less we love.

A husband and wife who have separate bedrooms have either drifted apart or found happiness.

Every moment of happiness requires a great amount of ignorance.

I am not deep, but I am very wide”.

What made you smile recently?

Don’t wait to be happy to smile. Rather smile in order to be happy” (Edward L. Kramer)

Earlier today, when Bambi was out of town, she had a very legitimate reason to smile out of deep happiness upon receiving extremely good news. Of course, she will spare you this reason since it is a strictly private matter. However, this post is an opportunity for her to share with you a wonderful, and almost amusing, social experience related to that smile.

Indeed, the news, or her realization of the impact of the latter, put an instinctive smile on her face, which lasted for a LONG time. In fact, she just could not stop smiling for maybe one or two minutes while walking fast (almost jumping) on internal stairs and outdoors.

While walking in this state of internal happiness, expressed through a smile, she bumped into many strangers. They all seemed to be kindly receptive to the super “smiling” smile on her face. Indeed, each one of them smiled back at Bambi in a spontaneous, kind, and generous way. The more strangers smiled, the more sustainable her initial smile remained stuck on her face. The entire experience was too odd to the point of feeling like a happy, even funny, scene of a movie with lightness and contagious smiles. The scene felt even more amusing because people’s smiles seemed, at times, accompanied with a facial expression, which appeared to wonder: “what is the problem of this odd one :)”?

Why did the above experience of smiling contagion happen, you may perhaps wonder? Yes, Bambi lives in the Maritimes where strangers are friendly with each other on the streets. They often, if not always, smile, greet, and talk to each other. This is part of the enriching human communication in general. However, perhaps more specifically, psychiatric or neuropschological studies can help shed some light on the phenomenon of emotional contagion. For instance, a German study by Wild et al. (2003) investigated the neural correlates of facial reactions of participants when they were looking at pictures of faces expressing emotions, including happiness. The activation of certain brain regions (including the amygdala), was observed when participants smiled in response to pictures of smiling faces (

In conclusion, Bambi allowed herself to share with you an anecdote related to smile. What about you? What made you smile lately? Would you like to share and maybe, by a virtual emotional contagion of some sort, contribute to make Bambi and this blog’s readers smile as well? Even if your day was tough with physical or emotional pain and you may lack the motivation to want to smile, just think of a certain happy moment of your life and maybe try to smile to your own former smile? Or smile to your future brighter days or… to life itself. As the old Arab saying goes, “smile and life will smile back at you“. Please, trust that this is Bambi’s wish for you, regardless of whom you are or where you are right now while reading this post or in your own life journey.

With music: why don’t we celebrate the assumption of Mary, National Acadian Day, and a childhood friend’s birthday?

Have a wonderful day everyone… especially Fadi :)!

Today is not any day. In many places around the world, including Lebanon, it is a day off. There, the feast of Mary is highlighted or respected by all, regardless of their religion (i.e., not only those of Christian faith). If she may, Bambi would like to begin by sharing a nice Greek-Orthodox song-prayer (in Arabic), in the beautiful voice of Ms. Ribale Wehbé, which is meant to honour Jesus’ mother. May the latter keep an eye on very vulnerable places in the world, including Lebanon where a dear friend, called Mary, resides. May she protect and inspire her, along with her family, there and abroad. Talking about names, Happy name day also to all those called with variants of Maria, Marie, Mary, Maryam or Mariam, etc. [especially when they are either readers of this blog or related to them :)].

Following the first spiritual melody, you will find two Acadian songs by two most talented Canadian singers, Ms. Natasha St Pier and Ms. Isabelle Boulay. Of note, the second deep song, sub-titled in English, is inspired by a fictional heroine, called Évangeline, of Mr. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem (1847), which tells the sad story of the deportation (or expulsion) of the Acadians (1755). “Bonne Quinzou à tous les acadiens!” Happy National Acadian Day to all Acadians and their friends!

Last but not least, a Happy Birthday song in Arabic is especially tailored for Fadi; thanks to the person who made it public on YouTube. It comes from Bambi, her spouse, and the “familia” in Beirut. Have fun with your lovely family, relatives, and friends. Thank you, DEAR Fadi, for being Bambi’s brother since her teenage years [are you smiling now :)?] ❤️!