Whilst not a smoker myself, I am a passive smoker from way back.  Back in my working days, pre-children and pre-Libya, I used to walk a certain way to work each morning.  Along the way at exactly the same time each day stood an older businessman.  Every morning he would stand, briefcase in one hand, a solitary pipe in the other.  Each day, as I approached him, I would slow my pace, the sweet smell greeting my nostrils with delight.  Walking past at the crucial moment, I would inhale.  The surge of relief was instant.

Now, almost ten years on, living on the other side of the world, I am no longer part of the corporate world.  My one and only client is a very demanding but adorable four year old who greets me each morning with cuddles and grotty porridge fingers.

Life has changed, but my addiction to passive smoking has not.  I am often seen enjoying a coffee in the Medina; the only woman sitting amongst all the Libyan men smoking shisha.  Breathing deep.

I’m not advocating smoking, certainly not shisha which I’m told is far more damaging to the lungs than the typical cigarette; there’s a reason I don’t smoke myself.  But the idea of stopping, taking in the moment and breathing deep is something that resounds with me.

For most of us, Libya is only home for a number of years at most and there will come a day that we will make our final flight out of Libya.  So my motto …. soak it up and enjoy it while it is yours.

Have a great week. 


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By Emma Parker

Sunday 13th June 2010

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