30 July 2006

debris it covers everything but still i am in love with this life.

Sitting on a Turkish sleeper train (a surprisingly luxurious one, I might add, albeit slow) riding through rural Turkey enroute to Thessaloniki, Greece, I finally had the opportunity to mentally find some closure to my Israel/Palestine trip. Someone we met in Istanbul thought Erin and I were "brave" for coming to Turkey on a whim with no place to stay, no Turkish, and no idea what we were doing, and it made me realize how quickly everything happened in the last week.

I've been writing so much about the conflict and violence and the huge issues surrounding anyone's time in Israel and Palestine, but the "devil's in the details," and now that I'm not there anymore, I'm noticing little things. I'll never fit in in Israel - I don't drink coffee (much to the dismay of the waiters at breakfast every morning!), I don't chain smoke, and I drive rather cautiously without using my horn. I enjoy excessive amounts of ice in my drinks. I'm a gun control advocate alarmed by the presence of automatic rifles in shopping malls. Even when I have a cell phone, I rarely use it. Compulsory military service and I would never get along. I'm not comfortable asking someone's religion before their name, and I'm not sure I really care enough about their religion to ask.

But I love the desert, the mountains, and the ocean, and knowing any one of them is only a few hours away. I love that people here find it interesting that I don't believe in god and still came to the holy land. I miss the hibiscus the size of dinner plates on Hanassi Avenue in Haifa. I love that I was welcomed as an American in Ramallah and Haifa alike. I love the Chinese restaurant playing "Silent Night" in Chinese in June. I love how everyone in Haifa was so proud that Arabs and Jews live together peacefully in their city. I love that even though everyone asks, no one really cares about my religion. I love the olive oil and I think I might even miss hummus soon. I love that my being here has made those back home aware of what's happening in the region. In short, I love that I was embraced in Israel and Palestine as a student, volunteer, and colleague without anyone questioning my intentions, and I can't wait to come back.

No comments: