In March, 2005 ...

The equinox is just next month, and what with the unusual weather patterns of late, you'd almost think spring has nearly arrived. Punxsutawney Phil notwithstanding. As Connor asked, what were you doing in March 2005?

As March kicked in, we were about midway through the season of Lent. The desert had bloomed and the country was still green, but no longer vibrant. Summer would soon be upon the Levant. As of March, I had been in Israel longer than planned when I left the States.

Presently, I made by first overnight trip to Jerusalem. Friday was shopping and then walking the Via Dolorosa with the Franciscans. After more exploration, eating and finally sleep at a Hebrew University dorm high atop Mt. Scopus, overlooking the entire city. Saturday was for tooling around the Old City taking photographs until Shabbat ended and the buses started up again. We walked the length of West Jerusalem then, from the Green Line to the central bus depot on its western edge. I would be back.

Eventually Easter came. For the first time in my life, I wasn't at church. Services are generally Saturday evening to coincide with Shabbat, but the buses don't run until after sundown. I couldn't figure out how to get to one in time, which I considered a deep personal failure.

March was also the month I marched in Tel Aviv with the Israeli left in favor of the disengagement from Gaza. I hoisted a sign I could barely read, and let firey speeches I couldn't hope to follow wash over me. A futile and largely unnecessary gesture in terms of politics, but educational for me. I had not before been in Tel Aviv after dark, after the train home stopped running, without a local holding my hand.

I was Father Christmas at a Purim party, photographer at a farewell party, and host to a dinner party or two. I knew enough Hebrew to get by and to get around. I was beginning to adapt, to no longer feel like a guest in a foreign country, but like I'd found a bit of a home away from home (away from home...). And as of March, I did not know for how much longer I would live in Israel.

Ariela, the woman in the middle, headed back to Argentina the next day, so a farewell party was in order. From left to right behind her, myself, Lynn, Miriam, Sergei, Olivia, Jimmy, and Christiaan. 2005:03:30 01:09:24

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This page contains a single entry by Milligan published on February 2, 2006 2:14 PM.

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