Italian Cuisine World Summit in Dubai this November

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Summing Up Jordan - Generosity is not a display but a way of being





This time I had spent only a few days in Jordan, but feel like I have covered a few months there! Perhaps when we connect with a place, duration no longer matters because what we cover during that time is way more profound than what we may in a month spent just gazing around! When traveling there is nothing more beautiful than finding a connection, and perhaps that is best done through food. Because put food in the middle, we immediately become social, we converse, share and therefore know more about the place, its people and way of life. Once that connection is made, a place becomes all too familiar and we no longer feel like strangers or outsiders! Somehow, we find similarities and realise that despite the difference in details, all is the same in the end. That thought alone is enough to connect us and remind us that regardless of the imaginary boxes we always view ourselves within, the world is huge and we are all in it. It is all ours and all out there for us to explore.

Jordan was the first stop on this journey I have taken, and in Jordan I had reconnected with its old, became acquainted with its new and joined the dots for everything in between (besides devouring its absolutely unique flavours!). Most interesting to me this time was finding true generosity. Observing its people go about their daily routines I have learnt a huge deal about what it really is to be generous. Realising that it is not a display but really a way of being. There I have seen generosity as giving, regardless of what, it is unconditional giving mindless of ourselves and without expecting anything in return. Furthermore, I have realised that there is no greater satisfaction than that granted by this kind of giving.

We often mistake generosity tying it with money or abundance of offering, but generosity is a personal choice. We give in love, we give in knowledge, we give in assistance, in support... we give in the way we deal with people, we give in money, we give in anyway we can, and we choose how much we want to give and why. However, when we choose to give unconditionally and for the sake of giving, mindless of ourselves, we are then being generous. That is what I have been repeatedly shown this time around in Jordan.

Jarash
Did you know that more than 70% of the ruins in Jerash are still under the ground?! 

Apparently the whole city sits atop buried ruins

During this trip people opened their homes for us and welcomed us there to cook and eat with them. They have been so hospitable, warm and welcoming and they all have been so generous offering us really everything in their homes. While shooting 'The Three Sisters' episode for instance - having us four along with many other crew members - and while the food was cooking, the ladies brought out every item in their pantry from Labneh balls, to zaatar, maqdoos and all types of stored home-made food and fed us in case we were hungry while the actual lunch cooked. They then offered us a banquet of amazing home-cooked platters that can feed a country and thought it was not enough, so brought out even more of their pantry stock, all of which was extremely delicious. But it did not stop at that, as you can see in the episode, they were giving us tips for alternative remedies for diabetes, they gave me time-saving tips for storing foods when in season, and have taught each one of us a thing or two about sisterhood and relationships that last. They showed us by example how love and giving is the essence of happiness.

When at that age, having such a support system and choosedly living together can only mean that at some point real generosity took place and the three have unconditionally given love and support for one another. So blessed they are with their spirits, their company and for being so welcoming, opening their homes to some 10+ people for no personal gain!

Rawan & her friends

Rawan too had invited us to her home. She invited us to meet her friends, and all their children. While there discussing healthy eating for kids and having the children around, she invited us to cook with them, and basically make a lot of fun mess in her kitchen! She generously opened her heart, home, and kitchen for us and wanted to share with us a slice of her life, and even took us on a picnic to the park. Why, simply to connect and be hospitable to these complete strangers she just met at a cooking competition!

Then of course, Hashem restaurant, who offered us a breakfast of the best hummus, falafel, fattet hummus, musabaha... you will ever have. Then passionately told us the story of how Hashem restaurant started, making sure we learn that when there is a will no obstacle can stop anyone, all the while ensuring that we eat any dish we mention!

And the guy we met, who is celebrating his 25th anniversary, still loving his wife as though he'd just been smitten. We all know how relationships can never last without unconditional love, suppoprt and giving, and the bond between these two goes to show how generosity goes a long way!

Mooneh - Pantry
All that got me thinking of how generosity is at the essence of all our relations. That it is in a way the essence of being social. If we just want to hold back, or think of only one's self then no relationships will ever be possible. Therefore we must always give and experience the amazing happiness unconditional giving grants us!




My Diaries - Little notes I wrote throughout this trip
Leaving Jordan Diary:

We all look for different things, and I can always only explore the perspectives I look for. And I look for connections, enriching experiences, and exploring myself in the presence of new surroundings. Because there is where I find growth and there is where I enrich my understanding, ultimately allowing openness to enter both my heart & mind....



The Journey Continues...
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