Today I decided to go into a little cafe I’d been eyeing for awhile, called King Falafel. They had several vegetarian dishes that were calling my name as I walked by. Upon entering, I detected an accent from the young man at the counter & proceeded to ask him where he was from. He shyly answered, “Jordan“. I immediately flashed a huge uncontrollable smile, proclaiming, “I’ve been to Jordan AND I met the King!” Then, some of my sketchy Arabic resurfaced. He seemed delighted & assured me that I’m “very good with my ‘H’s’.” He went on to inquire as to who, what & where & when I had visited.
He asked if I had gone to Petra (a major archaeological site). I said no, but we did DRIVE by, as my friend’s family had already toured it many a time. After all, who could blame them? It was a nauseating-backseat-thirsty-bus-ride-steaming-flat-coca-cola-in-a-bottle kind of day. I then remarked to my young counter King, that when I returned back to California, I decided to major in Anthropology. I was beside myself when I found that I was SO close & had missed seeing this important treasure! Said my My Falafel King, “That’s like going to a vegetarian restaurant & ordering a cheese burger!” NOW he was speaking MY language! LOL!
I do believe our interaction today brought us each a lot of joy. His homemade, authentic falafel, dolmas & baklava had transported me back to 1984, when my best friend & her dear family graciously allowed me to accompany them to their homelands of Jordan & Palestine. It was, & still is, one of the greatest experiences of my life!! And he, being a transplant, surely was proud to have an interested party walking through his garden…
“Yella Habibi!” was one of my favorite exclamations. After today, I have quite a little stream of phonetic phrases that are bubbling up to the surface, of content.
Praise be to Allah for all that is, was & shall be!