Although the real celebration will be tomorrow when Stephen gets back with Jad and Shadee, today is my official birthday – woohoo! George and I were supposed to drive into Amman today, but those plans were cancelled at the last minute so I spent my 24th in Ramallah! How nuts is that?? George and Mariam got me beautiful orange roses, a CD called ‘Lullabies from the Axis of Evil’, and a book of selected poems by Mahmoud Darwish, translated into English, entitled ‘Unfortunately , it was Paradise’. Perfect birthday gifts!
I was psyched about the book, because I’ve been wanting to read Darwish’s poetry, and the CD just cracked me up. It’s a compilation of lullabies from all of the countries Bush labeled as enemies of the U.S., part of the modern day ‘axis of evil’. Aside from the awesome and hilarious title, the idea behind the CD was cool – to show how similar the lullabies mothers sing to their children are, all over the world – to highlight the humanity and the similarities between peoples that have often been reduced, in references by the U.S. government, to simply ‘the enemy’.
After presents we went out to a little place where we had a breakfast mezze (selection of appetizers – sort of like lots of tapas) of olives, hummus, cucumbers, tomatoes, lebneh (strained yogurt – it becomes thick, like a spreadable cheese), tabbouleh, foul (pronounced ‘fool’, it’s made of brown fava beans, partially or completely mashed, which are slow-cooked and served with olive oil, chopped parsley, onion, garlic and lemon juice), pita bread, and fried eggplant. Sooo good!
After breakfast George and Mariam dropped me at Pronto where I sipped on ice cold lemonade blended with mint and ice – my new favorite drink – and FINISHED editing the ‘Cultural Routes in Palestine’ UNESCO report! Oh yeah. Such a good feeling. My first assignment completed and submitted, George came over to the cafe and started prepping me on my new projects. The rest of the afternoon was spent working with George, editing down his and Mariam’s latest film for Al-Jazeera to a 3-minute short, to be submitted to a Gaza film festival. I’m working with film!! Okay, granted I’m not wielding the camera, directing the shots or scripting witty dialogue, but I’m at least playing some part! You have to start somewhere, right??
Now, we’re all back at the apartment resting up for awhile, and in about a half an hour, George and I are going out to the bar ‘Blue’ for a little birthday cocktail. Good day!