I'm still in the land of Milk and Honey.
In fact, right now, I'm drink milk and honey. And tea.
Finding yourself is a task.
I think I'm slowly beginning to understand that it is:
There will always be roughly half a million things I want to do and accomplish. That is okay. I don't have to decide right now. I just need to keep moving in some sort of direction I believe in.*
*easier said than done (to climb or to move to Sudan?)
How awful would it be to know your exact next step? I'm a list maker, an organizer, a planner- but my best stories stem for chaos and my best memories came when least expected.
I don't want to know myself fully because then I'd never have the chance to surprise myself.
That leaves me here.
In the land of Milk and Honey:
the land of Zion and the land Palestine.
I don't know what I'm doing here.
Honestly. I have no idea.
So I'm trying to figure that out...
with every cup of tea and night of curry and conversation.
Israel also, the 68 year old (I know- just a young pup) country
is just kind of floating:
doesn't know where it's headed
no one can agree on where it came from.
That feeling of 'lost with seemingly no direction' seems too familiar not to draw some ridiculous metaphor to every young person ever...
But because the world revolves around me, I will draw said conclusion to myself:
I do this thing now. When I meet new people and they ask me should-be-easy, small-talky questions like "why did you study in Israel?" or "what do you want to do after you graduate?" or "are you Jewish", I tend to let out this big sigh. And I'm sure my answer sounds so tired; sound so exhausted.
I smile and I sign and I say...
"I don't know, I guess I'm studying the Middle East and Israel is interesting and I wanted to practice my Arabic but to be honest, I really don't know why I decided to study here but here I am, yani? (ya know)"
"I don't know, maybe move abroad and practice my Arabic or live out of my car and climb everything there is to climb or just cry because I'm in debt, but to be honest I really don't know what I'm doing, it's all to be determined maybe never"
"I don't know, my dad is Jewish but my mom isn't, and I've always loved the traditions and parties and family stuff but I'm not really religious, I just love the culture but in Israel it's different, so to be honest I really don't know if I'm Jewish or not or what that even means anymore and by whose definition am I identifying with anyway?"
See how that happens?
See how I just ruin it every time I meet someone new
because my brain is working so hard to figure everything out?
I am the Debby Downer of Israel!
That is maybe a little extreme.
Maybe we are all the Debby Downer's of Israel.
That is way more likely and would explain a lot.
There's this phrase that I hear Israelis and Arabs say often:
"I need to take a rest"
When I first heard it, I thought it was a sort of mistranslation from English, like maybe they meant
"I need to take a nap" or "I need to lie down for a bit".
And maybe it is a mistranslation and I just like to read into things a little too much*
taking a rest in Israel is the most crucial part of living here.
Laying down for a handful of minutes in the middle of the day is beautiful.
Some days, we'll lay in the sun and do cross words and attempt acro-yoga and talk about nonsense and I will walk back to my room and thing "Ya I do need to take a rest!" because my mind is always going going going even when it's not.
Israel, my friends,
is just constantly thinking
and then needing to take a rest.
Here are some questions I find myself asking to the moon and/or the city lights outside my window when I can't fall asleep and/or I'm in the middle of the rest described above
(in no particular order):
-do we, the Jews, still need zionism?
-am i dreaming beyond the scope of my ability when I say I really want to get paid to climb rocks?
-why does Haifa, as an example of 'coexistence', work?
-does Haifa even work?
-what am I doing here? why did I leave my cushy Portlandia life for... this?
-is it wrong/unhealthy to eat 4+ oranges a day?
-why does Judaism, as an identifying trait, sometimes bring me a feeling of safety & a calm welcome, while other times I find shame and embarrassment proclaiming my attachment to it?
-how long can I wear one pair of black leggings without washing them?
-why do we call pants a 'pair'? it's just pants. it's weird that 'pants' are plural. why would you ever have one pant? one side of a pant?
-'pants' must be a hard word to teach people learning English- 'why is pants plural?!' they'd ask and then they'd cry because English is hard (i can only assume)
-why do Israelis usually curse in Arabic?
-can i afford two americanos tomorrow or should i make nescafe in the morning?
-is it morally wrong to bring children into the world?
-how do you say 'occupation' in Arabic?
-why am I learning Arabic?
-why is Arabic different whenspoken than it is when written?
-i wonder what Connor is doing right now?
-do I have to brush my teeth again if I drink another cup of milk and honey and tea?
-what declaration ended the 1812 war?!
-why do I feel nervous and uneasy announcing my support for H Clinton when I'm asked in a class about it, while I'm surrounded not by Trump supporting rightwingers but progressive and supposedly accepting Bernie supports?
-I wonder who Connor is voting for?
-I wonder what would've happened if Nasser hadn't died? Or if Arafat hadn't died? Or if Al Gore had been president?
-when was the last time I showered?
-how do you say 'to shower' in Arabic?
See how that happens?
See how I get lost in there- in that mind of mine?
Closing thoughts and/or arguments:
Everyone should read 'The Alchemist'. Great book.
I like Israel. I'm confused but I'm thinking.
Thinking is good.
Maybe the world is exploding bit by bit, city by city and maybe we are all pieces in a puzzle and we have to figure out how to piece everything back together.
Maybe humans are a little too selfish to think that we are the puzzle pieces.
Maybe I'm thinking too much about myself and I don't even exist in the puzzle. Maybe I'm just a piece somewhere in the middle that has two colors and only fits one place but the pieces around me haven't found their place yet so I can't fit into mine.
Maybe I'm a corner piece and I'm just the most oblivious corner piece ever.
Maybe we are all part of something much bigger, way beyond a stupid puzzle metaphor.
Maybe we aren't.
Everyone should drink more milk and honey and tea.
not with wine but with milk and tea and honey.*
*wine works too