No matter how long a visit, I have with the Englishman, I never seem to realize it will come to and end, until its time to say goodbye.
This time we had a full month in each other’s company. Something of a record for the past few years. We certainly crammed a lot into the weeks we’ve had; making our way through Nice, Corsica, London, Israel and Palestine in the past month.
Doing new things, has a way of stretching time. It’s an illusion I know, but I am not above tricking the mind to make time slow down.
Ramallah and the West Bank were stunning in the summer light. I am beginning to see why he likes it so much here.
Strolling through ancient olive groves at sunset, sitting in the garden as the cool evening air settles in the trees, and taking in the colorful chaos of the surrounding streets – I have loved my time here.
Ramallah feels the way I imagine small town America felt in the 50’s – with a few roaming camels and goats thrown in for good measure. Everyone knows everyone here and people have time to stop and wave and say hello.
I was taking some of the Englishman’s clothes to the dry cleaner not long after I arrived, and as he was counting up the shirts, the friendly man behind the counter looked at me and then somewhat quizzically looked back at the plaid button downs and then asked if they were his. The shopkeeper not only recognized my boyfriend by his shirts, but also knew him by name.
It’s like that here. We went to a party the other night, where I was introduced to a few people. The next day I was running some errands around town and I bumped into three of the people I’d met the night before. It is such a small place, 75,000 people live here, but it feels smaller. After just a few weeks, I’ve come to know the man at the fruit shop, the guys that operate the pita bread factory and the old man who runs the little corner store down the street.
There are, of course, some things I won’t miss. The plumbing in the Englishman’s apartment for starters. I’m not sure if its like this everywhere, but I have found if you put too much water down the drain in the kitchen sink, for some reason it comes back up out of a hole in the floor in the hallway.
I’m more than ready to be able to wear short summer dresses out in the blazing heat of the summer instead of the full coverage apparel that is more acceptable here.
But now that its time to go, I feel like I should be staying a bit longer. I’ve only now really started to know my way around, and there is so much more to see. I feel I have only just scratched the surface of the West Bank and I think the Englishman would like me to stick around for a while too.
I am sticking to the plan though, which will take me back to the west coast of the US and then to Southeast Asia and New York – a city I have missed so much – before depositing me back in Nice.
I am looking forward some things back in the US too. I can’t wait to see my family and friends. And go to thrift stores, and to not have to apologize for only speaking English.
And before long, I will be a student again, and I will have no excuse for my terrible French.
I like the look of the old concrete buildings of the university in Nice where I will soon be spending my days. I wonder if any of the trendy French students hanging out by the vending machines out front will become my friends.
So I continue onwards on my journey. I leave the comfort of being part of a unit, and break the little domestic routines that were just barely starting to form.
Next we are off to London for a few final days in the drizzle before the Englishman and I will go back to waking up alone, to missing each other and counting down the days until the next visit.