Episode 67 – Farewells

Every year large numbers of Lebanese leave the country to study, find new work opportunities, or escape the economic and political challenges that Lebanon faces. Many people have family and friends who have emigrated and left behind a deep void. In this episode, Leen describes her personal experience with saying goodbye to her brother Wael who travelled abroad to pursue higher education outside Lebanon.

Lebanese Arabic Transcript and English Contextual Translation


مرحبا وأهلا وسهلا فيكن بحلقة جديدة من لانغويج وايف. أنا لين، واليوم رح خبركن عن تجربة صارت معي شخصيا. هالتجربة كتير من العيل اللبنانية بيمرقو فيا وبيعيشو تفاصيلا. اليوم رح احكيلكن عن النهار يللي سافر فيه خيي وائل، بعدني متذكرتو كتير منيح وبكل تفاصيلو، مع إنو صار مارق على سفر وائل 3 سنين. أول شي رح خبركن شوي عن عيلتي، ورح خبركن ليه سافر خيي. كيف جهزت العيلة لسفرو، وكيف ودعناه.

Hello, and welcome to a new episode of Language Wave. I am Leen, and today I will tell you about an experience that occurred to me personally. Many Lebanese families pass through this experience and live its details. Today, I will tell you about the day my brother Wael travelled. I still remember it vividly with all its details although three years have passed since Wael travelled. First, I will tell you a little bit about my family, and I will tell you why my brother travelled, how my family had prepared for this day, and how we bid him farewell.


كتير من الشعب اللبناني بحب العلم وبيسعى وراه، وبشوفو الطريق يللي رح يوصلو لإنو يزيد مركزو الاجتماعي والاقتصادي ويأمنلو مستقبل أحسن. وكتير من الشباب اللبناني عندو طموح، وبحب يضل يتعلم أكتر وأكتر. بحاول إنو يوصل لمراتب عالية بالعلم وياخد شهادات مهمة. ومن بين هالأشخاص هو خيي وائل.

Many Lebanese people love education and seek it, and they consider it the path that will lead them to elevate their social and economic status and will secure them a better future. Many Lebanese youth have ambition and love to keep learning more and more. They try to reach high academic ranks and earn important degrees. One of these people is my brother Wael.


 لخبركن شوي عن عيلتي بالأول. وائل هو خيي الأكبر مني بسنة، وعندي إخت اسما ندى تزوجت وعندا ولدين، سيلين ونادر. وبما إني بقيت أنا وخيي بالبيت بعد ما تزوجت إختي، صرنا أنا وياه كتير قراب من بعض وصرنا نقضي وقت أكتر سوا. نضهر وناكل ونتحدث سوا. وبعد ما خلص خيي دراستو بالجامعة، قرر إنو يكفي وياخد شهادة الدكتوراه برات لبنان. فصار يقدم على كتير جامعات برات لبنان، لأنو الاختصاص يللي بدو يعملو ما في منو بالجامعات يللي بلبنان. وبعد ما قدم على كذا بلد ونقبل بكذا جامعة، إجا اليوم يللي بدو يسافر فيه.

Let me first tell you a little bit about my family. Wael is my brother who is one year older than me. I also have a sister called Nada. Nada got married and has two kids, Celine and Nader. And given that my brother and I remained home after my sister got married, we became very close to each other and we started spending more time together. We would go out, eat, and chat together. And after my brother finished his university studies, he decided to continue and earn the doctorate outside Lebanon. Thus, he started applying to many universities abroad, because the major he wanted to pursue is not available in the universities in Lebanon. After he applied to several countries and was accepted in several universities, the day on which he will travel finally arrived.


 هالنهار كتير صعب عكل العيل اللي بتكون عم تودع حدا من أفرادا. البي، الإم، الإخوة، أو الولاد لأية سبب من الأسباب، إن كان للدراسة أو للهجرة أو الشغل أو حتى لأيا سبب تاني. بنهارا، كنت متوترة وكتير زعلانة، بس بنفس الوقت كنت مبسوطة إنو وائل رايح تيحسن مستقبلو ويحقق يللي بدو ياه.

This day is very hard for all families who would be saying goodbye to one of their members. The father, the mother, the siblings, or the kids for any given reason; whether it is for education, emigration, work, or even for any other reason. On that day, I was nervous and very sad, but at the same time I was happy that Wael was leaving to improve his future and to achieve what he wants.


وحتى أهلي يخففو ضغط هالنهار، قررت ماما نجتمع كلنا سوا. عملت عزيمة وعزمت إختي وزوجا وولادا عالغدا. وإجت إختي وزوجا وولادا قبل الأكل بساعة، وفاتو ولادا، سيلين ونادر، على غرفة وائل وصارو يلعبو معو. وبس خلص الغدا، قعدنا كلنا عالسفرة ناكل ونتحدث ونتضحك تننسى شوي إنو بآخر النهار حنودع وائل.

And in order to relieve the stress of that day, mom decided that we should all gather. She held a banquet and invited my sister along with her husband and kids for lunch, and my sister, her husband, and her kids arrived an hour before the meal. Her kids, Celine and Nader, went to Wael’s room and started playing with him. When lunch was ready, we all sat at the dining table eating, talking, and laughing to forget a little bit that at the end of the day we will say goodbye to Wael.


وفجأة نحنا وقاعدين، برن تلفون خيي، وسمعنا خيي عم بقول “يلا نازل”. بس سكر الخط، قَلنا إنو إجا التاكسي يللي بدو يوصلو عالمطار. ما أصعب هاللحظه عنجد! وبوقتا، هو وعم بنزل غراضو وشنطو ليطلعن بالتاكسي، وهو وعباب البيت قبل ما يفل، عبطتو ماما وقالتلو: “توصل بالسلامة يا روحي. حطيتلك بالشنطه كيلو كشك من يللي بتحبو”. ودعناه أنا وإختي، وقَلنا إنو رح يتصل فينا ويتطمن علينا كل يوم. وقال لسيلينا ونادر ما تعذبو بالماما. وهو وفالل صارت ماما تقلو، توصل بالسلامة يا ابني. ما تنسى تحكينا بس توصل، وهيك ودعنا خيي وائل وسافر.

Suddenly, while we were sitting, my brother’s phone rang, and we heard my brother saying, “I am coming down.” When he hung up, he told us that the taxi that will be driving him to the airport has arrived. Truly, how hard this moment is! Back then, while he was carrying down his belongings and bags to put them in the taxi, and while he was at the door of the house before he leaves, my mom hugged him and said, “Have a safe flight my soul. I put for you in the bag one kilo of the keshik that you love.”  My sister and I bid him farewell, and he told us that he will call us and check on us every day. He also told Celina and Nader, “Do not give your mother a hard time.” And as he was leaving, mom started saying, “Have a safe flight my son. Do not forget to call us when you arrive.” And this is how we said goodbye to my brother Wael, and he travelled.


 ومن وقتا، كل يوم منتصل فيه، ومنحكي معو عالتلفون، ومنشوفو ومنتطمن عليه. وهيدي قصتنا مع سفر خيي، قصتنا مع وداع مسافر يللي كتير من العيل حوالين العالم، وخصوصي العيل اللبنانية، بتعيشو وقتا يودعو حدا من أفراد العيلة للعلم أو للشغل أو للهجرة برات لبنان. وهيك بتكون خلصت حلقة اليوم. نطرونا بحلقة جديدة من لانغويج وايف. مع السلامة!

Ever since, we call him every day, we talk to him on the phone, we see him, and we check up on him. This is our story with my brother Wael’s travel. Our story with saying goodbye to a traveler, which many families around the world, and especially Lebanese families, live when they bid farewell to one of the family’s members for education, work, or emigration outside Lebanon. And this concludes our episode for today. Stay tuned for new episodes of Language Wave. Goodbye!

Comprehension Questions (try to answer the questions while speaking out loud to yourself and using full sentences in Lebanese-Arabic)

  1. What are some of the reasons for which people leave Lebanon?
  2. What is the reason behind Wael’s emigration?
  3. How did Leen’s family spend their last day with Wael before he travelled?
  4. How did Leen’s family say goodbye?
  5. How would you spend your last day with a beloved person before they travel?

Vocabulary Table

# Lebanese-Arabic English Transliteration English Translation
1 شخصياً Shakhsiyyan Personally
2 سافر Sefar Travelled
3 خيي Khayyeh My brother
4 طموح Tomooh Ambition
5  العلم ‘elem Education/Knowledge
6 اخت Ikhit Sister
7 اختصاص Ikhtisas Major
8 جامعات Jem‘at Universities
9 عيل ‘eyal Families
10 هجرة Hijra Emigration
11 شغل Shighil Work
12 وداع Wade‘ Farewell
13 مطار Matar Airport
14 مسافر Msefir Traveler
15 وصل Wosel Arrived






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