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Coreyoria World Tour

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

War in the Middle East

30 July 2006
Today I read in the newspaper a quote that touched upon a sentiment I've been feeling. And while it wasn't exactly what I wanted to say, it came very close to coindciding with my thoughts: When will people "stop getting 'pride' from fighting and start getting it from constructing a society that others would envy, an economy that others would respect, and inventions and medical breakthroughs from which others would benefit?" Lately I've been pondering an intangible void created by the loss of human capital and its potential to create good when it is preoccupied and wasted in the tragedy of war. So after I read the article with this quote in the International Herald, I took a nap because I had a hard work day. But I woke up to write this poem. It's not an anti-war statement because I want to believe that no one is "pro-war," and I understand that everyone has their justifications and rationale for war, but this is rather just contemplation on what we don't achieve by so many people being wound up in all aspects of it, on all sides - how it preoccupies our minds and eliminates the possibility for people to think and do other positive things. I hope this isn't cheesy. I'm not trying to be political per se, just express what I've been thinking about ... how war pervaded my thoughts.


My Thoughts on War

What a waste of potential.
A waste of human capital.
Of infinite opportunity and possibility.
For hundreds, thousands, thousands of brains
To work toward something good instead of evil.
To grow intellectually toward the betterment of society,
Creating ideas that would
Mulitply, grow, divide, and bring more meaning
To a world where many things lack just that.
What a waste of life, of time.
Where the ends meet the means
Around a locus of destruction.
Nullifying a population's, many populations',
Ability to contribute toward
Progress and modernity.
What a tragic, tragic waste of energy.
What a sinking feeling I feel
To recognize what could have been,
What might have been,
With a different focus, a different lens.
Ideas and inventions have vanished
With the smoke of a firing gun
And with another bomb dropped.
With each life lost or consumed,
The world will never know what it's missing.
And for what?
Only to spawn the dispair,
Distrust, heartache, and hate
That will cause new generations
To pick up their weapons,
Eliminating yet more potential
For peace and understanding
In our war-torn world.

This Desert Life

27 July 2006
I have a little over a week here and I cannot believe how fast time has flown by. I changed my flight and it turns out I will actually be arriving at JFK on Aug. 8, around midday. I can't wait to see everyone! Woot!

I'll be helping BShea move out of his apartment, going to Florida for about a week, and then heading home to the Lou where I hope to see some nearest and dearest. And those that I don't see then, I'll be seeing soon thereafter when I move to Chi-town! Life's looking good, baby!

In the meantime, I'm going to try to stay out of trouble and have fun. I've been reading the newspaper everyday despite the near-heart attack it gives me.

Yesterday I went to this amazing park about 15 minutes away from here called Timna Park. The rock formations were absolutely astounding and I even saw some kind of pictogram carved into stone. It was of the Pharoh and a goddess. Guess how old it was! Give up? It was 3,400 year old! And I saw an unearthed ancient temple, amongst other sites that would blow your mind. The layers of rocks, sand, and sea creatures formed striations and shapes that have been wind-blown, covered in ocean, and exposed to the elements to form something magical. This park is home to one of the first copper mines that ever existed and copper still exists in the rock, so some of the mountains look like a dull green, similar to that of a rusted penny. I can't wait to get my photos up when I get home. The desert has some unimaginable surprises and stories to tell. And so do I. :)

I might have time to post once or twice before I leave, but if I don't - feel free to call me on my cell phone come Aug. 8 and I'll definitely post once I'm home and again when I upload all my photos.

Thanks for caring about me and reading my blog!

Lots of love,
Corey

Chimpanzee That.

24 July 2006
As you all probably know, things have been escalating quite a bit here in my neck of the woods, err ... desert. Many people from the north, over 500,000, have been migrating south, a handful of those families landing right here on Kibbutz Ketura. Israelis I've befriended since my arrival here are forced to wait in anticipation, to find out if they will be called up for reserve duty. It's such a scary thing, that all of these people my age are fighting this war, without consent - a war that everyone else can view complacently from their television sets at home. It's disturbing. If Israel was my home, this would be my fate as well.

So Ketura has been a bit more crowded as of late. You can feel it in the dining hall mostly, wading through a packed line just to get some grub. Simultaneously, however, the influx of student groups coming here on trips is dwindling down due to the unsafe nature of traveling around at this moment, particularly in the north.

Anyway, I have decided to cut my trip short and I will be returning to the US in 2 weeks, on the 7 of August. My reasons are as follows:
1) First and foremost, being in a country where was is escalating and the intensity worsening.
2) Taking up space and resources while not really doing much to contribute during a time of crisis.
3) Feeling a bit guilty about "having fun" right now ...
4) I feel like I've gotten the "Kibbutz experience" & cutting it short 2 weeks ain't gonna change that.
5) It's no longer feasibly safe to travel to Jordan and Egypt after my stint here.
6) This seems to be when all of the other volunteers are departing as well.

So you want to know what I've been up to lately?

Well my roommate, Martina, has been teaching me some Swedish phrases while we're cleaning the hotel in the mornings. Apparently Americans aren't that adept at pronouncing Swedish. Is there anything we're good at, I ask you?! Anyway, I've been enjoying her company and the company of others, having some seriously goofy and fun times, trying to incorporate sayings such as "Chimpanzee that!" into our everyday vernacular (meant to be used like - "Fancy that."), climbing huge-ass mountains and stupidly waiting until nightfall to climb down (don't fret, we had us some flashlights, however dull they were ...), singing and dancing more than necessary, and generally trying to take life one day at a time.

... Until you're innocently lying in the grass, searching for constellations in the night sky with 2 of your buddies, when a huge ball of fire, bright blue with a glowing tail, lights up the entire sky with it's apparent descent. And the potential exists that it's a rocket. Or a missile. I don't know because it's not like I've actually seen these things before. But it's definitely NOT a shooting star. And then you all look at each other like, "Did you just see what I saw???" Yup. That happened on Friday and as much as we tried to convince ourselves that a UFO had just flown overhead, I couldn't quite shake the wall of reality I had just slammed into. Too close to home. Like the needle popping my little bubble of safety and security. I still don't know what this flying thing was, but I pray tell it's the last one I ever set eyes on.

So in 2 weeks I'll be saying good-bye to sleeping on a foam cot, to all of the cockroaches living in my bathroom drain, to my favorite cats - Sweedy, Skinny Binny, Mr. Rogers, Moo Moo & Flavio, to the great, bizarre, & interesting folks I met, to the virtual Mars in my backyard ... that never seizes to amaze me every morning, to the piercing blue skies and perpetual heat, to sand finding its way into everything, to the gossip and giggles, to treasure hunts, pub nights, and to spending waaay too much time a the pool. Life here will continue on, volunteers will come and go, and I'll make my way back home, a little less sure of where home is, how is should feel, and what it means to me.

Love you all,
Corey

My First Day Off

17 July 2006
Okay, so normally we only get one day off a week. Saturday, for Shabbat. And you can’t go anywhere because everything is closed down and nothing is working. It’s a wonderful idea, but a horrible concept. The one day you have off, you can’t accomplish anything! You can’t catch a bus or go to the store. It’s frustrating. I know my mentality sounds uber-American right about now, but I’m telling ya what … anyway, yesterday I took my first day off. Originally there was a plan for about 5 of us to go to Petra to visit the ancient ruins, but my better judgment told me it would be wise to stay within Israel’s borders for the time being. Hopefully I’ll get to go there before I leave, but maybe I won’t. That’s life.

Sarah and I headed for Eilat after a late night and sleeping in and the day got off to a rough start as we were caught in a massive 2-hour traffic jam outside of Eilat. Probably from increased security, but we were starving. We did manage to find an excellent vegetarian restaurant once we arrived and from there on out, we were in all out vacation mode. We headed down to the south beaches, famous for their coral, tropical fish, and myriad of watersports. We were given some poor advice and accidentally went to a bad spot first, but realized this and decided we’d just walk the mile to where we needed to be. Not the best idea, during the middle of the day, in the desert. I think I may have had a mirage or two. Haha. So we finally, finally, finally make it to our destination, only all of the beaches are private and we’re dying from the heat. So we just walked into a hotel lobby to sit in the air conditioning. After re-hydrating and coming back to our senses, we realized that one could enter a pool area from the lobby and past that the private beaches. So we said, “Don’t mind if we do!” and proceeded to mosey on down to the beach and then we were right next to Club Med’s strip of beach, which looked better for snorkeling so we sat our stuff on the chairs and hopped into the water. Never has anything felt so refreshing. Thank you, Red Sea.

But beyond that, the snorkeling was fantastic. Full of tropical fishies including blowfish, rainbow fish, neon this and that, okay so I don’t actually know any technical terms per se or names for these fish, but I do know they are gorgeous and magical to stare at while you float weightlessly above. Not to mention snorkeling is a good time. Also, we hung out at the beach and when we were done, went back the way we came – through the hotel, making use of their swimming pool, showers, bathroom, and lobby for a cup of Turkish coffee before setting out again. We pretended we were French tourists like everyone else. I felt like one of the rich and famous. A true vacation day indeed!

After that there was some shopping in the outdoor markets and eating of falafel. Best day off EVER.

There are some other random things to write about now, so stay with me.

First of all, I have a favorite cat. “What!?” you say! “Corey? A favorite? WHAT?” It’s true. I’m a new woman. I fell in love with a cat named “Sweedy” who keeps me company during the days at Keren Kolot. She’s one of the sweetest, kindest animals I’ve ever been privy to. So yes, the object of my affections is a cute, skinny cat that hangs out with me at work. I think I’m in love (But I still love dogs more, don’t worry). I didn’t know cats could be so nice, though I am still allergic so I wash my hands religiously after petting her. I tried so hard to resist, but today she sat right next to me while I was taking a short break and I caved. I also have new appreciation for things such as clean hotel rooms, fruit smoothies, cockroach-free bathrooms, rain & clouds, easy transportation and many other things that I thought of yesterday, but am failing to recollect today.

Things that I don’t appreciate: The Egged Bus. Ahhhh! This is the slimiest, most-crowded mode of transportation you’ve ever experienced. There are never enough seats to sit down and when there finally are, this sweaty, overweight, sleaze-ball of an Israeli man sits next to you and basically crowds you up against the window and starts touching your leg and face and telling you you’re beautiful and trying to kiss you and making you feel like you’re going to vomit because he’s this huge boulder of a person and you can’t make him move and he doesn’t understand English. Ugh! Then you have to wait for the screaming baby across the isle to distract him enough so that he gets out of his seat; meanwhile, you slide out behind him and make a mad dash for the back of the bus. Okay, maybe this only happened once. But it was enough to scar me for the rest of my life! No one deserves to have this happen to them. No one, I tell you!

Well I have to stop ranting because my time here on Sarah’s computer is up. Why? Because it’s pool time, baby! So grab your swimsuit and hit the water!

Love,
Corey

XOXO

15 July 2006
First of all, thank you to everyone for their emails, comments, messages, and the like. It makes me feel like I'm so fortunate to have so many good people in my life that care about me and my well-being.

I know things seem crazy here right now and yes, I am staying abreast of the news and the situation as it unfolds.

But I want all of you to know that I'm staying safe and not taking any risks. Where I am is located in the far south and is extremely isolated. There aren't many people or places in the vicinity - I'm literally in the middle of the desert. I feel very safe and if it weren't for the convenience of modern-day media technology, I'd have no clue that the country was at war.

If the situation was to become increasingly and unbearably worse, I would take the necessary steps to evacuate from the country. But for now, all is well in my little corner of Israel.

Again, thank you for your concerns and wishes. I love and miss you all, but am really quite happy here in Israel.

Peace,
Corey

Don't Worry

13 July 2006
In light of recent events, we're postponing our trip to Petra until things cool down (and hopefully they will).

So please rest at ease and know I'm safe.

Instead, I'm going to go snorkeling with Sarah in the Red Sea this Sunday (the link brings you to her fab Flickr photos). Snorkeling is safe and beautiful. :)

Last night hiked the desert under the full moon. We didn't even need flashlights, the moon was so big and bright. We made pitas over open fire and dined by the light of the moon. Dreamy sigh.

Love,
Corey

"You really float through life good."

10 July 2006
My apologies - I have been rather slack about updating this blog. It seems odd too, since really I have nothing to do. I spend my days idly after work, flipping through a book and of course, going to the pool.

But between dancing for endless hours on pub nights (my dancaholic nature is back in full gear - I've been there for closing all 3 pub nights I've been here!), watching the Mondial on a large projector screen in the dining hall with hoards of screaming kibbutznik children, galavanting to Eilat so a friend could get his hair cut and another her plane tickets, planning, crafting, talking, drinking, eating ... well ... it's easy to see how one's time evaporates like water here in the desert.

Already we've been losing some volunteers and gaining others. It's the nature of the game, but it's easy to get attached to someone in a very short time when you're living in a dorm-like situation. And while I'm not particularly fond of everyone here, there are lots of great people and no one that I despise either. I feel very calm and relaxed. Hopefully this won't fade like a tan when I return home and I'll be able to take life a little more "one step at a time."

I can also now say that I've been swimming in the Red Sea. It's very boyant and my friend Arielle and I enjoyed ourselves as we imagined and acted out moves from "The Matrix" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." I'm contemplating taking a scuba diving course either in Eilat or Egypt when I'm done with my stint here at the kibbutz. Possibly a 5-day beginners course so that I can get my certification and go diving anywhere in the world. What a dream come true! I think this would be outstanding. The coral reefs in Egypt are supposed to be some of the most breath-taking and unique in the world. I'm going to look into it. Another option would be taking a ferry or flight to Greece for a week (soooooo tempting and inexpensive from here!).

This weekend, my friends Sarah, Doron, and I are tentatively planning to travel to Petra in Jordan to explore the ancient ruins and go camping in the desert:
About Petra

The feeling of nothingness out here is something I've never experienced before. Especially when you go out to the sand dunes or away from the kibbutz and all you can see is sand and rock and all you can hear is the wind whispering in your ears; there is nothing. You can't see anything living. You can't hear a thing besides the sound of your own thoughts.

The most beautiful sight here is when the sun is setting. The mountains turn red as the sun dips down behind them. Then the air becomes tolerably cool and the moon shines like a giant orb against the pitch black sky. I've never seen so many stars in my life and when you drive away from the kibbutz, the milky way explodes out of the darkness. Phenomenal.

What else? I'm sure there's more to tell. I still need to take more pictures of the kibbutz; I've been working on just living in the moment and enjoying this place and the people surrounding me so my interest in photography has somewhat fallen by the wayside. One of these days though ... one of these days.

An Israeli guy that I met here told me a few nights ago that I "float through life good" and that I just had "a very good energy." Apparently it's a saying here in Israel - "to float through life well," but I just thought it was one of the nicest things I've ever heard. To me it seemed a very un-generic compliment.

Missing you and hoping all's well,
Corabelle

Ketura Tid-Bits

03 July 2006
"One man's trash ... is another man's craft project" - Jeremy on project "Trash to Treasure." The other day Arielle, Sarah, and myself set out on a treasure hunt around the kibbutz and then spent hours working on craft projects. I made a bracelet and some hanging wall art. Sarah made some, too. Pictures to come. Jeremy is a hilarious, crazy boy from Ohio who works in the hotel, is getting his master's degree from a nearby university, and speaks in strange accents more often than not. I've dubbed him "Doppel Douche" after a German men's bath product that he found working and decided to bring home. It's both a body wash and shampoo. Maybe it was the blistering midday sun, but I'd never heard anything funnier than the name "Doppel Douche."

I work at a hotel, under an Israeli guy named, "Guy." He doesn't really understand my English very well, but apparently this goes both ways. The other night when we were sitting outside drinking he says to me, "I'm always telling jokes and you don't understand. And this is really killing me because I'm a funny guy!" So I laughed then and there and now I think I understand him better. He was right - I hadn't understood when he was joking before and now I get it. We're buddies and I help him take his truck to pick up laundry - a glamorous escape (not really) from the life of a chambermaid (a term my roommate uses to refer to housekeepers ... the Brits really have a way with words). Also, Guy encourages me to eat lots of fresh fruit at work. I've never been one to turn down a nectarine.

Today I worked with a guy who had been labeled a real loner and kind of spacey. After working with him, I think - yes, he's an odd duck, but the term "spacy" has been incorrectly been assigned to a language barrier. He's from Switzerland, speaks French, has no one to talk to in his native tongue, and doesn't understand English or Hebrew all that well. Anyway, I encouraged him to come to the pool today and folks were shocked to see him. But he played volleyball and smiled; he hung out with people. I felt pretty great about it.

Tonight I'm going up into the sand dunes with some people from work. The reason I'm going is that we have these groups of young Jewish teens on tours who come through and stay at the Kibbutz hotel. A tour leader takes them on a hike through the sand dunes and we come along to help make pitas and serve dinner. I think I'll probably be doing this about once a week considering a group is taken up to the dunes nearly every day.

Well that seems like enough tid-bits for now, right?

I'm going to try to take some photos of the kibbutz and surroundings and get them up on my blog. Don't go holding your breath, but I promise to try.

Lots of love,
Corey