Soap, something that I am sure many of us take for granted: a means to clean ourselves.
I had a soap gifted to me yesterday. This isn’t just ordinary soap though. It is from a soap shop in Lebanon. This shop has been producing soap for 500 years. Mine is in the shape and appearance of a lemon.
The giver of the soap is someone that I work with. He is from Syria. He visited his family for a month, who are in Lebanon. I didn’t know at the time, but when he arrived over there, he was detained at the embassy and no one knew where he was for 4 days. He was completely off the grid. That sounds terrifying to me that no one knows where you are or what happened to you. He shrugs it off now and says it was just drama and chuckles a little bit, maybe at how shocked I am from living so sheltered a life. The ladies at work who did know at the time of the event give him a hard time about scaring them. When he didn’t turn up where he was supposed to, his sister who also lives here reached out to our work.
He says the worst part was not being able to shower, and seeing writing on the walls from people who had been held upwards of 8 months. He explained that was likely the reason he picked the soaps as gifts, the luxury of keeping clean was fresh on his mind. The most dominant thought.
He became a Canadian citizen officially in the spring, so perhaps that is why he wasn’t held longer, he doesn’t know. Since his family couldn’t be at his citizenship swearing in ceremony, he attended the video call at work with us, his work family. We had some festive decorations around his office and I gave him a hockey stick. My boys have lots of extras and so I gave him one that was used in real games.
I know the hockey stick meant a lot to him, and the soap means a lot to me. It’s an honour to think that someone, while halfway around the world seeing family that he hasn’t seen in 7 years, would think of his work friends. It always blows my mind that a business would still be in operation hundreds of years later too. That isn’t something you can find in North America.
I think both the soap and the hockey stick circulate happy energy. Both are unique gifts. I would never otherwise end up with soap from a 500 year old shop on the other side of the world.