It’s evening in Nablus. A massive banner displaying a picture of Yasser Arafat has been hung up overnight, dominating the view from our kitchen windows; Jeremy told me this morning that the Arabic text running across its border means, according to his best translation, “the youth of today will be the martyrs of the future.” […]

Fame and Fortune

Winter? Kinda. The temperature has fallen into the fifties and sixties this past week. I make my morning coffee clumsily, wrapped in an unwieldy blanket cocoon, and long sleeves finally seem like a reasonable thing to wear outdoors. You might think that the onset of fall would kick up our girls’ enthusiasm for sports a […]

Heat; Haram

What do a right angle and Nablus today (October, mind you) have in common? Ninety degrees. Hahahaha! I made that up myself. Side-splitting and topical. Ninety, for those of you who unfamiliar with Fahrenheit, is a lot of degrees. So many, actually, that we had to send our students home early today after we discovered […]

Sky Nablus

Friday evening and there are nine of us crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in the TFP car, a lurching green affair which seems held together more by magic than physics. Ellen and I perch on spare tires in the rear while Mohammad and Saddam narrate the drive in song, drumming with abandon from the backseat. Mohammad seems to […]

Generosity, Happiness

And now a word about Middle Eastern hospitality. It’s… well, overwhelming. Any visitor to an Arab home can rest assured that they will, through ambush or insistence, leave much fatter and happier than they arrived, and will probably have to waddle home and spend a week sleeping off their foodbaby. Stepping out your door is […]


By now, we’re all used to being stared at like we’re some rare species of giraffe on the lam from the Qalqiliya Zoo- probably because we’re all devastatingly attractive, but I guess being the only white faces in Nablus could play some minor role as well. For the first time yesterday, we found ourselves on […]

First class

“Today,” Sean says, and pauses for emphasis, “will be a complete shitshow.” (Sorry for the swearing in what’s meant to be a family-friendly blog… but although I don’t pretend to be an expert of capturing anyone’s essence in print, I really wouldn’t even be making a fair attempt if I censored Sean’s speech). Sean, in […]

And now one for the illiterate

Here it is, the post we’ve all been waiting for. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna fill it up with “words” and “sentences” and all that hippie nonsense, except to point out that a combination of laziness and a certain lightfingered adolescent in Jerusalem means that none of these pictures are actually mine. You can credit […]

True or False? Nablus is boring.

On Friday, we gathered in the the living room of our flat for the first semi-formal Teach For Palestine meeting. We’re eight now- Sean and Jon, the directors, and Ciaran, Helen, Sara, Nick, Daniel and me- and waiting on three more. There’s a certain informality to TFP which, given the nature of the situation, doesn’t […]


Sunday, September 26, 2010 9:47 pm Today, having nowhere in particular to go, I sat down to rewatch A Map For Saturday, a documentary about a guy from New York City who quit his job to travel around the world for a year. The film’s title refers to the eternal Saturday of life on the […]