Saturday, May 5, 2012

nazareth, my first love in the holy land. the last place my heart will stay

Day 1.
Our Canadian stench has been brought beside us like a carry-on bag and travelled across boundaries + borders. Our exhaustion is fermented on our faces and our bodies ache with the pain that airplane isolation so often brings. 36 hours of head-bobbing naps, unbrushed teeth, and burdening backpacks later, and we have made it. 36 hours of God steering us through His skies, like a grown-up child playing with the laws of gravity.
It began with a sunrise. at 5 AM Tel Aviv does not have much to offer; but a sky pastelled with peaches, blues, and a ball of fusion is one of them. We packed our sour + swollen bodies into a VW shaggin' wagon and were carted off to our destination of Jesus' neighbourhood. We were met with a scattered assortment of houses, dressing the hillsides in a seemingly random fashion. BMW's and cacti peered back us with a sort of homey-foreign grin. Nazareth finally drew back its curtains and the two of us were introduced.

This city is a restaurant for the senses.

Its soundtrack is an amalgamation of angry Arab horns, the conversation of birds, and the cement slowly baking beneath the heat of the sun. It's in a constant movement. Its sounds are the throaty kh's of the Arabic language and the deep-fried sizzle of falafel-making.
Its sights are staggered and broken and jittered. It is the hijab of the Muslim wife, shadowed by the Western shops selling mini-dresses. It is the meeting point of modern -- laced with litter and neon ads -- with historic -- composed entirely of biblically aged buildings and pathways of Jesus' walk. It is the crash site between competing religions.
It feels like the sweat rolling down your side and the dryness of your lips. At certain, unsunblocked moments, it feels like the crunch of your skin and the heat of a burn. This city has the fingerprint of every handshake, every hug, every slobbered on cheek; all with the same undertones of hospitality and Arab.
It tastes like the clumps of sun-baked sugar in the bottom of a candy bag. It is the 10-shekel falafel and the fizziness of a Fanta. It tastes like the sweat of homemade salt, making its home on your upper lip.
Naz feels like home.

Jerusalem, if I forget you

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