Let's enjoy some random anecdotes about Syria. I'm in the mood for happy stories from that place.
I took the girls to the dentist in Dubai a couple of weeks ago and when the receptionist checked us in, she pronounced the girls' names in the Arabic way. The pronunciation is straightforward enough for Miriam, but not everyone picks up that Magdalena is Majdoleena in Arabic. Anyway, when she said that, I asked her where she was from. Turns out she's Syrian, and Christian. She almost fainted when I told her I had been to Maaloula and Seidnayya and Mar Musa and all these places that are so dear to her religious minority heart. We ended up talking for a long time, as the girls got increasingly squirrely in the waiting room.
There are a lot of people from Syria here, and you never know when you're going to run across them. I met a girl from Homs working at Sephora, a woman from Damascus at Miriam's ballet lesson, a guy from Damascus working the register at Carrefour, a guy from Aleppo running the manaqeesh oven in the bakery there. Time was, I said I'd lived in Syria and the only things to talk about were the food and the people and the ruins and the beautiful country.
Unfortunately, there's more that can be talked about these days.