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!