You wouldn’t believe how guilty I feel about not writing last week. It’s amazing how much I’ve become addicted to this blog, and how it is a pretty accurate measure of how my life is going.
So..I was racking my brain this weekend to come up with a list of topics to get myself back in the swing of things (not an easy task when your mind is clouded with a million thoughts). When suddenly, like a stroke of lightening.. it came to me. I have never written about the one thing that has gotten me through the experience that is Lebanon (the good times, and the bad, the ups and the downs, the certainties and the uncertainties)..
and that is..
the Lebanese people..
So I’ve chosen to dedicate this post to what I perceive to be the meaning of friendship in Lebanon.
In Lebanon, friendship means:
1. Not abandoning your friends when times are tough. If anything, it means doing as much as you can to be there when they need you most. Even if that means sacrificing time, effort, money, and resources (that you don’t have) to ensure someone else’s well being. I cannot count the amount of times people, including those I just met (and even those I haven’t met yet (Twitter)!), came to my rescue before I even asked them to. Just when I expected everyone to go running in the opposite direction, they stood firmly by my side.
2. Being generous with everything you have. Lebanese people are always willing to give and share. When they learn that your Mom lives thousands of miles away, they invite you to share their lunch with them (Tfadal!) or even tell their Mom to pack an extra portion of lunch for you so that you can eat a home cooked meal! Not only that, they will go COMPLETELY out of their way to drop you off instead of ever making you take a taxi. (and MOST IMPORTANTLY: They are even willing to share their wasta with you..! Even if you have no wasta to give in return..and even if it means that you might complicate the wasta for them in the future. This, in my opinion, is HUGE! As without wasta, it’s almost impossible to get anything done in Lebanon.)
3. Being genuine with your word. The first time I made my way from Miami to Lebanon, I must have met 4 people on the plane who either invited me for lunch at their house/chalet, gave me the number of their brother or sister, and told me they could get me a job. Naturally, I thought this was a by product of their well-intentioned hospitality, and not something meant to be taken literally. But now that I’ve been here for a while, I can confidently say..that even if a Lebanese person says something in passing..they are very ready, willing, and able to back it up!
4. Being trustworthy. One of the first things I was told when I moved to Lebanon was to never tell anything to anybody. “People like to talk here,” they would say..”Don’t tell anyone your personal business, it will come back to haunt you.” Well you see, this was a big problem for me..(If you know anything about me, I wear my heart on my sleeve and have been known to divulge too much, too soon.) And I truly think that the only way to get to know people is to be open and honest about your life, your experiences (including the ugly ones), and who you are. I can proudly say that as much as people know me and my secrets..not ONCE have I ever been betrayed. And this is more than I can say of people in Miami who have known me 10-15 times longer than anyone in Lebanon has.
You know how you meet someone and feel that in a short amount of time you have more in common with them than people you have known your entire life? Well that’s how I feel about many of the people I have had the pleasure of meeting and befriending in Lebanon.
Thank you for everything you have done for me, and thank you for making it ok to ask for help. I really appreciate it! This one is for YOU! 😀