My mental camera

from Rebecca (Johnson), May 11, 2010 – We met at Nina’s house on Sunday around 4pm. We shared pictures and videos from the tour. With 8 people, we had over 2,500 photos and at least 5 hours of videos from our flip cameras. But there were many moments that I chose, and we chose, not to have our cameras. Moments captured with just our eyes, ears, bodies and minds. No technology involved. In thinking about this incredible trip, there were moments that just begged not to have camera to capture, but just a person to capture what happened and to make meaning. The act of blogging has seemed overwhelming since my return, but I realized that maybe putting some of my own “mental camera” into words would be a place to begin – a list, not poetic, but simply moments in time:

  • My first view of the wall in Ramallah from the bus seeing the Banksy balloon girl
  • Up close with machine gun armed man at the Allenby crossing from Jordan into Israel
  • Nachos in Ramallah with Eyhab at the Tropicana hotel
  • View of the Adios bar from the stool with hours of conversation, understanding, connection
  • Shawarma in Amman before the Citadel
  • My feelings on the roof of the building at Aida refugee camp as Areej explained the stories of people there and the place: life-changing moment
  • The Rocky Hotel on the morning of Sunday, April 25th
  • Funeral procession through the streets of Ramallah on Sunday, April 25th
  • The hotel gym/spa in Amman where Lisa and I met two women from Iraq in the jacuzzi
  • Arriving at Bet Anisa in the cab in Ramallah on the night we performed at the festival – much later that evening – and finding my crew there for celebration
  • Rocky Hotel lobby…cards and speaking French with Compagnie Vent de Sable
  • Inventing Ruby Red Alert with Frances just after the fireworks in Amman
  • Loving spending time with my roomie Lisa Bush throughout the entire trip in every moment – dream come true
  • Looking for al kamandjati in Ramallah with Nina, Nancy, Frank & Lisa
  • Talking with Lina at the Norwegian Ambassador’s residence in Amman
  • Dancing on the program in Amman and again in Ramallah with our Norwegian superhero friends
  • Turkish bath in Petra, talking with Becky about her next life adventures on the warm stone table at the Turkish Bath in Petra
  • Being on this trip with Nina Haft: my mentor, the love of my life, my inspiration, my friend, the artist I admire with all my heart who, without, my life would not be as it is today
  • 5th floor patio at the Rocky Hotel in Ramallah on Rabi’s birthday night and into the next morning; singing I will never forget, meeting Marion, talking with Nisreen
  • Dancing everywhere we danced: an honor, a privilege, a coming of age for my 37-year-old self, a delight, a lesson, a heartbreak, a life-changing experience
  • Coming home to those who I love, to Jacob, to Oakland, a wedding, my family, Jacob’s (and now my) family, my dance family and all that has made and makes life here amazing and a gift

There is no way to sum this up. My heart is in Ramallah and my mind is full of the people I met all over the Middle East – from this region – and from so many other places. Grateful is only a single word that can begin to sum up my feelings now and I hope to find many more words and expressions that can inform life here, so that I may share the grace, generosity and learning that came from this experience. xo, rebecca

~ by ninahaftandcompany on May 12, 2010.

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