There’s something about this place that takes some of the joie de vivre out of vivre. The weather is nice, but there’s a sense of decay that I just can’t shake. It creeps and crawls into the mind and under the skin like the feral cats and cockroaches. There isn’t any wildlife to speak of, only rats, biting disease-carrying insects, crows and the random asp or two.

The world is dusty, crumbling, and hazed in the desert sun. There are people that clutch on to the ancient history as it just falls to time under their feet, in front of their eyes. But there is no looking forward, only backwards. Perhaps forwards and backwards are the same vision? Maybe I can’t articulate it.

The air is heavy and beauty is hard sought. I feel the sun on my face but I am simultaneously assailed with the scents of rotting vegetation and cat piss, horns screaming and dogs barking, reports of hurling rocks, closed borders and yet it’s all the same screeching about the same thing in either language. Over and over. Forever and ever.

I don’t write about my personal experience in Israel as not to offend. I don’t want to be accused of being “undiplomatic” or “not graciously representing”. I have met a few nice people. I’ve had a few great experiences. For example, we went to grab something to eat the other night. The waitress wasn’t a total and complete shit to me and was actually outwardly pleasant which makes it stand out as one of the best meals I’ve had here. When we first got here, I felt the any culture shock would wear off over time. I would feel my way around and places and people would be easier once I lived inside the culture for a while. The opposite has occurred in which I feel even more resistant and alienated than I did when I first arrived.

The weather is absolute and utter perfection and I will miss it terribly. I couldn’t ask for a culture that is more accommodating to children. We are friends with an Israeli couple that have given me the opportunity to see that there are true shining diamonds in the rough here. With these three exceptions, I’m looking forward to New Jersey.

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