Saturday, March 17, 2012

The storm is passing over (2 weeks ago)

Take courage my soul!
and let us journey on,
though the night is dark,
and I am far from home.
Thanks be to God,
the morning light appears!

The storm is passing over,
The storm is passing over,
The storm is passing over,

Today is the first clear day after five days of non-stop shittah. Now it's March 4th and spring may finally be here! Outside this apartment window the clouds are large and fast-moving, but it looks like they're on the retreat.

I'm sitting in a kitchen in Beit Sahour while my friend Basil and his friend study for their computer programming test. Basil's Ukrainian girlfriend Tatiana is eating toast and drinking coffee, and I'm contemplating my next move.


Tatiana and I ended up walking to the supermarket to get some tea and milk for the apartment. Being outside felt so good, the air had that fresh post-rain smell. The streets were mostly deserted because it was Friday, and our first supermarket option was closed. The guy at the clothing store kitty-corner told us maybe at 4 they would open. No no, that wouldn’t do. I learned that Tatiana was also looking for feminine products. That was our first bonding moment. So we headed up the street.
Tatiana was wearing a down jacket with a furry collar and tights and heels, and looked a little uncomfortable walking down the street where there were some shebab (youth) hanging out. They did take some interest in us, but I waved and smiled and rolled my eyes to let her know that it was just annoying, not frightening. It seems like every city is worse than the last, these boys are so bored.
We walked by the street where my brother and I joined in the Beit Sahour candle-lit walk last Christmas. There had been marching bands and scout troops, just like the New Orleans Jingle Mingle, and banners that read “Pray for Peace in Palestine” and “Light a Candle for a Palestinian State.” My mind was so blown. How could I have not known that these are the Christians of Bethlehem?
And now we were walking down that street mid-day, with no one else around, so I was waxing nostalgic, and we found a store open in front of us. It was something like “George’s,” so they were clearly Christian and open on Fridays.
We got our milk and cheese and tea and stuff and headed back down the street to Basil’s.