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A Haifa morning

This morning was a Haifa morning.

I stepped outside and the air smelled like (home), like stone paths, the bay, flowers, and a breeze off the mountains and desert that lifts you up…

Warm and cool, the kind of cool that only requires a light sweater. Full of excitement.  The gardeners watering plants as I walked up the mountain, past the wall of flowers, the silent woosh of doors as I stepped into the cool stone corridors.

The kind of morning where I would bounce into work, 8:30 am, ready to do what I was meant to do.

It is a little different here, this new home, my new place. My car transports me to work past elegant Victorian homes, antique shops, schools, and the train.  The streets are wider, and I can’t see the water from here (but I know it is close).  After the last few years of being able to sense the water nearby, it seems odd to ever consider living away from water again.  Whether the Mediterranean or Lake Michigan, it seems right to base my orientation on the water.

I wanted to hold onto the feeling of a Haifa morning today, just walk with my eyes closed, pretend that I was still there.  Pretend that the stones were digging through the thin soles of my shoes, that my flatmates and I were rushing out of our apartment to get to work (service), that I would walk up a flight of stairs to the lunchroom at 12 pm and the same old crew would be sitting at a big table.  That I would take a walk around the Arc with a friend, would stop by the Food Center for an afternoon snack, and walk/slide down the steep slopes at the end of a long day to pray in the Shrine of the Bab before going home.  Every late night conversation with my friends, staring out over the lights of a city on the mountain.

This is Chicago, though, I am half a world away and this is life, now.  Some things are the same, and I still drink too much caffeine during the day, and I am working in a job that I love.  This is my life, now.  I don’t write or speak using British English anymore, I’ve reverted back to American.  There are no hills or mountains here.

I am holding close the feeling of a Haifa morning, and feel grateful that I remember what it feels like.

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Timing it

Today, after walking around the Arc gardens I came back to work and the path was blocked by lawn sprinklers. I thought I could time it right…but I didn’t. Luckily I didn’t get completely drenched, but it was pretty funny.


(Seat of the Universal House of Justice)
I realized that today marks three months in the Holy Land. All of the usual things that people say about time and serving in Haifa are so true. This has been such a good week: the Fast, learning, developing friendships, and interesting thoughts.

The Fast is just so wonderful…breakfast with flat mates, dinner with a bunch of friends in the lunchroom. I must say that I am very happy here.

I uploaded a bunch of pictures…so check them out.

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Do I exist?

I questioned my own existence for a moment last week. It only lasted for a second, but it was quite terrifying. While in conversation on MSN with one of my friends back home, she asked “Sholeh, is that you talking to me, or someone pretending to be you?”

I sat back and thought about it for a second. Was I really carrying on a conversation, or had my body been taken over by aliens or evil spirits or a person with a talent for such things? A million questions ran through my head as I sat there, stunned.

It was extremely disconcerting. It turns out that I had been giving one-syllable answers to her conversation, and this worried her since most of my friends know that I rarely stop talking.

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Hello to all of you BWC folks discovering my blog. 🙂 Don’t be shy to make comments or come up randomly to me in the lunchroom. I’m only a little scary, I promise. We can have awkward conversations and smile across our trays of food.

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