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Friday, November 15, 2013

Now that you're coming to Israel...

Whatever happens, don't panic, and don't watch the news.  will it reassure you to know that bad stuff, like, colossally, unthinkable, bad things happen here every day?  Yesterday, a sleeping soldier was stabbed to death on a public bus.  nineteen  years old, and, dare I say it again, fast asleep. Rockets fall, families lose their homes, blood spills. But also : babies are born, love blooms, there is no such thing as a stranger, bus drivers make change, and daffodils (narkisim) bloom in the wintertime.  So don't cancel your vacation based on anything you hear in the news. 
Planning a trip anywhere brings that place into intense focus. If you were going to Bulgaria, or if your best friend just moved there, you'd suddenly start noticing it in the headlines, in much the same way that you might find yourself mysteriously surrounded by pregnant women in the months and years after a miscarriage.
There is so much we filter out around us constantly. Our big brains choose what to see and hear, and now that yours knows you're going to israel, it thinks it's doing you a favour by circling with a highlighter all the headlines you've been missing all these years. (Google old headlines, if you don't believe me.)
On top of the regular noticing you start doing once you're on your way somewhere, there's the media's endless fascination with, and speculation about, all things israel. My ulpan teacher said the other day, "If someone sneezes in Yerushalayim, they hear about it in America," but it's not just yerushalayim, it's this whole place. It's not just jews who think this country is fascinating and important; not just Christians, either.  The whole world knows it's true.
So.  to sum up:  It may feel like the world has gone haywire now that you've bought that plane ticket.  Rest assured, the world was already haywire; you just maybe never noticed it before.  That's it, the sum total of my accumulated wisdom so far. We've only been here for 3 months ourselves.
Oh, but, one thing I do know: if your bank card doesn't have the word Visa on it, it might not work. I'm not just talking about "it might not work in some machines, or in some out-of - the-way areas."  it may never work, anywhere. It might, but don't count on it.
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Sent on the go in the Holy Land - please excuse my typos!!

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