May 18, 2014

Small World

The beaches south of Beirut (Jiyeh)
I’m in an upbeat mood. What did I notice today that I liked so much ? (still in the 100 days of happiness mode).
The fact that everyone knows everybody else. Not necessarily the whole town, but in general, Lebanese tend to grow up with their family and friends around them. From a very young age, cousins see each other on a much more frequent basis than let’s say in Holland. And the kids they grew up with at school and the neighborhood are still the same people they hang out with when they’re adults. I cannot count the times when I meet one of my husband’s friends, and it turns out they’ve known each other since they were like 12.
Like these guys. They look like really old friends
They sat in the surf, smoking cigars

Somehow there’s less mobility. When people move, they move to other countries, but otherwise, they kind of stay in the same neighborhoods. This may have to do with religious zoning (whether you like it or not, many neighborhoods are singe religions only), or with the fact that the war made moving around difficult, but there it is. Very often, when my son is hanging out with new friends, it turns out their father or mother knows his father from way back when, from school, from university, or from the beach.
These guys looked like family. They also sat in the surf, all 6 of them. Two of the ladies had their hair dyed the exact same pink

And I like that. It creates, as far as I am concerned, a sense of familiarity.  Other people may find it constraining, this small world feeling. Me? It makes me happy. I like small world.
The link to today? When you see Lebanese go to the beach, they do not go in small groups. No, they move in groups of at least 8, 9 10 people; all somehow connected to each other through family ties of friendships. There’s no such thing as a nuclear family here in the European sense; cousins and twice removed cousins and mothers of sisters in-law who are married to your brother in-law, and friends that hang around the house often; it’s all family here.
My nuclear family


Elie Touma said...

As usual we enjoy some very refreshing photos reminding us to go out more to enjoy our surroundings. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

looks like there's a beached whale on the shore (that hairy man).