I sat on the bus the other day, driving down a busy thoroughfare in South Jerusalem. With my earphones on, I listened to my favorite Israeli radio station Galgalatz, which plays a random mix of music ranging from the best of Lady Gaga, Madonna, Led Zepplin, Israeli rock and folk songs. I listen to that station and I am happy. The combination of tunes that I grew up on, made me smile upon hearing the first few familiar notes, and along with the beautiful Jerusalem scenery outside the Egged window, I felt a sense of self-satisfaction that made me tear up.
I laugh at myself when this happens (and yes, it does happen occasionally). It's a sensation that I never felt when I lived in the United States, and it confirms over and over again, how pleased and grateful I am to have chosen the right path for myself.
I just love having both sides of me fulfilled at the same time: my strong American heritage, expressed in those palpable guitar riffs of the Allman Brothers, followed by the bus driver wishing me a "Shabbat Shalom" as I get off the bus. This is my life here. So sweet and meaningful.
As we approached my bus stop, I peered out the window to the bus stop across the street. Two groups of people stood: Jews and Arabs. The difference between the two groups was glaring obvious, but neither group seemed to bothered by the physical space that divided them. One group awaited an Egged bus, and the other awaited the Arab mini-van that transports them between the Muslim Quarter of the Old City & Bethlehem. It's just the way it is here: two peoples - each consisting of a conglomeration of religious & national convictions - living in one city.
My bliss fizzled quickly. I began to wonder how I should feel about this scenario -do I accept it? Ignore it? Rally against it? Whose side would I take? If they're not bothered, and all is "peaceful" at that time, why should I be bothered by it?
And so began "One Bittersweet Symphony".
Living in Jerusalem means encountering a roller coaster of adventures, thoughts, and emotions that do not mirror any other place in the world.
I decided that I needed an outlet to process what I see and encounter here. All of these things are extremely personal. I hardly discuss them out loud. Ever.
So get ready to join the adventures with me. It gets crazy... just warning 'ya!