A Travellerspoint blog

Update

overcast 25 °C

Ok, my mom and little sister Seleene just left for America at 2 this morning. We spent the whole day with our grandparents and her siblings then drove them to the airport at midnight. Every one was sad to see them go. Since tickets are expensive and conditions are never stable here, we don't know when we will be able to go back. So now Synthia and I are here in Lebanon by ourselves. Granted all our family is here, but our parents are in the states.

This morning I started feeling a bit homesick. I want to see my friends again. I want to see my dad again. Sleep in my own bed and eat some Pronto Pizza. I am enjoying my time here, but will be glad to back to the states. And back to A&M.

Ok, so we recently went to Sidon. This is a city that Paul passed through in his missionary journey and I think Jesus did to, but Synthia can confirm it. Nothing there would show itself to be significant to that effect, but still. We saw an old seaside fort (apparently there are lots of forts from the Crusades in Lebanon). We also went to an old soap factory and a mansion in the city. This was pretty cool (look at the recently uploaded photos.)
SAM_0384

SAM_0384

Tonight we will spend the night with one of our aunts from America. Then we go to our uncle's house tomorrow. Then up to my dad's village Mazmoura for the weekend. There is a party on Saturday night that will be bumpin'! It is for the church in the village, though, so it probably wont be bumpin' too much. It should be fun though. We have a house up there ( its not finished, just the structure is built.) It has a beautiful view of Lebanon and the Mediterranean sea. So I am pretty excited to be able to upload some photos and spend time there.

Sometimes I forget that I am in Lebanon and hear someone speaking Lebanese and get excited, but then remember everyone speaks Lebanese. :) Ok, thats it for random thoughts in Lebanon. Maybe next time they will be less scattered.

May God bless you and show you more grace daily.

Serge

Posted by serj n syn 03:12 Archived in Lebanon Comments (0)

Spending Time with Jesus

sunny
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Hello!!!

It's Synthia! Hope you are all doing well, we are having a wonderful time. It has been the perfect combination of relaxing and exploring so I can't complain.

It is has been very different, spiritually, for me. I am not sure about Serge, he may write about it, but for me I have found it so hard to really focus on Jesus. I understand that we are in a new place and the excitement may require me to try even harder, but I did not realize it would be this hard.

I remember when I was in Haiti, I never, not once, spent real time with Jesus and I regretted it a lot. I came back and I felt so far away from God. I made myself promise that I would not allow myself to fall into that hole again. So while I have been here I have really tried to make time to ready scripture and talk to God, it's just not the same.

I ask for your prayers in this. Pray that I may always find time to spend with Him and that I can learn and grow more spiritually. I look forward to writing a blog expressing the great things God has revealed to me. I am sure I will.

I praise God that we are not getting in any accidents and that we haven't gotten sick. Those two things are small, but extremely vital for to have a good time here.

In the meantime, please enjoy our pictures. It took us 2 hours to download them, the connection is slow and the electricity kept coming and going....ahhhhhhhh....hehe

Posted by serj n syn 09:09 Archived in Lebanon Comments (1)

electricity

or lack thereof

overcast 25 °C

Ok, so in Lebanon electricity is a rare thing. It is like a purple lion, you don't see it often and when you do, it isn't the norm. OK, maybe not that bad, but it is pretty elusive like the purple lion.

See, at any given time the power will go out for 1, 2, or 4 hours at a time. So you can be sitting down at 8 PM as the sun is setting. Watching TV with family. Someone is in the shower, and someone else is heating up dinner. You are on the internet. And your sister is coming up on the elevator. And all of the sudden everything goes dark. That's it. No power for 2 hours. The shower gets finished in the dark. Candles are lit. And there is an emergency opening of the elevator to rescue your sis. And what do you? The locals are used to it. In America angry soccer moms and dads with shotguns will get that power back on in a few minutes. But sadly there are no soccer moms in Lebanon. And lets not get started on the guns the dads have here.

The short of it is that this is normal for them. My aunt told me last night that it has been like this for 35 years!!! Can you believe that?!?! Most of us weren't even born 35 years ago. I think we call it a rolling brown-out. Maybe it is a black out. But basically the government shuts off the power in different regions at different times everyday. No one knows when it will go off or when it will come back. Most houses have generators that allow them to go on with limited power. But just imagine what it would be like if even for a week your power went for a few hours a day without your knowing about it.

And it isn't just for houses, the entire region is out of power. Businesses, street lights, and anything else that uses power (they don't have traffic lights, but that is a different post). That is one thing that is quite different in Lebanon than in the states.

Nothing new happened yesterday or today. We did not go to karaoke last night but visited one of my aunts. Today we are going to my grandparent's village again to spend the night with all of my mom's brothers, sister, and their families. It should be fun. But that means we wont be on for a day or two.

Oh look! There is that mischievous purple lion!!!

toplion.gif

Posted by serj n syn 03:17 Archived in Lebanon Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

First three days

From Serge's Point of View

sunny 30 °C
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Alright, we decided to just write about our first days all in one post (and another from Synthia, probably) and then just keep y'all updated from then. Internet is not too easy to come by and when we do we can't stay on for long cause we have stuff to do. :) Everything in Itatlics are Synthia's comments

Well, one thing to comment on is the driving in Lebanon. I have heard people in TX say that Dallas drivers don't know how to drive and others complain about Houston driving, but nothing compares to Lebanon. Now I will say that the drivers in Lebanon are 100 times better than us. Except that they are only good because even while driving like maniacs they are still alive. Basically to drive you need your horn, you need to know what you are doing and what everyone else is doing. There are no real laws for driving. Everyone does what they like. It is scary and crazy. For instance the lines are the road are rarely there and never used. People just drive wherever there is an opening. And when you pass (or want to pass someone) you just honk and go. You need to expect them to wait. And if they don't, you honk again. In short, it is crazy.

The first day we were here we I went shopping for some tennis shoes. I didn't end up buying anything, but even the shops are a bit weird. The workers practically wait on you hand and foot (mainly foot, but that is cause I was buying shoes). Afterwards, we got to go get lunch then meet up with our aunt who is a nun. She is one of the sweetest people I know. I love her!!! :) Then my cousin Elie, took us to some temple ruins. This was fun! Now in Athens the temple was maintained really well and looked amazing. But here in Lebanon we were able to climb up the ruins. We have some pics, that are pretty cool. So although Athens was beautiful, Lebanon was a lot more fun. :p

We also went to do karaoke with our cousins and their friends. It was at a pub (which is a bar) so we were a little out of place. Ok, we were totally out of place. But it was cool to be in a different environment and see what people our age do. Guess what, it's not that different then what they do in America (only they sang in 4 different languages, we can't do that in the US).

The next day we went to visit monasteries/tombs of Lebanese saints. This was a little weird. Okay, Lebanon has 3 1/2 saints. (The half is in the process of being made a saint.) So each one became some sort of hermit in the mountains of Lebanon. So we went to where they lived/died. And we visited their tombs/ visible bodies. Since some of the bodies have never decayed, we saw the body that died 200 years ago!! That was a lot of walking and our family spent a lot of time praying in the different rooms around the monastery. Afterwards we went to the city of Tripoli. Here they apparently have the best sweets in Lebanon. I did not know that so when we went to the famous sweet restaurant, I ordered Ice Cream while the rest of my family ordered some Lebanese sweets. :( Oh well, the Ice Cream was good. We then went to a giant fort that has been used for hundreds of years by different armies in Lebanon. It was pretty cool to look at. And we went up and down all around the place. The Lebanese Army is still using it now.

The yesterday we got to go to my mother's village, June, and visit my grandparents. There isn't much to do there (actually nothing), but to see the smile on their faces and the joy in their voices was totally worth it! It was also great to see them again. My grandpa is 78 and my grandma is 72. The average life expectancy in Lebanon, I think, is 72. So they are doing great! It was sad to leave, but we will be back on Saturday and then we will spend the night.

It was so wonderful to see my grandparents. They are still so vibrant and full of life. I missed them a lot and they missed us as well. My grandpa sat and told us stories about his life in WWII and the poverty and hunger they faced. It gave me so much appreciation of my life and also just to imagine how he views the world today. You know like from his perspective, it must be so different for him.

Today we are having lunch with my dad's brother and his son's in-laws. Did you follow that connection? In Lebanese/Arabic there is a distinction made between aunts and uncles on the dad's side and aunts and uncles on the mom's side. So I feel the need to still make the distinction in English. Afterwards we are going to do some Karaoke. I doubt I will sing, but who knows?

I will try to make these posts a bit more fun, but for now I just needed to relay a large amount of info. Hope you are having fun in Texas, or wherever!

Serge

Posted by serj n syn 02:10 Archived in Lebanon Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Athinea


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Athens is a beautiful city. Seriously there are not enough words. It was so peaceful and unique.

Getting off the plane we were anxious to hop on the metro and start our adventure, but we had to go through customs since we were leaving the plane. The signs in Athens were very confusing and surprisingly a lot of the staff did not know English that well. Every time we asked someone they were give us half an answer and tell us to ask someone else...sigh... We finally got to passport claim and got an Athens stamp on our passport!!! yay!

Once we got through all of that we headed for the metro. There is only one metro going and one coming so it was easy to know which one we needed to be on. There were about 14 stops until we arrived at the Acropolis. The metro was, in general, easy to navigate. Well actually I have to thank my brother, he did a great job navigating through it. Without him I may still be trying to find my way, Thank you Sergie!!!!

When our stop finally came we got out and left the metro station the first thing we saw was the Parthenon!!! Seriously, it was the most beautiful thing we had ever seen. We started going through the city to locate a authentic Greek place to eat. Which, come to think of it everything was authentic Greek, but I guess we wanted something you couldn't have in Houston. The city was cluttered with buildings and restaurants, but it was so nice and calm. Even the air was sweet, it was weird! After going around a bit, we decided to go to the Parthenon first and then eat.

The Parthenon was amazing. It was a struggle to get up to it, since it was on a mountain, but we raced up there. We only had about 2 hours to get through it, they were telling us it normally takes 4 days!!! So we knew we had to speed things up. And we did.

It was surreal to sit at the Dionysus Theater and imagine it in use. Everything was so big and we were so tiny. The floor was marble making it even more difficult to walk around. Once we got to the top to the actual Parthenon we were exhausted, but continued pressing forward. The Parthenon is huge, seriously, I was amazed at it's size. Just look at the pics and you'll know! Once up there we were able to see all of Athens. The surreal feeling came back. It was so crazy to think that we were in Athens looking at these historic landmarks and being able to see all of Athens. I took a video of it because a picture would not suffice.

When we got down we found a cute little restaurant to eat in, but we were not sure how everything worked, so the waiter helped us a little. We got the menu which was in four different languages, I guess they get a lot of foreigners. We ordered lamb with potato and Chicken Souvlakie. Both were delicious. Once we finished we were trying to get the waiter to give us the check, which was a struggle for a bit, then he finally caught on and brought it. When we looked the check there were not numbers, it was only squiggles. We had no idea how much the total was!!! We sat there trying to figure out what to do. We had some Euro's, but probably not enough. We had some American dollars, but we did not know what the total was so we didn't know if were were giving too much or too little. And then we also had our credit cards, which is what we chose to use. We quickly paid and left in order to catch the metro back.

There were some strangle complications with the metro (We had to switch at random places), but all in all we made it back in time, and even a little early. We were exhausted, but we were ready to go to Lebanon.

Posted by serj n syn 01:07 Archived in Greece Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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