Jerusalem is waking up. It’s something to watch, stores opening as though it were early morning instead of 9 pm, people turning lights on, creeping out of their apartments, hair wet, imagining, maybe dreading, a new week. I’ve managed to extract myself from A’s mirpeset (balcony), to come to this cafe, which was no small task, as I’ve spent most of yesterday and today on it. You can’t believe the breezes up there, there’s nothing like them. Actually, you can’t believe most things in Jerusalem. Or in this country.
Every time I come here, I have to promise an assortment of people that I’ll come back. On Birthright, I asked E why he thought this was always the case, and he said, “Well, you love Israel.” It’s true, even though I feel like this time, the love is being tested in a way that makes me feel like I’m being split at the seam. A, whose home I am occupying at the moment, says that you can’t make aliyah/move to Israel if your love is the new, blurry, magical kind that’s true for so many people the first time they come here. My obsession with this place in that form is over, although I do continue to be amazed at things like a guy stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to pray, because, you know, it was time to pray.
I had a lot of plans for my time. A few of them have happened, many more, so far, have not. Admittedly, they were the worst kind of plans, the kind that are predicated on having on revelation, resulting in me being very stressed out at the lack of revelation. Being here just messes you (read: me) up more, because every day is hard-it’s hot, nothing is predictable, people hate each other, at a certain point, it becomes impossible to see things and look away. In the end, I can’t escape anything here, I’m forced to look at it all more closely. I’m skeptical as to whether or not Israel can change me, in spite of what I used to believe, in spite of what my experience in the past has been. This time, I think it’s making me more of myself, for better or worse.