Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC

The road to perdition (Introspection chapter#49)


 My brother-in-law, Victor’s assignment, as military attaché of the Lebanese government, lasted barely two years and I had the opportunity to meet with many US officials, the Lebanese community, and Lebanese army officers on training missions.  I was living and working in San Francisco since 1992 and was invited to live with my family in Washington DC, before we relocated to Montgomery County in Maryland.


My sister Raymonde prepared countless dinners, all by herself, for dozens of invitees each time. Mother stayed with us for six months and was of great aid preparing dinners.  We toured the USA as a family, a few  Disney’s lands, New York, North Carolina and on.


Victor and Raymonde had wider opportunities to tour the USA as invitees of the US military to Hawaii, Colorado, Louisiana, and Niagara Falls and on. I went biking and walking with the kids in the forests.


The time came in 1996 for the Choukeir family to leave for Lebanon.  Every member of the family was distraught.  The kids were very unhappy because they experienced a new learning climate for investigative minds; they even learned music and playing musical instruments and tampered with computers.


Victor insisted on purchasing and shipping a large gas guzzling van that they used to tour Jordan and Syria in their first year in Lebanon, before it turned a relic, parked and taking space in the parking lot because the kids had grown out of family vacations as a group.

I refused to leave with them.  I had no earning job and I was practically broke; I was plainly conscious that the hardest period is ahead of me, but I refused to succumb yet to a “suicidal life” in Lebanon; I had to make a final push for financial stability.


Two months before the order for Victor to definitely return to Lebanon, I had read an announcement that a free course of 3 weeks in Real Estate was opening; this course would permit me to sit for a testing exam that may introduce me into this closed business.

My next four years to the labyrinths of Hell took off, especially for someone with a foreign accent, short, and ungainly, who posted his real estates signs “Dr. Adonis” .  I had a PhD in industrial engineering and was not lying with any title.

I can write a whole book just on my personal experiences in Real Estates business and thus, I would restrain my experience to just a sketchy section of my first two years.  The sign generated many calls from distraught people suffering of physical ailments, but I was of no help.

I have published on five pieces (poems) related to my attitude and feelings on my life in this business, and particular chapters describing my life and the real estates business.

I recall the innumerable hunger, humiliation and indignity I suffered in the first two years in the real estates business, and many more after I started earning a living.

I rented rooms in humid basements.  I finally purchased a decent 4-year old car with my credit card.  I paid the ads of my listed properties with credit cards.  I know how the US lived in the last three decades on just credit cards…

Once, I lost weight and my acquaintances believed I had AIDS.  I got scared and visited a community dispensary and paid $10 for the check up.  The physician sadly told me: “You are not eating properly.”  What can a broke person eat?  I hadn’t discovered any soup kitchen announcement in this ultra wealthy county.

Four years of hell, but I made it with many topics to write about.  Nothing else but frustration and abuse, and many listings generated mostly from 50 calls a day to unknown people, using the phone book, and asking “Do yo care to sell or buy properties?”.  I never liked calling and still don’t.

First Trip to Washington D.C (#47 of my autobiography: Introspection)  February 17, 2009

It happened that in 1992 my brother-in-law Victor was appointed military attaché to Lebanon.  Victor was in Washington, DC for more than a month before he contacted me in San Francisco. He was arranging for the transfer of his family to the USA. 


When the whole family arrived I was urged to join them; Adrea was barely four months old and the eldest kid William was about 13.  I was asked to move with them in order to aid with the kids’ English, schooling and various arrangements. I wrote to Raymonde a letter stating that I preferred first to visit with them before I take a decision.

That was my first trip to Washington, DC and I used a map to initiate tours in the Capital. I took Joanna on several day outings because she was kind of depressed. Joanna, eldest daughter and second in the family of 5, later to be augmented with a sixth Chelsea.

Joanna was given the responsibility of caring for Adrea and she felt that she was not the preferred kid (read as much loved) among the five.  Chelsea was to be born five years later when Victor returned definitively to Lebanon. 


The next morning I went with Joanna on a discovery tour of Washington DC. Strong with a map, we walked for hours. It does Not take that much hours to tour most of the Capital, including the Congress, the  foreign office… On my second trip I could wander leisurely every street once I got my permit in Real Estate.

Victor had rented a small apartment in a building at walking distance from the Lebanese Embassy. The apartment was expensive, about $1,200 a month, and he was paying from his own saved money before bureaucracy arranged for his salary to be transferred regularly. 

It was summer time and there was a tiny swimming pool on the roof.  I felt that the apartment was too small to accommodate another member and I returned to Frisco.


Raymonde urged me to join them on account that the schools are opening and she is not fluent in English and totally unprepared.  I re-joined them a couple months later.

In no time, the kids didn’t need me in their English or schooling; they were fishes in a familiar sea; they quickly mocked my accent.

Six  months later, we moved to Montgomery County at the limit of Washington D.C. and we settled in a rented large split house on Brierly Road.


There was a small forest in the neighborhood and tended by a bird association (Aubuston?). We applied to the swimming pool at walking distance but the neighborhood association, mostly Jewish, denied our application. Thus, we had to swim at a Navy complex a couple of miles away, close to the NIH.  

Victor purchased an old car and his official driver Sami rented an apartment close by.

There are at least ten volumes of pictures and as many videos of my stay in Washington, DC and Montgomery County because Victor had purchased a camcorder in a visit to New York with the family of his brother Nicholas, already a Jehovah Witness family . 

Nicholas’ family of three kids stayed with Victor’s for over a month and we toured many counties in the USA. We visited Disney in Orlando and the Jehovah Witness headquarters in the Brooklyn and upper New York States and their modern and large publishing business.




March 2023

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