Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia – “just outside DC”, as we say.
Based in Beirut since: Summer 2013
Day job: Grad student and research assistant at the American University of Beirut
What brought you to Beirut: I was working in TV in DC and wanted to change things up. Someone told me Beirut had a great arts scene and was on the Mediterranean. What more could you want? I applied to a master’s program at AUB, got in, and here I am.
Cure for homesickness: A chicken sandwich from McDonald’s and a DVD miniseries from Nabilnet (currently “Girls” or “Veep”).
Lebanon’s hidden gem: I love the Qannoubine Monastery in the Qadisha Valley.
Where we’ll find you on a Saturday morning: Hypothetically speaking, I’ll go for a run along the Corniche. I might also head over to De Prague in Hamra to get some work done – it’s the quietest place I’ve found in my neighborhood, and their food is pretty good.
Where you’d be on a perfect evening: Dinner at a friend’s house or someplace relaxed like Abu Naim in Hamra, followed by dessert from Gino’s Gelateria or La Creole, a new place across from Sam’s Beverage and Coop supermarket.
If you had one last meal, you’d make reservations at: I don’t know the great restaurants of Beirut, being a grad student and all. I went to a Lebanese restaurant in Aley once that was lovely and had a great view. I think I’d try to find that place. Otherwise, maybe the Phoenicia? That sounds pretty good.
If you found 100,000LL bill: I’d give some of it away and add the rest to my “brushing” fund. I usually go to Salon Nasri in Hamra, because the owner, Nasri, is clairvoyant and gives great advice. I don’t have a therapist in Lebanon so I rely on Nasri for pretty much everything.
When you’re at home in the US, you get a taste of Lebanon: I go to the house of my Arabic teacher, Claire, who is Lebanese. She nags me for not studying more and then gives me sweets and Nescafé. She’s one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. Also, Lebanese Taverna in DC is pretty good, and there’s a great Middle Eastern grocer in Alexandria. There’s a huge Lebanese community in Northern Virginia so it’s not too difficult to find a hubble bubble café that feels straight out of Lebanon.
Photos courtesy of Phoenicia, lebanonbaynet.com and whereleb.com