And settling in just fine.
17.05.2011 - 23.05.2011
Hello hello hello. Shalom shalom. I am back in Jerusalem and really happy. It's amazing how the flow of the trip has gone so well. I feel in a perfect time and space to be settling somewhere for a while. I feel like I could be here forever.
The day before I was to return to Jerusalem (this past Friday) I was in Tel Aviv and got a call from one of the guys working at the hostel we had stayed at in Jerusalem. He said they had a volunteer cancel and were short-staffed and asked if I would be interested in volunteering for a couple of weeks while I'm here. It's 5-6 hours of work 5 days a week in exchange for a free room and breakfast. I said I'd think about it because it would tie me to Jerusalem for the majority of my time left in Israel and tie up some of my time. But I realized that this would be a really good way to ween me off of my wandering and start to reintroduce me into responsible, accountable society. Of course it's barely anything but compared to the days I've been living for 8 weeks now, it's an adjustment! So the plan now is that I'm here two weeks and then have a few days before flying out of Amman, Jordan on the 10th. The plan is up for revision, so we'll see.
So I am here at the hostel now and learning the ropes. Served breakfast this morning and then escorted a group of guests down to the Old City for their tour (did not GIVE their tour, obviously). Then had a meeting with the owner and a couple others to figure out ways to make the hostel more fun for guests like pub nights, movie nights, concerts. Which, incidentally, is another cool thing. Each volunteer, in addition to daily responsibilities, has a project that they are working on, social media development, translating, writing blog articles. And because I am here just a short time (volunteers are usually required to stay at least a month), my project is to play a concert in the hostel next week for a social event. So cool, huh? I hope it will be.
It has been fun making friends with both the staff, who are from Jerusalem and Israel, and the other volunteers. My roommate now is Chaucee, a great girl from Philly. And Jeff, from Israel/the US, and Josephina, from Argentina, are the other two volunteers. And the staff, Sophia, Ibrahim, Josh and others, are really great too. It's a nice place to be spending my time.
Jerusalem is a very interesting place. There is a lot happening here within, between and in spite of the people. I am very wary to comment too much because it is definitely the most complicated place I've ever been and the place I feel least qualified to analyze or comment on. But with that said, life here is tense and intense. People have not been at all rude to me, in fact quite the opposite. They are friendly, willing to help with anything and very open. But if you have even one conversation with almost any one of them, you realize how much they have on their mind, how much is swirling around their perspective, how much pain, animosity, pride, sincerity they have. In contrast, it makes not only America but everywhere I've been feel quite simple. And on more than one occasion it has broken my heart. Yet this does not paint the streets. There is still a joy, hope and vibrancy here that wafts through the air. People are spirited and honest and open, at least in my experience.
I am processing here. I am still and thinking. There is something about this place that, while having so much of itself to show me, has the remarkable ability to show me myself as well. It feels illuminating, a little frightening, but overall it does seem exciting. This is partly why the plan is up for revision. This place feels like a culmination, a climax. This may be the note I want to end on, so to speak. But we shall see.
In the pursuit of understanding, appreciation and deeply human respect, all my best.