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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

There might be hope for us yet, Beirut

It's funny how time and distance change your entire perspective. I left Beirut about a year ago, looking for...
It's funny how time and distance change your entire perspective.
I left Beirut about a year ago, looking for something entirely new. I made a radical change in my life, left a job that I loved, friends and family that were the absolutely best thing that had happened to me, and moved to Göteborg in Sweden to get a master's degree.

After eleven months abroad, I went back to Beirut for a four-week visit. It was my first trip back home since I left, and to be honest, I hadn't missed it all that much. I'm not proud of that, I've always thought of myself as someone who is quite rooted in Beirut, in spite of my desire to see the world, but surprisingly enough I found myself embraced by Göteborg, its beauty, its people, and between Skype and Gtalk I didn't really feel out of touch with any of my Beirut friends.

The four weeks passed quite quickly, and I could feel my stress levels going up throughout the entire period. My friends were still great, some of them had left the country, few had come back, some were planning to leave, but all in all, life in Beirut was great, if it were only for those people that I love. It's the others that were the problem. The loads of other people you have to interact with in traffic, on the streets, in the stores, wherever... Everybody's under too much pressure, and they all find a way to take it out on you somehow, give you a part of their stress to remember them by.

The result is simple, you arrive to Beirut a perfectly calm human being who hasn't been angry in eleven months (you can imagine how good that must feel), and you find yourself four weeks later, in the mood to set anyone who cuts you off on fire. Literally.

On the day I was travelling back to Sweden, one of my friends asked me how it felt to be going back. Thinking about all those "things to remember them by" complete strangers had given me everyday, I answered that I was happy to be going back. Beirut was driving me back to an angrier version of myself, a version I was gladly rid of.

It was only a few hours after I landed in Göteborg that a weird feeling hit me. I wasn't going to see Beirut and its people perhaps for another year, and that made me really sad. In spite of all the poison that surrounds you when you step into it, Beirut has a way of giving out love like no other city.

Today I looked out the window of the bus taking me to the Göteborg center, and everything around me was beautiful. Somehow a large part of that beauty had lost its effect on me ever since I came back from Beirut.

I can't explain it, but remember Beirut, when I told you it was time for me to "try new things, see other people", and you thought you had lost me forever ?

There might be hope for us yet...

(Photo by Rida Abou Zeineddine)

comments

August 3, 2010 at 9:19 AM Louis

give it a couple of weeks. you'll be back in shape in no time ;)
you know what they say about the grass, and where it's always greener...

August 3, 2010 at 9:31 AM Shireen

Love it Fadi!! and loved seeing you :)

August 3, 2010 at 9:41 AM thisisbeirut

"Are we breaking up?"

haha..Fadi really, what a beautiful post. You will be missed,..I'll never forget the first time I met you. "Hi! My name is Fadi. I'm here for two weeks and I want to meet all of you!" and the last time I saw you, "Hi! My name is Fadi. I'm only here for 30 minutes. What's up!"

I hope you made new memories on your trip to Beirut. Who knows, I might make it to Sweden one day, and be doing the same..

Hope to see you in a years time!

August 3, 2010 at 10:34 AM Lara

Love the post Fadi... very good read!!!

August 3, 2010 at 1:06 PM Yasmine

Beautiful!

:)

August 3, 2010 at 1:10 PM Yasmine

Beautiful! Very touching...it gave me goosebumps :)
I expect a book from you soon...

August 3, 2010 at 4:40 PM Fadi

Thanks for the lovely words everybody :)

Dani, this trip to Beirut meant a lot to me, it was the first time I get to see the city I grew up in from an outsider's point of view, and it made everything take on a whole new dimension. You're more than welcome to drop by my little corner of Sweden anytime you want.

Yasmine, let me finish writing my thesis (or should I say start writing it), then we'll see about the book :)

August 3, 2010 at 9:24 PM Anonymous

It's like Fairuz..

August 6, 2010 at 9:48 PM Pascal Assaf

Lovely post, even if it made me feel sad

and it was great meeting u in Beirut.

August 9, 2010 at 12:48 PM Beirut Boy

Oh gosh.
Hope I wasn't one of those strangers who gave u a hard time on the road :P

August 9, 2010 at 5:14 PM ridaeology

the bouncer from chaos called.. he says you can't park your bike there and you need to remove it asap!

August 9, 2010 at 5:41 PM Fadi

Ladies and gentlemen, the great Rida Abou Zeineddine (a.k.a Ridaeology) !! Thanks for letting me steal that picture man. I will write about the Chaos bouncer... eventually. The post just seems never to leave my drafts folder somehow.
Beirut Boy, I hope so too.
Pascal it was great meeting you and all the lebanese bloggers/tweeps. A friend of mine described my state of mind as "first visit syndrome". According to him it's the beginning of an inevitable sequence that all Lebanese expatriates go through... Makes me sad too, to be honest.

September 17, 2010 at 12:18 PM Edmond

akh

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