Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My aviator glasses…
Will have people flocking in masses.
The way they fit just right
Not too big and not too tight.
I feel so cool when I’m walking down the street
The sensation I get helps me ignore the heat
Aviator glasses, how did I not find you before?
My time without you is now seen as a bore
Thank you Eilat for rewarding me with this prize
I feel my ego on the rise ;)
So world look out when you see me go by
The vibe from these glasses might bring you to cry.
Thank you aviators for being so great
There is nothing similar that can equate!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Nazareth and Haifa

This weekend, 2/3 of the Bethlehem gang visited friends in Nazareth and Haifa. After getting turned away for a checkpoint because we were "foreign tourists" and having to retrace our steps through Bethlehem, we were on our way north! Our first stop was in Haifa for some fun in the sun. We hung out on a beach for quite some time before heading on into town for some World Cup watching, beer having and back slapping (all in moderation of course). The next day, we awoke and went to the Baha'i gardens (1st and 3rd picture) where we enjoyed the beautiful scape of land with its immaculately manicured foliage. The garden had 18 tiers of symmetrical and exquisite natural beauty accentuated by impressive white marble and fountains. The place is serene. The gardens are a temple devoted to someone important in the Baha'i faith, who died back in the day. Before I went to the temple I knew nothing about the Baha'i faith. Now, I still know nothing about the Baha'i faith except that apparently, it's sacrilegious to joyously jump in front of their gate. Oops. Oh yeah, and we went to a wedding in Nazareth (2nd picture).

some reflections from Sarah Stalker

Barriers. Barriers separating a people from a right to prayer in a holy place they have considered their home until now. A place they have lived and known, taken away and separated by a cage as if they were animals that needed to be fenced in, yet fenced in from a sacred part of themselves.
While negotiations stay in limbo, a divide grows manifesting in ever more ignorance and at the solemn reality of it all a physical separation from a people on a day of prayer are unable to enjoy the holy sanctum of what is their right to live and pray.
While others rejoice in the luxeries of life, another people sit on the other side of a fence-waiting, wishing to cross over but sit confused and angry, not knowing how this simple peace in their heart was taken away and why. As time progresses, this confusion transforms. In the beginning a bewilderment that a people are being punished for acts that weren’t of their doing. Then a simple sadness manifests combined with a feeling of helplessness with more time passing and rights not improving and in some eyes, worsening. Then an anger rises to the surface combined with this hopelessness. Why is this happening? Why are a people doomed a hardship they feel they did nothing to endure. And despite all these emotions of violation and abandonment, must still are able to rise above and forgive. Despite what these emotions may do to their own inner soul and will to stay alive, people are resilient and move forward with hope; an inner wisdom that guides them in their right to live and be happy. Despite conditions that criple and rights that blatently degrade their pride and wear on their dignity, people keep kicking. And the ones that instead of fighting back, acknowedge their right to live and lead others to live everyday to pursuing this reality are beyond my comprehension altogether. These people who are good of heart, have the discretion to know what actions will lead to peace and what actions will lead to bloodshed are wise. I sit writing, hoping, dedicated to pursuing a path that will support this cause. But the strength. The strenth is what amazes me. Handed such a hard hand, discouraged and betrayed time and time again, and facing a world that is unwilling to acknowledge the land you were born on and continue to live; yet they still continue on.
Yesterday in Ramallah I was trying to find a map of Ramallah on googlemaps and there was no Ramallah, Palestine. There was no Ramallah, West Bank. There was no Ramallah, Palestinian Territory. There was however a Ramallah, Israel.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wedding in Nazareth

This past weekend I had the chance to go to a family wedding in Nazareth with my host family. My host dad´s cousin´s youngest son was getting married. I was really excited to go and check it out especially since I´ve had the chance to go to weddings in Egypt and Spain. For an Arab wedding it was on the small side, but this family doesn´t like to have huge parties and it was still a lot of people compared to weddings I´ve seen in the States. The bride was actually from Romania and not Muslim; she is Christian and the groom is Muslim. I think it is really cool to see mixed faith marriages especially here in Israel. Nazareth used to be a predominately Christian city and people here are more open to mixed marriages.

I had actually spent several nights the week before at the groom´s parent´s house. There was food, drinks, dancing and wedding preparations. It is a pretty big to do list for a wedding here. One thing that I thought was really neat was the fact that they hand deliver most of the wedding invitations. That is something very personal and you don´t see that in the States. I kind of like the idea of doing that to show the guests how much they mean to you and that you really want them to attend. The wedding itself was actually two different nights. On Friday night there was food and a lot of dancing as well as some traditional ceremonies.

They did the shaving of the groom to prepare him for the bride; it was a group affair and very chaotic. They also did a henna ceremony where the bride and groom got each other´s first name initials on the others hand. Of course, they had the dancing and mini-procession to officially start the night and welcome the bride and groom to the party. It was very lively and a lot of fun

The rest of the night alternated between eating and dancing. There was so much food and it was all delicious. They party didn´t end until 3 in the morning and even then most of the guests could have stayed and partied until sunrise. I had so much fun with my host family. I even got mini dance lessons. I wasn´t even the worst dancer there, the bride and groom were pretty bad too haha!

On Saturday, the festivities started with a mini ceremony that involved presenting the bride with nice jewelry (the groom´s family gets the bride some really nice jewelry) and pinning money on the groom. There was of course music and dancing and plenty of sweets. This started at the groom´s uncle´s house and then we had a lively, dancing procession of guests and family members that escorted the couple to the groom´s home (since the bride is Romanian and the couple will be living in another city, they went to the groom´s parent´s place). Then we ate some more and watched the traditional dabke dancing which is so neat. They had a lot of that on Friday night as well. Most of the night, the couple greeted guests. We ate a traditional wedding dish of lamb and rice. It was so delicious. My entire host family was there, all 6 children and the parents.

I had a blast this weekend and would love to go to another wedding soon!