Alice BACK in Wonderland
While on my vacation this summer in the US, I found a DIFFERENT way of life. For 3 weeks, I could get up in the morning and, depending upon the needs of the family and what we were doing that day, we could simply dress and go. Nothing else to consider. No one else to consider. No checkpoints to consider. No news necessary to check. Even the weather was cooler and therefore not an issue.
“This is how it feels to live in the US?” I wondered.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, and revealed to me that life could really be different, was when my aunt asked to be let out of the car, implying that the rest of us could WAIT as she returned an item to the store.
“Wait in the car?” I thought, “this will take too long!” Three minutes and my aunt was back in the car and we were chugging along.
“No one in line,” she said. Well they must have told her too bad, no returns, I thought, or told her the item was sale or unable to return for some other reason.
“They returned your money?” I asked.
“Of course,” replied Auntie USA….What a stress-free environment!
I found very few conversations that went any deeper than, “How do you feel about your daughter going into the Army?”
Yes, of course my family and friends were concerned about my daughter-but not the conflict. I found it very interesting to note that they were only concerned with how it directly (and I mean directly) affected our family. Nothing else to consider. No one else to consider.
Having immersed myself in the heartbreaking stories of people I’ve met and befriended here, I find most of my life has become, in one way or another, connected to the conflict.
If I go to the market, I must consider-do I go to the local market, or do I need meat, requiring me to traipse off to the Druze market where they butcher their own animals? If I go to the Druze market, I am cognizant that I am a representative of “Israelis” and try to be more polite than normal and use some small Arabic that I have taught myself.
When I travel, I must choose-do I take the Jordan Valley, or has there been some report of unrest, therefore influencing me to take the bus on the main highway?
I’m back and fully adjusted after jet-lagging for about a week. Fully adjusted to the time. However, I do notice a lesser sense of urgency in my demeanor. I AM either wiser or more lackadaisical. I am less stressed. I don’t know how long it’ll take me to get fully adjusted back into ‘Middle East mode.’