During the summer of 2006 my mom, sister, Gina and Danielle, my aunt, cousins, grandparents, and I were in Lebanon, a part of the middle east. All my grandparents are from there and my dad was born and raised there, my mom was born here in California. Going to Lebanon over the summer was a very normal thing for my family, we would go every other year. Since I was born in 2002 I went there the years 2004 and 2006, but I don’t have much memory of the 2004 trip, however, the trip of 2006 was an unforgettable one, I even made the newspaper for it.
When we go to Lebanon my aunt, cousins, grandparents, sisters, mom, and I stay at my grandparent’s house. It’s a big house that comfortably fits the 10 of us, and it’s in the center of our village so we can walk to basically everywhere. Being only 4, I would sleep with my mom on her bed and the floors all over the house were hard tile. There’s a lot of mosquitoes, so around every bed, we keep nets so we don’t get bitten in the night. Now, I’m a reckless sleeper and am constantly moving around. The trip began with me rolling off the bed in the middle of the night, hitting the wood on the side of the bed, then slamming my chin on the hard tile floor. Immediately I woke up and screamed, and woke my mom along with the majority of the people in my house, somehow, my sister Gina slept through my injury. Blood was everywhere and my chin was cracked open. When my mom took me to the hospital the doctor, being the best doctor he could be, put a bandaid on my chin and sent me home. I remember sitting in the kitchen with my grandpa forcing me to eat apple jacks but not being able to open my mouth because my chin hurt so bad. My mom went back to the doctors and asked for surgical tape and twice a day she would re-tape my chin until it was completely healed, which wasn’t until we got back home to California, I still have the scar.
Having a cracked chin wasn’t going to stop me from having fun with my cousins. We would go to the river and everyone would have a great time swimming. I wasn’t supposed to get my chin wet, but my older cousin, Milla bought a tube that she would sit in and I’d sit on her lap, so we thought I’d be fine. I wasn’t. Somehow I fell out of the tube and although I had my floaties on, I was still drowning. I vaguely remember this, but two men, who according to my family were very handsome, jumped in and carried me out of the water. Would you believe that this isn’t even the most traumatic part of the trip?
2006 probably wasn’t the best year to go to Lebanon, because while we were there, there was a war between Lebanon and Israel. Our house was the only one of our family members to have a basement, so everybody would stay there. To me, I didn’t really understand what was going on so it seemed fun. It was like all of my family was having a giant party where we would live with each other. I was having a blast.
I began to realize that there was a war when my dad would call really worried asking how we were and how we were holding up. Another big factor that led to my realization was hearing bombs explode every few hours.
We had to get to the capital of Lebanon, Beirut, where the airport was. My mom got me, my sisters, aunt, cousins, and grandparents there and a bunch of our other family members that were from America followed. I remember seeing planes flying over our car as we were driving and it was terrifying. It’s good that we left the day that we did, because the following day the main bridge that we had to cross to get to Beirut was bombed, and others had to go the longer way to get there. When we got to Beirut we stayed at my grandpa’s mom’s house. My sisters and I slept in one room with two beds and we made quite a mess of the house. We broke beds, bowls, plates, and I got makeup that I was playing with all over the bed but tried to play it off, acting like someone else did it, walking out of the room with makeup on my face saying, “Someone made a mess on the bed”. I didn’t get away with it.
While staying there was the first time I cussed. I heard a bomb and yelled a cuss word. Of course, trying to play it off, I said that I didn’t mean to say that and meant to say an even worse word instead. Of course, my sisters told on me and I got in trouble.
At the time my uncle was in the marines, so my mom would talk to the police and tell them that her husband was in the marines and that got my family and several other family members of ours on a boat to Cyprus. The boat was really nice and I remember sitting on the deck with my grandma drinking a can of some red juice. My grandma gave probably 3 of those a day to me, I loved them. After getting to Cyprus, we got on another boat and went to Ireland. From Ireland, we went to Boston and we thought we were home when we saw Americans greeting us. Little did we know we were on the opposite side of the country. We got on a plane and landed in LAX. We were finally home, and I was happier than ever to see my dad, I dropped my luggage and ran to him and jumped in his arms. There were news shows all around us and they got the picture of me in my dad’s arms, which made it into the newspaper. There was an article on the people who made it back from the war and my grandma was interviewed for it. That picture was the front cover of the paper.
My grandpa used to have the newspaper in his desk, but someone took it out and misplaced it and I haven’t seen it since. To me, the war was an adventure and I always feel proud to say “I lived through a war”.
The last time I was in Lebanon was the summer of 2012, luckily there was no war, just fun. Our tradition of going every other year ended after 2006, but it’s always fun to go every once in awhile. I hope to go to Lebanon again soon and make new memories.