Sunday, February 05, 2006

Frankenstein and Normal Lives

In my last email, I said how blogging and looking on site meters to see how many people read what you write is a bit like trying to get a tan – you think you're doing really well until you see other people and then you feel a bit rubbish. Yet, with a nice bout of winter sun, and a creative block for the last two weeks I now have a new more appropriate metaphor…the Frankenstein metaphor!

Blogs have a strange way of taking on a life of their own. Like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, you think that you are the creator, the controller, but really the blog controls you. Because once it’s up and running, you need to add, and even if you have nothing interesting to say, you need to write something – cos what’s the point of having a blog if you don’t update? And why should people keep checking the blog, if there’s nothing new? And then people end up in a sorry state of affairs, thinking whether each new moment, or each funny joke or awkward moment is bloggable cos the blog demands that it is updated…and then the final stage comes, when quality is cynically traded in for quantity, and we write stuff even though we have nothing newsworthy to say.

So apologies, but I don’t really have funny stuff, or interesting stuff, just a feeling of being busy, of meeting with friends, of trying to find work and learn Hebrew and enjoy the new life that I am trying to make for myself…

There was the time when the American woman in the central bus station told me she wanted to go to the Shomron to see what the government wants to give up and why she doesn’t understand how people can disobey Gods clear instructions in the bible (I told her that we don’t stone rebellious sons anymore…), the person who asked me if I wanted to donate blood before realizing I was English and withdrawing the offer; the getting on a Sherut that the day before had experienced a fatal stabbing and trying to speak on the phone whilst two people had a huge argument about smoking inside it.

There are the cute kids who go to school near Ulpan with their huge rucksacks and responsibility for letting people cross at the pelican crossings; the fact that almost every week since I have been here a major political development has happened; There's the fact that almost everyone thinks what happened in Amona is awful, but some because settlers threw rocks at police and called them Nazis and some because police hit settlers and injured MPs; There’s the constant tension between living our life with memories of terrorism and crises in the foreground (how can I not say tehillim and go to the beach instead – Sharon has just had a stroke or how can I go out to coffee in a place where 10 people lost their lives 2 years ago?) and being ambivalent and indifferent about peoples’ pain and difficulties;

There are the cafes and restaurants and friends and Shuls that are a 15 min walk from Ulpan, the new acquaintances and old friends I’ve had an opportunity to hang out with, the fact that I have a list of people in my ulpan class who I want to chuck out (for any ulpan friends reading this – don’t worry its not long, and if you are reading this, it probably means we’re close enough that its not you…)

There’s the going to the Muslim and

Christian quarters of the Old City because it’s a disgrace I had never been there before (pretending to be Christian, yet not being interested in the different stations of the cross was not particularly easy); the attempts at sending CV’s and arranging meetings or how one day can be the best day ever, with jobs and new opportunities on the horizon and the next can be depressive because everything fell through (and vice versa);

There’s the fact that every day feels like a week, that the Jerusalem Ball was similar to Leeds JSOC's (I think a few less people were sick after it, and that there were a few less naughty goings on in the toilet, but I don’t have any independent verification)

In some ways there's a lot of stuff, and in other ways there is very little. And then there's the fact there are the things that have happened that, whilst being interesting, I don’t necessarily want to put online…

In short, life in the Holy Land is great, its exciting, its full of opportunities; but its not necessarily about jokes. And its not always bloggable…

With apologies


p.s for those who felt the last posting was ambiguous i wanted to confirm that i passed my driving test!