Initial Lessons on Apartment Living in Shatila

1. My landlord is a 12 year old boy named Izzat. 30 yr old man trapped in a kid’s body – CHAMP.

2. My mother’s creativity of what you can turn in to a mop has already come in handy.

3. I have a stomach of steel re: dealing with cockroaches.

4. I still sleep like a baby on farshat. Summers in Cairo sleeping on the floor = fantastic training.

5. Lebanese mjadara is not mjadara. Apparently, Palestinian mjadara is Lebanese mdarara and Palestinian mdarara is Lebanese mjadara. Who knew?

6. There is math skill to knowing hours of available electricity. Basically, there are 2 four hour periods a day with no electricity. Well sort of. And from midnight to 6am. Ok, so I haven’t mastered the skill yet. I’m still working on it. The most relevant period of the day without it seems to be between 10am and 2pm. We got the building’s generator hooked up to our apartment today though, so I think I can stop trying to do the math in my head at least momentarily. The generator is enough to make the fans run during off hours. More than good enough for me.

7. I had forgotten that camps are the only place where one is consistently adopted by children and not the other way around.

8. A mana’eesh bakery downstairs is always a gift from God.

9. Living on the top floor means better access to the rooftop.

10. Surprise kibbeh niyyah dinner from your neighbors downstairs when you just swung by to introduce the newly arrived volunteers is best when accompanied by a walking sitcom of a woman named Samar. I am talking female Palestinian version of Adel lmam.

11. I have no intuitive technological capabilities re: phones. If it’s not the phone I’ve had for years or the old school Nokia brick, there is no point in trying to be fancy. I just end up needing a tutorial. Thanks for the old blackberry anyway though, friend.

12. I am actually making this list over a period of a few days with no Internet. So it, like many posts, will go up slightly delayed.

13. For as many warnings as one receives about divisive political debates in Lebanon, In the past few days, I have had some of the most informative and respectful conversation re: Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Palestine that I’ve had in a long time.

14. It’s amazing how quickly exposed electrical lines become a normal part of your daily scene without phasing you whatsoever. It’s also amazing how much 20 minutes outside of the camp staring at the beach transforms your world after said normalcy. Taking the kids to the beach is gonna be a real treat…

15. It is extremely difficult to simultaneously translate stories from 48 refugees and not cry. Somehow I managed to and then broke down when our friend Mahmoud, a young guy from the camp (and our daily savior), choked up talking about his grandfather. No more translation for at least a week…


2 thoughts on “Initial Lessons on Apartment Living in Shatila

Add yours

  1. Bon jour-ayn ya ruhi! Thanks for sharing and Masr bitsallim alayki! One request: remember to gather posters. We’ll pay for you to ship them back. Let me know when you’ve got a roll to send (how’s that for optimism)! And if you can’t get the poster, at least take a picture and send it along. Merci kteer! Rochelle

    1. Hahaha always the optimist, Rochelle! Wallay himmik I’ll see what I can do! Also I met Khuloud yesterday, she says hi! And that you’re coming to Lebanon?!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: