Every culture has its own special way of doing things. Some people may see this list as a bunch of familiar flaws exhibited by their fellow countrymen and women, others may see it as a testament to the land we love.

Whatever you want to call it, for better or for worse, this is home. You know you're in Lebanon when...

1. You See Teddy Bears in the Car

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It’s not a normal day on a Lebanese highway unless you've come across a bunch of teddy bears in the back of a car. Teddy bears are close to becoming the trademark of Lebanese vehicles. I understand them being cute and all but what’s the point? Stuffed animals are NOT car material. Keep them in your bedroom.

2. Someone Tells You, “Nefrah Mennik”

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This is probably the most irritating statement you’re likely to hear during your single lifetime. There you are fulfilling your obligation to interact with people at a social event and someone has just got to tell you: “nefrah mennik.” The best you can do is to throw in a fake laugh and run as far as you can. And while this may be understandable in a wedding environment, it just proves to be misplaced and embarrassing most of the time.

3. Can I Help You? Is A Form of Stalking

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You know you’ve entered a Lebanese shop when the salesperson decides to follow you around the minute you walk in. Style tips and other clichés such as “blue matches your hair color perfectly” are the rule here. And if you ever decide to take a stand and reject assistance, a good Lebanese salesperson will know how to make you feel guilty.

4. Everyone Knows Everyone

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The thing about living in a small country like Lebanon is that everyone is a potential relative of yours (or else a friend of a friend). It’s like you meet this random person at the beach and they turn out to be you mother-in-law’s brother’s fiancé or something. Other times, you're scrolling through your Instagram feed only to discover that the girl from your Spanish class and your Zumba instructor are #BFFs. Do you still not believe in magic?

5. From "Hello" To One Hour Phone Calls

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Lebanese people insist on telling you their life story on the phone, especially when it comes to relatives. A simple "hi" has the potential to turn into a 30-minute debate on the best way to cook batenjen. Your telephone bill will have the final say.

6. You're Obsessed With Eyebrows

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Lebanon’s female population suffers from severe eyebrow issues. We have everything from invisibly thin to dramatically thick and from wrong dye to tattoo fail. It’s as if Lebanese women’s repressed artistic desires have been entirely channeled into their eyebrows.

7. Lunch, They Said

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An invitation to lunch at a Lebanese house is synonymous with overeating. The amount of food on the table is usually outrageous and the worst part is when your host takes the formidable grandma-like initiative to fill your plate and stare you down if you don't finish everything on it. Spoiler alert: by the end of the meal, anything far from a clean plate is considered rude.

8. Lebanon’s Number One Radio Station(s)

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What’s common between Lebanon’s 33 or so licensed radio stations is that every single one of them holds the prestigious title of “Lebanon’s Number One Radio Station” (and hey it’s all statistically proven). And to make it even funnier, each radio station has to remind us of this incontestable reality after every song it plays.

9. Everyone is an Expert

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Referring to an expert when you want to fix something is like the ultimate dishonor in Lebanon. Your neighbors/relatives will always claim to be more knowledgeable and you’ll have to submit to their genius problem-solving skills first. Dead laptop, broken washing machine, water leak, inoperative car… don’t take action, your neighbor’s magic solutions are coming your way.

10. Rush Hour is Every Hour

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Every hour is rush hour on Lebanese roads. You never know when and where you’ll be stuck in traffic. There’s the morning traffic, the afternoon traffic, the night traffic, the holiday traffic, the work day traffic, the Monday traffic, the weekend traffic, the car accident traffic, the blocked roads traffic, the no reason traffic…

11. Rami Passed his Math Test, Let’s Throw a Party

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No matter the security situation, Lebanese people will always find an excuse to celebrate. There are at least 11 ways to party like a local. You’ll figure that out on your own.

12. You've Mastered the Art of Complaining

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In Lebanon, we complain about everything and anything (we have our reasons don’t we?). For instance, a “hey” on Whatsapp can turn into 1,647 replies about your friend’s boyfriend's lack of care and her current depression as a result. Pro tip: learn how to spot obsessive complainers and find creative ways to cut the conversation short.

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You Know You Live in Lebanon... Blog on Nov 28, 2014


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Love it! I am second generation Lebanese-American, but nothing changes, same culture!

Helenrose Tucker on Jan 16, 2016 via web