My hubby and I have been married for almost 10 months now. And after less than a year of marriage, we are moving to a new home again, to one that we will truly call our own. We are excited of course, since we will be giving it a thorough renovation, and we are always up to a new adventure and a new challenge.
But on the other hand, this means that we will be leaving our very first home.
I remember when the wedding date was approaching, and we had nowhere to stay yet, we were faced with the question ” where will we live?”. After many considerations, my grand mother was kind enough to let us stay in her old apartment in the heart of Beirut, specifically in Barbour, until we found another appartment.
We were excited, scared, worried. We had never lived in Beirut. We both lived in quiet mountain neighbourhoods and hardly ever went down to Beirut, except for work or the random outing in Hamra, Monot, or Achrafieh. The idea of living in the city, with the traffic, the pollution, in an area where buildings were practically glued to one another ( I swear, I can watch tv with the neighbours in the building across from my balcony, sound, detailed image and all included).
I cried many times at the thought of leaving the only home I ever lived in since I moved to Lebanon. I’ve moved so many times before ( from Abu Dhabi, to Canada, and back. Then to Cairo, and finally to Lebanon). I guess this has the effect of getting you used to “leaving” but also pretty sensitive every time it’s time to pack up all your things and leave everything you have gotten used to behind.
And then that day finally came, we returned from our honey moon at 4 in the morning, and went straight to our new home, in a neighbourhood that we are not familiar with and looked nothing like what we’ve always known.
We barely slept that night. It was so damn hot! It turned out our duvet was not very summer friendly, the A/C was hardly working (PS: I haven’t had an A/C in my life for the past 4 years. Thank you mountain weather). and to top it all, as we were trying to move the bed, it actually fell apart! I had a mini break down and told my husband that each of us should go to his parents home, and that we would reconvene the next day. Of course, that did not happen, the bed was put back together, the sheets were removed and a somewhat goodnight’s sleep went by without further incident.
The first week after that was a series of ” I want to go home”, “it’s too hot in this place”, ” it’s too dark in this place”, ” this was a bad idea”, ” I hate this place, nothing is working properly!”. But after some good DIY fixing of all faulty things in our house, things went a lot better from there.
And then, a few lighting fixtures, a hoover, a few rugs, and some other decorative items later, this place became our favourite place in the world. It became our sanctuary. We loved having people over, and hosting game nights.
I went back to my old house about 4 times since, only! Who would’ve thought! And although I cried a lot at the prospect of leaving my beloved bed and comfort zone behind, I hardly even miss it now.
Here we are again, 10 months later, going through that very same cycle again. We have now fallen in love with Beirut, with its small streets, and old homes waiting to be discovered. Our neighbours have become our friends. And now, every time I remember that I am leaving our first home, I cannot help but feel my heart breaking a little, with some tears being shed every now and then. Will I forget about it as well? Never think of returning? Forget Beirut, its small streets and lovely people? The smell of hot, fresh spinach pies from the bakery near by, or the 4 o’clock coffee with my favourite neighbour? I honestly don’t know.. but for now.. absolutely not. After all, right now, it is my favourite place in the world.