Ah, the village. Spending a few days in the mountains, breathing in that fresh air, hearing the sound of birds chirping, soaking in the sun and that fresh breeze ... It's pure bliss ... Until something comes up that you can't say "no" to.

The day'a is mainly composed of family and friends, family that are friends, and friends that become family. It's all one huge family pretzel.

And what's the one word you can't say to distant family you probably see once every few months?

"No." Especially in these situations ...

1. "Eh, tollo!"

Basically, whenever you see someone on the street, you pop over to a shop or you run into a third cousin, you engage in polite small talk and the conversation ends with "eh, tollo," as in "come over sometime."

Erm, no?

2. "Do you remember me?"

The parents are hosting people at the house and you know you're supposed to know them, but you don't really. So, you sit there politely, nodding and laughing at the right cues ... Until one of them asks: "Do you remember me? I used to know you when you were this *puts arm under knee* high."

Honey, you just answered your own question.

3. The "Aazeemi"

Let me set the scene, you're having a barbecue dinner with your immediate  family, and someone decides to pop over to your house. If they're staying for dinner, you can bet your life that you will go over to their house tomorrow for manakeesh. Doesn't matter if you were planning to leave, you will change your plans.

"Khalas," mama sternly says ... as you prepare to complain one last time.

4. Eating, eating, eating ...

On the point of the aforementioned aazeemi, you can't say no to the food. That's in the "Lebanese 101 Handbook: How Not to Insult the Host." No, don't worry, you want that extra mankooshi. A drink? You'd love one! Baklava? Why didn't you say so! You're too full, you say? Don't worry!

Your aamto has a big bag of leftovers for you!

5. Playing with the kids


If your relatives have kids, you can basically make sure you'll be playing with them. Yes, kids are adorable and you mostly can't say no to them anyway, but in the village, "playing" consists of "running around" and there's only so much you can do of that.

But, don't you dare say no ... because then the whole village will think that's  the reason you're unmarried.

6. Answering personal questions

"Now that we've broken the ice, what is the actual reason you're not married yet, hayati. You're not getting any younger."