Still spring here (well, feels like summer even today) and we are starting to give up on any rain fall in the near future.
Our green almonds are starting to ripen. They are small, but in a week or so we will be able to eat them. Green almonds are the best, if you have never had them. Sorry the picture turned out fuzzy, the almonds are fuzzy to begin with.
Yesterday I met with a group of tourists and spoke to them for a little bit about the situation here. I shared with them my testimony and how we can find peace living in a place of conflict like here.
We sat in Beit Sahour on the rocks in the valley. It was right next to the old fig tree that grows out of a cave. The same place my grandmother, Milia, used to take me and my cousin Rana when we were kids. She would take us there and we would sit on those very rocks and eat fruit while she tells us stories. We would pick flowers from the fields and take them home. Those were cherished moments for us. Yesterday we sat with the tourists and read the Christmas story in Luke and sang Christmas carols. It was nice. There was even a shepherd there with his sheep. One of the sheep left the flock and came up to us and started saying "Baaa" and kept doing that for a while. We could not figure out what it wanted.
Yesterday we visited my mom's cousin who is sick with cancer. His cancer started with a small dot of skin cancer, now it is all over his face. It is so sad...Had they tested it at the start they could have removed it, but they didn't know it was cancer at the beginning.
My uncle Fawzi has 3 sons and he has been waiting for a male grandchild for so long. Here each person waits for an heir. Someone to carry the family name. Finally his youngest son got married and last week his wife had a baby. They named him Jude. He is really adorable. There is no reason he won't be because my cousin is actually very good looking.
My sister's brother-in-law invited us to his son's wedding. The wedding is today. On Thursday was the Hinna. Many wear the traditional Palestinian dress from the Hinna celebration. They mix the Hinna (hair dye) and dance around in it. Then the bride and family of the bride comes (or they go to their house) and they have her dye her hand in the Hinna (that has been modified to her just touching it). It is an old Palestinian tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation. I think it is nice that we keep these things going to remind us of our culture and ancestors. Usually the mother of the groom mixes the hinna (pretty messy as you see). Then they put it in bags and see if people want to take some home. Some people still use it to dye their hair as it is very healthy for your hair.
They used to pass out handkerchiefs stuffed with candy, but this evolved to something more practical (see below). Those almond stuffed candies are the best!
My sister Suhair who has been mourning for her husband for almost four years now finally decided to wear makeup and get dressed up. I am trying hard to help her overcome her grief, but it is not easy for her. I hope she won't mind me posting her picture here...Fake smile, but a smile non-the-less.
I am thinking I am going to get a visa and come to the US this summer for a visit. Since I don't have a job here it may be hard for me to get a visa to the US since I can't prove that I will return home. So, I thought maybe someone in Utah could set me up with a speaking assignment and send me a letter of invitation. This would really help. Let me know if anyone is willing to do that. Email me at my yahoo email if you can do that (if you don't have my email address write a message in a comment and I will email it to you).
Also, as strange as this may seem, I am not against meeting anyone while in Utah (assuming I come). If there are any eligible bachelors in your wards, please set me up =)