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It’s surreal to be back in the States, partly because I’m going on four hours of sleep on top of traveling on very little rest. I’m back in my parent’s house, though, with non-mangy cats, local produce galore, and the ocean breeze. I’ve changed my home page back from Ha’aretz to Al Jazeera, though I haven’t yet peeled the ominous looking ‘5’ from my passport (thanks, border patrol, luv you, too). The evening before leaving, my friends and I met for drinks and one last argileh session at the Jerusalem Hotel (Where else? I think I might just take up residency here.); on our way over, we passed Damascus Gate, lit up for Ramadan in the Holy Land. I spent last Ramadan in Egypt and, while amazed by the liveliness of nighttime–amazing sweets, festive atmosphere–I couldn’t wait for my friends to stop sleeping all afternoon, to buy a sandwich before sunset. I’m really disappointed that I just missed Ramadan in Jerusalem, though. I watched shop keepers advertise Ramadan deals and sales, string multicolored, flashing neon calligraphy Muhammed signs from their shops, honey-dipped sweets stick to one another in the mid-day heat. I found something in Jerusalem that I didn’t have in Egypt, especially not during my first days in the country: a community. I wanted to experience Ramadan nights with my friends, watch re-runs of Bab al-Hara, hear joyous noises on the streets until five in the morning, when everyone eats their last bits of food and plans for the long day ahead.

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