By age 17, I moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas where I graduated with a degree in Microbiology and French since I was discouraged to pursue a career in the arts and history: "It is a good hobby, but not a profitable career," the family said. There I also met my wonderful husband, Mohamed, who undeniably opened up a different world to me. Together, we made what would be the first of a series of trips to Lebanon where I fell in love with the Mediterranean Arab culture.
On one of those trips, I had a vision of absolute beauty. My sweet, old mother-in-law was hard at work in the kitchen sorting some vegetables when she decided to, briefly, move her veil back. I was suddenly startled by the golden shine of the intricate earrings that looked rather ostentatious but that, instead, were worn with the deepest humility. A thought came to my mind at that moment: the realization that the beauty of her soul was many times more magnanimous than those earrings but, just like them, it contrasted graciously with her old clothes, wrinkled face, and white curls. At that very instant, the idea of Tata's Earrings was born. It would take a decade and three kids later for Tata to take shape and, for me, to relearn the language of childhood.
In 2015, we again traveled to Lebanon in search of the perfect town that would set the stage for Tata’s Earrings. Two distinct locations, the cities of Saida (a predominantly Muslim town) and Biblos (mostly Christian) served as inspiration for the creation of Maya's village. Their cobbled streets and colorful doors epitomized, in my eyes, the diverse and vibrant Mediterranean culture of that Middle Eastern country. Two years and many teas later, Tata’s Earrings launched with the hope that it will sow a small seed of love, compassion, and understanding.