I met them. I finally did! After 2 years of failure in arranging a meeting, it actually happened! The lovely gang of four that always kept the action going on the Ras l3abed facebook page, a lovely Lebanese bouquet gathered from the North, Mount Lebanon & Beirut, a sweet afternoon in Starbucks café in Hamra street has ”marked the empty white page in the Lebanese history book” like Johnny likes to put it .
Johnny (Mr. President), the founder of the page, did a great job in coordinating and following up with Rania (The first Lady), Omar (Ra2is l7aras el jemhouri) & I (moustasharet El Ra2is). After the many phone calls and the detailed directions (since I don’t know anything in Beirut), & @ 5:30 I went with bells on. I saw two familiar faces smiling back at me. Rania & Johnny stood when they saw me and I greeted Johnny formally:”Ymn Merhebi”…”Johnny Hassoun” he replied, and then we all burst into laughter. I kissed Rania and sat next to her. Omar joined in a bit later & everyone had something funny to tell.
2 hours passed by like a blink of an eye and we promised to meet again, only next time they’ll come and visit Tripoli. We all walked together to my cousin’s house who told me earlier that I’m very courageous for having taken this step “meeting ppl I don’t know in real life”. I didn’t see it the same way. It felt very natural to me and apparently to them too. They sounded and seemed as excited as I was. What I really feared was disappointment. I have met many other internet friends in real life and they were the exact opposite of the way I thought they’d be. The internet world would allow them to be what they aren’t and compensate for anything they want but lack.
I truly am grateful having known these 3 ppl in real life and for them turning to be even better than I expected. Meeting with them made my day, week, & vacation. What were the chances that 4 ppl from different backgrounds and different age could meet on the same wave?