A lebanese weekend in nyc
I knew the weekend was going to be fun, but it was much much more...
It was a new place to explore and taste, nice people I got to meet, and re-meet, old faces to see again, laughs, common memories, Fairouz, and above all....Lebanon as it is. Don't we carry it with us everywhere?
For me, it started Friday night, meeting our great hostess Mirvat and two of her nice friends at Times square, with the night finishing in the village's streets at 4 am with a quick Belgian fries meal. Between smoking causing cancer and emphesyma, moonlighting envy by the PhD's for the real doctors (MD's), remembering old names from AUB, and alot alot of politics and religion talk, I started to feel like home.
Our blogger meeting was on Saturday evening, with me and alot of old friends (the sweet seriously please Gitane and three classmates) arriving late to prove that we are proud of our Lebanese heritage. There, a big group were already carrying their own version of the lebanese bloggers' meetup in nyc. Matching the names to the faces was not straitforward each time.
Acting like a princess, Laila was easily spotted. Calm, but alert, Ghassan was again easily identified, with the help of a vague memory I had for him from AUB days.
Ashraf was there, and i knew him from the early med school days when he was with us before he saw light and decided it's not worth it! The hostess, Mirvat, was again there, with her warm smile, and welcoming spirit.
Firas, a classmate and a friend, was there never losing his baby face, and witty remarks.
Fouad, another classmate and friend was also there, filling the atmosphere with artistic remarks, and fantasies.
Ziad, Anton afandi, Anny, Maroun and his wife, were the completely new people I had the pleasure to meet.
As a punishment for our classy, very lebanese soiree coming, we were forced to have our own table, enjoying the Byblos good food. The two tables, however, will be infiltrated by each others and soon, became one large round table.
Even more late, and classy, the late coming of Maya, with her zeina and Nahoul, and Grandizer nostalgia. Jamil, driving from Canada, was the last to join, or at least as I recall.
While I missed the political discussions the early commers had, I was there for the quick revision of lebanese blogs, and their role in the last war.
After a long, again very lebanese style, talk at the restaurant door, a group of the bloggers and friends met at the Faluka club, for a long night of dance and music.
At 4 am, hunger stroke, and the group gathered at a small place for an early morning Falafel meal, in what is now known as "Falafel bi nyc".
With Fairouz's voice streaming the small place, the memories of the civil war started surfacing. The shelters, card play, the different names of our lebanese internal battles, and in what days they started, we all had same common memories.
Like scars on our skin, they were there...to stay.
Singing Jonger, Sami Clark's treasure island, annesr el zahabi, 3adnan wa Lina, Remi, Sindibad, Sandy bel, Bashar sewar el 3asal, Bill wa Sebastian and alot alot others, the sleeping kids inside us just woke up at that late late night hour.
Poetry as well had its place in that memorable gathering of 7 sleepy people, that will never ever suffer a dementia! From Omro2o el kais kefa nabki, to elia Abu Madi watan el noujom, each one of us was filling the gaps in each others' memory....what a great great common thing we all share.
For me, these common things and memories are what define us all.
They are things we acquire, and can never be baught ot taught.
When the early sun rays hit the earth of the city that never sleeps, the group called it a night, and the nyc blogger festivities almost finished.
On my way back to Pittsburgh, I could still hear the talks, the laughs, and most important, feel the warm feelings we all had in this weekend.
Despite our differences, the lebanese can always get together, and discover how close they are.
We always share our love, nostalgia, and fear for the beloved homeland.
At the end, it was our belonging to it that united us all, in a city far far away from it.
To everybody who made it there this weekend, thank you for a nice weekend.
For fellow bloggers in Lebanon and all over the world, we hope we'll meet someday.
Hopefully in Lebanon.
3ishtom wa 3ash Loubnan!
* For more cartoon songs nostalgia, please refer to : http://alsaher.com/cartoons/