Stories from Afar & Up Close

This Country Is Too Small And I Have Proof (bonus edition)

Currently on vacation back in the Netherlands, I am meeting with a student who would like to do research for her Master's thesis in Lebanon. I ask her if she has been to Lebanon before. She has; once on a few days with her parents while she was spending some time in Syria, and then again for a true Beiruti party-night on invitation of a guy they met randomly that first weekend. But the guy is not very useful as a contact for her research, she thinks, he seemed to be a bit too much on one side of the political spectrum. Her research is rather political and will require careful balance.

We get to the practical things she will have to arrange, and I tell her I know an international student house where a room might be available. I once lived there, but I don’t know who to contact for it now, because the friend I had in that house doesn’t talk to me anymore now that his dad has become something high up in the government. Oh, she says, that guy we went out with lived in an international student house as well. Are there many of those in Beirut?

Of course there aren’t. And of course the guy she once met on the street is the guy I shared a house with. Welcome to Lebanon, Nora!