I landed back in Beirut night before last, after a visit to my hometown of Seattle. According to the pilot’s announcement, it was still 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius), despite being nearly 11 pm at night. Hot and sticky air enveloped us as we exited the arrivals hall to the parking lot. A dramatic change from the 65-degree (18 C) highs we’d been having in Seattle.
When we got to the hotel, my husband commented that the parking lot (and hotel) had been packed over the weekend, with Syrians. It was Monday and he thought they had returned to Damascus, which is less than two hours away by car. It’s hard to get one´s head around the idea that while Beirutis are going to the beach for the weekend for a respite from the summer heat, Syrians are coming to Beirut for the weekend for a respite from the civil war.
If even Beirut and Damascus can feel worlds apart, imagine how far Beirut feels from Seattle. And yet, returning to our new home in Beirut (even if that new home is actually still a hotel apartment), felt like coming back to home, sweet home.