You know those moments where you sit and think to yourself, is this real life right now? Is this actually happening? You blink a couple of times or shake your head in a quick motion to double-check you are not dreaming and that what you’re actually experiencing is indeed, real life.
Those surreal moments have caught up with me from time to time in the past month, where I think to myself, what in the actual heck am I doing here?
In all honesty, these moments were not when I was staring into stain glass windows in an immaculate church, or touring through the Biblical sites that I have learned about since I was 3 years old, or strolling through the streets and admiring the amazing architecture, and it wasn't the times I was looking over beautiful scenery of the Sea of Galilee. No, it wasn’t those moments, because I knew beforehand that I would get the chance to experience all of that.
The surreal moments—the what the heck am I doing here moments—come from a place of having to raise up my white flag, and surrender my expectations or wants of how I would like this trip to turn out, and fully immerse myself in the beauty of just being. It came from moments of having to put forth extra effort of deep mental involvement. The goal of "doing as the locals do," while trying to learn what shapes and impacts their perspective and learn their story, has provided me with many opportunities to grow in being comfortably uncomfortable.
Politics make me uncomfortable. Injustice makes me uncomfortable. Knowing people who have become dear to my heart that fall under injustice makes me uncomfortable. Living in a place with a giant wall, and avoiding certain topics because you don’t know who you are going to open a can of worms with, makes me uncomfortable. Trying to put any part of the situation of injustice and oppression into words feels impossible and (can you guess what I am going to say next?) uncomfortable. I wasnt ready for the severity of this complicated conflict I live in. So as a result, an overwhelming feeling swooshes over me with that stupid question once again—what the heck am I doing here? What am I going to do with all this information?
I don’t have those answers. But I am choosing to immerse, challenge myself to put myself second, and to be vulnerable and uncomfortable for the sake of others.
Since January 9th, my team and I have slept in 7 different places, packing a small backpack and walking the streets to our next sleeping destination. Sticking out as the foreigners we are has presented itself with laughter and a letting go of caring what we look like. Sometimes the nomad life ain't so bad.
Living with our Muslim family was welcoming, different, uncomfortable, simple yet beautiful. We can't help but laugh at the fact of our reality when we eat sautéed hotdogs while watching Arab Idol. Or being forced to eat because they are so worried that we’ll go hungry, up to the point some of us threw up! We acclimate to the culture of wearing hijab’s, and taking all the snaps with our host sisters.
As my friends teach English to the Palestinian children in the refugee camp, I was given the opportunity to set up their business website and making business cards to get the word out for their program. I have no experience in that department, but it’s amazing what you can do when you fake it 'til you make it!
We have learned to accept the awkward silences and unintentional staring contests with the locals because of language barriers. My made-up sign language skills have been put to the test! And we cant help but laugh when heating up propane lamps INSIDE the house to keep warm. (Newsflash… it actually gets cold in Israel. I wasn’t prepared for that either…)
While I sit and soak up where I am at with a grateful heart, I am happy to be here and feel undeserving of such an opportunity to drop my life and do something completely different. And to be comfortably uncomfortable with the question, “what the heck am I doing here?”
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You must have a group size of at least 6 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 6 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.