As I finish up my writing about Jordan and Palestine, I’d like to share some final snapshots.
My host mom, who walks by my room and says a cheerful “Keefik ya Jordan?” after a long day at work.
My baby sister, who sits on my lap, pressing the tops of my fingernails and squeezing the skin between my thumb and forefinger.
My nine-year-old brother, who spins a Frisbee in the street, mumbling songs from Glee in broken English.
My twenty-year-old sister, who throws her head back in a hoarse laugh, and slapping her leg.
My sixteen-year-old sister, who kicks her feet as she shows us her new dakbeh dance moves.
A nine-year-old neighbor boy, who shyly says “marhaba” as the white blossoms of a cherry tree fall into his black hair.
An Iraqi tweenage refugee, who invites me to play basketball, her icy blue eyes growing wide on her creamy face that reminds me of an upturned almond, shaved of its skin.
Our cab driver Samir in Bethlehem, who insists on showing us Aida refugee camp, the separation wall, and the famous graffiti that’s sprayed on it.
Our tour guide ‘Eisa (Jesus) at the Nativity church in Bethlehem, who explains every detail of the church, and shares with us his frightening childhood memories of the 1967 war.
Our favorite Armenian shopkeeper Maro in Jerusalem, who tells us about her daughter in America while selling us hand-embroidered crafts from West Bank cities at a discounted price.
Our fellow travelers from our hostel in Jerusalem (a Yankee, a Scot, an Aussie, and a Kiwi), who make me realize that I need no reason or justification to travel and see the world.
Clouds sweep over the golden Dome of the Rock, the orange rooftops, and the green Mount of Olives—all visible from a church bell tower in Jerusalem’s center.
Flocks of birds dipping and turning between the boxy, cement hills of Amman in the pinkness of twilight.
The viridian, rock-studded hills of north Jordan, which seem to shift and overlap as our bus flies down the slopes.
Spoonfuls of sugar and sage leaves in boiling black tea.
Spinach-laden broth poured over steaming, soft rice.
Olive oil and zaatar (a thyme and sesame seed mixture) stuffed between the folds of warm pita.
Lemon and mint blended together in a cold glass.
Crispy falafel and yogurt-covered cucumbers in a sesame-bread sandwich.