Lebnen, I am coming home

Jess Semaan
2 min readOct 24, 2019

A love letter from an immigrant to her country

Habibi Lebnen,

I am sorry.

I am sorry for that time I left you with a ghassa in my heart, tears in my eyes, and holes in my pocket
I promised you to return the next year and the year after and the one after
But I lied. I got an apartment abroad. I got a job. I got a partner. I got an accent.

I am sorry for all those times I called your sea mlawathe, and your hawa polluted

I watched the kesserat rape your valleys, and instead of doing something, I vowed to never come back to you

I am sorry for all the times, I called your residents rej3iyeh for littering the roads, for voting for thieves and criminals over and over

What did I do to help me? to help them? to help you? But take the next plane, and to forget you

I tried to forget you, but I failed

Ya habib albe, no love compares to a first love and you are and will always be mine

I am sorry I never told you how much I loved you

I am sorry I did not allow me to face the heartbreak of leaving you, for I did not want to break mama’s heart

I can hear mama in every what’s app voice note
I can hear her torn voice asking me to come home, knowing that they took everything from our home, even our dignity

No I am not better off in foreign “civilized” lands
Just because I have a roof above my head, a job mratab, chahayid men America, I am still a lonely island in a sea of materialism. No one loves like your people. No one jokes like your people. No one gives like your people. And no one is as resilient as your people

Although I have said I am over you, I still go to bed alone. I still long for your jabal breeze. For the smell of the man’oushe. For my teta’s smile. For my mother’s laugh. For your chaotic energy. For the dancing till sunrise

So today, I put all my sorrow away. Leave this foreign place and fly away

Today, I am coming home, with a heart ready to serve

Because there is no where else I would rather be but sweeping your streets, chanting your name. Kissing your cedar trees. Hugging your people. My people

There has never been a home like you. There has never been a home but you.

B7ebbak ya lebnen