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Julia and Natalie have posted great wrap-up blog entries, so I figured I might give mine a go as well. In a way, I have immersed myself back in my typical, vacation-style life: I’m busy making meals out of my CSA share veggies, catching up with friends, and watching a ton of Rachel Maddow. It’s great.
Things remain changed, obviously, and I would have it no other way. I have no desire to shed what I’ve experienced during my time in Jerusalem; rather, I find myself crafting, along with other Smithies, ways in which I can continue the work I did this summer. I’m just starting to crack my research on US-based organizations that carry the similar missions of ICAHD, the organization with which I interned–my calender is already riddled with various events I hope to attend, both those in Western Massachusetts and those a little less feasible, both for geographic and financial reasons. I’ve been reading a lot of Ghassan Kanafani and trying, to no avail, to replicate Zalabieh (sticky fried dough balls dipped in syrup) in my kitchen. What surprise.
I have to keep myself muzzled when friends ask “How was it?”, as it’s usually safe to assume that they don’t want a two hour lecture concerning everything I’ve learned, seen, and done and what I hope to continue to do for the foreseeable future. I had, naively, forgotten that many (otherwise very intelligent) Americans think that Yemen is next to the West Bank and that Iran is not an Arab country, thus, at times, I am tempted to brush their inquiries off with a simple “it was great”. My time in the region, though, deserves more explanation. I am learning, slowly, that I’d rather scare my audience and tailor my storytelling slightly than keep my mouth shut.
I miss Jerusalem a ton. I miss tripping over the uneven cobblestone of the Old City; the unstructured, wonderful world of my workplace which involved lots of talking to Palestinians, guests in their homes, and translating their stories for English audiences; my second home, the Jerusalem Hotel, where my friends and I shared huge pitchers of mint lemonade and argileh in the shade of the garden restaurant; the dry heat; always having incredibly dense, never ending conversation. I’ve simplified a lot of my time in Jerusalem for the sake of this blog, but I really hope to return in the near future. In one of my conversations (this one concerning the legitimacy of a one-state solution), a friend told me that he didn’t want anyone to have to leave Jerusalem. “Jews and Palestinians shouldn’t have to pay the price of their parents,” he said “and everyone loves their homes in Jerusalem just as much as I do.” So, yeah. I love Jerusalem. My experiences, politics, and view of the city certainly differ from others who have posted on this blog, but my admiration for this city, in all of its unholy behavior and holy incorporeal nature.

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