And Doing Things.
23.05.2011 - 30.05.2011
I've been here in Jerusalem volunteering at the hostel for a little over a week now, and I am really finding my place here. It has been a wonderful week. I have met some really beautiful people and worked to create 3 weekly events already here at the hostel. One was quite purposeful and commissioned by the founder and the other two were somewhat incidental and products of open, organic living.
The commissioned event is Pub Night Out on Thursday nights. We had our first one this past Thursday in which I took 5 guests from the hostel out to a local club for drinks and dancing. Turns out we went out a bit early for the crowd and height of the dancing but I think it will turn into a fun thing for guests soon. They still seemed to really like it and were glad to go out while here in Jerusalem.
Then on Friday, I offered to make Shabbat dinner for one of the guys who works here and Chaucee, my roommate and fellow volunteer, and myself. So I went to the shuk (market) to get everything we needed and got a little extra, so when I got back I invited a few guests who were sitting around the common room to join us. A few came to help me cook and others kept coming in and by the time we sat down, we were eating with 17 people and the food I bought turned out to be more than enough for all of us! It was so beautiful to see everyone sitting around the table together, talking to new people, laughing, eating. It was really wonderful. And so now Chaucee and I have instituted Shabbat dinner hosted by the volunteers every Friday. I'm so excited about it because it brought people together and seemed to make them really happy. And they were all really impressed with my cooking skills (even though I had a bit of help at the end with the seasoning from a friend who trained as a chef ) We had... stir-fry with beets, eggplant, peppers, onion, carrots, apple, garlic and chicken with teryaki and sweet chili sauces, brown rice, salad, corn, potato hash, hummus and bread, challah bread and wine. Mmm. You can see some pictures here.
And then last night, on Sunday, I played a concert in the common room here at hostel. Between guests, staff and friends there were about 50-60 people there, and it was really amazing. My voice is different now because I have been smoking since traveling (yes, I know, it's terrible) but I think it still sounded nice (and it is not permanently changed. with some tea and no cigarettes it will be back in no time ). People enjoyed it. Mostly, though, when I was finished I got some comments that it had created a beautiful vibe in the place. There were people getting a little emotional and almost everyone was totally engaged. When I heard that, I didn't give a rip how I had sounded. Maybe even for the first time after a performance. The music was truly not the end. It was a means to the space it created, the togetherness it facilitated, the feelings it incited. They asked me to play again next week but I told them I think Sundays should be live music night for all different musicians. So next week I think we'll have a few people play a few songs each. Maybe I'll be one of them but maybe not. And now Sunday is Live Music Night at the hostel! So cool!
I've decided not to go to South Africa and extend my stay in Israel. Once I stopped moving from place to place, it's hard to think of doing it again. And I am feeling invested here. In addition to these things, I am helping with the composting and rooftop garden and considering recording some music while I'm here. Right now the idea is to volunteer for 3 more weeks and then stay 2 more to travel around before coming back via a week in Paris. It could possibly be extended a bit more but I'll have to see how money and things go.
I am excited about working in the hostel and feel like the hospitality industry could potentially be a really good fit for me. In a hostel or B&B setting. Making people feel at home when they are not, bringing people together, serving people. Feels right and good and alive to me.
I have the day off so I'm headed out...I don't know where. But it's a beautiful day (much like every day here) so I ought to go somewhere. We'll see. This week I'll go to the Market Party in the main shuk just around the corner tonight (live music and dancing in the streets of the market), out for pub night Thursday, make Shabbat dinner Friday, go to a big lunch/dinner at a friend's Saturday, go to Ramallah with a friend and then play/host live music night Sunday. It will all be fun. What a life. Soaking it in for all it's worth.
Hoping for each of you days of full and relevant thought and full and sincere love. Looking forward to sharing those kinds of days with you in person again soon! Much love.