If one wishes to bond with a young Nabulsi, “going out for cocktails” is bound to be the chosen means.
However, once one actually tries a Nablus cocktail, it becomes readily apparent that cocktails here are far beyond any kind available in the United States. A cocktail in Nablus is a heavenly blend of ice cream, milk, nuts, and fresh fruit on top. Favorite variations often include dates or honey as well. A sweet, filling and fresh treat, cocktails are equally popular with families as well as groups of friends.
Over the past several weeks, I have had the chance to go out for cocktails with colleagues and friends at TYO. One of TYO’s wonderful translators, Diana, invited Adrienne, Julie and me to have cocktails with her on Rafidia Street. Long after finishing our delicious drinks, we continued to sit together in the restaurant and talk, engaging in topics both light and serious. Diana asked us how we felt here, whether our assumptions about Palestine and its people had proven true. We also talked about similarities and differences between American culture and Palestinian culture. “There are good parts to both cultures, I think,” Diana stated. Sitting together, four very different young women learning about each other, we all agreed.
Friendships forged over food always seem to last longer, at least in my experience. Having cocktails seems to crystallize all of the aspects of Nabulsi life that I have come to treasure since arriving here—the need for building understanding, extending gifts of friendship, engaging in lively conversation…and of course, in Nablus none of this is possible unless one is well-fed.
Ashwini is an intern at TYO Nablus and a participant in the Kalimatna Initiative.