I climbed the fig tree and grabbed a handful of figs.

“Teta is going to love these ones” I said.

I ran upstairs, opened the metal door and ran towards her. She hugged me and kissed my cheeks about a 100 times. I opened my hands to show her the figs I picked for her and I. She looked at them with a huge smile on her face and told me to go rinse them off so we can enjoy eating them together. After rinsing them off, I plopped down next to her, on the one couch she always sat on, and ate those delicious juicy figs together.

This is one of many fond memories of my teta (grandma in Arabic), Aisha. Yes, I was named after my sweet teta.

It is very common in The Middle East for families to live in duplexes or triplexes; we lived in a triplex. It was my family on the first level, my sweet teta on the second level, and my fathers uncle and his family on the third level. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

So many sweet memories …

Teta had a very hard time walking, therefore, she wasn’t able to do much around her house. She used to walk with a cane, so we came up with this idea that if she needed anything she would pound her cane on the floor three times (she did not buy a cell phone until we moved to The States). Every time we heard that cane pound on our ceiling, all four of us kids would run to the door, and whoever made it first, was usually the one to go upstairs and help her.

We loved her so …

Teta loved plants. She had them in her house and all the way out to the balcony. She especially loved white lillies. The only thing I think of when I smell and see white lillies is my sweet teta. I would help water her plants for her quite often, it would seriously take hours … I am not kidding … but I enjoyed every single minute of it because I got to spend time with her. After watering her beautiful plants, I would squeegee the entire living room floor for her. I am not sure if squeegees were ever big in The States, but they were a must in Jordan  … we used it constantly. When we first moved here, I thought it was so bizarre that people didn’t use squeegees!

One of the biggest Muslim holidays is called Eid-al-adha, and It means the “Feast of Sacrifice”. It commemorates Abraham’s faith and devotion to God. It was our favorite holiday growing up! I didn’t understand the religious meaning behind it as a child, but all I knew was that I couldn’t wait for it, because we got to buy fancy outfits, shoes and the whole shebang. We would wake up at 4 am, shower, and put our new outfits on. We would jump for joy because we couldn’t wait to see teta’s face when she saw us in our new outfits. We would run up the stairs, open her metal door and all four of us would run towards her. Each one of us would kiss her right hand and then place it on our forehead (this is very common in The Middle East, it’s a gesture of respect to the elders). She would look at each one of us, kiss our cheeks a 100 times and tell us how beautiful we are.

Oh, how I miss her so …

She helped raise us, she cooked for us everyday, she held us when we cried, she loved us a lot, she laughed with us, she kissed us so many times, she taught us so much … she was the joy in our hearts!

{I think about you every day, teta. I miss your tight hugs and kisses … I miss eating figs with you and watering your beautiful plants … I miss my favorite eggs … I miss your smile. Oh, I can’t wait to run to you again!}



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