My classmates compete
to see who can bring the most camels.
Some of the older kids bring
falcons, and let them fly through the
crowd of people on the field.
old women sit on the ground
with a small electric stove
in front of them, making fried balls of dough
covered in honey and sesame seeds. We
watch a performance in the gym, of girls
doing the hair dance, whipping knee-length
locks from side to side. Of boys
twirling guns in time to the
music. The songs performed in a foreign tongue.
They give us flags of
a country I don’t yet know
but will become my home.
Kathleen Madigan spent four years living in the Middle East, where she learned many new traditions. Her favorite was National Day, a time at school to appreciate the culture of the United Arab Emirates by seeing native animals and eating traditional food.