Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year Message

2012 In Review

This year Didi and I decided to divide the pleasure of wishing you all a good holiday season and a Happy New Year: I am writing this summary of the highlights of the year for us while Didi will add a personal note and do the mailing:

It is now a tradition: Since the two of us retired, every year around mid November we head to California to stay with our son’s family in San Jose. There we also get together with the families of our two Kanaaneh nephews in the SF Bay area. About a month later we join our Daughter’s family for their winter vacation. That is how we found ourselves in Lima, the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon at the start of 2012 and swimming with the dolphins off the Kona coast of the Big Island of Hawaii today as we bid goodbye to the same year.

I usually write a piece on my blog about every foreign country we visit. In the case of Peru I experimented with fictionalizing my impressions because it fit well with an assignment I had as a fellow for the 2011-12 academic year at the Writers’ Institute at CUNY. Here is the link to that piece for those who have the interest and the time:

For the rest of that winter vacation I returned home to Arrabeh, our village in Galilee, for a couple of weeks to tend our garden and check on friends and relatives. It was a sad visit during which I lost two nephews, one who was my namesake and the other, a teenager, who was my volunteer gardening helper. I also committed this experience to my blog. Especially those among you who are interested in Palestinian village culture may want to read it at:

 Shortly after returning to NY, Didi left to California to help with the care of Zara, Ty and Katherine’s new daughter and our fifth grandchild. I continued to enjoy the instructive, intriguing and invigorating input of my dozen fellow writers and instructors at the WI till mid-May when I travelled to join the families of both of our children when all of us congregated at a California beach to meet Zara for the first time and to celebrate my 75th birthday. From there we returned home to Galilee. At home I continued the task of rewriting my novel, the reason I had enlisted in the WI for the one academic year in NY. During that period Didi joined the Chinatown YMCA and shed off a good number of pounds doing regular exercises from swimming to Zumba. In Arrabeh we both reverted to gardening and the treadmill.

In July Rhoda and her two daughters arrived for their annual visit to family and friends at the height of the wedding season in the village. After few such celebrations in the Kanaaneh clan we drove our car to Jordan for a weeklong sojourn at the Dead Sea and Petra in temperatures of above 110 F in the shade. Because of the new baby, Ty and his family did not make it for the obligatory annual get-together in Arrabeh. Instead we all met for two week at a rented vacation mansion in Woodstock, NY where the four children swam and frolicked to their hearts’ content and did their best to teach us, the grandparents, the art of the hula-hoop to Malaika’s delight as a budding photographer.

For the remaining couple of months we visited with relatives and friends, tended our garden, replenished our flock of chickens that had been decimated by a vicious mongoose and invested in a large electric dehydrator to handle the plentiful summer fruits. Didi waxed inventive with fig, grape and persimmon fruit leather preparations. In the meantime I embarked on a set of basic repairs including two dental implants and a bunion surgery before returning to San Jose for the start of a new cycle.

With our Best Wishes.
Hatim and Didi Kanaaneh

Hatim didn’t mention that he has continued to work on his “Palestinian novel” honing it with his newly acquired writing skills!  If you happen to know of a suitable literary agent, let him know! Didi