back to middle eastern hospitality…

i wrote last year about the hospitality and warmth i felt when i tried to speak Arabic with people i met in east Jerusalem.  and i will write about it again now – since the trait clearly spans religious and ethnic divides in this part of the world.

my roommate and i spent much of today wandering the neighborhood, looking for the basic things that must be purchased when moving into a new apartment (drying racks, towel racks, waste baskets, and the like).  G, my roommate, has already been in Tel Aviv for a week, and managed to make a few friends wandering the area prior to my arrival.  one of these, a lovely, older shopkeeper at a spice shop, invited her for tea – and myself as well, once he met me.  so, other than our wanderings, much of today (i would estimate close to 2 hours) was spent sitting in his shop, sipping on tea infused with his spices, nibbling on dates and walnuts, and chatting with him about our life and his, the neighborhood, and life in general.

about an hour into our conversation, he invited us to come to his mother’s house for Persian food.  twenty minutes later, he himself offered to cook us specialty Persian dishes.  and i just met him this morning!

Our friend the shopkeeper was by far the most generous of the friends i met/made today, but everyone around, in the most genuine way, offers his/her help (and advice, but i guess the two can’t really be separated around here).  it’s wonderful (though i imagine the advice part will start to grate on me soon).

i feel like i’m really back ‘home’.  i guess the fact that i defrosted the freezer in my apartment today helps with that, too 🙂

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