A common question that many of us expats hailing from North America or Europe get asked is: “Why Beirut? You can go anywhere with your passport, why here?” On a bad day, the response may be a baffled shoulder shrug. On a good day, the answers are seemingly endless.

Perhaps the contradiction lies in the fact that there is a very thin line between love and hate. While Beirut is the bad boy city that makes many expats rage against—like a woman who is in love with a man who is clearly not good for her—it undeniably holds a unique charm. That’s probably why so make foreigners settle here and are reluctant to leave.

One amazing thing about this city is that almost everyone you meet speaks English or French—or both. Other regional capitals like Istanbul or Tehran are much harder to navigate if you don’t speak the local language. With communication as one less barrier to worry about, you can hit the ground running as soon as you land.
While Beirut is dynamic and charged with crazy energy, it is also small enough that you can feel its edges. Like being in a village, you never feel like an anonymous face in the crowd. In fact, it’s almost impossible to get lost in Beirut. If you ever feel you disoriented, you need not worry: there are tons of Army guys idle on the street ready to give you detailed instructions. They are really good at it!

You also don’t have to look far to enjoy the national snack: anything paired with Nutella. Beirut is one of those rare places where you can have a Nutella crepe for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and nobody will shame you. Huge jars of the stuff can be found everywhere.

And if you are one of those expats who likes to eat healthy, you are in luck. There is nothing better than Mediterranean fare; Lebanese mezze is both healthy and delicious. And since the weather is usually sunny and warm (random sandstorms aside), you can enjoy your meals outside.

So to sum up: easy communication, fantastic weather, insanely good food, and low chances of getting lost. And you wonder why expats love Beirut.

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great piece; however, Nutella was never part of the equation for me. It is the Zaatar. :)

Joumana Accad on Oct 22, 2015 via web