Days with Aya

Hearing the chirp chirping of crickets at night reminds me of summer nights in Japan, but the Middle East also resembles Japan in that people are so quick to be hospitable. My Arabic teacher told us to be careful about saying things like "I like your..." or the person we are talking to could possibly take off the complimented item to you as a gift.

There is something incredibly magic about this land, especially the people. Something that cannot be put into words.

Before I left for Jordan I met this girl Aya on my way home. She invited me over to meet her family but unfortunately because of some riots that happened in the old city we couldn’t leave the center so I had to cancel. So this week one afternoon I made arrangements to visit her.

As we walked up to their neighborhood, children all around started to gather. And when I saw Aya again for the first time she greeted us with hugs and kisses on each cheek, just like the French. Oh I just felt so much love. It is so wonderful how they treat one another. Aya has this beautiful long black hair, and just like any 13 year old in America she loves Hannah Montana, dancing and shopping.

Walking up the hill all the neighborhood kids and some of her cousins all rushed around us and took our hands leading the way to their home. They were all so excited to show us their home, I was too!

As soon as we came in the very hospitable host Aya told us to sit down and she ran off somewhere and brought back with her a gold ray carefully carrying plastic cups full of apple juice. She served the three “guests” first and ten the 4 other little girls and herself last. I was blown away by how much the kids take care of each other.

Noha their mother is the most beautiful woman. She greeted us with so much love tons of hugs and kisses. Makes me miss my mommy! I feel that Noha has such a powerful heart. The first day we hung out with them they showed us pictures of their family and Noha told us how her and her husband met. We drew pictures and learned some Arabic phrases.

The next day they invited us over again to go shopping. Their kindness is so genuine and so beautiful to me. I want to adopt such kindness! Its instant and doesnt ask for anything in return.
Noha and Aya showed us some beautiful dance moves which Ive already forgotten. They do beautiful things with their hips, popping them in and out and shaking them. They were very graceful meanwhile I was trying hard to keep up.

After talking and shimmying and drinking we took the little girls out shopping. Aya took my hand and didnt let go of it until we said goodbye. I thought that was so beautiful. In the U.S. 13 is such a tender age, kids are sometimes embarresed to have someone hold their hand but here I felt she was so content with us. She said while we were walking “I can’t stop smiling. Im so happy to be with you”.

Aya was so darling we stopped at a dollar store and she got presents for her mother and bought her sister Aseal stickers and candy. Aya bought chili flavored potato chills and when I asked for a sample she said, “Of course” and pushed the bag towards my hand. This "go ahead" attitude is in everything. I love them!

When we got to the street I felt many eyes on us, but greater I felt such love from Aya and her sister. A man came up to Aya and asked how she knew us and she told him we were her family. What a privilege and blessing to walk hand in hand with this special girl. I feel she will do many great things. Her family too, they are all musicians!

When we got back to her house her mom, Noha had made us a chocolate cake from scratch. It was deilicious! I know that this life is a spec in the span of eternity, but I hope that this spec that is my life is as vibrant and beautiful as these girls. There is so much good in the world and so many people to share it with!

1 comment:

Erin Jane said...

Marni, your photos are so amazingly beautiful! I can't wait to see you face to face someday and hear more about these awesome travels and wonderful people! I miss you!