Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Everything Is Great

(I had started this on Facebook, but it got too long, so I'm posting it here and will re-link on Facebook.)

I'm interrupting my "no social media during sabbatical" to update you all in the States. We've had a number of concerned texts, etc. regarding the security in the Middle East while we've been here. 

Thank you for your concern and prayer.

Frankly, the only concern, worry, and fear that's arisen in myself while being here has been after checking US media reports for updates. For sure, we've taken the actual warnings from the US government seriously, registered as we were asked, and would have followed any order to evacuate. (We are leaving Israel as previously scheduled in a couple of hours.)

But the situation here in Israel appears to be much different than other areas right around us. I don't believe that the US Embassy in Israel has not been closed any more than it usually is (it always closes on Sunday and was open yesterday, I assume that it is today). 

Our hotel was right in the middle of a vast-majority Arab neighborhood, in the middle of the last week of Ramadan, including Laylat al-Qadr, the "Night of Power." (If you know Old City Jerusalem at all, we were about a 4-5 minute walk from the Damascus Gate and even shorter to the Herod Gate, which we used the first trip into the Old City, but couldn't get into/out of the last couple of days because of the end of Ramadan and we are not Muslim.) Once I got the hang of walking through the streets the first couple of times, I began to feel like I was walking through any other city. So yes, there were a lot of people, people shouting, running, anything else that I might see during or after a big event in Boston. 

...and I never felt like I was threatened or challenged while outside of my hotel room. The people here have been wonderful to us. Devoid of US State Department warnings, I wholeheartly encourage people to travel the world. Meet others. Learn their stories and that they are not just scary people on television, but that the vast majority of people in the world are very much like you in a lot of ways. Don't expect people to do things how you would, but be open to how things come. Yes, there are people who have horrible intentions out there. But if we live with eyes focused on them, we miss out on so much that is good.

Again, I don't want to be ignorant to the threat, but it will not completely control my walking forward.

I appreciate the work of Matthew Harding, a regular ole American who travels the world dancing with various groups of people to demonstrate just how awesome humanity is. Here is his latest video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pwe-pA6TaZk (if you have problems with the vernacular usage of the word "hell", don't click).

So we have had a great time, but are greatly looking forward to being with our family/spouses. Thank you again for your concerns and prayer.

I hope to be writing more throughout the day, but in the meantime, be sure to check out my site for previous postings from throughout my sabbatical: www.jeremydscott.com

To the North Street Community: 
Thank you...and I can't wait to be back with you in several weeks. You are missed, but not nearly forgotten. 

This is a picture we took this morning with our absolutely incredible hotel host/receptionist, Nirvana. Our trip here was many times better thanks to her advice, direction, and hospitality.

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