" every single easter was spent at myستو (grammie's) house. we would arrive on good friday and walk in the door, and immediately the smell of mujadara (lebanese lentil dish) would hit our nostrils. when she heard the door she always paused her ujja (egg)-making and come over to kiss our cheeks as hard as she could. as the night progressed, lebanese cousins would come in-and-out for visits, and dinner would last so long us kids got tired and played cards at the table. grammie was such an incredible matriarch of our family and taught all of us how to cook lebanese food the right way (using your palm as a measuring spoon and whatnot). when easter sunday arrived, we would search for colored eggs around her house, and i remember the treasures from around the world that she had collected over the years from travelling with my جدو (grandpa). of course no eggs were ever hidden in his liquor cabinet, but at weddings today we still drink lots of عرق (lebanese hard liquor) to toast the happy couple. "
"israel has the best gelato. every time we went to our favorite gelato spot, the owners would recognize us and immediately turn-on celine dion, and all of us would have a singalong!"
"we met at a friend's wedding in jordan. he first spotted me and was totally in love. eventually, we got married and the love we had for one another never went away, but he came from a strict muslim background which made our marriage difficult at times. his father-in-law found my actions to be حرام because of my free spirit, and did not like that i never wore a حجاب (hijab/head scarf). when we first were married, i went shopping for clothes for my husband. i came home with a pair of jeans because i thought they would look nice, but when his father-in-law saw him wearing them he began to hit him because he said they were also حرام (haram/forbidden by muslim law). although relations with my father-in-law were very difficult, my husband was such a kind-hearted man, and very smart. on his way to work one day (he was an engineer), he had a sudden heart attack and died. that very same day i found-out i was pregnant with our third son."
"my dad is a badass. he came to the u.s. from hong kong as a kid with nothing but grit. he taught himself english, struggling word-by-word. like a lot of immigrants, he worked multiple jobs and relied on the kindness of others because his family had nothing and nowhere to go. he understood the value of education and the doors that opens, so he worked hard until he made it. he met my mom in a hospital and won her over with his broken english and quirkiness. he doesn’t complain about anything because almost 40 years and two grown kids later, he’s happily married and living the dream."