Sunday, December 31, 2006

Childhood haunts during uncertainty

I continue to visit childhood haunts as the future of Lebanon is uncertain. I feel a bit selfish and idealistic wandering around feeling so happy and positive during the current stalemate. Nevertheless, as I have been given the opportunity to revisit my past I will continue to share my feelings and observations. In some ways it is quite fitting that there is so much political uncertainty as this is very similar to how it was when I was growing up. It is giving me a new perspective into what it must have been like for my parents living in Lebanon during a time when U.S. citizens were not advised to be here.

My walk up the mountain to Beit Mery was good exercise even though I had to be careful not to get run over by cars, trucks, and buses as there really isn’t such a thing as a pedestrian walkway. I walked around and found the roman ruins I remember from my childhood and took pictures. Then I walked over to the Hotel Al-Bustan. This fancy hotel is where my mother had her first sign of a stroke.

It was the summer of 1981 and we were getting ready to leave Lebanon. The house was packed up. We were staying at the Hotel Al-Bustan as a special treat. Her voice changed for about five minutes and I asked her what was wrong. She told me nothing was wrong. I mentioned it to her quite a few times after her voice came back but she wouldn’t listen. She was fine.

As I walked around the grounds, I tried to remember where it happened. I seem to remember being on a balcony either off of our hotel room or while we were eating a meal. I walked on the outside veranda and looked up at the balconies. Just being on the grounds meant a lot to me. I have never been able to go to the place where I had so many memories. Now I am here. It doesn’t really change the memories but it is somehow comforting to revisit where they happened as an adult, an adult who is also lucky enough to feel rather content and stable at this point in her life. This is my past. This is when one of the hardest points in my life began and I am OK. There is something reassuring about that.

Later in the evening, the family was all together and we had a wonderful meal that included a buche de noel! Honestly, it looked better than it tasted but I was super happy just to see it there. All this food that I remember from my childhood that I finally get to see, smell, and taste again. It makes me so happy and I will rejoice in this happiness as I do not know what tomorrow will bring. The fleeting nature of my happiness only adds to its preciousness.

Oh, and this is a picture of some of the trash I saw on the side of the road during my walk. It made me laugh. How is Viagra connected to all this violence and uncertainty???

No comments: