Category Archives: The Move

12 things I’ve learnt in Lebanon

I moved to Lebanon a year ago and here are 12 things I’ve learnt since I’ve moved here:

Everyone’s mother is a better cook
Your colleagues show up to work with tupperwares filled with their mom’s cooking. You’re encouraged to taste their mom’s dish of the day stirring a debate on who’s mother cooks it best.

Your mind excels in currency conversions
When I first moved here, I found myself hesitating at the supermarket cashier for a moment while I mentally converted $ to LL currency, not to mention I would always convert them to Kuwaiti Dinars so I get an understanding of what I’m paying. A year later $ and LL seem to be the same currency in my mind.

Wait before crossing the road
Lebanon might be the best place to teach people not to jaywalk. You learn to stand at the sidewalk, look both ways, and then look both ways again, not because you might get a jaywalking ticket, but to triple check no crazy driver is headed your way.

Road Rage is an Art
You will find yourself adopt the Lebanese style of road rage – honking and getting creative with your screaming slurs.

Seize the Moment
You learn to become spontaneous. I can’t count the amount of times I thought I’d be spending the evening in front of the TV, only to find myself dancing until dawn several hours later and loving it.  I’ve also had quite a few days where I thought I’d be spending it at home doing the laundry, only to find myself spending the day on a road trip.

The Souk El Tayeb Experience
You go to Souk el Tayeb and feel like you’re contributing to local farmers and produce when you purchase a mere half kilo of janarek.  While doing so, you get into a debate on if its janerek or janaring  and find yourself explaining to foreigners what it is.

Seasonal Fruits
Speaking of which, you become an expert on seasonal fruits. You know the season of every fruit and when is the best time to buy them and at what rate

You become patient
You learn to be so patient that even the Dalai Lama can’t compete. Everything takes so much time to get done here whether it’s waiting for the maintenance guy, getting paperwork down, or simply waiting for a website to load.

Survive the darkness
I’ve learnt to continue to do things in the dark. when the electricity used to go out when I first moved here, I used to freeze, stop what I was doing or stop speaking until the generator switched on. A year later I find myself continuing on in the dark.

You’re more athletic than you think
You become an Olympian gold medalist when they electricity goes out – run & jump over obstacles to switch off some electrical appliances before the generator comes on

Everyone is a meteorologist 
You would be chilling enjoying the breeze and everyone at the table starts discussing the breeze you’re feeling “hayda hawa jnoubi. halla2 tet2allab el ta2es w tit7assan”

Can you cook? Really?!
You’re only an expert in the kitchen if you learn how to make ma7ashi from A to Z. It doesn’t matter if you can cook up some real great dishes from anywhere else in the world. Bonus: You will get complimented at how good you hollow a zucchini and rolling grape vines.

 

 

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Turbulence

Four years ago, if you had asked my friends what kind of person I was, they would have told you that I was a control freak, a workaholic, and someone who was extremely busy with life’s flow. That isn’t to say that I didn’t have a social life. I did. I made time for my family and friends. My days were filled with deadlines and my free evenings were full of social events.

One afternoon, on a flight home after a weekend away, it dawned on me that I had the opportunity to drop everything and take a year off. I had been through a tough year  in every sense possible.  I had been wanting to take a sabbatical to do some traveling and learning for a while but never had the courage to do so. It dawned on me, that I was 30 years old, I was done with any financial obligations I had had, and did not have anyone relying on me. When would I get an opportunity like this again?  I thought it’s now or never. Continue reading Turbulence

I’ve fallen in love with Lebanon… And myself.

When I first moved here, I’d walk in the city listening to music, feeling liberated and light. I’d force myself not to twirl so that people would not think I was crazy. The big smile plastered on my face and my bouncy walk was enough to let people think I was. I remember asking myself, how long would I feel like this? This feeling must be temporary.

11 months later, I’m walking around exploring random neighbourhoods in the city admiring the old architecture and the charm of every alleyway.

11 months later, I still hold myself from twirling.

11 months later, I still have a huge smile plastered on my face.

11 months later, I still feel liberated.

This country has inspired me to do so much.
This country has nourished my soul.
This country has been good to me.

Day after day, I love this country more and more, and with it I love myself more.

 

The dark cloud is gone

A revelation:  My life has changed.

During the past few months, I’ve been out there socializing, developing existing bonds and I have met interesting characters that may develop into new friendships. These outings were a way for me to go out there to keep myself busy and entertained but I have become grateful to those chat sessions.

I find myself continuously revising the story about myself when I meet people.  The more I communicate, the more present I feel and understand that the dark cloud that has been hanging over my head for years is no longer there.  It’s been difficult to accept the cloud has passed and I convince myself it’s still there. BUT it’s gone. The circumstances in my life have changed.

For years I have been harboring scars from the time of the dark cloud and I’ve been living with my guards up. The wounds no longer sting like they used to. Feeling present, revising my story, living the moment have reminded me of all that is out there.  I feel rejuvenated and liberated.

The dark cloud is gone.

 

Living Without Social Boundaries

As I was walking down the street the other day, I saw an old lady having a difficult time walking.  She was trying to find a car or a wall that she can hold on to as she walked extremely slowly.  I asked if I could help her. She grabbed on to my arm and we walked together.

She was headed to a nearby mini market to do some grocery shopping. The mini market was around 30 meters away but it took us a good 10 minutes to walk that distance. Naturally, during that walk, I was asked my name, where I was from, how old I was, if I was married, why was I not married and she shared information from her life.

Continue reading Living Without Social Boundaries

Choosing a bank in Lebanon: Bank Audi Won My Heart.

When you move to a new country you end up going through the hassle of shopping for a bank.  The process could get bumpy and quite frustrating at times… and even more so in Lebanon.

Retail banking in Lebanon is so far behind compared to some of the countries I’ve lived in. I understand some of the reasons behind this but I sometimes really do feel we’re 20 or 30 years behind.

Continue reading Choosing a bank in Lebanon: Bank Audi Won My Heart.

How Does One Survive in Lebanon?

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I’ve been having a run of bad luck for several months now.

It really started  a month before I moved to Lebanon.  It’s just been one thing after the next but mostly it’s been car accidents. I think it’s been 6 or 7 car accidents since April… and before you judge my driving, let me say that 2 of those accidents were when I was in a cab.

After each incident/accident, my friends have been waiting for me to break down or explode or something but instead I’d just shrug it off and laugh… until a few days ago.

Continue reading How Does One Survive in Lebanon?