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> Folklore Stories
> Sumud as keeping one's humanity
> Family Ties
> Hayat, from Akka
> Helwieh, from Al-Mujaydil
> The dream of return to Palestine of the...
> Antoinette: Listen to the children's song
> Mariam’s Story, from Ramleh to Bethlehem
> Rose: Memory of Ein Karem
> Life in Beit Sahour: Jaela Andoni’s Story
> Sada, living in Dheisha, 120 years old
> Hend, from Al-Walaja near Bethlehem
> Abu-Yaser Recalls Life in Tel el-Safi
> Najwa Ahmed, a Palestinian refugee in Khan Younis
> Ramzt Baroud's father
> Ishaq al-Shami, Arab Jew
> A Palestinian child in a Syrian refugee camp
> This Is Me! By Dina Meo
> Mazin Sukkar, taxi driver
> Prisoner of War: Yusif Sayigh, 1948 to 1949
OK, here’s my life, people … On school days, Dad usually wakes me up at about 6:30. I get up, I need five minutes to freshen up, I go brush my teeth and wash my face, then I put on my school uniform. It’s either mum or dad who makes me my sandwich, so when I get ready for school, I go and take my sandwich and go downstairs to wait for the school bus, which comes at 7:00 sharp. When the bus arrives, I get in and in the bus there are about 20 girls. It takes us 20 minutes from my house to my school, because of the checkpoint.
When I arrive at school I go and put my cell phone at the reception, because if I don’t I’ll be punished. Then I go to my class, put away my backpack, and sit with my friends; we chat, laugh, and fool around, but we ALWAYS have something to revise because we always have something to do! I go to a school in Jerusalem called Rosary Sisters’ High School. It’s a Catholic school, and it’s very strict, but they’re only like this for our own good I guess; but it’s a modern and cool school too. School begins at 8:00. We have this thing at school: every day a particular girl has to give a speech about any subject or talk about new and strange facts. Then we go to class. Each day we have 8 periods that each last 45 minutes, 4 before the break and 4 after it. Our break is 30 minutes long so we don’t really have time to relax. I finish school at 2:30, then I wait for my classmates, and we leave school together. I reach home at 3:00, put my bag in my room, wash my hands, and then I go have lunch with my mother who makes delicious food, which she learnt from my grandma. After lunch I watch TV: MTV, Nickelodeon, Star 1 or 2 or 3, Yes Plus … and some other channels. Then I sit at the computer, check my mail, chat with my friends, and open my accounts at MySpace and Facebook.
After all that, I go finish my homework first, then I study for my exam. Studying for an exam takes me a lot of time, but it really depends on the subject I’m studying; for example, if it’s math, Arabic, science, geography, history … it takes me around five to six hours to finish it, but if it’s English, technology, or French, it takes me around two to three hours. But school is getting harder and harder, so I’m beginning to listen to my parents and study everything day by day.
After I finish studying everything, I go back to the computer and get online again to chat with my friends. Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I go to the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music to play the piano and learn some other stuff about music.
For me Thursdays and Saturdays are the best days of the week because we don’t have school the day after. So every Thursday and Saturday after school I have a ballet class for two hours, then immediately I have basketball practice for another two hours. So when I finish my ballet class, I quickly go home to put on shorts and a T-shirt and go to my basketball practice, which is two minutes away from my house, which is great.
During basketball practice, I not only make my skills stronger, but I have fun too, because the girls on my team are my very best friends, so it’s so cool!
After practice, we always go and buy a bottle of water, and if we don’t have any money, we sit and ask for two or three shekels. Then we just sit and talk, laugh, make pranks, and do whatever teenagers do. Fridays are the worst day of the week because there’s nothing to do but study, study, study, because the Jewish and Muslim shops are closed. On Sundays, sometimes I go to church, then I go out with my family to Jericho, or to a friend’s house, or we stay here in Jerusalem and go to a restaurant for a change, just to get out of the house.
Here in Jerusalem, there aren’t many places to hang out. It’s either a friend’s house or the mall or a restaurant … That’s it! But we go to parties and stuff, so it is fun being here with the ones you love, and that’s all that matters - the people around you, not the place you’re at.
I guess that’s it… That’s my life in Palestine.
Dina Meo is a 13-year-old Palestinian student who was born and is being raised in Jerusalem. She is one of the four singers who taped the Bas Shwai CD and is currently an 8th grader at the Rosary Sisters’ School in Jerusalem.
The text was left unedited to remain faithful to the spirit of teenage English.
This Week in Palestine