Monday, November 28, 2011

After saying goodbye to my mother, her friend Catherine (now my friend too) and my grandmother at the border crossing in Jericho, I returned to Al Aqaba with a renewed sense of purpose. I put down my backpack and looked around the Guest House where we had celebrated Thanksgiving with seventeen guests the week before, and started to clean. The floor needed to be swept, the sheets needed to be washed, and the old food needed to be thrown away. I unpacked my backpack while filling up five buckets of water for the washing machine.

To Find Item #1: a tube that will fill the washing machine automatically
Item #2: a clothes hamper

Stretch item: a machine with a spin cycle?

I thoroughly enjoyed running around with brooms and bedding. It reminded me of my grandparents’ art guild in Washington, where I cleaned rooms and washed dishes in exchange for an art class, but it also reminded of how little structure I have here. No one knew where I was at that moment, no one knew that I was cleaning the house or why, and still no one knows when the next guests will arrive. I wanted to sit down at the computer and correspond with the participants of the pilot visit, and send out grant proposals, and upload my new videos, and write about this weekend, but first, I needed to sweep up the dead moths, sweegee the bathroom that flooded when the washing machine drained (in the other bathroom…?) and throw away the hardened kanafe before I ate it all.

Yes, I’m channeling this nervous energy through compulsive snacking, but only because the mothers left me with a stocked fridge and a new pantry for non-perishables. The Swedish Fish are gone, the Seattle chocolates are gone, and once I popped (the Pringles), the fun didn’t stop. I’ll say it’s my self-control that kept the Nutella on the shelf.

My knee is bouncing at the desk like usual, partly because of the to-do list and partly because it’s so cold in here.

To Find Item #3: ten more fuzzy blankets
Item #4: a gas heater
Stretch items: three more gas heaters

I looked at KickStarter, I looked at JustGiving, I looked at GoFundMe. The first is for artsy projects, the second is for established charities, and for the last one I need to unfreeze my PayPal account, i.e. prove my address, which is…ya3ni…..difficult. Fortunately I still get bank statement at my parents’ house. Never mind, PayPal, I don’t’ live in Palestine, or Cyprus, as you like to call it….just send my money to the burbs!

My nervous energy has run out and now I’m just sleepy. Class is tomorrow at 10:30. I’m starting to support the school English teacher in his class instead of leading my own lesson, which seems to work best during the school year. The boys speak at around a 1st grade level, but their books are holding them to at least a 5th grade standard. That’s too much to be sending over their heads. I saw the 12th grade book, and it has them reading Chekhov. Anyways…

This house was so happy last Tuesday evening. We had twenty-one people in here, and Haj Sami looked so happy to see our guests enjoying themselves in the village. This space has so much potential.