You see this picture? You know where it is? Yeah, it's Lebanon. And yeah, I get to go there in December, God-willing. Now, from recent experience, I know that some people will experience immediate concern for the safety of a white girl (or anyone for that matter) in a Middle Eastern country (perish the thought!). But I guarantee, not all Middle Eastern countries are horrifically violent- as in, a car bombing every ten minutes, or terrorist snipers on roofs just waiting to hit innocent bystanders. That's only the countries that the U.S. decides to invade.
Ok ok, granted, Lebanon does have a violent past. And there certainly are problems in many of the countries in the Middle East. But, if I remember correctly, even in the height of the Lebanese civil war (back in the '80s), less people were dying per day due to violence than in New York City. And the U.S. has a violent past also (speaking in terms of war), it just hasn't taken place on our land in many many years. I swear, people tend to forget certain facts about this country. We have craploads of nuclear bombs, we are the first and only country to ever have actually used them, and we have an extremely high rate of crime here. But I am getting off the subject at hand.
I get to go to Lebanon! I get to eat this:
And of course I will meet family, see the sights, and maybe even get to stop in a few other places along the way. Talk about an incredible Christmas present. I have always wanted to travel, but it is even more exciting when there is such a personal connection involved. This is my husband's family and background, and in turn this is my family and background. This is important to me, not only for knowing my husband, but for passing onto our future kids. Now I have a specific goal that will motivate me to work on my Arabic, something that is also important to me in raising children. And I am so grateful for the opportunity to know this culture intimately, especially at a time when the Middle East has such a stigma surrounding it. That, by itself, is enough reason for anyone and everyone to spend some time traveling, or at least getting to know the myriad of cultures that exist in the United States.