“I wake up to the sound of Vespas whizzing across the road. I feel a light breeze wander in and around my grandmother’s bedroom, where I lay half awake. I look around, all the windows are open and the curtains are dancing. The entire room is drenched in golden sunshine. What time is it anyway, I wonder. I check the clock on my side table and its 9:32 am on a warm July afternoon, in my city of Beirut, the capital of my home country, Lebanon. I catch my grandma’s eye as she sees me awake in bed and she rushes over to ask me if I want her to make me a sandwich or if I wanted go to down to the local bakery across the street and buy a freshly baked chocolate croissant. Ah, one of the reasons I love visiting my grandma during summers. She loves to baby me and I love to be babied by her. I tell her I’m not hungry yet and make myself some chai and head towards the veranda overlooking the bustling street below.
Its World Cup season, and as I look in front of me and around me I see colorful European flags hanging from one veranda to the next, in perfect harmony as if the neighbors intentionally intended on doing so. I hear a foreign Southeast Asian language being spoken above me. As I look up, I spot a housekeeper on the balcony on the floor above me, hanging clothes to dry, speaking to another housekeeper who is also on a balcony in the building across from us. They are talking in such an animated manner. Totally casual. I look below me and watch the people bustling about on the street, the baker talking to the butcher outside while they are on smoke breaks, the grocer trying to sell fruits on his grocery cart, calling out and saying that they are on special. Suddenly, overcome by hunger, I contemplate going down the street to get a croissant.
I go inside and realized the power went out. Hmm, a sandwich feels much more appealing now that the power is out and I don’t feel like taking the stairs. It wont be back for another 3 hours, which happens on a daily basis. What a beautiful mess this place is, I say to myself. I walk to the kitchen and see my grandma already making me a sandwich, letting me know who is coming over today and asking me if I had any laundry to give her, as well as a number of other matters that I can’t recall because I was too busy thinking how much I love being here, in this place, right now, with her.”
That was a mere glimpse of a typical morning in Beirut at my grandmother’s house, where I spend most of my summers. Sometimes, it’s the little things that connect you to a certain place, to certain people, and make you feel loved and cherished. I haven’t been there in almost two years because of my summer classes but I intend on going back very soon.
Do you have a simple memory that connects you to a place or person (or both)? I would love to hear it!