After hours and hours of traveling, we arrived at our gate to catch our flight from Frankfurt to Beirut about 30 minutes before boarding. The place was hopping. We knew right away that our 9pm flight would be anything but quiet and relaxing – think party bus meets 30,000 feet. We found a place to sit down, and immediately two small children came running up to Isla. The three year old never said a word, just continuously rubbed and pinched Isla’s cheeks. Isla wasn’t quite sure what to do. She loves little girls, so she was thrilled with the attention, but kept looking at me with a funny look on her face and saying, “whoa! Little girl touch Isla’s cheek!” Then the 18 month old boy joined in the pinching Isla’s cheeks fun.
This lasted a good ten minutes until the girl decided to climb up onto the chairs and do laps around the waiting area. Isla followed her around a few times until her fun ended in a head to head collision with the little boy. As she sat crying on my lap, little girl came back to comfort her, again by rubbing her cheeks, at which point the mama finally came over to apologize for making Isla cry and shouted at her daughter in Arabic, “if you touch her one more time I will hit you!” Of course, the little girl didn’t actually stop, so mama said it a few more times from about 3 feet away, until an older sister came and dragged the little girl back to their pile of luggage.
Culture shock for sure, and we hadn’t even arrived yet. It was interesting seeing it through my almost 2 year olds eyes…. even though this is what she’s known all her life, only three months away was enough for her to feel really unsure about what was going on. She’s done pretty well with the transitions over the past few days, although her incredible clingy-ness is showing me that she’s not quite settled yet.