It’s been two weeks now. Two weeks ago I arrived in this land of white stone buildings, blazing sunshine, and pita bread. I can’t decide if it feels like a lifetime or not, but I do think it feels longer than two weeks. In some ways. I like to think of myself as an adventurous person, I mean, no one wants to be boring, right? I like having adventures, but…I like going home after I have them. I like being settled. I like it when things are comfortable. I think the hardest part about being here is knowing that things will probably never be the same again. I’m not just here on vacation, this is life for me now. This is my reality now.
It’s easy to dream about grand and exotic places to travel and explore, but it’s different when you live somewhere, and you know that life as you have known it is a closed chapter. It’s one things to imagine yourself fearlessly exploring exciting places while looking like a beautiful, wind-swept, romantic heroine, but it’s quite another when your reality turns into being a student with your brain crammed with random Hebrew phrases, traipsing around in the blazing heat all the while looking like a sun-burned, sweat-drenched hobo! Thankfully, evening comes to Jerusalem. This is the time when I think I can fall in love with this city. The time when the burning heat begins to lessen in intensity, the air grows cool, and the sky begins to turn the most exquisite shade of smoky blue. The lights of the city come on, and the darkness begins to soften the rough and dusty edges of these busy streets. Sitting and journaling in the park, playing music on the roof. Nighttime. I need this time.
Needless to say, I have met some interesting individuals in this city. Some more humorous than others, like the incredibly awkward Jewish guy (who spoke very little English which made an awkward situation even MORE awkward) who seemed quite fascinated by me and my ukulele in the park, to the sneaky old man who offered to “show me things” in the Old City and then needed money to “feed the children” *rolls eyes*, to the other Orthodox man who gave me his number and told me he could help me practice my Hebrew and I could help him practice His English…umm, yea, don’t really think I’m gonna be calling him anytime soon! But then there are others that have done my heart good and I will treasure. Like the random lady from San Francisco that I spent several hours wondering around the Old City with, while attempting to find the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. And Zaki. The old bread salesman at Jaffa Gate who bought me coffee, gave me potatoes, showed me the best view of the Mount of Olives, and is going to help me learn Hebrew. Oh, and I don’t have to worry about starving because I can just come find him and he will make sure I have bread. Yes, these are the real adventures, the real blessings. The things that are going to make this worth doing.