Tuesday, January 31, 2012

e-mail to dad

so much shittah today! shittah means winter. which means rain. i asked the service driver if there will be shums (sun) tomorrow. he said, "shittah bukra!" winter tomorrow!

so no hiking. i didn't really have time anyway. i stayed up late, slept in late, and had this long lunch with the mayor of tubas and all these guys in suits talking about investment in the governorate, and coffee and more lunch and tea and coffee, so now it's 5:15 and i'm just starting my work-evening.

there's a road that goes up to the mountain. if i hit the end of the road, i'd stop, as sad as that sounds. i was supposed to have a couchsurfer from turkey today, but she didn't have time to make it into the west bank. i was going to climb with her. maybe sadiq will climb with me. or just some local. i want to ask the soldier, jason, what he knows about the mine situation. both sides probably have valuable information. the roommate of my couchsurfing host in west jerusalem told me the mines in the jordan valley were left by jordanian forces. i really need to learn more about this.

so no worries, taqlaqish, as they say here. hakuna matata. just tell mom that rode in a service from nablus to tubas in the rain, and she'll forget about the mines.

i just uploaded a video about the demolition orders. i need something more marketable. shway shway, it will come to me.
so many questions right now. all i know is, this website, as basic and template-y as it is at the moment, feels like the most important thing i've ever done. this just needs to happen. fortunately i'm enjoying it too. as a process, making a website gives you all the joys and frustrations of learning a new language and interior decorating. i'm trying to take a lot of short-cuts (using the support forums and copy-pasting code) but i'm getting the basics down, and enjoying the little changes. this is something that will grow, and evolve, but more importantly it's something that will stay. i've never appreciated the internet more than i do now, in this place in the world.

ok, that's it for now. i might be in bethlehem this thursday, for a meeting about preventing demolitions, and i want to see dar al-kalima college, where greta steeber taught. they have an art program and it might be cool to connect with the students, see if they can do any art projects up here. after that, who knows, but i'm going to to make up brochure for al aqaba to put in the bulletin board at the lutheran church at jerusalem.

you know what's funny? i had coffee and strudel with fred and gloria at the austrian hospice (tell mom, we were looking at it but it was jam packed), which is this gorgeous building hidden inside the old city near damascus gate. and we talked for a while about fred's experience at seminex, and he called over to another american gentleman at the next table, and said, "hey, morgan is the great-granddaughter of doc caemmerer!" and this guy responds, "oh yeah, he was my homiletics professor!" ayeee, that was cool. and the strudel was amazing. gloria pointed out that the europeans don't make it so sweet, like the americans. you can actually taste it. so if you guys come over here, we're going to eat some strudel with the austrians. i just have to note, the young man at the reception desk was the most startlingly aryan man i've ever seen. curly blonde hair, blue eyes. i didn't realize until i was halfway to damascus gate that i was singing "tomorrow belongs to me" in my head. in spanish. manana me toca a mi. i was like, what the hell? beautiful austrian boy puts nazi songs in my head?

i spent the next five hours at the "Educational Bookshop," which gloria had recommended to me. it's a little bookstore with a little upstairs area for tables, and all the books and movies and maps are related to palestine and the conflict. i wasn't surprised to hear people around me talking about activism and aid work. i spent five hours there, trying to learn how to code a logo into the website header. made a lot of amateur mistakes, but that's what happens when you try take shortcuts! i ate my second sandwich with lox that day. a friend of mine from ramallah, alison, from seattle, walked in and joined the girls next to me. after sitting by them for an hour I'd gleaned that they were working on a project about the right of education in palestine, as it relates to restrictions on foreigners. i knew a little bit about that. there's so much work going on here. so much research, so many demonstrations, i still have this feeling that if i made a few videos my voice would be heard. why am i so sure? there are so many foreigners here, but they're not talking about themselves. well, i'm sure many of them are blogging like me, but we're not being heard because we're telling the same stories over and over. not that they shouldn't be heard, but our own stories would build the bridges that all this activism talk hasn't been doing. so it's not just ego. i admit i'm pretty full of myself. i just think it'd be effective.

can you tell where i decided to turn your letter into a blog post?
alright, back to the site. gimme three days, three days...
love you,