Ironically, considering I am from Johannesburg, I held many of the misconceptions about Lebanon based on its troubled past (most were either proved incorrect or generally exaggerated). So disembarking from the plane in Beirut was initially terrifying, exciting and quite surprising.... terrifying as I didn’t speak the language (predominantly in Arabic and French with the third being English, but not very wildly spoken), surprising as I was greeted by a beautiful temperate climate similar to that of my home country of South Africa. Both the weather and the lush vegetation were completely unexpected as I assumed it would be a dry and arid land!
The Murex office too was nothing I expected... From the outside it was a fairly old looking high-rise building, but from inside the building was well decorated, very professional and with an exquisite view of the city and Mediterranean sea. Communication was tough at first as my South African accent and expressions were not fully understood, but, after a few months of working closely with the team, we found an easy middle ground and the transition was seamless. My colleagues were exceptionally hard-working, always burning the midnight oil to meet some exceptional client demands.
I would highly recommend Lebanon to anyone for a visit, especially if you have a yearning for travel. Not only is it a beautiful city but it is also steeped in ancient culture which is pulled through in every facet of the people. Working in in Beirut is definitely a 'hidden gem' and was a fantastic opportunity and experience for me - hopefully Lebanon will be able to avoid the on-going unrest and political problems in other parts of the Middle East – it would be such a shame to see such a beautiful country and people drawn back into conflict