By Kelsey Thomas
After the long trip home I was exhausted and tired. Before we even go out of the airport I started to miss Lebanon. To start, it took entirely too long to get out of the airport. Then I realized it was because people were actually staying in the lanes and following the traffic laws. For some reason, I miss the honking and crazy driving. Or, maybe I just miss being able to get anywhere for $1.25?
Then I arrived home. There was television, radio, taco bell, roommates, parents, movies, and my boyfriend. All of which I love. But, it was overwhelming. I could suddenly understand every conversation going on around me. It was overwhelming. I missed not having to understand all of those things. It was overwhelming to have to talk to everyone about the trip. I am so tired of eating out after doing it everyday for a month and a half. But, when I got to the grocery the only things I picked out were skim milk and bacon. I couldn't remember what else I wanted. Kroger has a lot more choices than a cafe menu.
As I get more settled in and find my routine again the deeper things still reel inside me. I worry a lot for Lebanon. I worry for Beirut. Mostly, I worry for the people we met and got to know. I worry for my family, for Adel and his family, for our friends at the cafes. Everyone we spoke to wanted peace but didn't seem to believe it was possible. What will happen to Lebanon? It is a question we cannot answer. It has been hard being home. Everyone wants to here about all the amazing fun times we had, and there were a lot. But I keep wanting to give a voice here to all the people we met there. It is hard because without being there I think it is impossible to truly feel deeply about the subject. It was such a special experience it seems mundane to come back to Lexington.
Don't get me wrong, I am so grateful to see my family and friends again. I missed my mom so much. I thought I would cry when I saw her. Instead, I cried in my car after buying foul for my grandma at the local arabic restaraunt. I cried because a palestinian family that had been living in Lebanon owned the cafe. They came to America for a better life. It made me think about all the young people that want to get out of Lebanon. It is such a shame. You wouldn't believe such a beautiful place would have such turmoil.
I miss Beirut, but it was time to go. I think I am going to miss Beirut for a long time, but I know I will go back. I'm starting a new chapter of my life here in the states. As I start this chapter I will have the personal growth from Lebanon. My everyday trials and tribulations seem pretty minute when you think that people our age have already seen 3 wars. I think Lebanon will help me keep things in perspective. I hope I can have the good nature and warmth of the people. I hope I can have the resilience of Beirut. It will help me remember that organization and bureacracy are important. It will help me remember that things are not alway what they seem. That the way we imagine things may not be how they are at all in real life.
This is a farewell blog. But, I'm not sure what I am saying goodbye too. Goodbye to Lebanon? I don't think I am doing that. Lebanon will be in my heart forever. Goodbye to the Blog? Okay. I can handle that. haha
I would like to thank Terry for this opportunity. It changed all of us for the better. I want to thank Katie, Noha, Ashley, Ralph and Chris. We were an interesting and awesome group on an interesting and awesome trip. I want to thank Adel, for everything. He is a special man with a special story. I want to thank Beirut. The city and people showed us more than I can describe. I want to thank my family. It was important to me and everyone else in our family. I want to thank UK for trusting us.
Lebanon taught me so much about myself. I never thought I would feel so connected to something with so much turmoil and confusion. Alas, I am. I am a better person for the trip. I kept a journal on the trip about everything we did. It was personal and means a lot to me. That journal will be my reminder. Thanks again Beirut and Lebanon.