I am waiting at the JFK airport for my flight to Casablanca, Morocco, and I am not excited at all (not yet). This is the first time I leave my family for so long and, to make it worse, tomorrow is Fathers’ Day.
The flight is delayed but I feel really homesick at the gate. The good thing is that there are way too many Arabs waiting for their flight as well and seeing them interact with each other bring back fun memories from my youth.
My Lebanese grandfather (Said) and his brother (Abraham) used to play backgammon at least once a week with all the men in the neighborhood (those who were Arabs as well) and they ‘yelled’ at each other a lot. I used to think they were fighting but they were just overheated with excitement for the game. At the end of the night, they used to cheek kiss each other a couple of times before departing to their homes. No resentments on their backs. And, yes, they would get together for another game the following week. Btw, Arab men cheek kiss each other because it is part of their traditions to treat their neighbors and friends as their relatives.
The travelers at the gate are ‘yelling’ at each other in their language and I can see the face of the other Americans trying to figure out if there is a fight coming. But, I get it, they are just overheated with excitement because of their upcoming trip.
I just had a glass of Cabernet and I am ready to hit the pillow (no bed, I travel cheap).
I will write when I arrive in Casablanca. Perhaps tomorrow my mood will improve with a nice manaish with zaatar and an arabic coffee for breakfast!