Bei- Where!?

It was past 1am but there I was, kneeling under a street lamp in a pink summer dress.

“Are you ok?”, The young woman asked.

I nodded and motioned to an upside down jar featuring my praying mantis devouring a cricket. We engaged in conversation, talked about our studies – which are as opposite as could be. She is doing orthopedics while I’m a film major.

“You are pretty, are you mixed?” She asked.

“Very, I’m Caribbean, what about you?”


At this, I got super excited and quickly shared my plans for fall quarter.

“You need to be careful,” she warned, “There is a lot of war in the Middle East. Espeshly if you are Christian.”

Of course this was not news to me, but for some reason hearing it from this particular Middle Eastern woman in the middle of the night made all the difference. I had flash backs to seeing footage of severed heads and modern crucifixions.

Ok, wait- you are lost. What the heck am I talking about?

TravelDuring winter quarter I started questioning my education and ultimately decided to finish up in Lebanon. What!? Why!? there’s actually several personal reasons that make sense to me.

  • Because Life is ALLAYS a Fragile Thing- According to the doctors, if it wasn’t for my roommate, I would have died last year during finals week. Of course, I don’t believe them because in my three days of hallucinations and alternate reality, I didn’t randomly visit heaven or chat it up with God. But well, since I was burned, had severe unrelated pain, couldn’t eat for four days, lost the ability to walk and the world became blurry all around… Maybe they were right. The three or four severe diagnosis were actually domino linked and supposedly caused by eating unhealthily and not sleeping. It wasn’t just that. Emotional circumstances at the time had forced my body into a deteriorating condition. You don’t have to travel to another country to ‘almost die’.
  • Because Happiness is the Core of Wellbeing – During my stay in the French/Swiss countryside, I realized that happiness is everything. It really is. The simple act of blissful thinking and positive frame of mind changes lives and circumstances. The positive influences in France not only helped me recuperate but also inspired my existence. Not returning to the US, not having to deal with past issues would be a positive thing.
  • Because Nice Aliens Don’t Currently Intervene With Mundane Affairs-  In the middle of living ‘the life’, an unfortunate international incident involving combat boots, tinker bell pajama bottoms and aliens took place. *slow awkward laughter* Ok, so maybe it wasn’t quite like that.
    It had more to do with myself and a friend traveling to Switzerland so I could attend an interview at 10pm the evening before one of our finals. A couple hours later, I laid shaking and sobbing in the comfort of my bed. Grotesque faces terrorized my waking dreams along with the kind aliens that kidnapped their vile owners. I sat the next day on my desk, red eyed and blank minded. The final was a complete failure.
    In short – you should surround yourself with people who encourage you not those who put you down. This is not to say that one shouldn’t strive to reach goal – but seriously, don’t throw yourself in the lion’s den… or in this case attend a meeting with multiple people who have previously looked down on you.
  • Because School in the USA is Overrated and Expensive-  Overseas is cheaper. With 15,000 USD I can go to school and even fly to the States to be the maid of honor at my best friend’s wedding. In Lebanon, not only did I have the possibility of graduating with an American degree but also further developing French and learning Arabic. What about location? The school over looks Beirut and the Mediterranean. It would almost be like how I can see Geneva and the lake from my dorm room window.
    So many good things!


Many have since heard about my plans, and input has been mixed. It mostly one side or the other, though. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.

Friends in France and Americans either living abroad or in Lebanon thought it was a fabulous idea. On various occasions, I was told that Beirut seemed a lot safer than some communities in the United States. “I cannot tell you how many times my premonitions regarding this entire region have been completely shattered… there is no need to be overly-concerned … I have never felt like I was in danger here” an American wrote.

Although I’d convinced my parents of the idea, back in the United States most people were shocked and upset about my decision. Several had already lectured my family on how wrong it was for me to be living in France, never mind Lebanon. A lot of my friends’ parents had somehow decided for mine, that it was just unthinkable and that I could not go under any circumstance. My librarians also decided – and announced quite loudly to the readers- that I could not go.

It was almost funny how clashing opinions would come about. One time, after a friend’s mom had finished lecturing me on safety, her daughter came up to me and simply said “This is your chance, follow your dreams. Don’t be afraid.” Another time, a pastor decided that the reason why I wasn’t afraid of going to Lebanon was because I was planning to die there. What? O.O (Ok, like maybe if I’d passed the average lifespan!) Anyways, a girl who’d been living as a missionary in the Dominican Republic thankfully pointed out that the United States isn’t the safest of places either. “You can loose many things here too,” she stated “Even your religion”

“We prefer you alive.” Was something that everyone agreed on and it was something that was repeated over and over. They didn’t understand, but maybe there were also somethings I didn’t understand.


In the end, it turns out that I will not be moving to Lebanon. There simply isn’t enough time to finish my degree there. Instead I will be attending another school with higher tuition costs than the last. You know what else is funny? My hospitalization bills from that one time I almost died are higher than the tuition bill.

School starts in a week. I’m so screwed! But you know, apparently that’s ok because in America it is socially acceptable to be in debt over your face to obtain a stupid degree you may never use. You know what else is ok in America? Over charging patients for medical services. My dad was a doctor –  that’s what he told me.

I meant to tie the word “beware” somewhere in here but apperently as a human, one needs to ‘beware’ everything in the universe. Even the universe it’self.


5 thoughts on “Bei- Where!?

  1. I would have said “go to Lebanon,” Jacquie. Things go south, come home. Of course you might go there and live a couple of months, check it out, see what it is really like. When I graduated from college, I headed off to Africa and the Peace Corps. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. –Curt


    1. I love your response. Hopefully it will be a possibility to at list visit sometime in the future. Looking into the possibility of learning Arabic this quarter, just in case. They do speak French there though.
      Really! That sounds so exciting! Where did you go and what did you do?


      1. I went to Liberia and taught history at an up-country high school. (Before all of the problems.) BTW, a young woman who worked for me when I ran Peace Corps recruiting in Northern California and Nevada went to Lebanon, learned Arabic. and had a wonderful experience. –Curt


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