Growing up in Lebanon is an interesting experience, to say the least. You become familiar with strange things from an early age, such as war and power cuts, while remaining oblivious to other things like playing outside. More specifically, growing up during the 90’s in Lebanon exposed us to many aspects of childhood that we only got to experience vicariously through whatever Disney channel show was a hit at the time. Through classics like “Boy Meets World” and “Lizzie Maguire,” we got to envision several childhood traditions and rites of passage that just weren’t available to us. These are the most common things most Lebanese kids never got to experience (and many of them still hold true to this day).

Mail and Addresses

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What do you mean people usually have postal addresses? You mean my address isn’t “two meters after the gas station then turn right until you see a blue building above the trash can?” Yes, people abroad have proper home addresses, with numbers and street names where they can get things delivered into their mailboxes.

Playing in the Yard

(Image via Rant Lifestyle)

The sad truth is that most of us living in Beirut (and its surrounding areas) didn’t have a yard. We did, however, have narrow alleyways that smelled of urine. If you fall and cut yourself you will probably need a tetanus shot, so maybe it's better to just stay home altogether.

Answering Machines

(Image via Teen)

We never got to record a silly outgoing message as a family. Come to think of it, carrier pigeons were probably a more stable communication method than Lebanese telecom in the nineties. I remember being in the middle of a heated discussion once about what went down in art class that day, only to have my line crossed with our weird neighbor.

Babysitters

(Image via Baby Center)

Reading the book series “The Babysitters Club” and watching numerous television shows made us all wish our parents would get the hell out of the house, if only for one night.

Camping

(Image via There Covering Principle)

I slept in my mountain house once where we don’t have a landline, does that count as camping?

Cheerleading

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Possibly the most commonly referred to activity in American high school life, Lebanese kids never got a chance to experience the joys of cheerleading. I see this as a good thing because the last time I attempted a cartwheel, I almost killed my dog. It wasn’t pretty.

Attics, Basements, and Tree Houses

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Since many of us in Lebanon live in apartment buildings, we missed out on building tree houses outside (hey Lebanon, remember trees?) as well as hiding in basements and attics.

Thanksgiving

(Image via Amok Magazine)

Why can’t any of our holidays be completely focused around a turkey and some pumpkin pie?

Christmas Carolers

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Another holiday theme is Christmas carolers, people who sing in public spaces or go door to door in order to spread Christmas cheer. Wait, what do you mean people knock on your door and then sing to you while you watch? What do you do with your hands while they’re singing? Awkward.

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