Happiness beyond words

wedding tent in my street, men only gathering to eat and celebrate; women gather apart from the men

“Love is not holding hands while you understand each other. It’s about having lots of misunderstandings. and still not leaving each other’s hands.” author unknown

T is back after 4 ½ months working on the other side of Egypt. One of the boys who drives a donkey cart for the tourists greeted me in the street yesterday and asked “T is back. You are happy?” What could I do but grin madly and shake my finger at him. Nothing is secret in Siwa.

At night I often lie in bed listening to the voices of people passing in the street, and as I learn more Arabic I try to make out what they are talking about. When they speak in Siwan, I don’t understand at all.

Last night as I listened, I realized there are two expressions that go beyond language – crying and laughing. Every day I hear both: children crying and calling for their mother or a grandfather who is taking care of them, or shrieks and bubbles of laughter as they play between the houses. I hear the men laughing loudly and deeply as they walk from the mosque together and tell each other the events of the day. A few times I have even heard the women, heads bent close together as they walk down the street, laughing softly with each other through their covers.

I have cried and laughed so much during 10 months in Siwa, in frustration and despair and happiness. Mostly I have laughed and mostly thanks to T, despite us sometimes not understanding each other, and that means more to me than a million conversations in flawless English could. It is good to have him here again.

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