Written March 13, 2017
Posted April 2, 2017
Today I went to a coffee shop with Muna and Maddie. We ordered hot chocolate and tea and talked about boys, school, and traveling abroad. If it weren’t for the guy with the Hookah sitting next to us, it felt a lot like a trip with my friends to the West Chester Starbucks. But it wasn’t, because Maddie and I are two Americans dropping in for a visit, and Muna lives in Palestine all the time. It’s confusing because we are so similar – just three high school girls hanging out. We focus on senior pranks, dances, and tests. The difference is that Maddie and I aren’t worrying about maintaining two residences just so we can keep the ID that lets us travel five minutes down the road. Maddie and I don’t need to worry about our classmates getting shot protesting. Maddie and I don’t need to worry about much at all.
The night before, while Muna did her homework, Maddie and I watched 27 Dresses with her parents. We found we shared a love for romantic comedies. We had popcorn and chatted about our families. We ate green almonds, which is the casing in which our almonds grow. We discussed politics and President Trump; it seems like everyone wants to talk about him. We played with their dog, who couldn’t stop jumping. We learned that both Muna’s parents work for a tech company. We talked about the languages we knew and wanted to learn.
These stories about my interaction with Muna’s family seem pretty random and everyday, but that’s the point. If you set aside politics, Muna’s family and my family have a lot in common. I don’t want to get so bogged down in complex and seemingly unsolvable issues of territory and identity that I forget to recognize commonality and similarity. Getting to glimpse the everyday lives of Palestinians helped me understand that while the politics are inscrutable, but the people aren’t.