I hate you, but I love you.
Mazen lives in Beirut, Lebanon. He participates in the ‘Out My Window’ project to introduce his ‘highrise’ house and the town he lives in. To explain briefly about the ‘Out My Window’, it is a world-wide project that many people show their houses in high buildings, and also introduce about cultures and environments surrounding their houses. Through this project, other people can access to other countries’ cultures easily. Beirut is now a highly urbanized city with numerous high buildings and hotels. However, according to Mazen, only 4 years ago, the Israel-Hezbollah War in South Lebanon devastated the whole city and killed more than 1000 citizens. He saw the whole process of bombardments, destructions and reconstructions through the wide window in his high rising apartment. He says that one day he saw severe missile attacks in his room and improvised music by copying the sounds of bombs and airplanes. When I listened to his music, though he played it silently with his little trumpet, I could feel the fear of the war.
However, unfortunately, there were not many other feelings and experiences I could share with Mazen. I have never experienced a war in my whole life. Although I said that I could feel the fears of the war by listening to Mazen’s trumpet playing, it must be incomparable to what Mazen actually experienced. Furthermore, I cannot see any high rising buildings or urbanized structures around my house, a 12 story dormitory of Korean Minjok Leadership Academy. So there are no destructions or reconstructions that I can see out of my window. When I look out through the three square meter window in my room, half of the outside scene is filled with my school’s campus, and another half is filled with mountains, cultivating fields, and a few one story houses. Except for when the violent wind often blusters in the winter, I cannot hear anything from outside. Everything is peaceful.
Fortunately, there is one thing I can distinctly sympathize with Mazen. It is the ‘love and hate’ relationship with his house, which he explains through his painting on the wall. He said, “I hate the high rising buildings because they ruthlessly efface the painful scratches of the war, but I love them because I live in this high-rise, and this is my home.” Similarly, I have all hate and love feelings toward my house. Sometimes I wish to escape from the high-rise, but sometimes I feel lucky to live in it.
My room number is 802. I have been living in this KMLA dormitory for two years. Every semester, I changed my room, so it is the fourth room. However, despite different roommates and different positions in the room for three people, there is no difference in the fact that I still live in one of the identical rooms in a 12 story dormitory building. From 6 in the afternoon to 6 in the next morning, I spend 12 hours in this building. At 7 o’clock, the dormitory inspector locks the doors of the entrance hall. Then, all students and the inspector himself are locked up in this building until the next morning.
At midnight, when everything is dark outside and only headlights of cars running on the highways are seen far away across the school, I often look out my window, just looking at the running cars. Where are the cars going? Why are they running on the highway in the midnight? What I see through the window is only a tiny little moment of the cars’ long or short route of driving. After the cars get out of my sight, I cannot know their destinations or reasons for driving. However, no matter where they go, I always wish to ride on one of the cars and just to go far away from this high-rise. Because I am only an 18 years old girl who left home just two years ago, I often miss my true home where I can stay with my family. Then I reproach the inspector for locking up the door, and complain about this high-rise confining me.
What makes me stand all the hard work and confinement are my friends. When the dormitory inspector checks if we clean up our rooms well, she never opens the drawers. I do not think that she does not know what we conceal in the drawers. She may just overlook all the instant noodles, instant soups, tea boiler, and even portable gas stove and pots, which are banned in the school. Having been living in this high-rise for more than 10 years, she must understand our boredom of the cafeteria meals. As I eat three times in the same cafeteria, on the 12th floor of the dormitory, with the same chopsticks, the same plates, and the same salads, sometimes I feel disgusted to eat there. Instead, hamburgers, pizzas, instant noodles, and many other foods pop up in my brain. Then, I run to my room and pull out instant noodles and tea boilers from the drawer. Some friends go to my room bringing soups, instant rice, and hams. We sit around the room and have a small ramyon party.
It was very funny and interesting to look inside Mazen’s house and also outside his house. I could feel the threat of war even though the Beirut city is now recovered completely. Furthermore, I could also largely sympathize with his love and hate relationship with his house. While looking at Mazen’s project, I came up with my similar relationship with my dormitory house. Though locked up in a high-rise building and having no rights to enjoy my instant noodles freely, I love this dormitory because I can always meet my friends and play with them. While music is a main factor that makes Mazen to love his house, friends are the main reason for me. The friends are very different from other friends I have had in the middle school. To me, they are not just my friends, but my mothers and sisters. They console me when I cry, and sometimes they depend on me when they have hard times. I feel lucky to enter this school, and despite the slight lack of freedom, I love to live in the 12 story dormitory.