My Homeland

I think of Lebanon as my home, even though my brothers and I were born in America. In addition to our Coffee Date I’d like to talk more about what Lebanon means to me.

Both of my parents where born in Lebanon. My family and I are extremely proud of our heritage. We hold it dear to us and wear it proudly every day.

The cardo of the Umayyad city of Anjar (Lebanon), seen from the North.

Anjar Ruins

After war broke out in the 60’s, many families emigrated from Lebanon out of fear and for protection. My father came to America to go to college in the 80’s, while my mother was traveling the world with her mother.

After my parents met, got married and settled down, they stayed in America, while their family stayed in Lebanon.

The only downside to all this, is my brothers and I growing up far from our family. When I was younger, it was so difficult and expensive for us to call Lebanon and talk to my grandparents. We had to pay a ridiculous fee per minute on the phone. In Lebanon they only had electricity for chunks of the day. It wasn’t until these past few years have they caught up with all the most recent technology. Now we keep in touch 24/7 through WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook.

From the time I was 14-18 I didn’t like spending summers in Lebanon. I was in the midst of my adolescence, and I didn’t fit in among my other cousins. They were either too young or too old, I was stuck in the middle. Being at that age, without a driver’s license, an ocean away from my friends, I dreaded it.

Being the Gemini that I am, I hated missing out. During those years, summers in Lebanon meant I was away from my friends for 2+ months. They felt like more of a family to me then my own blood. I’d always return to America to hear about all their adventures, stories and inside jokes. I felt left out.

I wish I had realized back then how lucky I was to have Lebanon Summers. I realized this with time and maturity. I’m closer to my older cousins, they recently have realized that I’m not a kid anymore. The past couple summers they have included me in their outings.

For me summers in Lebanon are:

  • hot and humid
  • full of mosquito bites
  • adventurous and thrilling

My family and I enjoy:

  • shopping the most famous designer brands
  • eating the renowned food
  • going on touristy excursions
  • attending concerts on the beach
  • bar hoping downtown
  • spending weekends up in our mountain chalets
  • making memories

place-des-martyrsLebanon is fun if you know how to get around. You need to have connections. Trust me it’s not hard to get to know Lebanese people. Once you know one, you pretty much know everyone, since everyone knows each other. This also goes for Lebanese people anywhere else in the world. If you’re Lebanese, then you know all the Lebanese families in the area.

You know how I describe my family to my friends? Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Yup, that’s pretty much my life. I love it. There are some lines from that movie that my parents have said word for word. When I tell my mom that I want to travel, she always exclaims in desperation, “WHY YOU WANT TO LEAVE ME?!”. My dad always pulls the, “I came to this country, with nothing….”, just to make me and brothers feel bad when we complain about the smallest things.

The most hilarious thing, is that anyone who’s Lebanese can recognize a fellow Lebanese. When my family and I watch a movie, sitting on our couch, while the credits roll, my dad will read them, and 99.99999% of the time he says, “Oh! That guy, yup, he’s Lebanese.” Never question it, because if you do, they go nuts, “Look at his name! It’s Lebanese! You crazy! I know his father’s brother’s son’s wife’s husband! He’s a smart man.”

jordan-lebanon-1712

round-about in downtown Lebanon with a Rolex Clock Tower at its center

When I first arrive to my family’s house in Lebanon, their greetings start with a “how are you”, but they don’t expect a reply. Instead, they straight up tell you’ve lost/gained weight. They mean it in the most loving way possible. Right after that, they offer food. Even when I get home at 3 in the morning, my grandma will hear me open the door, and she immediately asks if I’m hungry. Nope, no questioning where I’ve been, just wondering if I want to eat.

If you are invited to a Lebanese household, there will be two things, food and alcohol. And when you are offered food, it’s in your best interest to say yes. Don’t refuse. I will leave surviving Lebanese parties for another post….

I can go on and on about Lebanon, I love everything about it. If you want to know more or have any questions, feel free to write a comment!!

-Thxoxoxoxo

 

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