My story may sound like that of a lot of Lebanese because like a good portion of them, I was born in Beirut, but left at the tender age of 40 days.
It was of course, due to circumstances beyond my control… sadly due to a civil war that was brewing and about to gain momentum and continue for a number of ensuing decades.
So I spent the majority of both my childhood and adult life in the Gulf. I was schooled in Dubai and left to Oxford
University for higher education, although Lebanon was never too far away, both physically and emotionally. My parents would try to bring us back as many summers as the situation would allow, so I have fond memories of times spent at the beach, with loving grandparents or at extended lunches in the mountains.
You see, that’s what I love about Lebanon, the diversity of the landscape. I know it is an oft mentioned characteristic, but one that really should not be taken for granted…the beauty of the way the light changes throughout the four seasons, the mildness of the seasons themselves and the multitude of breathtakingly beautiful scenery. A picturesque coastline, rolling mountains, and endless fields, charming vineyards tick. Its beauty lies in the freedom of choice it gives you to experience various sights and feast your senses.
I moved back to Lebanon for 4 years ago and I must say the experience has opened my eyes not just to the beauty of the land but the beauty of its people too. I would be a hypocrite to say that the time spent here was all smooth sailing, because it was not without its tributes and trials ranging from traffic to sub optimal infrastructure to noise pollution and those to name but a few. There were ups and there were downs, but here’s what I pleasantly discovered…you can form authentic, lasting relationships with sincere, cultured individuals. You can have a conversation with your pharmacist or taxi driver or grocery store keeper…they may not be long, intellectual dialogues but they weave part of the everyday fabric of life. They form part of the stories that help tie you more strongly to a place.
I enjoyed quality time spent with friends, family and colleagues. And I know it may sound stereotypical, but I met my husband in Lebanon and we had our wedding here.
In my heart of hearts, I always knew this was the place I wanted to get married in.
So it is with a bit of a heavy heart that I move back to the Gulf, but I know that what I will take with me will stay forever and I know I will always keep coming back. It may be a bit of a love-hate relationship at times, but let’s not forget the saying “love makes the world go round”.