He told her yesterday: How is it possible to have all these people around you and still feel lonely. This was the end to a bizarre 2 weeks spent together. She wasn't expecting them to get close again. The feelings are gone. Those feelings are gone. But some other ones emerged. This time they are not looking for an explanation. And so the connection continues. 7 years and running. With a new meaning each time...
And so how is it possible to have all these people around you and still feel lonely? Only in Lebanon. For an outsider, Lebanon is the party life, this amazing eden where you can go out every night and get together with friends you haven't seen for a long time and laugh and drink until dawn. The next day you can sleep tight knowing there's another party coming up or you can wake up and go meet other friends in daytime and so the circle goes round and round. (yes there's more to Lebanon than partying but this post is about the shallow Lebanese attitude and not tourism). And so how many people are genuinely happy? How many people are faking their smiles and their friendships? And I speak from experience. It's all perfect, no worries. Until it really counts. Until you need to look for a job or you need a friend to talk to or you're having problems noone is aware of. Here you can maybe rely on your family, and thank God for strong family bonds in Lebanon. But at a certain age, let go of your friends. Maybe it's life, maybe people grow up and move on, and since you cannot meet in the back of the school yard everyday then you're bound to feel the distance. But it's even more pronounced in Lebanon because people here are fake. All of them. Hospitality you say? Hypocrisy I reiterate.
And so he says to her "Now I know why I was feeling bad in Lebanon, because I was surrounded by everyone and still feeling alone, whereas here, I know i'm alone." Lucky those who got out on time. Those who can now focus on their own lives without the pressure of society and its standards. Because now is the time for this generation to shape its future. And from someone who felt homesick everytime she left the country, she's now someone who feels homesick in her own country. Because it's not the same anymore. Because it's time for her to rediscover the world before she can settle down where she would think will be best then. And for those who say Lebanon is the best place for vacation. If you're Lebanese and you've experienced the culture here, it's time for you to go to Cuba, go to South Africa, go to Brazil, go to Nepal. And maybe come back here once you've spread your wings enough because staying here will break them.
P.S. The picture is that of Kate Brooks/Polaris, for The New York Times
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