…when you’re having fun!
I only have 12 days left here. It’s crazy – I remember back in the beginning of July it felt like it was NEVER going to end. But now, here I am! It’s been a crazy few weeks. I keep waffling between whether I am happy or sad to be leaving. Of course, naturally, it’s bittersweet. This is always an adventure, always unfamiliar, there’s always something new to do or someone new to meet or a new conversation to have or a new perspective to consider. My greatest fear is that I lose that when I go home.
I spoke to a friend who has already left Israel on Skype yesterday, and she confirmed that making that transition is incredibly difficult. We’re coming from a place where not only to we live these things every day, but it’s normal to talk about it during every conversation. In some way, it’s nearly as mundane as talking about the weather. Who will I talk to about these things when I go home? To know that in two weeks I’ll be in a place where not only does my perspective and opinion make me an outsider in so many ways, but my sheer amount of experience and knowledge from this place puts me in a world of my own. I’ve lived something that most people only vaguely know about, and I understand its complexities more deeply than most. I mean, most people at home don’t even realize the difference between Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews – I didn’t really, until I came here.
I’m going to have to battle not just myself, which is constant, but my family, friends, community, the media, the ingrained perceptions that we’ve all grown up with. It’s a tough bubble to burst out of, but I did it, and there’s no going back. The road is long and hard but it’s worth it. The thing that scares me is knowing that most people I’ll see so soon don’t have the understanding or the world views (re: Israel) that I do, and confronting that is almost paralyzing. As difficult as it is to be here, at least there is some space, small and limited though it is, for being a complete renegade. After all, everyone here is a little bit crazy.
I’m acutely feeling the need to find a way to stay connected to this conflict. It’s become so personal – my battle with the establishment here isn’t about us vs. them, or them 1 vs. them 2, it’s very much about Netanyahu et al. vs. Audrey. And I don’t know how to maintain my stance without being here. Midthought is the beginnings of a way to deal with this isolation, a reason to stay in the loop and to keep writing and developing my ideas, thoughts, opinions, identity…a way to carry on the conversations we can no longer have face to face.