When I was a kid, I used to find it so badass to just confuse everyone around me and be like “you know where my teta lives? BIL MAREEKH” and kids would be so disbelieving and I’d be like yep… super cool I know. Nowadays everyone knows what that is and how hell-ish of a drive it is but no one realizes just how lovely it is and how special it is to my heart. One of the things I love is my cousin who always posts pictures when he’s there and writes captions like ‘I’m still jenny from the block” yes talking about you Karam. The thing is, I think that’s it with ‘places’ everywhere, it’s not the place itself, it never is, it’s always the memories and the people. So let’s take a little trip down memory lane. As a kid, Jabal il Mareekh was endless summer nights when all my aunts would be gathered at my grandparents’ place and getting falafel from Abu Nizar and going to El Abasiyeh supermarket and getting our faces stuffed. It is also my remaining memory of my favorite aunt who passed away when I was 4 but I can still so vividly recall her being so happy and merry at my Teta’s place and it’s like I can actually see here, right then and there. Jabal Il Mareekh was also the bane of my existence for one reason, there was this Romanian lady who used to cut Duaa and I’s hair whom we used to absolutely hate!! She had a boy cut and so what do you think her go to haircut was? J J of course my mom loved it and I have no clue how used to convince us each and every time to get it done there, that this time, it would actually look ‘nice’. That lady (I don’t even remember her name anymore and don’t want to ask my mum for fear of nightmares) once tried to bribe me with a new pack of hairclips that had glitter on them just so I’d allow her to cut my hair. After she was done with her crime she actually tried to take them back!!! But can you imagine little kiddo juju? Giving those babies back? Hell no. I just told her no and walked straight back to Teta’s. Lolz at her for thinking she could get away with that. At 18, Jabal il Mareekh was I’m sure one of the reasons why I am such a badass driver, because let me tell you, driving a stick shift in the middle of rush hour in Jabal il Mareekh teaches you a thing or two about driving, and also develops huge muscle power in your left calf. Nowadays, Jabal il Mareekh is visiting my lovely teta who I honestly don’t get to as much as I know I should but it’s so difficult to find her on her own to actually get to have a decent conversation with her. But on times that I do, it’s pretty lovely. Most of our conversations are about how disappointing it is that I am still not married but still, they’re funny as hell. I love driving there to see the old houses of East Amman; what’s amazing is that it’s so easy to just mistake them all for blocks of the same looking houses but when you look closely, you can see all the different colors and all the different flower arrangements each house has on its balcony, you can see the Rosary school so subtly hidden behind all the buildings, it’s all so very beautiful. What I love most is seeing the balcony of where my mum used to live before my grandparents’ house, she’d always point it out to me as a kid and go ‘we used to live over there Raja’!” and I remember how I loved and to this day simply adore the idea of living in the tiniest place just as long as it has a balcony overlooking a street somewhere. Simply amazing. So there ya go, tell me if you’re up for a visit.