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I Love You, Beirut

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This could be good. So what if it’s small? I could really like it here. I tried staying positive about moving to Lebanon. After all, I am going to stay here for a few years so I might as well make the best out of it. We were going to land any minute now. Everyone around me looking so exhausted. Business men’s ties were flung onto the floor, stewardess’ shoes were taken off. I haven’t slept in 36 hours and I couldn’t wait to collapse onto my new bed in my new home. The plane started descending and finally hit the ground. Everyone around me started clapping. Is it someone’s birthday? Why is everyone clapping? I heard a man in the back starting to cheer while everyone else joined in. “Excuse me, what’s going on?” I asked the the woman in the row behind me. “The plane just landed...”.


Okay, this is going to take some getting used to. I stepped out of the plane and into the airport’s terminal. I grabbed my bags excitedly, waiting to see what’s awaiting me behind those doors. I bumped into many women wearing veils around their hair. Oh my gosh, am I gonna have to wear one? But I don’t know where to get one! I don’t know how to put it on! I turned around panicked, then saw a bunch of girls standing at the front of the check out line, messaging on their phones. The security guard tried getting their attention to let them through but none of them even glanced up. Oh, well they’re not wearing them. My mom pushed me towards the exit to the taxi waiting to take us. I stepped out the winding doors and felt heat surrounding me. The air was still and all I could feel was sticky dirty heat suffocating me. I looked around and all I could see was a bunch of beat up cars with men smoking, leaning on them. One, two...Three. There are three trees in sight. I hope where I live will have more trees.


We got into a car with brown paint scratched off from all sides. The inside’s seats had a plastic layer protecting the seat from any damage. The old driver got into the car with his cigarette in one hand. There was an old “Sohat” water bottle lying next to a squashed tissue box in between the two front seats. The car started and you could feel the engine trembling under you. We left the highway from the airport and drove to Downtown. Wow this place is gorgeous! There were trees next to every lamp post and a huge beautiful building with lights wrapped around it. I was finally accepting Lebanon until my dad pointed out a gray, roofless building with holes in it. “It’s back from when there was war a few years ago.” my dad pointed out. War?! No one ever said anything about a war! I let out a forced laugh. Perfect.


My dad paid the taxi driver with pink money. I stepped out and saw a man in his 50’s wearing a white undershirt with cargo pants and slippers. My family started walking into the tall round, blue building. I looked up and saw each floor had different flowers and vines hanging from the balcony. It’s actually really pretty. We entered one of the glossy elevators and reached the 5th floor. I entered our apartment but didn’t bother looking around. I searched for the balcony and ran to check out the view. There were short brown and gray buildings with wires reaching across each other, tangled up with the poles. The walls of the building weren’t painted and it looked as if no one noticed. The satellite dishes were tilting to the side and were rusted up. I miss home.


I took a walk in my neighborhood to get myself used to it. I turned the corner and saw a little sandwich shop. There were small round tables with metal unstable chairs surrounding them. There were five old men staring at the table intensely. What are they doing? I looked at the table closely and saw a game that looked like chess and checkers put together. I went to get a closer look but a woman suddenly walked pass me blocking the way. She had long black hair. She was wearing skinny jeans with high heels and a coat. She was texting on her pink cased Black Berry. She just strode by without even glancing at me. What’s her problem? I kept walking until I reached this street next to the ocean called Corniche. The ocean was very still and quiet. The ocean. The one thing that’s the same everywhere. Suddenly I was distracted by this man in his mid 40’s stretching on the bench. Interested, I started watching him, waiting for him to begin running. Every few seconds he would look up to see if anyone was watching him. I stayed 10 whole minutes hiding and observing him. Who’s he trying to fool? Is he ever going to run? The sun started to set and realized I had to head back home.


Ever since that day I began going to the Corniche every day for the next few months. It was winter break and I was off from school for a few weeks. The weather became cold and I preferred it much more. I visited my relatives back home for a few days and came back to Lebanon. Proudly, I was the person to start the cheering on the airplane this time. Excited to be back to Beirut, I took my usual walk to see if I missed anything new while I was gone. I passed by the little old shop. The owner in his 60’s waved at me with such enthusiasm it made me grin from ear to ear. The group of men playing what I later found out to be called “Tawleh”, smiled at me and waved. I continued down to the ocean and sat in my usual bench. The man who never jogs was stretching again. I rolled my eyes at him and watched the ocean crash against the rocks. Suddenly, to my complete and utter surprise, I saw the man run past me! I jumped up out of shock and watched him jog down the wide and long street. Well that’s a start.


I grew to love Lebanon greatly, all the way from Downtown’s beauty to the rusted satellites. Naturally, I visit the U.S in ever holiday I get. I consider myself lucky because now I have two homes. Both of which I’m proud to have. I love you, Beirut.




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This article has 18 comments. Post your own!

LitNerd said...
Nov. 29 at 1:39 pm:
Very accurate description!  I myself have had the experience of the airplane/airport scene. The clapping when the airplane lands has been a tradition for many years. You really took me back to many memories.  I like how you write as if you are telling me the story right now. It's casual and it gives a personal feel to it.  And of course we all have room for improvement. You got the talent. So go for it :-)
 
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Maria USA said...
Apr. 12, 2011 at 5:08 pm:
So very well written. Your use of descriptive language brings the scene to my eye without ever seeing it! You are a talented writer for a young lady,,,perhaps it is in your genes!
 
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nayiri shorjian said...
Apr. 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm:
im glad u accept that u have two homes. as a lebanese-armenian, till now i am not sure if i accept that i have two homes. or i dunno if i have two homes i still try to choose between the two. its a personal conflict and im really happy you dont have it!
 
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layan said...
Apr. 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm:

Loved it!

Amazing! loved ur style...and it's so true :)

 
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luay said...
Mar. 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm:
you remembered everything :D epic.
 
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corinna said...
Mar. 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm:
Insightful essay. You enjoy reading it becasue the style is smooth and you really want to know what will happen next. It is a good essay.
 
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hanine said...
Mar. 20, 2011 at 7:25 am:
I enjoyed reading it...I liked the desciption and the way she presented the characters...how she introduced them to the reader and then how she referred to them again in the story to give the raeder a complete picture... :)
 
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'Pete' said...
Mar. 18, 2011 at 7:57 pm:

Hahah u knw who ths is dnt u? 

rly gd nd the taxi thngs r relly really TRUE

:)

 
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GUESS said...
Mar. 18, 2011 at 7:31 pm:

AHHH LIANA!!!! Guess who? ahahah here is the hint: "french 'cat'" 

THIS IS TOO GOOD DARLINGGG 

xoxoxoxoxox kises

 
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Caren said...
Mar. 18, 2011 at 7:22 pm:
You might not know me but my friend showed me this article and I absolutely admire it. I visited Lebanon a few times and this is exactly how I saw it! Thumbs up!
 
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Ally said...
Mar. 18, 2011 at 7:19 pm:
So creative! I loved the way it was organized... Top top.
 
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Unknown said...
Mar. 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm:
Very very true about Beirut. Amazingly written. Bravo.
 
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LianaFan101 said...
Mar. 10, 2011 at 10:52 am:

This was beautiful, Liana! Great work :) I looove you.

P.S. Bet you can't figure out who I am.

 
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Vartan Agopian said...
Mar. 9, 2011 at 11:27 am:

I love how you've balanced the article between "not liking" and "liking" Lebanon at the beginning. I also love the way you've mentioned everything again at the end, this time positively.

Very interesting! Great job as a first start... keep it up... maybe next time you can write one in French?!!?!!

 
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Daisy said...
Mar. 9, 2011 at 11:13 am:
Loved reading this.  You are a great writer,  I hope you keep it up.  Glad to see the youth writing and loving Beirut.
 
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Notimpressed said...
Mar. 9, 2011 at 11:07 am:
It was okay. you could of done much better. it was like you were talking to me more than you were writing. i thought this because you used the word "Gonna" That threw me off.
 
Anonymous replied...
Mar. 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm :
Yeah, agreed. The word "Gonna" isn't proper English, and that had to be revised slightly more. All in all the story was great
 
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Nhinain said...
Mar. 9, 2011 at 9:35 am:

YOU ARE AN AMAZING WRITTER LIANA <3

one of the best i must say ;)

anyways i love this and i laav u <3

 
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