Learning The Culture of Time in Lebanon

Posted: October 17, 2010 in Lebanon, Travel
Tags: , ,

I’ve always had this problem of not wearing a watch. My mom used to nag me about it and has even bought me multiple watches over the years to help solve the problem. But I can never seem to keep up with them. Plus, until now, my cell phone has always served a dual purpose — first as phone and then as timekeeper. But now that my cell phone is dead (with no hope of being revived), and I don’t have a watch, I have to use other means of keeping time.

If I’ve stayed up too late on the phone, talking with someone back home, I always know that dawn is soon to come, when I hear the first azaan, or Muslim call to prayer.

Because I don’t have an alarm clock, I always know it’s time to get up for class when the sunshine begins to peak through the window and gently tap me on the shoulder. When the tap doesn’t work, it proceeds with a gentle nudge. When the nudge fails, it finally greets me with a good-morning-slap-in-the-face. By that time, I’m usually ripping through my room to make it to class on time.

Because none of the classrooms have clocks on the wall, I carry a wall-sized clock into each class.  I look a little funny, and multiple students have asked why I don’t wear a watch. (don’t judge me).  But I always know when the allotted class time has ended, when students begin to get a little antsy.

I always know it’s 6 PM in Lebanon, because the power consistently goes out. Some days it catches me by surprise, because the time has flown by so quickly before I realize the day is nearly done.

I always know the sun’s preparing to set, because the mosquitoes begin to bite.

The only thing I have yet to get on a schedule is my hunger. I can’t set a single clock to it, because somehow, I always manage to be hungry.

  1. Sis. Horton says:


    What a relief. I don’t know what I did with the blog site. I was soooo happy to hear from you. Pastor H and I have been asking each other every day, “Have you heard from Rachel?” I could “smack my bum” 🙂 for missing your call yesterday. I was in the garden pulling up the remaining tomato, eggplant, and peppers’ plants.
    Well, I spoke with your mom she gave me the address, and I read your blogs, wow! I’ve been missing out on a lot.
    Before I go on, are my posts public? (pardon my ignorance) Let me know before I say any more.
    Can I communicate with you by email? the one that I have?
    I’m glad to know (from your blogs) that you’re coasting through Lebanon.

    Hear from you soon, Love, Sis. H

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