my cousin jihad took my friend ani and i driving around beirut, brummana, bhamdoun in the middle of the night. and over some interesting conversation, he shared a song with us called “que seas feliz” by luis miguel. though it severely tested what remained of my 3 years of high school spanish, i really felt something from this song. and on top of that, driving through these neighborhoods, these cities and towns built on the hills, and seeing the whole country from the car window gave this song meaning. love isn’t meant to be selfish, it’s not supposed to be limiting, it’s supposed to be all giving – when you love someone you don’t hold them tighter, you loosen your grip. when you love someone, you ask for less and they still give more. being in lebanon, seeing the country, meeting my family, and finally seeing a place where every square inch (or centimeter) of land has sentimental value — it taught me about love. sitting with my great aunts and uncles, my second cousins in my mother’s village, watching the lights flicker on and off and meeting the woman who owns the dekkeneh that my mother used to visit a long time ago — the land loves its people, the land protects its people, the land has been a source of hurt for the people but the land has also let them go. my mother, my father, all of my mother’s sisters and my mother’s brothers are in either the us or canada. that was really difficult for me to deal with, and really complicated my ideas about identity – especially my own – we have developed a very strong arab, lebanese identity while living in the united states and being completely apart from the country that birthed them – in my case it didn’t even birth me! anyways, love, land, and letting go – that’s what luis miguel and the winding roads of beirut elshar2iyye have taught me.