In a few hours I will be flying to Chicago. I am reuniting with my childhood friends from Beirut, Lebanon. This year would have been 30 years since we graduated together from the American Community School in Beirut. Lebanon was a place like no other during the 1970s. Some called it the Paris of the Middle East, it was my home. My family left in 4 1/2 hours in October 1975. My parents drove us by ACS, to see if any friends were about, to say good-bye... But, the school was empty. I was 14.
Some of us have seen each other over the years. Some of us have not seen each other since Beirut. We've had our 10 year reunion and our 20 year reunion, and some in-between. Each one memorable. A handful of our original class stayed through the war. Those of us who left felt lost. Those who stayed felt abandoned. We have an incredible bond. Friendships stopped in time. Of one thing I am sure. When I fly home Sunday, my stomach will ache from laughter, I will have shed some tears for all of us, and I will be more complete.