Finding My Roots

June 1, 2017
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Lebanon. A country so small but so diverse. So diverse that you may go skiing on the snowy mountains and go to the sunny beach on the same day. Possibilities are endless. The question is, what to do first.

I get off of the plane with my cousins, Emma and Charlie, after being on it for 16 hours. We have never been so excited! We get in the car and prepare for the one and a half hour drive. The car climbs up towering mountains, on narrow roads with hairpin curves. The mountains of Lebanon are high. So high that the view of the world below is blocked by clouds. We arrive at our destination. A large house in a small village -- The house of our grandparents.

As soon as we enter, being the typical grandma, she stuffs us with food until our stomachs can’t take it. How do I describe Lebanese food? Lebanese food is fresh. Fruits are usually picked right off the tree, instead of the tasteless fruits I am used to eating. You can smell the fresh scent as you’re eating it. It’s heavenly. It’s the kind of food that you force yourself to eat even when you’re on the verge of throwing up because it’s just so delicious. I remember the wonderful smells wafting in from the kitchen; smells like home.

I walk outside with my cousins. Outside, the air is hot. Up in the mountains, the sun beats down on us. As we walk, we look around at the variety of stores that the small village has to offer. There is one thing that seems common to many of the store names: the word “Saliba”. “Saliba Stores”, “Saliba Station”, “Saliba Pharmacy”. Saliba. 

Everyone in the village knows one another. It’s as if they are all one big family. People treat each other as friends. They seem to know who my cousins and me are because we look like our parents, who grew up in the village. It gives us a feeling of belonging, of having deep roots that dig all the way to the past.

Another great thing about being in that village is at anytime you want, you can walk anywhere to get whatever you need. Everything is just a few minutes away, and the walk is always worth it. I will never forget walking with my cousins early in the mornings to the bakery to eat fresh “manaeesh” (delicious breakfast pizzas) right out of the oven! 

As much as we enjoyed the village, we took day trips to Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. Beirut is a large city, very old, but with many modern tall buildings, as well as  a bit of crazy driving! There are so many restaurants, shopping malls, and beautiful hotels on the Mediterranean beaches. The most fascinating thing for me were the random areas of Roman temple ruins scattered all over the city, that people just walked by and took for granted!

Lebanon is an interesting, entertaining, and beautiful place that I will always remember. No experience will ever beat my trip to Lebanon.






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