Shalom Y'all! Samaech Fourth of July! Here's my little ode to the irony of this day.
Today was my first Independence Day outside the good old U.S.ofA. Quite a different experience for me, although all of the guys were used to it. haha I did miss my family traditions, but being here was actually more special than I thought it would be. Appreciating your country's celebration of nationality more when you leave it? Point #1 for irony.
Thanks to my excellent and thoughtful mother, the center felt festive with a little bit of decoration.
We wondered, as we ventured away from our little mooring, what situation we might be putting ourselves in by wearing outfits of red, white, and blue into a city seeping with politically and socially intense culture. Then, a women passed us and said, "Happy 4th! That is...if you're American.." Hannah's first reaction was: "An esoteric passerby!" I love my life.
My favorite item there was an ancient 5th century mosiac with a "peace into Israel" blessing from Psalms 125 & 128. O Jerusalem and all your complexity...
Also: a resurgence of love for Hannah welled inside me today. She's simple: meaning she doesn't need a lot of fluff in her world: she is happy and that's what is important to her. I love what she thinks of when she lets her mind wander, and also the instantaneous happy-thoughts she jumps into in the midst of my sentence. I love her attitude and unselfishness. I love that when I complain/contemplate that artifacts from certain sites are scattered all over the world, her first thought is, "Yeah, so everyone gets to see them even if they can't come all the way here!" Oh how much I still have to learn...
The three of us were going to be so productive in the realm of homework............until we found the Ludlows. (Shout out to Nat for her unselfish-volunteering-example. :) Thanks, girl!) Amazing people. Like always. Today was my second time into their apartment and I loved it because it feels like home. The pictures of their family and church-things all over the place. Michael Buble playing while we chatted. Hannah harmonizing to "Homeward Bound" as we cooked. I love the Ludlows for their willingness to hangout with us and their welcoming attitude. It's still so cool to me to be so close to my professors and their families. Their two little girls are the cutest things ever. Gotta love my Luds-bonding time.
:) We couldn't resist the great photo opp...
|attempting to spell "USA" on the grass|
|John entertaining us.|
Brianne...well...I'm not exactly sure what she's doing...
...and david being david
To wrap up the night, we ate the cakes that Sister Ludlow made us. We sang the national anthem and for the first time....like...ever, I was hit very powerfully with a sense of awe in relation to that song. Why me? Why am I allowed to be here celebrating with this group of collage-aged kids in this little haven of the world? Why was I born in the land of the free and the home of the brave? Why was my government SO organized and wonderful? Why was my life so peaceful? I walked away with a true sense of gratitude for my homeland. And as much as I love this place, I'm proud to be called an American. It's very interesting that I came all the way here to feel that.
NEVERTHELESS, the most intense irony that weighed upon me today was the thought that this is home. And home is home. And I'm leaving home to come home soon. And I'll miss my home when I do.
God bless America.......and pray for the people in this ארץ הקודש. -Chloé