"But Miss, why Lebanon?"

“But Miss, why Lebanon?”… By far the number one inquiry put to me by students, it is asked with utter confusion and an incredulous tone: why on earth did I opt to come to Lebanon?  One asks after finding out my relatively young age, another because of the lore and legend she has heard about American life, another because he desperately misses that life.  And, I am afraid, I do not have a necessarily good answer for them.

It is the “why” question I have been aggressively grappling with for the past four and a half months.  To the day, I have in fact been in Lebanon for five months.  The first few weeks were the veritable “honeymoon” phase, rose colored glasses, birds chirping on my shoulders, the works of an enamored fascination with all that was new.  That passed and a different sort of reality began.

I applaud those who can maintain a bright, sunny phase of transition for longer than is typically possible.  I am not one of them.  I follow the very stereotypical pattern of wide-eyed wonder, to dark brooding, to steady choice and integration, and eventual rhythm and contentment.  At the end of October, well after a rather large ticket purchase had been made, I seriously wondered if it would be wise for me to return to Oregon for the holidays; I did not know if I could get back on the plane.  The “why” was coupled with a variety of expletives and mused on in the bubble of my apartment where I could rant and sulk to my heart’s content.  And sulk I did, in part knowing that the only real way to navigate through this phase of transition was to sit with it for a bit.  November came, carrying with it a subtle shift of perspective and the ease of mind that yes, I could enjoy my snowy, PNW reprieve, and return to Lebanon better than when I had left.  My jabs at the “why” as of late are still full fisted, but delivered with a glint in my eye and smile hiding in the corners of my mouth.

One friend’s sage-skeptical analysis was that generally the best answer to “why” is “because”; I, however, cannot live there.  I am a sorter, an analyzer, only content with a simplistic or trite “because” when I can say with integrity that I have thought through all other possibilities.  So at present there are the practical answers: it was a job offered that allowed practice in what I am trained in, an income to pay off debt, and the much desired opportunity to live outside the American context.  Intangibly, because I had peace about making the move from the moment it was a possibility; because I knew this would have been the path I would have always wondered “what if?” about.  And because there is a sense to all this that other, more buried, answers exist that I am yet to unearth, and some that have come to light that I am simply not ready to give voice to yet.