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Lowell High School's Newspaper of Record

The LHS Review

A Student’s Memory in Lebanon

An LHS junior's trip to her family's home country.

Courtesy Rim Karam

Courtesy Rim Karam

Leila Chammas, Writer and Narrator

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This is an audio story based on student, Leila Chammas’s memory while on a recent trip to her family’s country of Lebanon.

 

By Leila Chammas

Lebanon- It was 2 AM when we arrived at my grandparent’s house in Lebanon. Jet-lagged and irritable; I hadn’t slept but merely 4 hours in the past 48. We took a taxi from Beirut into our small of village of Amioun. The taxi ride felt like centuries. When we got there everything seemed so foreign.. I was already questioning staying the full 3 weeks. I followed my grandfather onto the patio leading into the house.

I was so focused on finding a bed to collapse on until this sweet, decadent scent blew by me.

This white tree hung there magically over the patio. I walked over to the tree and breathed it in a bit more. I was stopped in my tracks. All of my problems had suddenly disappeared. Take into mind, this is a smell that I hadn’t smelt in eight years(the time I’ve been living in the states). It was so powerful that tears of joy rolled down my face. In a place that seemed so foreign, everything became so familiar.

I rarely thought about my time living in Lebanon until this very moment. Nothing had really brought it out in me, but this smell.  

This smell was so powerful, it brought out hundreds of memories at once. Of course those were the good old days, and my life is unrecognizably different now.

I thought of this one time when my father was visiting our house from the states. We were playing and riding our bikes around in circles in our cement driveway because it’s not safe enough for kids to ride bikes on the street in Lebanon. Dad heard something in the stone walls that border the house. He ran up next to it. The three of us(my sister, brother and myself) quickly got off of our little bikes and we followed dad up to the wall. He had a giant stick in his hand and he began poking around in the wall. Dad screamed at us kid “stay back!!”, “don’t get any closer”.

We started running back toward the house because we recognized dad’s change in tone and we knew to listen. Then we heard dad screaming again!

I looked back as he pulled out of the stone wall a 10-foot long snake; the poisonous kind. It thrashed side-to-side while hanging off dad’s stick. He unhesitantly flung it to the field across the street from our house. It slithered off into the brush of the tall grass. I had never seen my dad so scared.

This memory is one of few that I can recall from when we all lived together at our house in Lebanon. It was a much simpler time.

As we were leaving, on my recent trip reuniting with Lebanon, I broke off a handful of the white flowers and wrapped them in a tissue. Now I can take my miniature time-portal back with me so that I can remind myself of our childhood memories while living in Lebanon.

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A Student’s Memory in Lebanon