The first storm of the season had us in darkness. There was some issue with the generator too. In Europe they say power cuts are often followed by a baby boom, the result of a change from the norm, dinner by candlelight, the impossibility of getting on with more mundane chores.
Here in Lebanon it isn’t much of a change from the norm but still an evening power outage in the past would have led to dinner out and long conversations over dessert about the intricacies of Lebanese dining habits or hosting etiquette and likely a couple of posts, maybe even one worth sending off to those nice people at the BBC who have always been quick to air a good piece. Now it just leads to me cooking dinner by candle light, baby in arms, trying not to trip over her “toys” (tupperwares) spread across the floor. And above all trying not to singe her on the matches, gas stove or candles.
But I still love thunder storms, and so does my Beirut baby. The proof is, the lightning-thunder sequence now has a third step. It goes Flash…Boom…”encore!” How to tell my baby that if I could control the weather then I’d also have the lights turn back on…
One of my lovely readers recently alerted me to the fact that my blog was listed among the top 101 blogs in Lebanon on thewebsite of a couple of funny Norwegians who aim to get famous here in the Leb. I can’t say I blushed with pride. They really scraped the barrel to pull up that many blogs in the first place. But I was happy to learn that I was “already famous”. In fact this rather tickled me as I’m sure all my readers came across this blog by pure chance. Apart from my family, of course, who got press ganged into it.
Still it’s just as well I don’t have to keep climbing that celebrity ladder. I’m not sure how I’d fit it in. Lately I seem to spend my days passing from room to room at a half trot, bent double to scoop up the blocks, rings, stacking cups and you name it that pretty much carpet the house . This week I threw the first big invitation in a long time. I made a whole batch of chocolate cherry cupcakes with a fridge magnet stuck to the bottom of my foot because I didn’t have time to peel it off.
When people ask what kind of impact the “situation” is having on us, I tend to say not much. Because Lebanon is the queen of life going on. Try throwing a bawling spewing vulnerable little bundle into the house that learns new tricks and new demands every day (and night). Now that’s what you call an impact.
But actually the increasing tension in the region has changed my days a fair bit, as it spurred me to action on two quite major fronts which have eaten up more of my time since the latest assassination. First, we’ve know that while a warzone might be fine for the childless footloose fancy-free types we once were, now we want a plan B for when it blows. A serious family-friendly plan B please. I cannot bear the idea of leaving Lebanon, but the way things are it demands serious consideration.
Second, if there were one thing worse than leaving Lebanon, it would be leaving after several years here having NOT LEARNED THE LANGUAGE. Yes I understand a lot and can hold very basic conversations, yes I can decipher signs so I know where parking is mamnou3 (everywhere and nowhere). But that isn’t the same thing as talking the talk. Will I become like those wonderfully naive Americans I used to cross paths with in Paris who tell you – I understand French, I just don’t speak much… and need help to buy their metro tickets.
So…my Beirut baby’s precious nap-times (now reduced to one short stint a day) are dedicated to these two goals. Any kind of concentration at any other moment of the day is impossible. If you’ve got any tips on learning the lingo on a tight schedule, comments are open.