Friday, August 10, 2007

Home, sweet home!

Im home! After a long 26 hours or so of travelling I made it back to NC last night at 2AM. I had no problems in the Ben Gurion, Israel Airport, for which I am very, very suprised. Thank you so much for your prayers! God is to thank for this.

Now, begins the process of resting and processing all of my experiences. Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers this whole time!


(below is my story of getting out of the Israeli airport if you are at all interested. For many it is a terrible experience. For me it was somewhat unusual, that is why I wrote it down.)

I decided that it would be too hard to hide the fact that i had been in bethlehem, so I decided to just go out and tell them the truth (but of course to not say any Pals. names, etc).

So after taking a Nesher to the airport, I walked inside and got in line at the B area, since that was for the airfrance flights. At the front of that line a lady looked at my passport and asked me the purpose of my visit. I answered "a summer study program." She then asked where it was and I said that we travelled some, but it was mostly in Bethlehem. "Bethlehem?" she repeated. Yeah, I said. Then she asked what exactly the program was. I said that it was called Middle East Fellowship, that I studied arabic. "Did you volunteer" she asked. Yes, I said and then she asked what I did. I answered saying I tought english at a student center. And that was it. She put some stickers on my passport and bags and sent me on to the x-ray. After the x-ray I went to the counter where they checked my bags. They didn't pour out all the contents on the ground, they didnt turn on my electronics, they didnt take everything out (and they didnt see my Arabic books or my "against the occupation" t-shirt :). They mainly just touched everything with this "wand-ish" thing with a cloth at the end of it which they put in this machine (i think to check for bomb dust, etc).

After my bags, my personal security escort (which stayed with me until I went to my gate) took me to a back room where he had me take all the things out of my pockets and put them through the x-ray (as well as my belt and shoes). Then he patted my down fairly carefully.

That was it. We went to the ticket counter, I had some problems with my ticket, but he stuck with me until it was all worked out and then I went to my gate.

I really cant figure it out, especially since I told them specifically that I lived and volunteered at Bethlehem, a Palestinian area. They usually go bezerk at the mention of a palestinian area such as this, and even more bezerk if you say you were "helping" Palestinians. Helping Palestinians usually translates into to aiding and abetting terrorists, in their minds. After that first lady, I didnt get any more questions about what I had done or anything. No one asked me if I had met any palestinians or for their names or anything. This is very, very unusual.

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