Back in South Africa, I have no first cousins. That's one of the reasons that makes my year in Lebanon so special - I have nine of them here (well, I did up until last month when one went to London and another went off to Madrid to pursue their Masters).
This week I invited the ones who didn't have to wake up for school the next day for a homemade pizza evening. I love spending time with people who share the same grandparents. There's something very binding about that. I'm extremely grateful to my parents for making sure we visited Lebanon often as children so that we'd be an active part of this incredible family. My cousins were not strangers when I arrived in April this year; they were friends I had made over the years, playing kooka, rollerskating on Jeddo's staygha, making travel plans taht el mayseh, choosing rings from Mondanite, eating booza out of square cones, swinging on the balencoire while Jeddo lit a cigarette, playing bastra with Ata, competing in ping pong championships, drawing in oudit el jouweh, firing fireworks for Eid el Saide...
This is what I call family.
With juggling, smiley, out-and-about and bride cousins.