Sunday, May 17, 2020

Beautiful land and more...

Another week has gone by. Time seems to be going so slow, but I think I am adjusting. I am getting used to thinking it is Friday when in fact it is Monday.

A few days ago, as Israel celebrated the establishment of it's state, Palestinians remembered the Nakbeh (catastrophe). This is the day when many Palestinians lost their land and became refugees.  There were many that posted painful pictures of Palestinians leaving their homes, taking everything they could carry. Today there are about 6.5 million Palestinian refugees scattered around the world.

During my work at UNRWA we helped some of those refugees. I still remember the hope in their eyes when they told me where they were from...even 60 years after they left their home, they still mention that village as their home and that they will return one day. 

The amazing thing is that people think that they can create a solution to the Palestinian/Israeli problem without allowing those Palestinians the right to return to the land of their ancestors. People think that a Jew who has never set foot in Palestine has the right to live there and get citizenship...but, a Palestinian whose family has lived in Palestine for generations doesn't have that same right to live there, or even go visit the land of their forefathers.

I know Palestinian refugees are not the only refugees out there. There are many...more than we can number. I hope that we all will not discriminate and treat people the same and give people equal rights whether they be refugees or not.

My solution to the Palestinian/Israeli problem includes a country where both people are treated equally. Both people have citizenship status (Palestinians right now are not considered citizens)..with freedom and justice and equality to all. 

Last week I came across a land for sale that was close to my house. It was right by the river. My dream has always been to live close to water (river or sea). I love the sound of water and it relaxes me. This piece of land was so cheap and it was right on the river and within city limits. I got super excited to buy it and started planning my dream home. (even though it came with hundreds of mice who settle inside the soil)

It is strange to talk about this now right after I talk about the loss of land of my people...but, things are different here in the US. You can go and live where you want. There are no checkpoints, no soldiers to check your papers, and you are treated with respect. 

Sadly my dream of owning a land by water fell apart when the city told me that it would cost $100,000 to connect to the sewer system from there. The property was so close to the river that you could not build a septic system either.  I guess I will have to settle for my house and walk to the river. I'm keeping my eyes open in the mean time.

I did spend some money making my house the way I want.  There will soon be a fence on the north side making my back yard a little more private. I do like my house, so if I can pick it up and move it closer to the river, it would be great. 

My ice maker in my fridge stopped working and I could not figure out why. I finally googled it and found out that the sensor may be broken. I bought a piece from Amazon the other day for $25 and installed it myself (after watching a YouTube video). I was actually really proud of myself. Having someone come to your house to fix things is so expensive in this country. Back home in Palestine they charge $5 sometimes or even don't charge you. I am learning to do things on my own here. Some of these skills will be useful in the future.  I honestly sometimes think people who can fix things make more money in this country than I do with my doctorate as a teacher. If someone came to fix my fridge, he probably would have charged at least $150 for this job that took me 10 minutes. 

This is the piece I replaced...

Spring is here finally. I know it won't last I need to enjoy it while I can. My tree is pretty outside...though there are so many bees in it, and I hear lots of buzzing. It scares me to even get close to the tree...

We went on a short hike yesterday. The weather was so beautiful. Here are some pictures...

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Camping...Wind...and mothers

My classes seem to be going well, but at the same time they are not. I feel students are not understanding things well. Not being there to help them understand in person is a challenge. I had a really bad class on Friday. Normally this activity would go well in a normal class setting. Online was a completely different story. I mean they had to do three things: open the file, copy and paste a column of data, sort that column. I am not sure why those three tasks took half an hour! The whole activity therefore failed because they never made it to the interesting part of the activity.

Another week has gone by. Places are still not open, but some are starting to. We went camping on Wednesday. Well, I actually didn't sleep in the campground until Friday. But, I spent the afternoons on Wednesday and Thursday there.
We went to Rigby lake, which is close by. It is the only place we can go actually because of this whole corona situation. But, it was nice just to get out of the house and be somewhere else.

On Wednesday, the weather was strange. We had a lot of wind. I had a hard time driving because my car kept being blown to one side of the freeway. It was scary. And sadly all the tumble weed from the fields gets blown and sent to my yard. 
here it comes...

And here is where it lands...

 It does land in other areas. But that day it took me forever to collect it because the wind was so strong. It kept blowing the garbage bag away and the tumble weed. Then at some point my whole garbage bag full of tumble weed flew away 20 feet in the air. I had to chase it and catch it before it landed in someone else's yard.

My poor plum tree can't wait for the fence to come up so the stuff does not get piled on top of it.
I actually have a nice mint garden around my tree. My mint came back this year and there is a lot of it. I tried to make that tree area pretty...This will have to do.

Friday evening started to have some wind as well and it started to get chilly. We had a fire and I was so close I was sitting by the fire. Of course that means you end up smelling like smoke for days.
But, it was fun to sit there and talk. 

My aunt Hayah was digging through old pictures and found this picture of us...This was in our back yard with the berry tree behind us. My cousin Rana is the one with the blue duck on her dress and I am next to her. Life was so simple then. We were happy kids playing and having fun all the time. 

My aunt Hayah also managed to salvage part of her wedding video from the 1950's. It was so cool to see that. My parents don't have a single wedding picture sadly. They simply did not take any pictures!! But, my aunt found an engagement picture of them. It is better than nothing I guess.

Happy Mothers' day to all the mothers and women out there. I know traditionally in Palestine we don't celebrate Mother's day in May, but Mothers probably need two days a year to be appreciated. I love my mom. The above picture shows how pretty she really is. I am so glad she is still doing well and hope she will live for many years to come.