On the soccer field, Friday.
February 4, 2007
February 4, 2007
January 31, 2007
January 28, 2007
I thought I was prepared. I had the box of cereal ready, and I remembered that I had strawberries in the fridge. I casually open the fridge to get the milk…
horrors! NO MILK!
So instead I feasted on some hummus and cheese with chips. For breakfast. haha.
January 25, 2007
One thing they don’t tell you about Haifa is its lack of good Mexican food. You can find decent Thai food, which is a relief.
But after having lived near Pilsen and the amazing little taquerias that are scattered around Chicago, it is nearly heartbreaking to realize that you can barely find a restaurant that serves such delicious menu items that cause you to sweat grease for days. mmm.
My friends back home in the States (yeah, I call it “the States”. I also call my apartment “my flat” and am switching over to “flatmates” from “roomies”) think I’m crazy to be missing Taco Bell, but really I miss everything on the range from that to Nuevo Leon.
I actually don’t eat out much here. It is relaxing to cook at home, and I have so much more control over what I eat that way.
So I picked out my next book to read: Muhammad and the Course of Islam by Hasan Balyuzi.
January 23, 2007
I think I’m writing again but not speaking in every sense of the term. Speaking in the words that make sense to me and you if you could hear what I was saying to you. Every time I stare at the ceiling I see spiderwebs in the corners of my eyes and the movement in still air is mesmerizing.
Why are spiderwebs so good for evocative imagery of stickiness? Is it because they are a common experience to us, we can all relate to webs and spiders and strands and the cliche of “connectedness”?
Now I’m tired of spiderwebs and I’m looking for something else to take on.
There were words in my dreams, and I could read them so clearly that I felt them burned into my eyes…but now they fade and I am left with tattered scratches. Unmarking the places where the pieces and halves were dropped, I feel my spirit sinking and floating.
I drank in the sun and the sound of the rocks under my boots and the faint laughter drifting between cyprus trees, and let the smile on my face loose for the first time in a while. The walls are starting to crumble in this space.
This is joy.
January 16, 2007
I was feeling rather scattered about the books I’ve been reading while I’ve been in Haifa, and wanted it all in one place. I feel like it is easier to read here…I don’t have the distraction of tv & internet at home, especially. I was shocked to realize that I’d read 80 pages last night over the course of a few hours.
Any suggestions for my next book? I’m trying to think ahead…I’m getting a copy of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (thanks Leila!), but I need a Baha’i book to read at the same time.
Ugo Giachery: Shoghi Effendi: Recollections
Shoghi Effendi: God Passes By
David Ruhe: Door of Hope
Marion Zimmer Bradley: The Fall of Atlantis
Philippa Gregory: The Other Boleyn Girl
January 14, 2007
January 11, 2007
The whole issue of Shabbat is one that is quite perplexing. Namely, the shops are closed during our weekend.
Ah well, it isn’t too much of an issue. We can still buy stuff when we need to.
My intention is to explore, but the weather is a deterrent. Either rain or “cold” (nowhere near Chicago’s bone-chilling weather, but still…). I also prefer to have exploring companions. I’m still getting used to calling people here and asking if they want to do something. Part of me feels like I may be bothering people because everyone is so busy…classes, study circles, etc. I’ve deliberately kept my schedule relatively clear because I know how easy it is to get burned out.
Culture shock is not yet an issue for me. Everyone at work and home speak English, as do most of the taxi drivers. I am in a different place, but it felt like home after the first day. I want to explore because I dislike feeling like a tourist in the place I live.
One month down, 17 to go, and I am loving my job every day. Even things that used to bore me at other jobs are now exciting.
Being in the Holy Land really inspires me to read. I go through phases where I want to read a whole lot, and then times when reading any non-fiction makes me tired. I’ll be finishing “God Passes By” by Shoghi Effendi this weekend and moving on to “Shoghi Effendi: Recollections” by Ugo Giachery (which I’ve already started, about 30 pages in). I haven’t decided what book will be after that.
I walked into the glass doors of the cafeteria last week. To be fair, the whole wall is practically glass, and I had turned to see if the group was following. *bang* Luckily, I didn’t get hurt, I just started laughing.
And now, the weekend.
“Morning comes in the dream before we rise…” – Sunny Day Real Estate
January 9, 2007
I wrote this poem at the last open mic I attended in Chicago. I wanted to perform but I had nothing with me, so I wrote it at the last minute.
There are things surrounding me
Pizza boxes and old records
movie ticket stubs and museum passes.
There are so many things,
so many past lives, or maybe
just my past life,
the people I tried to leave behind.
My feet are buried in the trash can contents
and I’m trying desperately hard to be content.
I’ve got dusty books and candy bars in wrappers,
scratched cds and sorry-looking teddy bears.
I never thought to wade into the past,
into my soul.
My sole purpose was shocking myself into action,
to push myself into submission.
This path used to be silent,
these ways used to be mine alone and I struggled
to get home.
I am up to my knees in my past life,
of our lives built together,
each and every one fills a trash can.
I told the universe I could,
that I would and was willing.
I told the world my soul was strong
but that my heart was not ready.
I told this city I was ready to leave and
thank God that I finally listened to me.
I told you everything, I told her the stories in my life,
and he listened with everything in his being.
What will always be you to me, you:
this street, this place on the corner,
the convenience store that sells Indian food
in Little Italy.
The pieces of places and the peace I found
when I finally moved home.
January 7, 2007
secrets are tied up in my lips
in the words I speak, the way I write
the things I see.
see you in the mirror next to me
the duplication of all the ways we may never be,
aftertime maybe we’ll allow the weakness to show.
January 4, 2007
You know, it’s nothing new
Bad news never had good timing
But, then your circle of friends
Will defend the silver lining…
-John Mayer, “Heart of Life”
December 31, 2006
I listen to music almost constantly…and I have been wanting to give people a glimpse of the soundtrack to my life. You know, the music that would accompany you if you were in a movie, walking briskly down the street.
Another artist is Junetile, specifically the song “Dream Away”. You can stream the whole album here, but I definitely recommend “Dream Away”.
Band of Horses’ song “Funeral” is haunting and atmospheric. Watch the video here.
December 29, 2006
December 28, 2006
There was this cough
that infected the BWC,
echoing down the mountain.
You may scoff,
but trust me on this,
the rockets were never this loud.
The lady afflicted by the curse
hid in corners and behind stairs
but the noise from her lungs
shook in the air.
Her friends Abi & John,
hit especially hard
cringed from the sound
of her plague-ridden bark.
In the end she became known
as the girl with the cough
if she doesn’t heal soon
they’ll have to make a Sholeh-clone.
December 26, 2006
- I injured my hand a little bit doing a cartwheel last night. I haven’t done one since this summer (on the soccer field) and since I did it in a living room…well, I was nervous about hitting the TV or chairs, so I messed up my left hand. Which also happens to be my dominant hand. Ah well. I really wanted to do a cartwheel, and now it is out of my system.
- It rained for the first time today since I’ve been here. The view outside my office is dark green with a tiny bit of gray sky. I feel like I’m in a jungle.
- On Christmas Eve I heard a loud boom, followed by more loud booms. I looked out the window, and down by Ben Gurion Avenue were fireworks going off. My first stray thought upon hearing the sounds was “Gunshots?”.
- I’m looking forward to running into pilgrims here and there…their shiny happy faces upon their arrival in the Holy Land makes me smile.
December 24, 2006
I’ve been here for over two weeks now, so I decided to make a list (in no real order). This stems partly out of a lunchtime conversation today.
1. The warm weather. Need I say more? I read about my friends back home struggling through 30 degree F weather…and I left the office at lunch and did not even need a sweater.
2. Olive trees. I think they’re gorgeous.
3. More avocados and oranges than I could ever possibly eat.
4. Inspiration to read Baha’i books. When you’re living in a place where so much Baha’i history occurred, you can’t help but read. So far I’ve read Door of Hope (David Ruhe) and am now working on God Passes By (Shoghi Effendi).
5. Cats. Ok so I’m not a huge fan of cats, and the cats here are feral and gross, BUT they are amusing. I don’t know why cats strike me as funny creatures, but they are.
6. The sunlight. I think that is one of the reasons I’m so happy, honestly.
7. Blackout shutters. These things kill light, and it makes me sleep through the night (which is pretty rare). YAY!
8. Food. I’ve only eaten out 4 times, but each time it was delicious.
9. Everyone knows what gluten intolerance is!!! This is a huge deal for me, because explaining it to waiters (not to mention friends!) is tiring and frustrating.
10. I live by the sea. I’ve been missing a real beach for years, and now I have one. yay!
December 20, 2006
Well, I’m not that short, nor do I have large, hairy feet. But I’ve developed a routine over the years regarding my eating habits that could be compared to Hobbits.
First breakfast- 6:30 amSecond breakfast- 10 am, at my deskLunch- noon, in the lunchroom
Snack- 3 pm, at my desk
Dinner- 6 pm
Second dinner- 9 pm
I know, I’m ridiculous. I really also have very little to say.
December 18, 2006
Check out this bee on a flower…I got chased by that bee soon afterward!
I had fun on Friday…we packed our lunches to eat at Bahji. Well, I made this potato and carrot dish, fried in olive oil and tumeric. Unfortunately, it spilled a bit in my purse, and my prayer book got some yellow spots on it. Yet another instance of food + Sholeh + purse = BAD NEWS. You’d think I would have learned my lesson by now.
Luckily, I don’t have a cell phone yet, so nothing electronic was damaged.
Paths at Bahji
December 13, 2006
I am learning my way around…very slowly. I’ve found that taking taxis does not help me learn the city streets, and taxis can get expensive anyways. I’m not in much of a rush most of the time.
I rode a couple of buses around the city today. Well, I wasn’t intending on taking a leisurely ride, but that is what ended up happening. So I learned some of the streets, a couple of bus lines, and although I am nowhere NEAR getting where I want to go most of the time, I am starting the process at least.
And off I go again…
December 10, 2006
I am in Haifa. It is wonderful. It has been so warm (compared to Chicago, I guess), nights are a little chillier.
Barely jetlagged (yay!), and I haven’t had time to really catch up on everything. My roommates are wonderful and have been really helpful.
Prayers, all the time. Surrounded by prayers. Everything is started with a prayer. It makes me so calm. I needed this.
These short, barely-sentences have been the way my mind has been working since I got here. I love this place, but I will need some time to get used to it all.
And now I leave you with this view, which I see every day. Do you see the Shrine of the Bab?