There’s absolutely no bigger pleasure to compare with than picking up your family members, relatives, or friends from Beirut Airport when they visit from abroad. It’s that exact moment that you have been impatiently waiting for, and excitingly looking forward to!
While these beautiful and overwhelming emotions last for a couple of hours, there come however at the same time things you should anticipate happening the moment they land at the airport and for which you have to clear the decks.
Let's take a look!
#1. Kteer shob / Kteer bared ~ It’s too hot / It’s too cold!
One of the ultimate complaints you first hear your folks raise when they come home is that the weather is either too hot or too cold, knowing that they’re most probably living in countries where the temperature can hit 50 ֯C or go down to -10 ֯C.
You then start turning on all the ACs, fans or the heating systems depending on the season.
Their usual arguments are like: Eh, bass 3anna fi AC wayn ma ken or Eh, bass nahna ma men7ess bel sa23a bi Canada. So, these bragging arguments go on emphasizing that 'they have airconditioning everywhere' back where they came from, or that they 'don’t feel cold in Canada.' (Imagine! In Canada! Seriously?) The emphasis you really feel is on your nerves at the nagging insinuations of how retarded your country is without all-day-full-blasting AC or heating.
#2. Shou hal internet 3andkon? ~ What's that internet of yours?
Well, well, we’re not arguing against that, because we Lebanese living in Lebanon know the drill. We don’t even dare to compare our data speed of 2.52 Mbps to the average data speed of the advanced countries that can hit 5.7 Mbps.
The difference is that we are more fed up than they think with the precariousness of our communication services and networks. And so, we find no convincing answers or strong persuasive arguments to our visiting fellows who complain 24/7 about how slow the internet is in Lebanon!
All that we can say, with a voice lowering several degrees to hit humility, “Eh, sah, bati2a, shou fina na3mel...”, admitting that 'yes true, it's slow' and 'we can do nothing about it.'
#3. Kteer 3aj2a! Kif betsou2o bi hal balad? ~ Too much traffic jams! How do you manage to drive in this country?
Like seriously now? What do they expect? Do they want by any chance to have Lebanon roads empty and furnished with red carpets?
Traffic congestion in Lebanon has always been a big, highly annoying issue; always more owned cars than roads to accommodate them. We're kind of heroes in our own right, when you think about, just for managing daily to cope with it.
We do, at least to a certain extent, with some Yansoun tea or nerves' relaxing pills. Some appreciation here, fellows, no need to point out how miserable that could be!
There’s definitely no escape from nags like: Man, el swe2a 3andkon jnoun! 3anna bi Dubai fi tenzim aktar w ma fi 3aj2a! Okay, we get it. "Driving in Lebanon is really crazy" and "in Dubai, traffic control in more organized and there is no congestion."
#4. Weyn el-sahra lyom? ~ Where's the party today?
Even though they don’t miss any chance to complain about the congestion, they would still want to go out and party all night long. If they have successfully got their annual leave approved, it doesn’t mean that we did. There’s something that should be clarified here actually; while our Lebanese folks are on their break, we’re fighting tooth and nail and probably don’t have the energy they have to go out every single day or night. Capiche?
#5. The mess in the house
Particularly when our sisters or brothers come to Lebanon for a long break, you should brace yourself for living for 1 month or so with too many luggage all over the house. Don’t you even be surprised if you found some in the washroom; just saying! And yes, they may even throw your stuff away just to put theirs!
#6. Sleeping on the couch
If it happens that you have a tiny house, chances are you will be sleeping on the couch during your sibling's stay in Lebanon. Don’t you dare – and we say this loud and clear – to make them sleep on the couch instead, or in the visitors’ room, because, with all that homesickness they deal with on a daily basis, making them feel like strangers would be you incurring accusations of sibling's abuse.
#7. The "I-have-spent-too-much-money-here" complaint
Okay, so they want to go out daily, party like there’s no tomorrow and try all the new places in Lebanon, yet they don’t want to break the bank. How could this even sound possible? Another cliché statement you hear them say is that they don’t want to come to Lebanon anymore, all while they made sure to book their ticket to Beirut just one month after their last visit!
#8. The "I-have-put-extra-weight" complaint
Yes, because where they are, they live lean and healthy, and hit the gym every day! Like c’mon, how aren’t you supposed to gain some weight while you uncontrollably binge on your mom’s food and Shawarma? Funny fact is that all of them want to resume the diet, which they've never started there, upon their return.