20 things I learned from having a Lebanese best friend

So what makes a Lebanese friend so special? The food, the parties, the...?

Yorva Tsiakara

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1. Everybody knows everybody in Lebanon.
2. If you do not salute your friends in three different languages, you cannot be called Lebanese (“hi”, “kifak”? “ca va”?).
3. You need to eat using your fingers and lots, lots, lots of bread!
4. How to start my mornings listening to Fairouz and eating manoushi.
5. Continue with mujadara and fool for a late lunch and knefe for desert.
6. You are supposed to congratulate someone who just had a shower.
7. How to recognize the mellow Beiruti accent from a harsher mountainous one.
8. That “habibi” and “hayati” can express your love but also your irritation.
9. Beirut gets forgotten when it comes to competing with a fancy European capital, even when they have both been attacked by terrorists.
10. Religion and politics can go together.
11. Juristic ineffectiveness and corrupt governmental institutions are due to political co-dependence.
12. Lebanese and Greeks love and get angry in the same insane way.
13. And party in the same way - the louder the better.
14. Bad people have some kind of “heavy blood.”
15. The biggest lie a Lebanese will tell you is: “In Lebanon, you can swim and ski on the same day.”
16. I learned how to make shish taouk, and that you can put thyme in pretty much any dish it.
17. In Lebanon, whatever you do you will feel underdressed at some point.
18. They do not make friends easily, but once you are their friend you are their family; and family is above all for them.
19. Through my best friend, I learned how to love Lebanon.
20. I learned so much more, but there is one phrase you can say to stop me babbling: “Khalas ya Yorva!

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