My Lebanon is Better than Yours
In Lebanon, I come from a small village containing about 300 people. Until recently there were houses still made of mud and the ceilings made of tree branches. Due to its small size, we all know each other. Everyone is somehow related. If by any chance I bumped into some I didn't know, they would explain to me how we are related. My grandma is the second cousin of her grandma's third cousin.
As kids, we were always out. climbing trees, going on picnics and climbing mountains for fun. We only can home when it was bedtime. I had a really happy childhood but as you grow older it became boring. There is nothing for a teenager to do. It's even worse for an adult. You start feeling like you are just sitting waiting for time to pass.
The first time I took Abe there he was so excited and kept rushing me to go see the village before it got dark. He had the expectation that it is going to take us a couple of hours to walk around the whole thing. I corrected him and explained that in 15 minutes we would go around it twice. As we were walking around I climbed a tree to get some green almonds. My husband was shocked and kept asking to come down. I told him that this is normal here. We are all a big family. The second time we visited, he started ditching me and walking around on his own. People would come to me and tell me how my husband is a good guy and they enjoyed hanging out with him. He was starting to become a hit in the village.
Our house is the 3rd house from the top. Cars who are leaving the village pass by it. It has a huge entrance full of flowers. We tend to sit outside all summer. When people passing by see us outside, they either come over for a coffee or they yell hello as they drive away. Abe was in the village for about 9 days when someone passing yelled his name for a hello. I looked at him as he waved back and continued his day as nothing out of the usual happened. I was surprised! I did not see it coming. I thought, he was an Egyptian and a stranger to everyone but he wasn't anymore. At that moment I knew it was time to go home. He laughed so hard when I told him it was time to leave. Abe really loves it there and enjoys the slow pace of life.
I visited 2 years ago when Joe was still a year old. It was nice and relaxing as much as it was stressful and frustrating. It was so quiet and green. I could watch the sunset every day but I could not use my phone. To some people, this is a blessing. We are so dependent on our phone, I felt stuck. I could not call my husband who was still in Canada. Reception and internet are really bad there. The electricity kept cutting of which means whatever slow internet I had access too was gone. My village is on top of a mountain, making transportation hard. In the whole village, there are a couple of convenient stores that sell chocolates and chips. Vegetables, fruits, bread, and anything else needs you to drive to the villages next to us.
Beirut is a whole different way of living. Tourists don't usually visit our side because they simply don't know about. I come from a place where people still own chickens near their houses. They plant their own gardens and their cows share a wall with the homeowners. Everyone works all summer to make their winter storage. It is a very simple and pure way of living. Abe asked me once if thieves ever rob us because no one locks their cars or doors. The answer is no, because if something happened in our village within hours everyone knows about.
Now Joe asks me to take him to visit grandpa every day. As soon as I put him in the car, he asks me if we are going to visit grandpa. I really want to take him but at the same time, the idea stresses me out. It is hard to feel cut off from the world. I can not imagine my life without internet. Saying it makes me feel so spoiled.