[September 17th, 2015]
My Teta (grandmother, in Arabic) has lived in the United States since 1973, inside the same house off Miller Rd in Swartz Creek, Michigan.
Teta was born in Beirut, and then relocated to Vienna briefly with my Jido (grandfather) and the twins (hi momma!) before making their way to Senegal, Africa for 14 years. From there, the family moved to the USA, and they have been here ever since. Clearly, Teta got her fair share of world travel early on—and ironically enough, in a time where the globe was much less accessible than it is today.
One day, I will tell my Teta's story in greater detail, but for the sake of today, I wanted to think a little bit about the concept of building a life in the same house for over 40 years.
When I told her about our plan to "leave Wooster St." and apartment hop, and eventually go wherever the wind takes us, she laughed—smiling through the phone—and then called me her Maj-nooni (crazy girl). It seems that to pick up and leave your home all of a sudden is something a bit out of the ordinary for older generations, if it's not for a new set-opportunity in life. Jumping head first and making a move into the unknown seems a bit well, maj-noon. :)
I pondered her very long experience in that house on Miller Rd this morning, and suddenly, I began recalling all the nooks and crannies of her home—the ones I used to get lost in as a little girl while visiting in the summers. The basement, in particular, which I was always too afraid to be in alone: all the stacks upon stacks of books down there—full of French and Lebanese literature; my mother's old artwork stored within bed sheets for protection; and not to mention the hundreds of pictures and photo albums, and my Jido's ever-so vast stamp collection full of little mail tickets from around the world. Suddenly, I imagined myself going through it all in the same process that we've been going through here on Wooster St. And I thought, is it possible? To weed through a life-full of collections that date back as far as 70 years? And then to build a new future out of it all?
I'd like to think that anything is possible, if you want it badly enough.
In the same vein, there is something magical about Teta's house; the way it stands there through the years and through the many Michigan seasons like a rock; a fixed place that the family can always return to and feel at home in. When I think about it long enough, that must be a grandparent's greatest wish; that, and that their family lives close-by enough to visit often.
My sister is over at Teta's house now. She arrived yesterday, and sent me some pictures of the Lebanese feast that received her: finely-chopped tabouli and chicken on rice, which Teta made just for her. Needless to say, I was mouth watering-ly jealous, and oh how I miss Teta! Next time I'll join you guys at home...
Happy Thursday, with some food for sweet-thought!