A Teaspoon of (لیمون) Zest:

Relishing and zesting the beauty of cultures in the Middle East & South Asia.

Ever felt like the only thing you know about the Middle East involves violence, sad stories and despair? Ever felt frustrated when you google “Syria”, and all you can find is pictures of bombed sites, blood and war? Ever felt like cultures and people are overlooked and easily forgotten?

I have.

That is why it is time to bring some zest, excitement, back to the image of the Middle East (and South Asia). And how do we do that? We zest off the “outer part of the peel”, or as I like to call it, we look under the political surface and turn to the people. The people who live normal lives, despite what is shown in the media. The people who share and build unique cultures, only waiting to be re-discovered by the curious mind.

Via Chiot's Run.
Via Chiot’s Run.

When we look at our own culture, we let positive biases guide us. We see only good things: stories of beauty, stories of success. And when anything negative is found, we ignore or excuse it. So why is it that we only let negative generalizations guide our perspectives on other cultures?

Cross-cultural understanding and appreciation is the very base for a world without racism, suspicion or hatred. For that reason, I hope to bring back the focus to the humanity of a region with not only delicious food, but amazing music, inspiring books, beautiful nature, edgy fashion, funny movies and much much more.

My name is Frida, and I am a Swedish graduate in international relations from Tufts University, Boston, with a passion for cultures (FOOD!), traveling and bridging cross-cultural gaps. Being from Sweden, a country with steadily increasing numbers of Middle Eastern immigrants and inter-group tensions, shining a light on the positive sides of these cultures feels particularly important and close to my heart. This is of course aside from the fact that I am fortunate enough to have many close friends from the countries that will be displayed on this blog.

Although this blog will mainly focus on the Middle East and South Asia, there will be occasional entries about other teaspoon-using regions, mostly Central Asia. Entries will include personal travels tories, pictures, videos, social media snippets and short articles that hope to inspire a more positive interaction with the Middle East. Recent trips to Turkey and Iran will frequently be displayed on the blog.

Blog posts have been featured on Your Middle East, Elan Magazine, and BarakaBits.

Disclaimers: Much like Sweden, this blog will aspire to remain neutral in all political topics (because the world has so many more fascinating things to offer). Positive bias intentional. This blog does not aspire or pretend to be an academic source – just a little window into misunderstood cultures.

And a little acknowledgement: Thank you to my amazing and talented friend Reeman Bustami for the design of the blog’s logo and social media banners! Absolutely love them 🙂

Suggestions for blog posts are warmly welcomed!

(Logo and banner created by Reeman Bustami; Cover photo taken by me in Qom, Iran.)