I’ve realized that one of the things I take for granted in the US is knowing how to get around. With years of driving in the Miami Valley, well-marked road signs and street addresses, Google Maps, Siri, and Waze, its very rare that I find myself lost or even having to stop and ask for directions. Unfortunately, that’s not so here.
I was feeling pretty big and bold the second week that I was here, and when Kelli offered me a ride home from her house, I refused. “I’d like to walk,” I told her, knowing that it wasn’t all that far and hoping to burn off some of the amazing pita bread that I had been (and still am) living on. She questioned whether or not I was positive, and when I assured her I was, she gave me verbal directions to follow for the short walk back to my place. I don’t know what was going through my mind that caused me to only half listen and to not take the time to repeat the directions back to her, but I didn’t. Off I went…
…and went and went. The walk that now takes me 6 minutes, took me more than an hour that day. I kept heading down a street and then turning back when things no longer looked familiar (ignoring the fact that I have a horrible sense of direction and more often than not I am completely unaware of my surroundings). I tried using Google Maps, but none of the streets were labeled and I didn’t know what street the school was on anyway. I wanted to kick myself for having not saved my location.
I messaged Rasha and casually mentioned that I was walking home, hoping she would respond and I could ask her for help without really asking. But she didn’t respond. I was too prideful (and after 40 minutes of walking, too embarrassed) to admit defeat and go back to Jamison and Kelli’s house. I had no idea how to stop and ask directions, and so I kept walking.
Up hills and down hills, in the heat and uncomfortable shoes, carrying my groceries I went, watching my ego hide itself under the guise of determination. I finally arrived, hot and tired, both proud of and irritated with myself: I had found my way and found it on my own; I had found my way and had refused to ask for help.
And such is the struggle of finding my way: figuring out the precarious balance between independence and interdependence, of pridefulness and humility as I continue this wonderful walk.
More Woes of Unknown Ways: A snippet of the multi-hour saga of putting down a $40 deposit
While hanging out in Jerusalem on a Sunday morning, I received a group message from our colleague Josh asking if anyone was going to town that day…
Hee hee hee!