here i am in our family home in ayia triada, cyprus. it has been over five years since i have been in the mother land, soaking up the winter sun and speaking the little greek i can remember after all those months speaking spanish in south america. and i feel the most relaxed i have done in years.
i had some weird and wonderful experiences in israel, i don’t know what i should share! after esther’s and adam’s wedding do and sofa sleeping in tel aviv, and when dear old school friend’s went home, i headed to haifa and spent a week with a friend i made in patagonia, argentina. in the 13moon/mayan/jose arguelles calender – we are opposites. she is the moon and i am the storm but i learnt just how much a part of each other we are and how we strengthen each other – even if we do disagree at times (every one of course has their own views on palestine and how to deal with the tricky situation), and we live very differently to each other. we spent the weekend with her family near galilee and i saw a whole new side to her and the local way of life. thank you shir!
i never knew judaism is the way it is! it has so many intricate levels, each giving thanks to god and all that we have been blessed with, and i love the weekend starting on friday after sunset – shabbos – the family meals, the resting, reflecting, eating….of course, not everyone is traditional but i have really had a glimpse at something i knew nothing about.
after travelling around the sea of galilee i headed to tsvat (or known as zefad or safed) in the mountainous north. it rained for the whole week i was there, filling the streets with cold cold water and rustling the leaves to the floor in the hostel courtyard. there i met some interesting folk, deeply religious, that welcomed me in and shared a lot…..
judaism is a way of life, it has its commandments and rituals, its traditions that some choose to follow more closely, like the people of tsvat who go about their lives with the torah in mind – and they choose to be among others who follow this way of life completely. apart from when i was with the 13moon community in jardim de paz, epuyen, i haven’t been in contact with people who live with this much faith ever. and the kabbalah deals with pure magic!
i was welcomed in under the strange circumstances of who i was with….i would never have seen that side of things so deeply if all hadn’t happened at the hostel the way it had, and for that i am grateful….but by the time the sun set on the saturday, i knew i was leaving on the sunday, there was a twist of events….after a week of being on a level of awareness to a whole new extent, i was ready for the firey energy of jerusalem.
lucky enough i stayed in a hostel just outside of the old city that had so much food for breakfast (israel breakfasts are unbelievable!) that i was sustained for the whole day and night (by making a few sandwiches for the evening) – bonus not having to splash the little cash i have. jerusalem….what a place! its history, democracy, cobbled streets in the old town, its smells and spirits that linger, its foundations built on different forms of worship, its mish-mash of faiths and food and bazaar’s…..it astounds me how the three main faiths stem from the same land, the same old testament, the same god….yet now we are all so seperate. it really seeped into me and although i have never been to israel before, it feels somewhat familiar. this is a main reason for me coming to cyprus; to try and uncover the roots of my family tree and any hidden branches that can explain why i do what i do. and if not….well it is just another mystery to go with all the others in the mystery school. cyprus was such a strategic little island, and still is – so many empires and conquests took place here, i can’t help but wonder what is in my blood.
i befriended a waitress in central jerusalem, a beautiful little woman, full of music (she plays the double bass) and stories and openness, and we connected so fluidly – i haven’t opened up to a girl friend like that for so long – and we plan to meet in amsterdam next year to busk in the streets and make music together! oh what a dream to have for the new year – let’s make it come true!
on i went to the depths of the land, the dead sea, the lowest sea in the world. after all that time so high in the mountains of peru, i needed to head so deep in the earth and in myself to learn a valuabe lesson of the kindness of people in the name of music and god. the heat, the sand, the salty water…..i looked over at jordan (i’m sorry i doubted you all those years ago), only 16km away and i felt so at home, alone in the desert. but as it is when you are travelling alone, you are never really alone unless you choose to be. i started singing and playing the charango outside the cafe in ein gedi to make some shekels for the bus back to tel aviv and along came moshe…..ah dear friend! moshe is a 63 year-old musical genius who lives under a grand old tree right by the sea. he has lived in his little homey camp for 12 years, shunning the high life after making it big composing music some time ago, and there we sat and played music and shared all things for hours under the baking sun and the cold star-strewn night of the desert. and the silence, the peaceful, unnerving kind that comes when you are comfortable with someone, was so beautiful. watching the fire and eating tahina we were openly thankful to the elements and to god and shared with the other people that were drawn to the tents under the tree. i am so thankful for all that! he taught me so much about performing music without ego, it was very hard to leave there and carry on back to the city for the flight to cyprus. if i ever return, i will stay there and simply be.
the airport security scrutinised me and searched my belongings thoroughly – i admit i did look a dodgy character, hat on, bumbling around at 4am – it was an especially eventful final night with esther and her friend drinking shots of arak and speaking so truthfully in a way we haven’t done for years…..i love you sis. thank you for being you.
my parents were there to collect me 40mins later at larnaka airport; it was emotional, comfortable, and well needed. we have spent the past 5 days so connected with each other. we needed to be out of london, out of their routines, and to see some of the country together – their versions of it. we were with more family in the old little village of choirokidia, one of the oldest neolithic settlements and where my grandfather is from, we stopped for coffee almost everywhere, ate copious amounts of food, played games, laughed ourselves silly and relaxed in our house here in ayia triada.
and now, they have gone….funny me saying goodbye to them rather than the other way round for once! i am staying here a little longer, to be by the sea and get myself together for a few days, then i will head to palachori in trodos mountains to stay with aunty dora, one of my dad’s sisters, who has a restaurant up there with uncle chris. i hope to see the north of the country, which i have never been to as it has been occupied by the turks since ’74, and learn where my family came from….and explore some of paphos.
it is strange being here at this time of year, the holiday homes empty, the beach even emptier. and i love it. running along the sand this morning was just me, a lady with her two dogs, a dead cuttle fish, its big eyes so sad, and a few other fishes, washed up from the storm the night before. i wouldn’t have been able to handle the heat of the summer or the tourists. although it is chilly when the sun goes down. i am glad to be here.
i’ve just looked up at the sky, and i see the waxing moon infront of me…..10 more days til she is full. we are in the wavespell of the storm – a time of change, of energy, of transformation…..
it is going to be an interesting journey….