The technicalities behind Palestine’s recognition as a sovereign state, piqued my interest years ago in a United Nations course during my graduate program, and eventually drew me to the West Bank on a warm day in July of 2017.
As I pulled up the driveway of Gardenripe Farm, I saw a middle-aged man with a blue cap appear on the porch of a modest white house. He walked up to my driver side window to greet me, “you must be lost,” he said smiling.
If you’re willing to get a little muddy, and don’t mind misty air in your hair, there is a private fairytale-esque waterfall at the bottom of a mossy forest outside of Scotts Mills Oregon, waiting just for you.
Sometimes, the grass is greener on the other side, the mountains are taller, the sky bluer, and the wind more musical. At least, that’s been my experience living in a van for the past five weeks.
I lay in the warmth of the thick wool blankets I’m cocooned between, hoping to prolong the moment. If I stay put, I can maintain the shield of body heat I’ve created during the night. I decide to take a peak outside, and let whatever is waiting for me determine my next move.
First came the snow, then the rain, and more snow mixed with hail for good measure. But when the clouds parted to reveal endless snowcapped mountain ranges gleaming in the fresh sunbeams, I forgave the weather for being fickle.
Imagine a 5’2” twenty something peeking over the steering wheel of a white cargo van, winding through Navajo Nation with distinct red hues gleaming off pillar shaped rock formations in the distance, 80’s pop blaring through the speakers, and a miniature sheep peeking out the passenger window.
In 1979, a middle-aged woman, her husband, and two children boarded a plane departing Kiev to escape a communist regime in the Soviet Union as Jewish refugees. Uncertainty filled their minds as they made their way to a more accepting life in the United States as Jews.