I thought I'd give an update on how the Gaza situation is affecting us.
First of all, I have to say how much I haaaaate the fighting going on. The people here already have so many tensions between each other. This does nothing but make it worse. There are no easy answers, and depending on the day, Tom and I find ourselves upset or feeling sorry for one side or the other. All we can do is keep on loving the people of both sides, and pray for the situation to improve.
With that said....
As far as our day to day activities, it's not much different. Most days around here consist of me going to the grocery store, and Tom going to school, and those things are very doable. Besides the fact that there are helicopters flying overhead aaaaaaaall day, and there have been demonstrations at Tom's school, an average day is about the same.
But our normal thing to do when we have extra time is to go somewhere farther away, which usually entails riding a bus, or walking a good distance. We haven't done much of either all week, despite our desire to do so. I'm sure there are plenty of places we could go, but when you have two little ones you're in charge of keeping safe, it's hard not to grow uneasy at the thought of taking them somewhere that there could be demonstrations, rock throwing, gas cans, etc.
For instance, today we really wanted to go to the Old City. It's a good place to go on a Friday because the bus we take there is an Arab bus, so it runs all day and we don't run the risk of not being able to get back (Israeli buses stop running around sun-down on Fridays for the beginning of Shabbat). But we received a text message from the university yesterday telling us to avoid the Old City today because of "increased tensions". We knew this basically meant that there would be lots of Muslims in the Old City because of it being their prayer day, so there was no way to know if that would cause violence or unrest. From what I read in the local online paper today (I check it way too much lately), there were a few things here and there, but it stayed relatively calm.
So the only other place we could think of to go was a nearby Arab store just down the hill from us that's open 24 hours. We went with our good friend Andrew and picked up a few things that are often hard to find at our regular store.
As we headed down the hill, we could hear a bunch of yelling just over the hill in the other direction. We thought it was maybe a soccer game or something because it was A LOT of people doing A LOT of yelling. We kept walking. Then we heard what sounded like gun shots or firing of gas canisters. This went on for a minute or two, sending birds all over the sky above us.
We just went our merry way.
Then there were the couple dozen police and soldiers who were camped out where the university campus turns into the Arab neighborhood we were walking to. They all had their usual machine guns draped across their bodies.
On the way back there was a bunch of smoke coming from that same place up over the hill where we had heard the noises. My guess is that it was a demonstration in the nearby neighborhood of Isawiyya which included gun shots fired into the air, and burning trash cans in the streets.
And that's "a day in the life of us".