The Highs and Lows of Living in Lebanon
Contributing Author: Vivecca Chatila Malkoun
Coming from the US to Lebanon I’ve had to deal with a lot of changes, especially at first. I had to adjust to a new environment and a new way of life. Let’s be honest, I totally clashed with it for a while, but I think I finally found my groove. Living in Lebanon has its perks as well as its downsides. No place is perfect, right?
Living in Lebanon
- The best thing about living here is that there’s always something to do. Boredom isn’t an option. So many places like coffee shops and small restaurants are open past midnight or 24/7
- So much to explore. When you think you’ve seen it all, there’s always something you missed. I’ve been here for 7 years and still feel like I have a LOT of ground to cover.
- I get to enjoy the 4 seasons. The winters bring snow to the mountainous areas, and during the season ski resorts are full of tourists and locals alike.
- Distances are so short, and temperatures are so different, you can actually plan to go skiing in the morning and then go down to the beach in the afternoon.
- Inmost towns and big cities, if you don’t feel like walking, there are shared taxis called “service” (pronounced sir-vee-ce)that charge the equivalent of $1.50 if you want to go somewhere relatively close or on their way. If you want to go further, I take Uber or another local private taxi company.
- Labor is super cheap, so any home improvement jobs, cleaning services, salon services, car washing, etc….are more than affordable. Doctors are also not as expensive as they are in the US.
- WhenI’m sitting across from this view. [Starbucks Rouche] Everything else pales in comparison.
- Low salaries top my list. Compared to those in the US, salaries in Lebanon are very low and if you want to keep up with the lifestyle, it’s difficult to save a penny. Minimum wage here is around $500 a month.
- The electricity is rationed so that we get a certain number of hours of “government electricity” and then it shuts off and generators take over. So we have two electricity bills to pay per month, and that can get very pricy.
- High rent, mobile phone bills, and (sometimes painfully) slow Internet service.
- Lots of pollution unless you go into the mountains where the air is much cleaner.
- The heavy traffic on a daily basis creates serious road rage and delays
- Being an introvert is like social suicide. It’s an extrovert’s playground. Nightlife here is everything. You must be social day or night. It’s almost expected of you.
So as I said, there are good things and bad things. Many of the bad things seem quite bad, but once you get used to it, it’s actually not that terrible. Ok, someI’ll never get over, but I mean, it’s doable. Especially when I’m sitting at the most beautiful Starbucks in the WORLD, looking out at that view…all the negatives about life here just fade away as I watch the sunset.