The Juice Of Olives

We all tell stories. Mine are heavily scented with tales of motherhood and marriage wrapped in the essence of expat life. I listen to and read other people’s stories on a daily basis. My obsession with podcasts has me sitting in the car long after the school bell has gone, once again consumed with the story of an Englishman in Paris or a farmer in the Northern Territory. Anecdotes float through the airwaves and provide some sort of hit to my soul, like a smoker ducking outside for a quick fag, just one more minute of listening and then I’ll get out of the car. David Sedaris, Richard Fidler and the much missed David Rakoff have held me hostage on treadmills and in parking lots all over the world. Just one more minute.

It’s easy to listen to stories you identify with. Another mother discussing the beauty and frustration of the mundane. A friend speaking of feminism, a colleague ranting about housing prices. I nod along as I read, identifying with the words. Yes, someone’s speaking my language. And then you’re reminded that your conversations are privileged. The language you speak is foreign to so many.

It’s good to learn another language.

This is my friend Linah Alsaafin. Her stories are like driving over a really bumpy country road. The scenery is beautiful and feeds your soul, but the jolts as you rumble along the uneven surface can make you wince with discomfort. When I first met Linah we were asked to interview each other. I talked of my family in the country, moving to a school in the city, work, and meeting my husband and traveling the world. And then she told me her story and the story of her parents. “My family was split in two.” I contemplated the obvious, how would that have looked in my household. My parents have had lunch together for fifty years – how would they have lived without each other?

I have no doubt that Linah is going to change the world.  At twenty two she takes my breath away. Her friend Tala Rahmeh begins the clip, just how beautiful is her voice?

*produced by Jenny Morgan

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