I am in Palestine. My ancestral home. I breathe its air, I walk on its dirt, I hear its voices. I have returned after being away for eight years. It is a strange journey. Strange in the feelings it stirs. Strange that it is familiar and not, welcoming and not, free and not, normal and not. It is a land that stirs up feelings of repression, oppression, security and occupation, happiness and suffering, hope and hopelessness. It is a land of walls and open skies. It is Palestine.

I came here to learn, to explore, to understand. I also came here to explain, present, communicate, and connect. I’m a participant in a workshop that brings together some 30 participants from eight countries. We are trying to learn and exchange thoughts, ideas, experiences, feelings, and cultures under the umbrella of diversity, discrimination and building understanding. These are areas I believe strongly in and love to learn more about them all the time. I am also representing Jordan, and you all know I love being Jordanian J. I also love exchanges, you learn so much. You learn about other people, other cultures, you encounter new ways of doing the same things. But most of all you learn about yourself.

I am in Palestine, I am at odds with myself for being here and having a fabulous time. But I am open to learning, open to seeing, open to living, open to being here. I know these feelings will be resolved when I return home. Reflecting back on the day I told one of the participants “to be present”. And so for now I am here. I am in Palestine.