Her name was Magdalena and I met her on a family vacation, we were staying in the same hotel in Turkey. I was five and we were the only children at the hotel.
I don’t remember how we met, or how it happened that we started playing together, But for that week in Turkey, Magdalena was my best friend. My memories from the age of five, are vague. I remember moments, like when our families met, and after a short conversation between them, my grandfather explained to me that she is from Iran.
Sometimes we asked our families to translate things for us. Magdalena’s parents understand Arabic, and so did my grandfather. Most of the time we spoke through sign language, using our hands. We’ve understood each other, We needed no words, We had something stronger than words, We had love, Love from the naive and simple type that only children knows. And I remember loving her very much. Looking back it seems to me that children have a better understanding of what love is. Like our friendship love doesn’t need any approval, or words, to exist.
It needs only our hearts, and children’s heart is always open. Magdalena left the hotel before we did.I remember missing her, and asking my parents about her, for a long time…. As children we didn’t know that our friendship is a rare thing, or that the chance of meeting again are slim, because our countries are considered to be enemies. We were no enemies, we were friends.
It’s been 23 years since that holiday in Turkey. Today I am 29 years old and I live in Israel. All the Iranians friends I have today I met through the Facebook, and I have never met in person. Magdalena was the only one. Sometimes I still think about her. Wondering what happened to her. She taught me a valuable lesson. Even if in her life today we share different views, for one week in childhood we were friends. And nothing can change that. Not our government policies, not the opinions of our leaders, and not even our own opinions today. In this sense, adults are different from children. Only adults tend to let different opinions ruin a chance for friendship and love.
Children don’t care about opinions so they will not allow to different views or opinions to interfere with their friendship. I wish we all learned it from them and apply this to our lives. Magdalena will always stay in my heart as a sweet childhood memory. Memory of naive and simple friendship, from the kind that only children knows.