As I sat eyeing the last remnants of labneh and olive oil on my plate, my Palestinian friend waved to me from the dance floor to get up and join the wedding party; all of whom were clapping and moving in a way that I was certain was beyond me.
I reluctantly scraped my chair back and headed to the dance floor determined to dance for as little time as possible.
I danced the rest of the night.
I stopped worrying about the spectacle I was causing with my feeble attempts to move my body the way my Palestinian friends were moving theirs. I couldn't help it. The atmosphere was jovial and light-hearted as everyone stamped their feet and swayed their hips to the hypnotic songs of famous Arab artists. The bride and the groom were placed on chairs and danced around the room and my friend's Grandmother elicited laughter and cheers as she shouted out blessings to family members in attendance. I forgot that I was an outsider and I felt embraced and welcomed into their community. The aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and other relatives of my friend took me in and showed me how they celebrate their lives. In doing so, they helped me celebrate mine.
This photo was taken at the henna party the night before the wedding. The female family members of the groom sang songs as they presented gifts and henna to the bride.
**This post has been entered into the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.**