I will miss the evening jasmine. I will miss the blood-red sunsets. I will miss the green neon on the minarets and the calls to prayer they broadcast over the hills. I will miss the way the olive leaves change colour during the day – from green, to silver, to grey. I will miss the nightly firecrackers. I will miss the way every Arab man greets everyone in the café the moment he steps inside, and I will miss the tiny coffees we drink there. I will miss sitting in the back of the service taxis and wordlessly passing my coins to the person in front of me who then passes them to the driver. I will miss eating falafel for breakfast. And for lunch. I will miss walking beneath the mulberry trees and mashing the berries under my sandals. I will miss olive oil sold in recycled water bottles. I will miss all the white stone. I will miss the plates of termis that accompany my beer. I will miss the men who replace the coals on my nargileh pipe without me having to wave. I will miss the casual copyright infringement – Stars and Bucks in Ramallah, Facebook Café in Birzeit – and the knock-off Levis’ jeans. I will miss the way the shirts here make my arms look big and my waist small. I will miss za’atar, and labneh, and those weird battered peanuts. I will miss the five dollar haircuts. I will miss working up the street from a circus school. I will miss the hills on the road to Nablus. I will miss the fresh green figs.
I will miss the Palestinian welcome, but more than this I will miss the thanks Palestinians express to me just for coming here – a gratitude I hardly deserve. Because if I think of all I’ve learned here, of all I’ve taken from this place, and realize that all I gave in return are some writing lessons, I feel like a thief.
I wonder why I had missed putting Palestine on my list of places to visit, it sounds exactly like the kind of people and culture I would love. Thanks for inspiring to get there and soon.
So beautifully written, Marcello! My husband and I were in Bethlehem for a night just a couple nights ago. You described the experience
…perfectly. All those little details–especially the welcome–stuck with me, too, even during our short stay. We are now in Akko, Israel. Have you left the country yet?
Falastin is beautiful.. Thank you Marcello for the writing lessons and for sharing these little details.
How much does a haircut cost in Canada? 🙂
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