My Sweet Mint Story This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

When you hear Middle Eastern what do you think of? Saddam Hussein? Osama bin Laden? The disaster of 9/11? I think of the delicious taste of hummus, the Eastern Orthodox Church where I was baptized, and my close family members who have always taken care of each other. When I hear Middle Eastern, I think home.

People should know the difference ­between the terrorists who have brought shame to the Middle East and Middle Easterners who are going about their everyday lives, like me.

In the 1990 census, 870,000 people in the United States said they were of Middle Eastern descent. Eighty-four percent are U.S. citizens, and 64 percent of the Arabs were born in America. They have connected these two cultures and offer much to our country.

One of the best aspects of this area of the world is the food. Have you ever tasted Middle Eastern cuisine? Talking about it now makes my mouth water. One of my favorites is hummus. Ful madammas is an Arabian bean salad soaked in lemon juice that, to me, is better than ice cream cake with vanilla frosting. Tabouleh is a salad of parsley, tomatoes, lemon juice, and mint. I am in heaven when the sweet mint touches the tip of my tongue. Just as the parsley is the sweet mint of my salad, my Middle East background is the sweet mint of my life. This heritage is a major part of my life.

Discovering how my family came here intrigued me. In Syria’s capital, Damascus, my maternal great-grandfather, Raphael, joined the Turkish military and immigrated to the United States in 1919. He returned to bring his family, but instead found Laurice, my great-grandmother. They returned to the U.S. in 1936 and had four children, one of whom was my grandfather.

Also from Damascus, Victoria, my ­paternal great-grandmother, immigrated to the United States in 1905. My paternal great-grandfather, Dimitry, went to ­Argentina and then to the United States in 1912. They met, married, and had my grandmother, Mary. Mary and John ­married and had my father. He met my mother and they had me and my siblings. That is my sweet mint story.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 9 comments. Post your own now!

Ksizzle said...
Feb. 5, 2010 at 11:27 am
This story was very educational. i never thought about the Middle East like that! usually i just think of all the bad stuff that has happened over the years...but now i see it in a new light!
firstsnowfalls This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 9, 2009 at 8:20 pm
Thanks for writing this! I love it, and I love hummus! :)
tell-Vanna said...
Nov. 9, 2009 at 4:02 pm
Mmm. I could taste, and that parsley. Really yummy.
My mom, herself, associates the Middle East with terrorists. Terrorists, terrorists, terrorists. It's always on the tip of her tongue. I think I could sway her mind with this. Good job!
Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm
I'm also from the Middle East and I associate it with stuffed grape leaves, freshly squeezed mango juice, baklava, kahk cookies with powdered sugar, and my grandmas who tell the best stories in the world about when the French and the English occupied. I think of pomegranates and sitting in balconies...drinking tea. Standing in line to get my cup of mango ice cream for nearly 25 cents. I think of all the good things in life, how people in the Middle East love each other. Hearing the music at... (more »)
ShamrockWriter said...
Feb. 3, 2009 at 12:33 am
I like the message your sending-brilliant. You just need to work on your style and how to make your ideas flow more smoothly so that they really leave an impact. You want to not only grab readers' attention from the start, but to make YOUR thoughts linger in theirs. Nice article, overall. Keep Writing!
tweedle dee said...
Feb. 2, 2009 at 2:25 pm
i like what you're saying, and i agree we do associate middle east with terrorists too much. the only thing is that your ideas didnt flow and didnt really go together.
erika said...
Jan. 14, 2009 at 1:13 pm
thats great
PianoGal129 said...
Dec. 26, 2008 at 8:18 pm
That's great! Far too many people associate the Middle East with terrorists. It is good to know the truth.
AuntySue said...
Dec. 3, 2008 at 3:20 am
Great article! I especially like the part about the hummus and mint!
Site Feedback