A friend’s status on Facebook said “What’s keeping me here, I don’t even know” Given recent events, a lot of us are asking ourselves the same understandable question. I know how difficult it can be to live in Lebanon but I know that many people abroad would prefer to be here if circumstances were better. Regardless of where you are right now, I thought I’d write down a few reasons why the collective “you” stay or wish you could.
Why do you stay?
You stay because of your family,
you can’t abandon them selfishly.
You stay because of your job,
you can’t just expect a good opportunity to pop up wherever you go.
You stay because you don’t have a visa,
you don’t have the freedom to just book a ticket for any destination.
You stay because you just bought a car,
you’ve invested in something that is rooted here and it’s yours.
You stay because your Teta is getting older,
you can’t leave when you don’t know how much longer she’ll be around.
You stay because you’re relatively broke,
you can’t afford the living expenses abroad.
Maybe you stay because you want to.
Because your clothes and hair smell like coal after mashewe in June.
Because of the taste of leftover manoushe heated on the soubiyya in January.
Because there’s a lost week of summer that makes an appearance in October.
Because of multicolored plaid patchwork in the plains of the Bekaa in April.
Because of Bliss House Chocolat Mou during the power-cuts of August.
Because of the color of the Jounieh Bay’s waters during September.
Because of chilled janerek rolled in salt in May.
Because of nostalgic reunions thanks to international vacation schedules overlapping during December.
Because the acoustics of the Byblos Port create musical synchronicity with the sea waves in July.
Because of Uncle Deek Nescafe in the car during kazdouras in February.
Because of the sun-rays bouncing on the Mediterranean in the middle of November.
Because of the crunching sound of the melting snow on asphalt in the middle of March.
Because you want to see Lebanon rise not like a phoenix, but like a dragon that will breathe fire not become it.
Because you want to raise your children in the country where they are a part of her soil and stone because you helped save her.
Because you want to call this place home.
Why do you stay?
You stay because you want to.
[mashewe: BBQ/grilled meats, soubiyya: old-fashioned heater, janerek: green plums, kazdoura: cruise in the car]