viva la palestine

So this post will be a little long.  
It's filled with lots of details and numerous pictures of my second (the first I don't remember all of) 
trip to my homeland, Palestine.  This trip has been ranked very close to my heart, 
and I know for the rest of my life I will never forget it.
From Amman to Palestine, it's about 25-30 miles.  
The distance, however, has no correlation to the time it takes to get there.  
This picture was taken about 15 minutes after being smushed in the car.
When I started to realize that the 25 mile trip was going to take over an hour, I decided to draw another one of my doodle things just to pass the time.  Little did I know that the "over 1 hour trip" would be 6 hours and 20 minutes.
You can probably tell in my doodle that I was getting a little frustrated towards the last few drawings... but as expected it was well worth it be able to catch a glimpse of these beautiful views.
Now I'm sure some of you are wondering, "Were you safe over there?" And the answer to that question was thankfully, I was.  But let me tell you why I was, and that requires some background information on the beautiful city where both sides of my family are from, Nablus.  This is one of the biggest cities in Palestine, and is known for it's beautiful views as well as it's olive oil, watermelons, figs, hazelnuts, thyme, etc. {clearly a place of wonderful food-- which is why I must take a break and share with you all these delicious dishes I tried.}
Can I tell you a secret? I have had kunafa at least 50 times in my life.  But never have I ever had kunafa like this one.  It was perfect.  The second I took a bite some song played in my head as if I had drifted off into la la land and happened to be in the most perfect place on earth (no exaggeration).  The cheese was a thin melted layer covered with these crunchy strands that have been toasted to perfection and then topped off with syrup and pistachios.  Really, nothing else compares.
Khdoud al-sit (lady cheeks)
My sister and I refer to them as arab macarons, also delicious.

Now back to where I left off, this wonderful city has earned the nickname: "Jabal-al-nar" which translates to "the mountain of fire".  The reason for this is because the people of Nablus, (in the wise words of my uncle) are the sweetest people in the world... "like honey", he says.  BUT the moment you cross them... it's over.  Which explains why the people who have lived there played leading roles in fighting off invaders (throughout history, and in the present).  So in short, invaders are unlikely to come into the city (not saying they don't, because they definitely do.  Just not as often as some other places) making it safe for tourists like us during the day.  At night time; however, it's a different story... You can read more about these stories here. With that said, I would like to make a shout out to my people -- know that I love you, and while this is not a laughing matter at all, know that I appreciate you so much... and look up to your courage and bravery.

Now, to talk more about the beauties of this land, here are some photographs.
Straight from Aladdin, I know.

Walking through the old city included passing by spice merchants, smelling the aromas of fresh breads and Nabulsi soaps, and finding hidden coffee shops in caves... but the best part about this whole trip was seeing where I came from.  The house my father grew up in every summer, and houses that still belong to my mother's side of the family (and her distant relatives still live there).  Everybody knows everybody, and sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name (cue in: Cheers theme song).  The work days are filled with visits from friends, playing cards at your pharmacy (with your pharmacist...), and drinking coffee from Bin Kanaan (well known in Nablus, and is owned by my father's cousin!) 
Oh, how I've fallen in love with this city... and even more in love with my country.  It is absolutely heart breaking to see wars going on in a place that I love so much.  The moments I shared in Nablus will stay with me for the rest of my life, and if I were to wish for anything in this world, it would be to have Palestine free... the way it was originally. 
viva la palestine

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