It’s Saturday night and I’m in the Old City. I’m spending the night at Ecce Homo (free for volunteers) for I’m joining the other 3 volunteers on a trip to Galilee tomorrow. We leave at 7:15AM, so it’s a good thing that they had a free room for me.
It’s a different feel here. More busy, more people, more English. I’ve already connected with another traveler, a single lady from Milan (it’s too bad she’s leaving tomorrow). Even as I type, I’m sitting in the coffee room with other people silently staring at their laptops. In Ein Kerem, I would be by myself in the library. But there are voices all around: kids in the alley, people in their homes next door, guests speaking on the terrace.
This past week I had to struggle through the feelings of aloneness. I’m a single woman in a foreign country, not quite living here and not quite traveling. The Sisters have been more than welcoming, but they live in their apartment, a section of the main building that is their private living space. My room is in the Guest House which is a separate building. I have breakfast and lunch with them and the Brothers, but the evenings are usually on my own. I’m excited for tomorrow, not only for the destination, but also for being with others.
But talking to this lady from Milan has encouraged me to explore this country more, even if it means traveling long hours on the buses by myself. I think it’s helpful though, to know that there are other pilgrims to talk to when you return.
Anyways, I hear more evening prayers starting up. We definitely don’t get this in Ein Kerem. I can see the Dome of the Rock, still golden against the dark sky. The Old City is lit, as with the rest of Jerusalem. The view from here is incredible; I’m without words to describe it [pictures to follow].
I must retire now and get ready for a long day tomorrow 🙂