Stories from Afar & Up Close

Like Everyone Else (Bye-Bye Beirut)

WHAT I WILL NOT BE MISSING- The daily electricity cuts - The honking cars - The clouds of cigarette-smoke in bars and restaurants - The chaos - The homophobia - The honking cars - The screaming of ‘Taxi! Taxi!’ when I walk by - The unbelievably slow internet-connections - The racism - The roofs that are not built to prevent rain from entering the house - The construction rage - The speculation about ‘when will the next civil war start’ - The honking cars

WHAT I WILL BE MISSING - The mountains - Falafel from Sahyoun - The Corniche - The golden numbers - The chaos - The ease of dance - The view of the sunset over the Mediterranean from my rooftop-terrace - Grilled halloum - (The Stooges) - Last-minute outings with friends - Mothers with inexplicable amounts of food ready in the fridge any time you pass by - The beach-road - Sneaking into old abandoned buildings of beautiful architecture - Driving around aimlessly in the North and South - The carrot-sticks in lemon juice with salt - Hamra - Bikers riding on their back-wheel at full speed on the highway to impress the girls - Street-cats - Genuine hospitality, always

WHAT MY FRIEND SAID “Oh my, you’re so Lebanese now. You leave the country to work abroad and you will come back to visit us for Christmas and in summer! Your transformation is complete!”

WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING (in the next two years) My husband has to finish his PhD at the University of Amsterdam and I am going back with him. (Incidentally, we’re still looking for a house in Amsterdam – if you know of a house for us to (sub)let, please let me know! We’re very cute tenants, you know.)

AND THE CATS?!? In an ironic twist of fate, it is easier for two Lebanese cats to get permission to come to The Netherlands than it is for a human being – but it does mean they came with us, and will now eat Gouda instead of labneh for breakfast. Just like us.

WHAT ABOUT QUSSA.NL? Qussa.nl will be here, with stories and anecdotes from life on- and offline. (Most of them probably not from Lebanon, though, for the time being.) But you’re welcome to keep coming back.