“Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change.” The Time Machine
Tomorrow classes start back up! I’m quite excited to be back into a routine, and back in the classroom. It was good to go to the university on Saturday and register for classes and run into a few friends from last semester. Apparently there are quite a few of us who are returning for the spring semester, which is a good thing considering I skipped orientation last week so I haven’t met any of the new kids! I’m also still in my Arabic book club, which is kicking my butt, but hopefully I’m getting a lot out of it. My lying skills are probably the best they’ve ever been – pretending that I understand something that I really don’t has become an art to which I aspire (just joking, kind of).
On Friday, I had to go to Tel Aviv for the morning to pick up my friend’s passport from a European embassy. My friend is Palestinian and so for the most part is not allowed into Israel or Jerusalem. Palestinians can apply for permits – whether for religious reasons (which are quite difficult to obtain, and then I think are valid just for Jerusalem and for certain days/hours), or through their work. The permits that are actually obtained are quite arbitrary – you could get a permit for an entire weekend, or you could get a month-long permit that is valid only until 7pm every night. My friend received one of the latter permits for the month of December. Since he is planning a trip to a European country in February, he applied for a visa and dropped his passport off at that embassy back in December when he was able to. His visa wasn’t complete until after the new year, meaning that he was unable to pick up his own passport in Tel Aviv because his permit had expired and there’s no guarantee that he’ll receive a new one for January. So I went and picked it up at the embassy for him, which was a piece of cake, and spent a little time in Jerusalem on my way back.
I’m attaching some pictures of the ridiculousness that was Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. It was fun to just get copies of these pictures from my friend yesterday and looking through them, remembering that I was there… it just seems surreal!