Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms. It’s by talking nonsense that one gets to the truth! I talk nonsense, therefore I’m human. Crime and Punishment
My female friends and I joke about how being female and walking through the streets of Ramallah is kind of a ego-boost. The stares, the funny comments… though the funny comments are usually only funny if they’re said in English (I’ve recounted the “Good morning, teacher,” comment I got in the middle of the afternoon in Nablus last fall). Otherwise, Arabic is a pretty indirect language, in a cultural sense. You don’t ask or request something directly. You don’t say what you mean directly. So imagine my surprise when, last week, I’m walking to class in the morning, it’s 7am, I walk by a group of shabab (young guys), just standing there watching everything go by. [Background information: the slogan in the Arab revolution protests recently has been: “alshaab yureed isqaat alnizam” – the people/youth want the overthrow of the regime”] As I walk by, one of the guys in the group says, “alshaab yureed… hiya binat!” (the guys/youth want this girl!)
I almost died laughing. I didn’t want to break out into laughter in the middle of the street, plus I had no one to share the absolute joy of such a creative pick-up line with. In addition to the fact that I didn’t want to encourage these young guys to continue their staring and making comments at women who walk by. So I laugh-coughed into my hand and continued walking to school. Needless to say, it was a good morning.
This past Saturday, some friends and I went to Bethlehem, a place where I’ve been multiple times before. But it was a very nice day, we walked through the Church of the Nativity again (we had a friend who had never been to Bethlehem before with us), and the Arab guard again let us sneak down the back way to see the birthplace of Jesus to bypass the incredibly, disgustingly long line. But Bethlehem is a beautiful, little city, and I love the fact that this man who owns a scarf/haTTa store just off Manger Square recognizes me even though I’ve only been to his store twice before (both times around Christmas time). And he still gives me a great discount.
Since I now have all this free time on my hands, I’m hoping to do a lot of traveling throughout the West Bank and Israel, little day trips and whatnot. Just yesterday, I went with some friends back down to Hebron, which I’ll write about tomorrow since it’s an intense little city and deserves a full blog post.
PS I don’t want to leave this place and the people. I’m coming home in 6 weeks with quite a scarf collection, my argileh, some beautiful jewelry, and the most amazing memories I ever could have imagined having.