We had visions of starting this blog upon arrival, but alas, visions do not always become a reality. We have been living in Lebanon for 9 days now and we have been settled into our new apartment for 7. Jessika has been working hard every day as she is teaching five classes and had to go back to work immediately upon our arrival. I have been a stay at home husband for the last week, I can say with confidence that it doesn’t suit me. We drove to Beirut on Wednesday to meet with the president of AUST (the American University of Science and Technology) to discuss a job opportunity for me. More details to come later, It will be officially announced whence I have signed on the dotted line.
Jessika’s family has been welcoming and wonderful. They prepared a feast for us on arrival and were all but heartbroken when we didn’t stay with them for more than two days. However, we felt it was time to strike off on our own and break in the new apartment. The two pictures inside the apartment are of Jessika’s parents, our second guests at the new place. Although her mother, Virgine, looks like a complete drunkard, I assure you that she is not. Truth be told, her father, Jamil, drank more than his fair share of the bottle of wine.
The latter picture is of midtown Zahle, the city in which Jessika was born and the city in which we have chosen to begin our journey of marital cohabitation. Let it be known that Jessika does not approve of this label, she would prefer it read simply: our journey of marriage. Compromise is a beautiful thing. Zahle won the award for best Christmas decorations in Lebanon this year; this is merely a taste. People here are very proud, they are mountain people, unlike those around them, but not because of the mountain part.
In a nutshell, Lebanon consists of three types of terrain, coastline, mountains, and the Bekaa Valley. Although our readers may find this disappointing, there is no desert here in Lebanon. In fact, I would say it is almost the opposite. The Bekaa valley, from what I’ve seen so far, must be one of the most fertile and rich farming areas on planet earth. An archaeologist would classify this area as part of the Levant, the part of the planet in which farming first emerged. This region includes Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Palestine. As near as I can tell, the word organic doesn’t exist here, much like Spain. In Lebanon, they call it food. There is a saying, nobody dies of hunger in Lebanon, I’m starting to understand why.
Lebanon is one of the few places on earth where you can go skiing and see the ocean as your backdrop (or Mediterranean sea, for those yearning for geographical correctness.) Here in Zahle, as long as the day is clear, you can see snow capped mountains in every direction. It has rained nearly every day since we arrived and I can only hope that soon it will turn to snow. There is a lot of speculation among the locals, but Wunderground says it is happening on Monday so I’ll go with that. More to come soon, stay tuned for Jessika’s take.
– By Joshua Valentine