It has been a long time since I last wrote. This is because the most emotional and life-altering moments of my travels ended when I left Ukraine, at least that's how I feel about it now. During my travels in Eastern Europe, I satisfied my burning desire for context...the context of family history that I've lacked all these years. I'm not saying that all my questions were answered, nor that I have a complete family tree to share with future generations. But that was never the point of this adventure, and I apologize if I didn't communicate that message effectively to friends, family, and new acquaintances over the course of the last six months. As cliche as I know it sounds, the payoff is and always was about the journey itself, not any tangible evidence like family documentation or solving mysteries a la Everything is Illuminated.
I've been coming down from the high since November, but I am happy to report that the fall has been tempered by the incredible sights of Israel, Turkey, and now Malta. It's unreal how much I've been exposed to in such a short timeframe...I know I've written it before, but it really is too much to take in all at once. It's going to take me a long time to wade through these experiences, which is good news because it means that this is the trip that will keep on giving, long after I'm back on terra firma in North America.
In keeping with the pattern of previous posts, let's take a few moments to breeze through some of the highlights of the last few weeks of my time in Israel, as well as the week in Istanbul that I spent with Angi from Seattle over the Xmas holiday. I made it to Jerusalem and I am so glad that I did. Everything that people told me about the city was true - it is just one of those places in the world that feels special. There is something emanating from the hills, the forest, the stone buildings, the narrow alleys of the Old City, that exceeds the sum of its parts. This is the land where millenia of history have taken center-stage, a showcase for the three great monotheistic religions, where the line between myth and reality is blurred. I took in all the main sights and also allowed ample time for wandering, which I try to do wherever I go.
|Dome of the Rock and Wailing Wall|
|Hagia Sofia Catacombs|
Now, for the first time since I left Lviv on November 18, I'm on my own in Malta where I've tasked myself with getting a head start on the job search back in California. Sightseeing by day, working by night. And an unstoppable eye twitch.