How My American Boss Sees Lebanon and Lebanese - The961

How My American Boss Sees Lebanon and Lebanese

“Sorry I’m running on Lebanese time today” is a common phrase used by my American boss who has been living in Lebanon for five years.

At work, Lebanese is not a description of somebody’s nationality. It is actually used as a verb, a noun, and an adjective. “Lebanese-ing” is a way of living my American bosses have been trying to adapt to for years.

Even though my bosses love Lebanon and do not want to leave it anytime soon, they always find themselves fascinated by the diverse cultural difference and the behaviors that are found only in Lebanon.

Before coming to Lebanon, they lived for five years in Oman, and before that many years in the States, but he says that he has never seen anything like Lebanon before.

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My favorite part is when it is time for him to renew his ikama or permit residence. “This is the time to Lebanese myself up,” he says as he patiently waits for hours in Aley till the 60-year-old blonde woman decides that if he wants his ikama processed faster than the usual, he needs to go to Adliyeh and request it from there.

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After five years of going through the fun process of getting official papers, he now says he does not mind the wait anymore, but rather take it as an opportunity to meditate and work on his patience and calmness. If there’s anything we learn from waiting three hours to request a passport, it is definitely yoga.

It seems as though we Lebanese have many talents we are not aware of. One of them is our ability to “sense” if a certain person is bad or not. “It is so weird, but your ability to know whether this man is a good person or is a danger to the organization from only one look is frightening. I perceive everyone as rainbows and butterflies, but you guys could smell this kid’s depression from a mile far,” one of my bosses tells me.

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Not only are my bosses fascinated by the Lebanese culture, but they are also absolutely in love with our cuisine and flavors. “My favorite food is Lubya!” A sentence I never thought I would hear in my lifetime, knowing that a type of stew is actually as good as being somebody’s favorite food.

As diverse as we can get, there is no doubt that Lebanese people are the most welcoming of foreigners, and are easily the most generous.

We can always ensure a foreigner a good time, be it on hikes to Ehden reserve forest, a beach day in Naqoura, or a night out on Lancaster rooftop in Beirut, our casa is your casa, and we will always be here to welcome you home.

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