Less than a month away.

Posted: November 12, 2006 in Israel, jerusalem

In less than one month I will be in Jerusalem, Israel. I have alot of mixed feelings about that statement. But first let me retrace my steps to how this all happened. I dont remember the exact moment, but something stirred inside me when i was thinking about what I was going to do for my sabbatical. I had all of December off and August had hit and I still didnt know what i was going to do. I thought I was just going to spend a week in Belize with my wife Belen, then sit around the house till January, but Belen said she didnt want me to waste my sabbatical since I dont get one every year. I had already begun thinking about Israel by that point but didnt think it was going to happen, since Belize AND Israel would cost too much, but Belen said i should go somewhere for a couple of weeks that I really wanted to go. So Israel it was. I was wondering how i was going to do it. I didnt want to do the tourist-y package thing for a number of reasons. One being i wanted to experience the place not from a bubble but up close, so i was looking into hostels in Jerusalem. It would be cheap staying in a hostel. So i started doing my research.

In my research, a pair of words kept catching my eye, Ecce Homo. Those words stood out to me because there is a song by French singer Serge Gainsbourg called Ecce Homo that he recorded with Sly+ Robbie and the I-Threes (Jamaican Roots Rock Reggae), that I listened to alot on Itunes. So I googled Ecce Homo and found that it was Greek for Behold Man… apparently what Pontius Pilate said to Christ when he first saw him. More than that I found that it was a landmark in Jerusalem, supposedly the place where Pilate actually said that to him. Even more than that, the landmark is a Catholic Convent that was created in the 1800’s for the sole purpose of mending relations between the 3 religions. Then I learned that the convent also has a pilgrimage house open to anyone of all faiths to stay there while in Jerusalem. After reading through their site, I contacted them about my stay, not really thinking they would respond. They responded the next day. They said yes i could stay there and would I like to confirm dates. My heart dropped when i read that.I was really excited and actually a little scared. Or maybe alot scared. I either had to commit to going now or back out. This was a big deal to me because I was going to the middle east alone. So many things went through my head, stuff like what the mainstream US media feeds us about palestine, terrorism, bombs, dead people…..not to mention that the Lebanon conflict was still fresh in memory. But I was ready to commit. Despite my fears and anxieties. I responded and confirmed my trip, and purchased my plane tickets.

So now I was going. It was a sealed deal. No turning back. And i was at peace with it inside. However Belen started to get worried and maybe a little scared too. And she is the toughest bravest girl I know.  I understand though cuz i would feel the same way. It’s not exactly Disneyland I’ll be going to. But she knows I really want to go and she is supporting me. What more could a guy ask for in a wife? She is the best.  So here I am, Nov. 11, counting down to Dec. 1. I have my passport in order, my tickets ready, maps, language guides, and tour books. I’m reading the history of Jersusalem right now too.

Everyone I’ve told that I’m going either thinks I’m crazy, or thinks I’ll have a great time. My family are all either worried about my safety, or wishing they could go. Some say “why now?”….I say “when?” is it ever a “good” time to go? who knows. Some even think I’ll have a spiritual experience. I’m trying not to hype myself up, but I think i will have an experience of a lifetime. We shall see. T minus 19 days.

  1. Rafael says:

    Don’t worry Markos… you’re no longer going alone!! I should get there a few hours before you. 😉

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