A friend in Beijing once described to me how all experiences fit into three categories. The best category, according to her reckoning, are those activities one suffers through at the time yet comes to treasure in retrospect. Perhaps that is how I should understand the halfway point of my summer in Syria, when bed bugs and food poisoning came together to leave me suffering in the stifling heat for two miserable days. Until they struck, everything I had encountered in Syria had come edged in gold. My classes, the weather, the food, my newfound friends...everything impressed me. And then I spent two days in a world of retched pain and when I recovered, nothing was the same. Syria still amazes me. But the glitter is gone.
In Jewish folklore, 'Kefitzat Haderech,' the shortening of the way, is the ability to travel with unnatural speed, to be in one place and then suddenly appear in another.
Kefitzat Haderech is now the notes of a former grad student, no longer traveling across Asia as he prepares for life as an Israeli combat soldier. Insights on Garin Tzabar, Gibushim and the Israeli Army.