A marketplace. To anyone else my age, this might be considered “ghetto.” But to me, this is beautiful. The walkway is narrow and composed of smooth rocks, with small steps every few feet to follow the slight upward slope of the path. The stalls alongside me are squeezed together with no space in between, except where the path splits off in different directions. Every stall is packed full of colorful merchandise, with intricately decorated tunics and leather purses hanging in wonderful displays to catch your eye as you walk by. The roofs of the stalls don’t meet above the walkway, leaving a gap where the sun shines sheepishly through.
Ancient archways pass over the path in some places, intriguingly charming with their cracks and discoloration. Every vendor tries to catch my attention as I walk by, but I smile at them without reply. For some, this marketplace would seem a sad attempt at the glorious outdoor malls of California, but this is my favorite part of this Israel tour.
With all of the gaudy cathedrals and white limestone cityscapes to compete, Old City shopping may seem and odd choice, but I’m infatuated. The mixture of foreign sites, smells, and sounds has me entranced. Nowhere in the world will shopping be exactly like this.
I’m the youngest person on this tour with my church, Water of Life. Somehow, though, I feel like I’m more than seventeen years old. Seeing and feeling such a beautiful place and its people has helped me get out my “box.” This box is one that included ignorance of other cultures and people. Climbing out helped me see that I am not the only person in the world, and definitely not the only one who matters. There is so much that continues to happen all over the world despite the tiny things I like to dwell on in my box. Well, the box is burned, cut up, thrown away. I can see life a lot clearer without cardboard covering my eyes.
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