Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11/22/11: When Temporary Becomes Home, and Home Becomes Temporary

My Beautiful Palm Springs 

I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world to have grown up where I did. In a small town with a big city feel, Palm Springs is a rare treasure whose resorts, golfing, Indian lands, natural hot springs, casinos, and warm winter weather bring thousands and thousands of people in from all over the globe. While these people come to visit and escape their realities of home for a few weeks or a few months, I get to call this place my home year round. I don't think I fully appreciated how special Palm Springs was until I left for Berkeley, at which point I couldn't wait to find excuses to come home to my own personal paradise.

Palm Springs shaped a great deal of things for me that I would only discover after parting ways with her to reside on the other side of the world. We don't have skyscrapers; instead our skyline consists of the mountains that form the backdrops of all of our scenery.

We don't have trees whose leaves change colors in the fall  (in large part because we really don't have a fall); instead we have enormous date palms and cacti that line the streets and fill our desert with her green beauty (well that and the 5 million golf courses that cover our desert valley)!

Date Palms near our big hospital 

We don't have seasons. We go from hot to hotter to hottest, back to hot, then to cool (for like 2 months), and then right back to hot. However, we have 75 degree winters when the rest of the country seems to be buried in snow, and if you have ever seen a desert sunset in the summer, you wouldn't really mind the 115 degree days :-)

People call me a desert rat (hell I call myself a desert rat), and I don't think there can be a better description for what I, in fact, am. I love the beach, I love lush green settings, but unless I'm in a desert I'm not truly home. This is, of course, another one of the many reasons I have such strong ties to the Middle East where much of the land is desert terrain. Pretty much 90% of what I saw in Jordan could have been Palm Springs with a little Arab infusion, and the Deserts in Israel are absolutely breathtaking. It makes me feel like I have a piece of home with me every time I see those desert mountains, or feel that desert heat (even though these deserts are thousand of miles away from home).

Yet, despite all of this, Tel Aviv (and really the whole of Israel and the parts of Jordan I have seen and hope to spend a significant amount of time in) is starting to feel more and more like my home, while California is seeming like a distant, beautiful dream (and I've only been gone 4 months). Maybe it is because my life is so vibrant and busy here, or maybe it is because, with what I want to accomplish out of life, the Middle East is where I need to be, but my feelings of home are switching. Of course, Palm Springs will always, always, always, be my home, but it is no longer the only place I associate with that word.

I really feel so sad for people who never step outside of their back yards (so to speak). There is such a big world out there filled with the most amazing adventures and experiences, and for those who don't think travel is necessary, or for those who are too afraid to break away from the cradling ties of home (even if only for a little while), I feel profoundly bad for you. There is so much to see an experience, and even if you don't have a lot of money (I sure don't), taking some time to see parts of the world that interest you, or visit places that hold some importance for you outside of your home, will change your life in ways you can't even imagine. To think that there was a time I almost gave this up makes me sick to my stomach, and I can't imagine my life without this chapter (which could turn into so much more than that). Living on your own, in a far away land, teaches you so much about your self, and you find out integral things about your character that would never be possible if you are safe and sheltered in the everyday familiarities of life at home. I thank God everyday for my life and the direction it is heading in, and I hope to continue growing, developing, learning, loving, and living my dreams :-)

Aside from that I was selected to be posted on youtube for a "Solidarity with Syria" project where people from all over the world support the Syrian people against the violence inflicted by the Assad regime. It is so sad what is happening over there, the death toll is above 3,500, and the least I could do was submit that I stand in solidarity with the people who are being brutalized by a leader who is supposed to protect and serve them. You can see it here!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and my Bubby and Zayde helped me put my recipes together, so we will see how they go! This is my first thanksgiving away from home EVER, and I'm so excited to make new traditions and experiences Expat style!!

Masa Il-khier ya habibis!! Minshoofak Bookrah (see you tomorrow) <3,
Jordana Simone 

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