Wow. How did I end up in the Middle East and how do I stay forever?
I just left the countryside of Petah Tikva, where I met a bunch of amazing people of Israel/Palestine. It is the most amazing experience ever to sing to God in three different languages. I hope I will never forget the feeling. We chatted and journaled under palm trees, orange trees and olive trees. Green parrots flew over us into the eucalyptus tree branches above. It was so cool to realize the Gospel is everywhere, not just in Canada. Technically it started here in this land, but it doesn’t feel that way.
Anyway, I’m currently in Haifa, which is allegedly the most beautiful city in Israel. It is placed on top of Mount Carmel (google the prophet Elijah) overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. We came by train to this oasis, on which was a motley crue of people of every background. Ive been told that the train is the most reliable way you can get around this little country. I serious love public transit here because it’s the one place you get to see people of every religious and ethnic denomination collide. Benjamin sat next to a soldier with his gun, texting away and listening to music, while I sat next to a madly in love secular Jewish couple with their happy baby. There was an orthodox Jew with his wife and eight (yes, 8) children dressed in the same outfits, and an Arabic speaking business man talking on the phone.
My team of thirteen Canadians is split into three groups all over the country this week, so we can all visit different university campuses. The four of us spent the day at Technion University where we were literally surrounded by geniuses. Today I met some Muslim people studying biochemical engineering and biotechnological engineering. (How do you say impressed in Hebrew/Arabic?)
Tomorrow we are meeting with Haifa University students (the artsy fartsy students) on a beach to jam and have a barbeque beside the sea. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I will obviously hate every second of it. I’m staying with a wonderfully kind and smart Haifa student who has been showing me her Arabic culture and how to find my way around the city by myself. She is also the only other person I’ve met who had to share a room with her sister until their adult life. It’s cool though, I now know what my bbsis is experiencing as a foreigner in a different country, and it’s both exciting and terrifying.
Israel has many smells (haha). When I first stepped off the plane in Tel Aviv, I literally, and very culturally inappropriately, exclaimed that the country smelled like my attic in the summer. It was humid and dusty smelling, if you know what I mean. (Ill take you to my attic and show you). In Jerusalem there was an overload of smells. My Catholic-raised mother will not be pleased to hear that I gasped for air and had to cover my nose when the priest swung incense near my face in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Sometimes it smelled like pee in the market, not gonna lie. Sometimes it smelled like spices though. Also, cigarettes! I’m used to the smell of death sticks wafting through the air, which probably isn’t ever good. Right now I smell the spices in Lorraine’s late night snack that her mom made for her in the small Druze village she is from. So cool. I have three senses to go! Please pray that I listen well to what God needs me to do this week for him, and that I live everyday to the fullest.