Friday, March 18, 2011

Taglit Birthright Israel Trip - Part IV

The following post was originally handwritten in a journal while on a Taglit Birthright trip in Israel in January 2011.

This post was written on Shabbat. We were told to think, reflect, and relax. Here are my thoughts from that day:

"You know, I'm getting used to writing in a journal; or rather, re-acquainted with the pen and paper. Since a paper journal is private, and I'm aware of that, I worry that my thoughts and observations written in these pages are too heavy or too personal to post to my blog, as I had originally intended. These are my thoughts, and they're for me. There's no reason to share them just to "notify" people that my ideas do or do not align with theirs.

Free expression is nice, but so is reserving some of yourself to keep. Then again, I've never been one to share my serious feelings. Instead, I've often joked with friends that I have the emotional capacity of a rock. On the other hand, most people wouldn't think twice about posting all of this - especially under the influence of facebook, twitter, etc.

[I realize that posting this to my blog pretty much negates my above statement, but it's what I was thinking about at the time, and I've decided to share that.]

It's hard to write about keeping everything in after writing about experiencing a culture where you can be joyful and open. I suppose a literary critic would classify this as an internal struggle between a free, gratifying experience and rigid, personal habit and conviction. I'm going to sleep now before I pour out any more of these thoughts onto paper for you to read.

Later that day:

Let me be clear about my earlier statement on ambivalent Americans in my generation: I'm not just complaining about a problem "other people" have. I am with them. I have no interest in being patriotic or defending the USA either. Am I supposed to love the USA just because I was born there? Of course, I'm very comfortable living there - I'm used to it. Of course life is great and writing this is like discarding a treasure, but it's a treasure I didn't earn - I'm simply lucky to be privileged, to have a great family, and to live in a country where I can freely and publicly write that I don't exactly love the country.

I guess I'm spoiled then. You know how it goes - a child who gets all he/she wants whenever he/she wants it will not properly care for those toys, because to him/her, the toys are disposable, replaceable. And I am a young American, with every right I want, ready to move to another part of the world...albeit maybe not permanently because I'd miss my family. Especially my buddy, Miss Maddie Beagle.

Well, is that just growing and flourishing, and having the privilege to experience different cultures and learn to understand others? That sounds a lot nicer than being spoiled.

Ok, I've really got to stop writing, or at least write in Spanish so most of you won't be able to read this." [Or decide not to transfer everything in the journal onto the blog...]

How odd - This post is a commentary on myself, yet the commentary is constantly interrupted by auto-commentary on my own, previously written thoughts.

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