Making Lists

by Jemmina

So because I am my mothers daughter and I have started packing, I have made some lists.
A lists of what I’m packing, a list of what I leaving, a list of what I’m not sure about yet, a list of gifts I have to buy, a list of people I need to see before I leave, and a list of last minute things I need to do.
One of the things on that last list is to write this blog and because I love the satisfaction of crossing things off list, here I am.
If you have been following even a tiny bit of my travels here you will have learnt that I have fallen in love with this place, so I am making a list of what I will miss about here:

  • My ‘families’
    while I have made several friends here, some of them have become more than that. These people literally have become my family here, I eat Sunday lunch with their mothers-in-law and drink tea with their extended families. I help prepare birthday parties and clean up afterward. More than anyone else, these people have made me feel welcome and accepted.
  • My friends
    One of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t have any friends here, but the people I have met here, both locals and foreigners have become incredible friends.
  • Arabic Music
  • Friday mornings in Bethlehem
    I love walking through, the quiet almost deserted streets on my way to the bus.
  • My bus driver
    So long as I don’t sleep in I have the same bus driver every morning. And  every morning I get a ‘Sabah ilkher!'(good morning), ‘Kifhalik?'(how are you) which I almost always respond with ‘Mabsuta, humdilla'(I’m happy, thank God). The usual response to this by my bus driver is laughter & telling me that ‘every morning you’re happy how is this possible?!‘. Once I even left a bag on the bus which he kept for me.
  • The baker who insists on giving me free bread every morning.
  • Speaking 3 languages a day
    I like the challenge. I will miss the random conversations I’ve had with people in Arabic. Its also fun to be able to know 10% of whats going on when people don’t expect you to understand anything.
  • Saying one word in Arabic and getting responses like ‘inti btikhi Arabyeeee?!'(You speak Arabic?!)
  • My independence, the life I live here.
    Although I’d moved out of home before, I was still living with a family, and going back to my own family everyday. Here I have had to rely on myself completely.
  • Mint Tea
  • Working in the Musalaha Offices
    One of the biggest signs that my time here was a God thing was how much I love working in the offices and how much I love the staff here.
  • Living in the Middle East
  • Conversations with Musalaha staff
    Whether it is a serious conversation about identity and land or an inside joke speaking in accents all day.
  • Dressing conservatively
  • The Muezzin

Things I will not miss:

  • Not being able to flush toilet paper
  • Running out of water
  • Having every car beep at you everytime you step outside
  • Going through checkpoints everyday to get to work
  • Feeling useless in the face of huge problems
  • The footpath doubling as a rubbish dump
  • The smell of said rubbish
  • When Muezzin wakes me up at 4am
  • Not being able to eat/drink publicly during Ramadan
  • People not understanding my accent

Things I’m excited about going home to

  • Seeing my family
  • Family
  • 3am beach trips with my sister
  • Summer roadtrips
  • Sisters
  • Midnight swims
  • Brother
  • Being able to share my experiences from here