N.B This post was originally published in November 2015.

It’s kind of hard to talk about what you will miss about Lebanon when your newsfeed is flooding with photos of Lebanon, well…flooding with garbage. It’s difficult to genuinely miss being in a place with such strife and day-to-day tensions, especially at a time like this. I don’t think this particularly means that you’re a traitor to your country or that you don’t want to help. It’s just more difficult.

Still, there are things you cannot have anywhere else. There will always be that itch only Lebanon can scratch, whether it’s culturally, historically, or geographically. So here are a few of those things.


1. People congratulating you on showering



Na3eeman. There’s just no equivalent in other languages. When I step out of the shower and my roommate just ignores my new state of being, I must say I am a little disappointed. When I get a new haircut and no one congratulates me on my freshness, I miss my home. Still, when I try to translate this phrase to foreigners, it’s always entertaining.

2. The smell of mana2eesh in the morning



They say smell is the sense most connected to memory. And when I smell fresh zaatar in the morning, I know it’s true. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for some English bacon and scrambled eggs, but just wait until you are without fresh zaatar and dough for a daily man’ouche, you’ll feel the void.

3. Road rage



Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have working traffic laws, bike lanes and all. But I still experience some sort of culture shock when I travel abroad and cars actually stop for me at cross-walks. And that cross-walks exist! After a while, you sort of miss hearing one taxi driver yell colorful curse words at another. The excitement of wondering what they might be angry about, there’s nothing quite so Lebanese.

4. Easy access to medication



While there may be some drawbacks to this, I have to say that this is one of the greatest things Lebanon has offered me. When I developed strep throat in a foreign country and had to go through the whole “prescription for antibiotics” thing, I kind of missed my pharmacy buddies back in Beirut. Plus, things can be super bureaucratic abroad. And why does my root canal have to cost $1,000?

5. Cheap beauty-care/grooming



Guess how much a manicure is in Europe? A bikini wax? I’ll give you a hint. A lot. You almost have to choose between grooming yourself and getting your groceries. And that is not a pleasant choice for anyone. In Lebanon, you never go hairy or polish-less again. You can have it all.

6. Delivery…everything



This is not a thing everywhere. You cannot call the dikkene to send you a pack of cigarettes and a phone recharge card. You cannot always call for McDonald’s after midnight. There sure as hell aren’t too many other places you can order an argileh to your doorstep. And if you’re not an arguile person, you will be when you realize you can’t have it.

7. Healthy food



Mediterranean food, and specifically Lebanese, is the best food in the world. There is no comparison. There is nothing like some fattoush or ma2ane2 dripping in pomegranate molasses, or hummos that is fresh and does not come in a plastic container from Tesco’s. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Currywurst and pad Thai is great. But a Lebanese mezze satisfies all my Lebanese tastebuds in a way I’ll never feel guilty about.

8. Those damn Lebanese people



The truth is, they are the best thing about Lebanon. I’ve heard people say time and time again, if they could just transport their favourite Lebanese friends or family members from abroad, they would be a lot happier. I’m not going to go the total cliched route and go on and on about resilience and chaos, but there is something about a Lebanese person that is unique. I couldn’t put my finger on it (it’s the humor, the hospitality, the energy), but I know it when I see it.

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Be5sos eno twa2eflak el seyarat la t2ate3 el taree2 hidi eh hhhhhhhh, ba3dny la had essa bet3ajab

Bilal Abou Ali on Jan 2, 2016 via mobile web
 
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Knafffeh badeh knaffeh :/ homos W fool w mana2esh rez2allah :/ :/

Bilal Abou Ali on Jan 2, 2016 via mobile web
 
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Walking into a bar and making friends after 5min. And it will be like a best friends party after half an hour. Or stepping on someone's feet and ending up dancing with them . Instead of appologising ...

Marie-Therese N. Rizk on Nov 9, 2015 via mobile web