If you leave Lebanon, you’ll invariably get asked questions by well-meaning strangers who will most probably base their perception of the country on your answers. To help you prep for such an occasion, here are some very common questions you could be asked next time you travel, along with some answers.

1. Where is that?

This is a question that gets asked all the time. Lebanon may be the center of the world for us, but you would be shocked at how many North Americans have no clue where it is. The easiest way to answer this is to say that it’s in the Middle East and next to Cyprus. If you want to be more pedantic, you could say that the latitude and longitude for the country are 33.9270°N, 35.6951°E. If you use the second answer, it has the added benefit of cutting the conversation short.

2. Is it safe?

Just say yes and immediately knock on wood.

3. You are going back?

When you say yes to this question, people will look at you like you have just escaped an avalanche and are heading back to the slopes. The easiest answer to this question is “whatever happens, happens.” (Again, make sure to knock wood). Just as a warning, the follow-up question to this will be: “Are you crazy?” That’s most likely a rhetorical question, so no need to reply. You can’t control the fact that most peoples’ perception of Lebanon comes from the media, which often shows the negative aspects and depicts utter chaos and instability.

4. What’s the food like?

I guess the best answer for this is to say its like Greek food but more Middle-Eastern-y. And be warned that if you list foods like hummus, falafel, or shawarma as examples, you’ll be met with a, “isn’t that Israeli food?” response. Try to control your rage!

5. You are due for a war soon, no?

The only people who will ask you this question are people who have taken an Arab Politics 101 course in university or avid watchers of Fox News. Instead of replying with a rude response (which this rude question deserves) just tell him or her that technically, the war never ended.


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