Hebron is the largest city in the West Bank and is second only to Gaza City in the Palestinian Territories overall. It is also one of the most hotly-contested cities in the West Bank. I visited Hebron a couple of times during my year in the West Bank.
The Tomb of the Patriarchs/ Ibrahimi Mosque is in the middle of the old city. It is currently divided, with restricted access and separate entrances for Muslims and Jews. As with many religious sites in the Holy Land, tourist visitors are also restricted and, in this case, Christian tourists (like myself and my companions) were only allowed to enter and exit through the Arab entrance.
Once inside, the tourist ladies were required to put on robes and we were all required to remove our shoes.
Next to the Irish fjord, I saw my first faerie tree up close. It’s thought that if you leave something behind (usually bits of clothing) on a faerie tree, your wish/hope/dream will be granted as it disappears.
As my time wound down in Ramallah, a lot of people asked me what I’d miss about it. There’s a lot…ranging from the unique, like the friends I’ve made, to the banal, like the weather. Here are just a few, in no particular order:
1) The birthday song.
This amazing song can be heard nearly every night you go out in Ramallah. It is accompanied by the delivery of a cake with a giant flare sticking out of the top. Since the outdoor bar opened across the street during Ramadan last year, Jon and I have heard this little ditty more times than I can count. I love it.
Guaranteed: I’ll play it for your next birthday if I see you.
I was finally at a table recently where the birthday song was played and a flare-cake delivered. It did not disappoint.
By extension, I include all the nightlife in Ramallah, which is surprisingly robust — I’ll miss the ability to have fresh hubbly-bubbly with my glass of wine and, whenever it’s someone’s birthday, (a) hearing this song and (b) seeing a cake with a flare on top of it.
In which the Mirror of Erised is correct and I celebrate my birthday by going on The Making of Harry Potter tour at Warner Brothers in Leavesdon.
According to Dumbledore, the Mirror of Erised shows you your heart’s deepest and most desperate desire; while I was hugely excited to go on this tour with Jon for my birthday, I’m not sure it qualified as the deepest, most desperate desire of my heart.
About 10 months ago my Grandma requested that I share some photos of my apartment. I took pictures then, but never got around to posting them (sorry Gma!). Without further ado, say hello to where I’ve been living for the last year.
Our apartment is on the third floor (American definition)/2nd floor (Palestinian definition).
At the end of my visit to Gyeongbokgung, Jonathan and I saw some flags being carried through the main square by people wearing traditional Korean clothing. We rushed over, even though neither Jon nor I had any idea what was going on. Once we saw the swords and heard the music, we cleverly deduced that this was probably a changing of the guard ceremony.