It's April 26, 2017 in Saida, Lebanon. I wake up to the morning Dhuhr prayer, coming from the nearest Mosque.
I decided to get ready for the day ahead of us, because I knew this was going to be one of the most unforgettable days of my life.
PAOLA!!! Come on let's go, if we leave any sooner we will get to village after sunset!
That morning we were headed to Kfarchouba with my Aunt Sabbah (right) and cousin Niserine (right).
Sabah Alkyhyr (good morning) Paola, today we are going to see your family which you haven't seen since you were a baby
On our way to the village I couldn't help but think of all the differences between home and Lebanon. Everything was just so different, the scenery, the vibe, everything.
OMG! Look we are up in the Mountains! You would never see anything like this back home.
Really? I guess staying in village will be a really fun time with the family.
Everyone on the village is very excited to see you Paola, you have grown a lot in the past 7 years.
Little did I know how truthful her words were.
You know Paola, life in the village is very different from life in the city even here in Lebanon.
The view outside was unlike anything I've ever see
How could they fit 12 people in this house?
Welcome to the Village!! This is the house where me and your aunts and Uncles grew up.
We will give you a tour of the hosue much letter, let us introduce you to your relatives.
When I walked into my eldest aunt's house I couldn't help but feel different from the rest of my cousins.
While my father and his sister were catching up they kept asking if I understood Arabic, which I do not, so i felt really left out. They also kept asking me about my faith since my mothers side is not Muslim, so I responded saying that I was Muslim. They just giggled and since they saw that the question made uncomfortable didn't bring up the topic again.
Of course I am, why would I not be I've been raised Muslim my entire life.
So, Paola are you Muslim?
My father and I decided to leave my aunts after dinner because we were super tired. My Aunt Sabbah went to her house in the village and my father and I decided to sleep at his old house.
Yes you can but it's not like the city Paola, Hot water is very scarce, take a shower quickly and don't use all the hot water.
Can I go take a shower before bed?
I was very confused as to why things in the village were so different. Yes the scenery and land was completely different, but everything so far seemed almost parallel.
How can I not take a long shower? I need to wash my hair that takes 15 minutes alone.
Little did I know tomorrow was going to be an even bigger eye opening day.
As I was drifting off into my sleep, I couldn't help but compare the village life to my life. Everyone is more conservative, the scenery is completely different, and the atmosphere feels very fresh and open.
After giving me a tour of his two-bedroom home which my father grew up in, we had to go to our farm to get food. I had never been farming before and I didn't think there was any reason to because there was a store down the street.
Since we do not have food in the house,we are going to the our family farm to get what we need for breakfast.
We have a family farm? Why do we have to get our food isn't there a store around here?
As I was getting food I couldn't help but feel bad for the families who had to do this everyday. I knew it was their only way of getting food. If I had to live like that every day of my life I would never get used it.
You would never see loose animals like these roaming the streets in the U.S.
On the way back home, I saw a bunch of little kids playing with a water bottle filled with a bunch of coins. I was obviously confused because I had seen a soccer ball in the local market.
Then I realized something. Although living in the village you have the access to food and some necessities some families do not have the money to get luxury items.
I learned that a want was different from a need. To have fun people will use their imaginations, and create anything they can, which completely different from what we do at home in the U.S.
After eating breakfast I decided to go back outside and play with the kids for the rest of the afternoon. Who knew playing with a plastic bottle filled with coins would be so fun?
Can I play?
I bid farewell to my new friends and set back on my way to the city the next morning. I realized that the village was way more than just a village to me it was a place to enjoy your family, and a place of new experiences. It taught me a lot of lessons and made me very thankful for what I have today. Thank you Lebanon
PAOLA!! Come back to the house we are leaving early tomorrow morning!