To Joseph

I said bye to you a few days ago – blame it on the French people for my early farewell.

But there are things that you cannot say to someone’s face – especially if the person who’s supposed to say them is someone like me.

Dear Joseph,

You’re going away for a year. You’re probably getting ready to leave to the airport now and you won’t get to read this until later. But it’s fine. I’m sure mom is crying now – or at least getting her tear-ducts ready for the upcoming waves. But it’s ok. You know why, because even though you might be seeing her cry and it will hurt you deep inside to let her go, you have to.

You’ve quoted this a while back on your Facebook profile. And I’ll say it again. “Moving on with the rest of your life starts with goodbye…”

Remember this sentence in your darkest days in Portland, when the only thing you want to do is come back and be with your Lebanese family again. Remember it when someone bullies you at school. Remember it when the only thing you want to do during one of Oregon’s many rainy days is to crawl up in bed and sleep…

You’re one of the strongest people I know. And you’re also one of the best people I know. And that’s not just because you are my brother. You were chosen to become a foreign exchange student because they saw in you an honorable and polite and decent Lebanese student who can give the best image possible about his country to people who don’t even know his country exists.

So be strong like you always are. Watch out for your sharp tongue. It will get you in trouble with people who might get you wrong or not be as used to your bursts as we are here.

Remember you have a family that loves you and who will always be there for you.

And even though you’re driving me mad with playing “Rolling In The Deep” in the next room as I’m typing this, let me tell you a secret. I will really, really miss you. It’s going to be hard to get used to you not being here, but you’ll only be a minute away, right?

So for now, I’ll leave you and wish you a safe flight and a happy time. Have fun. Enjoy the United States till you can’t hold your joy anymore, till your lungs feel like a balloon about to burst and till your muscles ache from laughter… for it is that happiness that you deserves.

P.S: I still got to go on an airplane before you.

Elie