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Coming to

I haven't written anything, on here, for quite a while. The public space is always an interesting one to interact in, yet there are times where a more private and intimate space are desired, in which to discuss and be with one's own feelings and experiences.

Living here in Yafo/Yaffa, Tel Aviv has been a mixed-bag. Every morning, a bit after 5 A.M, the voice of the minaret, the azan, Calls me to Prayer, even though getting back to sleep is a much more interesting prospect. Besides a mitigated yet ongoing mold problem, my accommodations here in the Ajami neighborhood have served me well. All the amenities, too! Hot water, a gas range, two desks. If only you can look past the thirty-minute-plus water-heating time, it's practically the Garden of Eden, right?

Amnesty International Israel and the Occupied Territories has been an extremely intriguing experience. My two main responsibilities, working on grantmaker research and "Resolution Consolidation" can get a bit tedious, but it's invigorating to watch what other people have been working on. Amnesty International Israel's work on refugee rights, fighting 'hot-pushbacks' and Israel's 'Infiltration Law' is valuable work that is working to protect rights-holders at risk. It's been highly educational to hear about this kind of work and help out whenever I get the chance. I'll put a few links at the end of this for more information on these issues.

Part of the difficulty I've been having, especially during the past three months, is whether I'm unwinding or being wound-up, whether I'm coasting or accelerating, whether I'm growing or stagnating... I'm not sure how I'll end up being able to answer this yet.

My coming home is coming up. Quickly to be followed by graduation. Followed by...

I don't know.

Will I be off to London in September, to work on a Masters? Or maybe back to Israel — Tel Aviv, Jerusalem? It won't be McGill University. Saint John Fisher College? No, no.

This is looming, ever-looming, over my head, following me like an ominous black cloud. This decision is one of the biggest I've had to make, since coming to Israel, since going to Aquinas! This is indeed the time for those 'big kid' decisions, for those 'life-defining' moments. More to come...

My time here in Israel has been precious. When I came here, back in the first week of August, I was an ignorant American tourist. Now I think back to the young woman at the shared-taxi stop outside the International Arrivals terminal: "Wow, you are sure happy to be here!" Leaving, what will I be? I certainly won't feel like a tourist. I leave with a couple sheckels in my pocket, pieces of two very old languages in my brain, and what? How about in my heart? Do I leave as a Catholic Zionist, Dati Leumi, as a Nachmanite, a Talmud scholar, or maybe a Palestinian olive picker, a BDS supporter, a shadow of Rachel Corrie? My conscious' jury is still out on that one, but I am proud to say that I have had a taste of each of these, have heard from each of these, can respect each of these. Certainly, there are respectable people, of working conscious and large hearts to be found under each of these categories. Or further so, do people even belong in categories, or should categorical distinction be relegated to all things but people? Are not we too complex for that? Leave categories to plants and olive oils!



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