The bright side of holiday traffic

Date: Monday, January 05, 2015
By: Tanya Dernaika
Source: The Daily Star

There is nothing more frustrating than sitting in holiday traffic, but now that the congestion has eased up, I’ve got to admit, I’m sort of missing it.
Admittedly, Beirut’s bumper- to-bumper traffic these last few weeks was a nightmare to say the least. It’s neither the wasted time advancing at a snail’s pace nor the dreadful road manners that I miss, but rather what the traffic represented and signified. I found the traffic heartening because I compared our busy roads to the empty and desolate streets during the same period last year, when the devastating bombings left our city and souls distressed. Congestion meant many Lebanese living abroad felt reassured enough to come home, and they wanted to visit people and places, which is always a good thing.
I love it when people return home from overseas, even if it’s just for the holidays. It’s usually a win-win for the hosts and the visitors. A tacit agreement exists between guest and host in Lebanon, with each side clear on their specific roles and responsibilities. In my opinion, these roles can be summed as follows:
Role of Guest
To bring gifts, preferably rare and unavailable in Lebanon for maximum “tanmeerability” (my made-up word, meaning “boastability” – also made-up.)
To get our neural pathways revved up again with new perspectives that help us see beyond our narrow horizons.
To express delight, wonder and appreciation for all the things we tend to take for granted, like our amazing food, sunsets and kindness, thus reminding locals that, although life is challenging here, there is also magic if you are willing to believe in it.
Role of Host
To orchestrate family and social gatherings and create a sense of warmth recalling the gatherings of the guests’ childhood, the authentic human connections and the sense of place and belonging that those abroad have traded in for security, peace of mind and economic opportunity.
To choreograph their holiday experiences in ways that are more tailored to their nostalgic reminiscence than actual modern day-to-day reality, and that includes the menu. Let’s face it, it’s not the new black cod recipe you’ve just learned that they’re craving; it’s shankleesh and warak ennab they’re really pining for.
To play the crucial roles of matchmaker and Cupid to their worldly and well-traveled family and friends, disillusioned by the failed promises of Match.com and willing to re-engage in good old-fashioned personal introductions in search of their better half.
Most of the guests have left now, and the traffic has become more manageable. I said good-bye to family and friends with a heavy heart. Part of me wanted to leave with them, but most of me preferred to stay, so I can be among the first to cross when Lebanon’s traffic light finally turns green.
Tanya Dernaika is a communications expert, blogger, wife and mother, recently repatriated and enjoying the roller coaster that is life in Beirut.

 For more articles: www.tourism-lebanon.com
There is nothing more frustrating than sitting in holiday traffic, but now that the congestion has eased up, I’ve got to admit, I’m sort of missing it.
Admittedly, Beirut’s bumper- to-bumper traffic these last few weeks was a nightmare to say the least. It’s neither the wasted time advancing at a snail’s pace nor the dreadful road manners that I miss, but rather what the traffic represented and signified. I found the traffic heartening because I compared our busy roads to the empty and desolate streets during the same period last year, when the devastating bombings left our city and souls distressed. Congestion meant many Lebanese living abroad felt reassured enough to come home, and they wanted to visit people and places, which is always a good thing.
I love it when people return home from overseas, even if it’s just for the holidays. It’s usually a win-win for the hosts and the visitors. A tacit agreement exists between guest and host in Lebanon, with each side clear on their specific roles and responsibilities. In my opinion, these roles can be summed as follows:
Role of Guest
To bring gifts, preferably rare and unavailable in Lebanon for maximum “tanmeerability” (my made-up word, meaning “boastability” – also made-up.)
To get our neural pathways revved up again with new perspectives that help us see beyond our narrow horizons.
To express delight, wonder and appreciation for all the things we tend to take for granted, like our amazing food, sunsets and kindness, thus reminding locals that, although life is challenging here, there is also magic if you are willing to believe in it.
Role of Host
To orchestrate family and social gatherings and create a sense of warmth recalling the gatherings of the guests’ childhood, the authentic human connections and the sense of place and belonging that those abroad have traded in for security, peace of mind and economic opportunity.
To choreograph their holiday experiences in ways that are more tailored to their nostalgic reminiscence than actual modern day-to-day reality, and that includes the menu. Let’s face it, it’s not the new black cod recipe you’ve just learned that they’re craving; it’s shankleesh and warak ennab they’re really pining for.
To play the crucial roles of matchmaker and Cupid to their worldly and well-traveled family and friends, disillusioned by the failed promises of Match.com and willing to re-engage in good old-fashioned personal introductions in search of their better half.
Most of the guests have left now, and the traffic has become more manageable. I said good-bye to family and friends with a heavy heart. Part of me wanted to leave with them, but most of me preferred to stay, so I can be among the first to cross when Lebanon’s traffic light finally turns green.
Tanya Dernaika is a communications expert, blogger, wife and mother, recently repatriated and enjoying the roller coaster that is life in Beirut.
- See more at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Life/Lubnan/2015/Jan-05/283036-the-bright-side-of-holiday-traffic.ashx#sthash.cGemI3wQ.dpuf

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