November is always a good month in which to give thanks or show appreciation. With Thanksgiving approaching I thought I would share some of those aspects of living in Lebanon Sharon and I appreciate, as well as those aspects of living here which will cause us to give thanks to aspects of life in the states upon our return. While this list may be different come spring, here are our thoughts after living here for three months.
The weather is one of those items that can go in both categories. But, in November the weather in Beirut goes to the top of the list of aspects of life here we appreciate. One can’t help but love bright blue skies and temperatures in the high 70s to mid 80s on a daily basis. The humidity of August and September are gone. No dreary gray skies and cold rains here. The weather here now is simply wonderful.
The Mountains and The Med
Lit by evening’s early rays
Standing guard over
Ras Beirut, while
The sea’s gentle waves
Whisper to strollers
Along the Corniche
Of Phoenicians and Alexander
Romans and Crusaders
I have learned to love the deep, dense flavor of Turkish coffee. Cafeteria personnel started bringing me an unsolicited cup every morning upon my arrival at work. I now look forward to it every workday.
Sharpened pencils. While I have always tried to appreciate the small things in life, this one surprises even me. When you open a new box of pencils in Lebanon, you find a dozen perfectly sharpened pencils. Oh, the joy.
As a lover of history, I can’t imagine being in a better place. While Beirut itself does not have much ancient history left showing, the country and its Mediterranean neighbors have sooooo much history to see. We have just started to scratch the surface with our trips to Jbail, Tyre and the Qadisha Valley. There is so much more to come.
I have to be honest. The women here are stunningly beautiful. I’ll leave it at that so as to not get myself in more trouble.
The people in this country are friendly and welcoming. Simple as that.
The food. While I don’t care to eat it every day of the week. Lebanese food is varied and tasty. The simple things like manouches for a dollar are always a pleasure.
Hearing the call to prayer from the mosque a block away is a sound I will miss upon our return home.
Now to those parts of living here that will make us appreciate what we have at home. First and foremost, the relative lack of litter in the USA will be appreciated. In Beirut the streets are fairly clean, save for the occasional overloaded dumpster and the ever present pile of trash sitting on Rawda St that we walk by most days. But the roads in the countryside are thick with litter of all sorts. Such a shame.
Pooper scoopers….are non existent here. While there are not many dogs in the city, the few here get to go wherever they wish, with no clean up by their humans. YUCK!
Being able to put your toilet paper into the toilet is an aspect of life in the USA most of us never even think about. But here, as in other developing countries….Mexico and China to name two we know of… used toilet paper gets put in the trash bucket next to the toilet.
Vermont’s fresh air. Oh how I miss that! Besides the cars and trucks, generators run on diesel fuel kick in all across the city when power is cut, which happens each and every day on a rotating basis. The air can really get foul here.
Vermont’s quiet. The only day one does not hear the noise of construction in this city is Sunday. And construction is everywhere. There are four apartment buildings going up within eyesight of our apartment. And then there are the taxis that honk at you constantly!
One must watch where one walks on the sidewalks here. Other than on the Corniche, holes in the sidewalks are everywhere. Sharon doesn’t wear her heels much at all.
Just goes to show you, “It’s not having what you want, its wanting what you got.” Or appreciating what you have….here and there.