Since the vast majority of us have either lived abroad, know a family member who has, or have at least been on a trip or two - many will relate to this list.

As you leave the parameters of your humble sweet home, somehow in your own mind you assume that everyone else would know the place and things that are so familiar to you. But as soon as you step on new soil and are faced with introducing your origins, it strikes you that most of what makes up your history and childhood is extremely unfamiliar, sometimes just a tad too unfamiliar that you start feeling like an alien talking about outer space…

Here are a few questions we’re tired of answering:

1. You’re from where exactly?

Having to answer a series of questions following your answer to this question becomes the norm and not the exception. Lemonon? Libya? Getting the name right is the first step if you can get there. Sadly, the truth is there are still many many people in this world that have never even heard of our modest little country.

2. Middle East? Arab world? Asia? Africa?

Even if you manage to succeed with the pronunciation, you’ll still need more luck with explaining where Lebanon lies on a map. Besides the fact that it’s more like an itty bitty dot on any map, those who have never heard of “Lemonon” will also be even more clueless as to where it might be located, and you will get a range of interesting guesses.

3. It’s not a desert with camels?

Many do actually have an idea about where in the world Lebanon is located. But a large portion of those automatically assume that all countries found in the Arab world fit into a typical image of a Sahara-type desert with camels and all that is Henna and belly dancing. Even if you may find some of that old Arabian influence and customs in Lebanon, it’s still pretty far from being a desert. Many are surprised to hear that we have ski-resorts and four distinct seasons, and not many camels for that matter too.

4. You have electricity?

Unfortunately, there is some truth behind this question - Lebanon does not have proper electricity. But it is also a pity that many people living abroad think that we are as far behind as the dark ages, you couldn’t really blame them much since the vast majority of images they may have ever come across of Beirut are ones that often portray the poorer suburbs and/or pictures of the devastation of war. You will sometimes get some bewildered reactions when you let them know that most of us are an overly latest phone and car kind of people (even when we can’t truly afford it).

5. Aren’t you all dark-haired and dark-eyed?

If you happened to be a little more on the blonde or fair side, you might hear frequent surprised responses when you expose your country of origin. Those who know that Lebanon is located in the Arab world will (for the most part) assume that we most probably all carry physical features that fit into the typical Arab stereotype. Though the majority may be so, it is safe to say that Lebanese beauty harbors quite a variety of types, shapes, and colors . The rich history of its many occupants as well as its varied ethnic and religious groups have contributed to a greater variety of features in our gene pool.

6. Don’t women have to dress very conservatively in Beirut?

How far from the truth can they be? While we may have a variety of religions and ideals in our country, the vast majority really don’t dress any different from a typical “Western woman”. In fact, many Lebanese women go above and beyond when it comes to fashion and skimpy clothing - another big surprised reaction you may receive, unless they’ve already been here .

7. Isn’t there a war in Beirut?

Sadly, the images of war, bombings, and the history of terrorism do not easily fade from one’s mind. That reputation is often carried around like baggage for any traveling Lebanese. Although you might not get any blunt questions about whether you’re a terrorist or not (even if they kind of want to ask), it’s possible you will get weary of war-related questions and the assumption that bombs are always raining down on your home-city.


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