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May 30, 2011

Hello, summer! Your arrival was so stealthy and swift this year. One minute I was hugging a sweater to my arms, the next I was soaking it with my sweat. (To be fair, I do sweat a lot.) Here are some other signs that you’re officially here and planning to stay:

-I have a significant watch and ring tan from what feels like just occasionally stepping out of my house during the daytime (the nerve!).
-All the dukkans have dragged out their ice cream freezers and filled them with cold sweet treats, and you can’t walk a street without passing me a kid with an ice cream in hand anymore.
-There’s a lingering burnt quality to the air these days–it smells like burning rubbish, barbecue smoke, singed skin. When I was studying in Ireland I remember thinking that the summer air smelled like damp earth and cigarettes. Here, it smells like scorch.
-Figs and melons are dominating the fruit world in my local shops.
-Mosquitoes. As in, there are mosquitoes circling my head as we speak. I just smacked myself in the head trying to kill one. Don’t judge me…desperate times call for desperate measures, okay.

As for me, with one month to go, it feels like some things are wrapping up already:

-My language class is officially over, leaving me with two newly free mornings.
-The children’s program I was working with in the Palestinian camp had its last session on Thursday, leaving me with two more free mornings (although one has already been re-filled with a new commitment). This afternoon I met with the team I worked with there for a final lunch.
-An Iraqi family that contains three of my favorite (adult) students–one of whom is a dear friend–finally received their long-awaited plane tickets to America, and they’re leaving on Monday.
-My adult English classes have gotten steadily smaller in the last few weeks thanks to some recent life changes in some of my students’ lives (like the aforementioned plane tickets).
-I was asked to say a few words in my church today reflecting on my time here, and the way I was introduced and followed-up made me feel a little teary. People are so kind to me.

I’m still teaching and tutoring, and I’m still helping out with a few different programs here, including the two girls’ groups, which are actually requiring a bit more of my time now. In other words, I’m still pretty busy. But at the same time, everything in my life has the unmistakable feel of winding down.

People are trying to convince me to stay even as they’re making plans that won’t include me because I’ll be gone. The community I’ve had around me these last 8.5 months is thinning out as foreigners leave for the summer (or forever) and locals reshuffle. And my attention is already turning to the next big step in my life: law school. It’s not just an idle thought or far-off plan anymore. Loan applications have been submitted, a lease for an apartment has been signed (!)…

The scary process of Moving On has already begun.

I’m hoping to finish off my time here by being more intentional about visits. And sleep and health. And prayer. My lighter week should help with that. At least a little.

pictures from church picnic to gilead…you know you miss me!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cheeriosmama permalink
    May 30, 2011 10:28 pm

    Loved reading this. Here’s a tip about mosquitoes. They tend to move to the highest point so always stand next to someone taller than you (it shouldn’t be that hard… ;p) and they will stay away from you. It always work from me. hehe…
    love ya. Can’t wait to see you.

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