4 things I’ve learned about friendship in Lebanon

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! 😀

A friend is like a good bra

Thanks for being my wonder bra! 😀


Filed under life in Lebanon

39 responses to “4 things I’ve learned about friendship in Lebanon

  1. We love you Dani ❤
    You're each and every one of those 4 things, and more, for a lot of people =)

  2. That is the sweetest post I’ve read in a while! I hope you’re feeling better Danielle!

  3. Well said Danielle! Another of the priceless beauties of Lebanon — it’s people. You just call girl… and I’ll be there. Big kiss and hug 🙂

  4. Nat

    Big loves, boojie – We’re just glad you’re here! You make a pretty awesome bra too ❤

  5. You are awesome Danielle 🙂

  6. This is such a sweet post coming from the heart!
    Well, to say the least, and to repeat that thought again if it wasn’t for that blog and kind of for you, I wouldnt be on twitter, so active on my blog and so interested in giving back. You ignited this in me and I can’t thank you enough.

    I wish you a ton of success and driving forward no matter your destination.
    I hope you’re feeling better, and I’m trying as much as possible to provide any help I can regarding any challenge you might be facing.
    I know you can do it Dani! No matter what “it” is!

    Cheering you all the way!!

  7. Hello there,

    wow ! i really enjoyed reading your blog, specially this one ! !! Bravo bannout ! honesty i don’t read blogs but this one has something special and very light subjects…, that’s right that i don’t make comments more often but i do follow your posts 😉 so keep going like this !
    And whenever you need, please let me know, i’ll be glad to provide my help and my friendship to you !

    Peace & love


  8. Lovely Post as usual D!
    I’m so happy to have you in LEBANON and I really hope you stay here for a long long time… wether is is one way or the another! 😉
    Love u!

  9. joannadee

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww 😀 That’s so cute dani 🙂
    We’re glad to have you tooooo! Though unfortunately I had to go to India.. Hope you’re having fun in Beirut 🙂 mwahhhhhhhhh

    (P.S: Next post should be about me 😛 hihi)

  10. I was curious about the usage of Tfadal–do the Lebanese use it like “be my guest”/”please” when they are prompting/inviting you to do something? Or is it like “bon appetit”?

    I guess what I’m asking is–do you say it only when there is clearly a benefactor and beneficiary? Or is it used also when you’re sharing something where no one is clearly the benefactor/beneficiary?

    great post, as always 🙂

    • Youssef Chaker

      depending on the situation, ‘tfaddal’ could mean: come in, join us/me, have some, sit down.

      so basically it’s used when you are offering someone something or asking them to join you in doing something. it’s not intended to be used as ‘bon appetit’ but i wouldn’t be surprised if people use it that way.

  11. Youssef Chaker

    I did tell you at one point that i was going to answer every post with a video. But you went on to talk about topics I couldn’t find appropriate videos for 😛

    But this time I have something for you 🙂

    and an encore

  12. Mom

    Beautiful, heartfelt post Danielle. It was truly very special and brought tears to my eyes. It is difficult for a Mom to be so far away from a child, no matter what the age. But knowing what great friends you have made in Beirut certainly makes it easier for me – I can tell through all of the comments that they are genuinely looking out for your wellbeing.

    To all of Danielle’s supporters and friends … thank you for the love you so openly give her.
    Danielle’s Mom

  13. Sietske

    Totally agree with you!!!!!

  14. Hope things are better now!

  15. Ali

    A great post… ❤

  16. Hiba Moujabber

    Waw! this is really platonic! I don’t know who your friends are but you’re really lucky to find such ppl in Leb…

  17. I know something about you… na na naaaaaaaaaaaa but am not sharing! haha ;). I shared it on LebAgg

  18. jAd

    Usually it’s “racking my brain” not “wracking my brain”

  19. jAd

    mmm I’m pretty sure your circle of friends is a bit narrow here in Lebanon, cuz boy do the Lebanese gossip!

  20. Tamima

    Danielle that is too sweet! I remember the first time I met you with Nat when you first moved here, and I remember appreciating how honest and open you were about your thoughts and feelings. I really liked that about you! I’m glad you stayed that way.

  21. jo mahmah

    people can betray you in any country. check in with us after another decade here and see what you might want to change or leave the same about this post.

    though this comes from a nice and sweet place, it’s still a generalization of a population 🙂

  22. jo mahmah

    rhyme very much intended

  23. I too love this beautiful country and its people. Lebanon has faced so much in recent history, yet the the beauty of the people and the culture always shines through. It is a jewel that needs to be cherished and held up as an example of a place (that when it works) is a land where peoples of different beliefs and backgrounds can live in harmony, a place where creativity flourishes, humanity shines and daily life feeds the soul.
    My own life is much richer for my Lebanese family and friends, and my many trips to Lebanon’s cities, towns and villages.

  24. GASS

    Well I know nothing about you, but can tell why those folks like you:
    You were raised with tones of love and NOW you’re spreading it around! Beirut needs more people like you!

  25. super cute post ! and I agree !! and i can’t wait to meet you Danielle 😀

  26. Super cute post!!! and I cant wait to meet u Danielle 😀 !

  27. Pingback: when the road is…rough ahead. « sheep on a bike

  28. Carina

    What a touching and sentimental post. You are very lucky to have met so many great people and friends in Lebanon.

    Maybe you could write a post on how you met people in Beirut, and how would you recommend a newcomer to Beirut to make friends. That would be so helpful as most people moving to a new country are mostly concerned with being alone/lonely and not knowing where to go to meet new people 🙂
    A post with some info would be so very helpful! 🙂

  29. Tous nos habillements pour bébé et par la même occasion la petite enfance sont
    directement sur la page de notre collectivité.

    Prévoyez même à consulter nos chroniques éveil pour votre bonheur.

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