Monday, September 8, 2014

Homeland

I echo the words someone once said: "All people have a homeland to live in, but our homeland lives in us."

I have been going through things and organizing getting ready to leave. So many memories, so many things that I have collected over the years. Even if I end up moving to the United States, I can't take everything with me. I can't even take a small portion of my stuff. I keep thinking, if I can take everything with me then I can feel at home there...But, I know there is no place like home. Despite the bad situation here, the conflict and hardships it will always be home. I can't take all my stuff, but I can take all the memories and keep my homeland living in me. Wherever I go, my identity as a Palestinian will never go away. This identity that many have tried to erase. Many keep saying "There was never a Palestine." But, what they say does not matter because my country is engraved in my heart and nothing will take it away.

I have been going through some documents trying to scan them and keep copies so I don't have to take the originals with me. I have 3 birth certificates. One issued from Jordan (because the West Bank was under Jordanian Rule before Israel occupied it), One issued by the Israeli government (because I was born after the 1967 war when Israel occupied the West Bank), and one issued by the Palestinian authority (because they now control all the interior affairs for the Palestinians).  My parents' birth certificates, however, were issued by "the Government of Palestine"...The Palestine that does not exist anymore.

It is funny actually...Because all of my three birth certificates are wrong. They all say I was born in Beit Sahour, when in fact I was born in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, my home town that I am not allowed to visit anymore.

The Bethlehem Branch is planning a farewell dinner for me on Saturday. It's not quite a farewell yet though I hope...I am hoping to pass the test and get the job in NYC in which case I will need to come back here to get the visa. These are two long trips to the United States.  My hip pain has been better with the medication, but I still can't sit for more than an hour except on specific couches. Aside from the plane ride, I have not worked for 8 months and I don't know what it is going to be like to get back to work. I don't know if I can survive sitting for 8 hours every day! 

I am going to miss teaching primary (I teach the kids in my church each Sabbath). We have amazing kids in our Church Branch and I have no doubt that some of them will be leaders in the church one day.  It is such an honor to see the kids look up to me as an example.  Their parents tell me "she wanted to wear a skirt to church today like Sahar"...and I can see them doing something in sacrament then looking to me for approval/disapproval (after weeks of working on reverence). It is so cute...

After all the strange testimonies we have heard from little kids in our Branch, we had a few this week that were simply perfect. For example, from a 4 year old: "I know Jesus Loves all of us. He does not love just me, he loves you and you and everyone."
I worry as the kids won't have a teacher that can speak Arabic. But, they will have amazing people that love them and care for them.

It is getting late and I don't have much news to share...I may just bore you to death. Good night everyone...

3 comments:

  1. Still thinking good thoughts for you and keeping you in my prayers.

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  2. Best wishes to you and to all of the wonderful members in the Bethlehem Branch.

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  3. Praying hard for you and your loved ones while quietly glad you are coming here. Praying you get a job here. Yours is one of the great voices of peacemaking for a part of the world so desperately in need of it and I'm grateful I got a chance to meet you in Saratoga.

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