September 25, 2013

On Fall and Rain and Departing Children

Beirut under rain clouds  (I think I've overdone the saturation a bit)

Fall is definitely in town. Temperatures have dropped from ‘AC is a necessity’ to ‘AC is an option’. Rain showers surprise us, and the rain causes kilometer-long traffic jams (as you all may have noticed this morning). I am a ‘walker’ (I walk to work), and I count myself lucky. I don’t have to sit in my car for hours, and I most certainly do not have to roll around the block 44 times before I can find a parking spot.
Fall makes me nostalgic, although it is a little sad at the same time.
Beirut in the morning in between showers (7:12 AM)
My son has entered the league of university students, and here again I can count myself lucky; His university is around the corner, and so no goodbyes necessary here.  But the past month he has seen pretty much all his friends depart overseas. To New York, London, Paris, Edinburgh, Hamburg, you name it;  they’ve all gone to study overseas. He's all on his own now. They've gone on to lead interesting lives. He's stuck in traffic.
Don’t we have good universities here? Yes, we do. Excellent ones in fact. But what are the possibilities for a graduate in this town? Can they find a job? Can they find a job that allows them to sustain themselves beyond the level of poverty? Can they find a job in their field? Can they find a job in their field and receive a decent pay?
I know AUB economics graduates that end up behind the counter of the local bank for a mere $800 a month; the price of an apartment in the center of town. So live outside town, you say? With a liter of gas for over a dollar, you’re on a tight budget.
More Beirut in the morning in between showers (7:15 AM)
For the life style these kids are used to, staying in country is not really an option. So the only option parents have – if they want their child to be able to earn a living independently – is send them overseas.
Some of them will come back afterwards, but many will not. Life abroad is just more secure, social mobility is present, and you can go from nothing to something, without having connections and wasta. And you’ll end your life, as a parent, traveling from one country to another to visit your grandchildren. Okay, so I'm moving a little too fast here maybe.
Still years to go before she's off to university
My son is still here, but my guess is next year he’s out as well. I think all this rain in the recent days has induced me into a reflective post. Tomorrow the sun will shine again


Anonymous said...

You son can do a master abroad later :-))

-paul said...

Beautiful rainclouds