Going back to your roots, enjoying some fresh air and organic food, catching up with your family, old buddies -and certainly having your golden memories flashing back- are the reasons why you decide to spend one of those weekends up there, in your Lebanese “Daya’a” (Village). Could different purposes sound any better?
Yes, but only in the case where your family, relatives, neighbors, and friends can literally not wait to investigate your personal life. And the most unavoidable questions you’ll most probably get to deal with on the next visit to your village are, and not necessarily in the same order:
#1. Ka’ennak ness’han/ness’haneh? ~ You seem having gained weight, no?
Why do you even need a weight scale when you have these RADARS in your village? Everyone around will never miss the opportunity to comment on your physical appearance and particularly your weight… as if they are all gym-addicts, which they’re not as we know. Food in our villages has no rival. You will also rarely hear them telling you, “D3fen/Da3feneh” as in “You’ve lost weight.”
#2. Dakhlak, sar a3andak beit? ~ By the way, do you own a house now?
Especially if you live and work abroad, people will most probably assume that you went from rags to riches. Even if buying a house is not your top priority, your village folks won’t let you.
Owning a house is, culturally, a must-indicative of your maturity and sense of responsibility to settle down. Not yet owning a house gets you disproving glances and ….their enthusiasm to ‘help you’ find one.
They jump in, by their own initiative, searching for a “decent” house for you, and that in accordance with their own standards. They even include the semsar el-day3a -the village broker- in their endeavor, assigning him the leadership. All would be in, except you who just don’t want to buy a house!
#3. “Shou? Ma fi hada heik heik?” ~ Still no someone special in your life?
What should I start with? The heik heik that no Lebanese still actually knows what it means? Or your personal life that is technically not personal anymore?
The problem is that if you say yes, you will have to deal with the other series of invasive questions:
Where did you meet? Is he/she nice? (as if you’d say no), What’s her/his job? For how long have you been together? When is the wedding? (as if they are already invited to that which you haven’t even considered yet), and on and on.
#4. Aymata neweh/newyeh tetzawaj/tetzawajeh? ~ When do you intend to get married?
This one comes with a subtle reproval and an unmistakable insinuation, both of which ring like tinnitus in your ears: “It’s time! What are you waiting for?”
Keep in mind that people in your village are more concerned about your marital status than you could ever be. The folks have your back. They care about you and want to see you with children (a bunch of them).
They would all embark in matchmaking to find you an a3rouss or a3reess -a bride or a groom, depending on your gender. They are always ready to mingle you with someone from the village and give you a long list of qualifications of that someone. There’s no escape, you’re stuck whatever your intention to marry or not!