2016 Wrap-Up & Send-Off
It’s incredible how much soul-searching and self-reflection an airport terminal inspires.
Here I am, staring in interest at swarms of passengers, each with a destination, each with a purpose, each with a unique story. Some might be flying out for work in the Arab states, where the business week commences today, Sunday. Others might be heading on a quick pre-holiday getaway for some much-needed me-time before throngs of relatives threaten their privacy. Still others might be going home for the holidays, preempting Christmas to avoid the onslaught of the chaotic travel season.
You can fit me in Bin #3.
For the first time since 2010, I’ll be going “home” for Christmas. The use of the quotation marks is merited because (1) one might argue that I’m already home, coming up on my six-year anniversary in Lebanon. And (2) home is where the heart is, which suggests my heart is omnipresent in all the places and people I cherish.
So let me fine-tune that. I’ll be going home to my childhood abode, to celebrate with my parents and brothers. The last time we woke up under one roof on Christmas Day was in 2010, before my swift and unforeseen move to Lebanon.
The subsequent five years saw me spend the festive season in beautiful Lebanon, where even in the midst of accumulating untreated garbage and a stagnating economy, municipalities continue to vie for the most intricate street decorations and nativity scenes. The video of Malaga’s resplendent Christmas lighting may have been prematurely mistaken for Beirut’s, but the Lebanese are definitely on top of their décor game.
I’ll be missing that contagious joyfulness, the homemade bûches, Christmas markets, Secret Santa and liqueur-laced cheer at the office. But in my favor, I’ll be enjoying real gingerbread, Mom's home-cooking, milder weather, and soothing organization. Should I mention a cruise to Mexico and some Las Vegas debauchery?
The minutes are draining as boarding time approaches, and I’m not sure how best to end this post, which will be my last for 2016.
So let me evoke a Christmas card and wish you, dear reader, a beautiful holiday season near the ones you love, marked by spirited conversations, delicious food, and bushy-eyed optimism. Be generous, be loving, be kind. Be selfless, but grant yourself some indulgences. And above all, shrug off past grudges and indiscretions, for they will only poison the year ahead.
|How clever is this Arabic-script Christmas card?|
2016 had its moments. It wasn’t easy, to say the least. I may not have achieved what I set out to, and I may be far from the notion of me conjured up a decade ago, when I was still a college lass.
But as long as I have my health, my family, my resolve, and my soapbox (viva Beirutista!), I’ll keep giving this life everything I’ve got, exploiting the talents God’s bestowed upon me, even if the path is shaky or uncharted or ungratifying.
Thank you for being there to hear me out every step of the journey.