This is Layan and Jana Ali-Hasan! Let’s take a trip back to our roots. It all starts with a unique mixture of Jordanian and Palestinian plus a very very large family. We were born and raised in Texas. Living 7,200 miles away from our entire extended family portrayed how important it was to maintain communication and make the most of our interactions when we got to visit them every year. Ever since we were little, we would travel overseas to Amman and stay at my grandparent’s house and all my cousins from Dubai would come down too. Every year it was a hive of activity at my grandparent’s house. People loudly shuffling between rooms and the kitchen while pot lids spun around on the kitchen floor. The smell of my grandma’s cooking would waft into the living room where we all gathered. I could hear the sounds of my cousins playing and screaming in the living room. The hum of Arabic and English garbled together between the rooms and kitchen. Getting asked where we’re from is our favorite question. How can we explain the scent of our grandma’s food ( the one that makes you gain 5 pounds but is so good you still want more), the comfort feeling of home (our cousins playing and screaming in the tiny house filled with endless memories) , and the never ending serotonin that’s felt when exploring our roots? Our favorite part of every year, is getting the chance to go across the world and experience 2 months of the BEST FEELING EVER.

 Summer of 2022 was a very special experience for us. Car ride to car ride, luggage pick up and drop off, crossing borders, and 5 hours later: we have arrived to Ramallah, Palestine for the 2nd time. There were so many things to see, and every place just connected us more and made our love for Palestine grow. Even though we only stayed 1 week, we ate the best food aka falafel sandwiches, and explored small towns while in awe of everything around us. We also visited a cute little coffee shop in Al-Bireh Palestine called “Al-Matal.” Reuniting with family you haven’t seen in ages is a feeling one can’t forget; being able to reconnect and create strong bonds is something we can’t ever forget. We can never come back from Palestine without olives (iykyk). There is so much love with so much bravery and pride from where we come from. Long live Palestine; our roots, our heart, and our home.

Fun Facts about Palestine:

  1. Olives are a central part of Palestinian life, culture, and tradition. With over 45% of land in the country dedicated to olive trees.
  2. The Dead Sea aka the lowest point on Earth is in found in Palestine
  3. Palestine is known for some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the world

Layan and Jana Ali-Hasan

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