Fragments of memory, figments of imagination, or facets of reality? Are these posts of mine visions of a Lebanon that once existed but is no more, one that never existed before, or one that's still alive at the core? I know there are generations of kids at this very moment confidently betting their truths will never change, who'll one day look back nostalgically and wonder the very same thing we are wondering today. Did they really live this dream or did they dream this life? Why is everything suddenly so different? A lot of what we called home has changed, I give you that, but we have changed too. Often it is what we focus on that we see, and we see it through our own unique filters and prisms, the tinted, the broken, the scratched, the sharpened, the hazy, the patched. I choose what I want to look at and what I want to see. My Lebanon is the longtime bodies consumed with a backgammon game, totally oblivious of the world around them, the old shopowner napping on his chair in the midst of the hustle and bustle, the chirpy little kids playing hopscotch in a tiny alley, the lines of colorful clothes flapping in the wind, the competing chants of street vendors taunting the unmatched quality of their goods, the adorned service cars and their chatty seasoned drivers, the proud laborers lovingly gathering Earth's generous bounties, the spreads of grapes and figs drying in the bright sun, the red roof tops, the majestic mountains and winding little roads, the grandmother treating her eager grandkids to a toy from the corner toy store, the family units gathering for family time, the impromptu visits, the "ahla w sahla tafaddalo," and the aromatic cups of coffee one quickly stops counting, the times when everything stops so we can smell the roses, the kaleidoscope of colors, scenes, paces, eras, civilizations, philosophies, all for the picking. These, and so many more, are my Lebanon. These are the beauty I look for and see, the one I immerse myself in, relishing, even if for fleeting moments, the life that was not meant for me.
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