Famous already

Lebanon language

fridge magnets

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.

7 Responses to “Famous already”

  1. nicolette says:

    Nice to “hear” from you again… believe me I know how hard it is to find a quiet moment just to think straight let alone get anything done, haha!

    Best idea I have for a busy mama trying to learn the language: Do you know a Lebanese woman who could come by during baby’s naptime and give you “cooking lessons?” Someone who only speaks Arabic will force you to learn new words as well as use them until you understand each other. Bonus is you also get dinner cooked for the day (dinner prepared and a language lesson makes a day wildly successful in the opinion of this busy mom! :)) If you find the right person, you could pay her with a portion of the food you cooked together and save a little money as well.

  2. Leila says:

    i know all about plan B’s! was brought up in Beirut during the war, left for 15 years, came back, established a family and yes, plan B is always on my mind, which is not a nice feeling, but i guess a survival mechanism. Try to enjoy Beirut as much as possible, and learning arabic would be an asset for you once you leave, or even while staying. my mother never did (she is danish) and she would have been happier if she did! good luck! cooking with a lebanese women sounds like a great start!

    • You’re right, I want to learn Arabic regardless if I stay or not. I always have… My friends here speak such good English or French I don’t want to bring the conversation down to my level. I’ll keep at it though. I feel I can’t really say I’ve “lived” here if I can’t communicate with people on their own terms, maybe your mum felt the same.

  3. sandie says:

    Great blog, speaking of famous, I found ur blog through Cosmopolitan magazine in Australia!

  4. nad says:

    Our plan B just became Plan A!
    We leave for good 04/02/2013.
    Goodbye crazy country.
    Will miss the sun, but I guess that’s just about it!

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