Yansoon – Stories of reclamation and remembering from bladi (my homeland(s))

About Yansoon.ink

Welcome to yansoon.ink, a storytelling hub with a focus that includes but is not limited to, the exploration of ancestral foods, wild native plants, mythologies, and finding new ways to tell our stories.  In a world that is falling apart at its unsustainable seams, looking to the past can help us find insight about our present moment.  Never in order to go back to a mythological better “past”, but rather to include the gifts, wounds and insights of our lineages into our present moment.  

When exploring the world of food, there is so much more to a dish than the ingredients that make up a recipe.  Contained within a single meal are countless layers of stories and connections.  Biting into all of these layers we can find waves of pleasure in food and waves of indigestion and heartburn at the broken systems delivering us food that is void of nourishment and disconnected from the lands they are grown on.  This leads to disconnection from the foods we eat.  Growing up, for me, food was an emotional escape, a way to cram my emotions deeper into my body, to numb myself.  Reconnecting to the foods my grandparents ate has helped me redefine my relationship to this vital source of sustenance.  

Yansoon is an Arabic word that literally translates to mean “they forgot.”  Because it is within my nature to traverse many different topics, this space will not only examine foods and plants.   True to the name of the space, it will be an exploration of the things that we have forgotten, that are often hidden, left behind, discarded.  As such, this space will explore the forgotten connections, the vital hinges that we exist within, and couldn’t exist without.  Ultimately, this space will be an examination of stories, both those we tell ourselves, and those we create to give meaning and make sense of the world we live in.  An opportunity to rewrite those stories, and find a new vision for our world. 


a seed is used to make a soothing tea
that we also use in sweets in bladi (my homelands)
one of my Tetas (grandmothers) staples

I believe shifting paradigms lies in shifting our relationship to the mundane, rather than some grandiose idea of something outside ourselves, far away, out of reach.  It is actually something right under our nose, we just have to open our eyes to see it more clearly, to understand how to be in relationship to it, whether it is a plant, the earth, our bodies, each other.

As a filmmaker and storyteller I have always loved to observe the world around me, trying to make sense of it, admiring it and at times utterly horrified by it.   I know that as we in Bilad al Sham (the Levant), share our stories, together, we create a wildly diverse narrative about who we are.  This is especially poignant in a world where, for so long, others have been telling our stories for us.  Our stories were seen through the eyes of an orientalist prism that was extremely confining, so much so, that perhaps sometimes we even orientalize ourselves.  We are breaking out of that.  Now is our time.

As I collect pieces of my own stories, may I be a reminder for others to do the same.  I know that not all people have the privilege of knowing or being able to connect to where they come from.  Yet we carry with us the wisdom and the wounds of our people, and the lands we originate from, whether we relate to or know those lands or people doesn’t matter.  It exists and lives inside of our bodies for us to tap into, should we chose to.  

Knowing how our ancestors lived, what they experienced, where they hurt, where they hurt others and themselves, their traumas, and wisdoms, is one of the deepest paths into knowing myself and understanding our present moment.  I hope this may contribute to the highest good of all people and beings everywhere.  


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