Road Trips, A Camera, and Saying Goodbye: A Farewell Gathering in Ainab


A few weeks ago, I found myself invited to a farewell gathering and lunch in the Lebanese mountains along with a group of dear friends. Not only was this a great chance to see awesome people I haven’t seen since graduating, but also a chance to go on a road trip.

And like I explained previously, I am a sucker for road trips.

Where else would you see badly translated French that has turned into classic Lebanese Arabic?

With the help of a lot of signs, a GPS, and randomly asking people along the way, we finally got to our friend’s house in Ainab, a village in Mount Lebanon that is close to Alley, a very popular location with tourists especially in the summer thanks to its cafes and cooler atmosphere.

Having traveled to many beautiful places over the years, you’d think being in a place with a magnificent view won’t faze me, but the moment we went up to the roof where we would spend the rest of the day, I think my jaw dropped. Just a little bit into the distance was the airport. Yes, see for yourself.

Imagine sitting there all day watching planes take off and land- breathtaking!

After getting over my astonishment, I went about taking pictures, trying to immortalize the moment, enjoying the fact that we were all gathered and not thinking about studying and projects. But in my usual state of mind, I was also thinking about farewells, as our friend would be going to the United Arab Emirates to work, as well as several of the group members going onto graduate school abroad.

Thankfully, I didn’t have a chance to get all melancholic until we headed back to Beirut, as food was starting to be served. And what delicious and delightful food it was.

The setting of the delightful lunch

To say that no expense was spared would be an understatement, as there was virtually every kind of Lebanese mezza, as well as the main dishes and desserts that we all love so much. It was the Lebanese sense of hospitality that we tend to pride ourselves on at its best- and this is something I will miss dearly when I travel to Maastricht.

Desserts: see, I told you so...

As the day made its way into the afternoon, we laughed and joked around about things that won’t matter even a few months from now-like how the food nearly got burned- but fully aware that it was time to leave, despite being so full, very content, and in no mood to endure the horrible traffic. But all good things must come to an end no matter how much you try to delay it.

So we snapped the inevitable group picture, said our goodbyes and wished our friend good luck, and headed back.

Okay, so this was taken well before we left, I couldn't find the other picture...

And what do you think happened then? We missed the exit and nearly got lost when we were pretending we knew the way back, making it one of the best road trips I’ve been on in a long, long time, though it came with the sad realization that our lives were just starting, independent of the close friendships we had established in college.

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