In this episode: We hit eight countries in three days. No wonder we sound so exhausted! Recorded 10/29 in Basel, Switzerland
One place I’ve been that has changed my life forever is Sweden where a handshake is a contract. I went for my first time to visit my mother’s family. Her cousin and I went shopping for a video camera for him. He wasn’t sure. The owner of the store told him to take it home and try it. If he didn’t like it he could return it before he paid for it. That was 18 years ago. It may have changed. But for that moment in time I felt safe. I felt I could trust everyone. Wherever I went people gave me gifts because I was visiting from America.
The place that changed me forever was South Africa. I was a Rotary exchange student to Cape Town for a year, July 1972-73, and also traveled to what are now Namibia and Zimbabwe. For a girl from the rural Midwest who had never even seen the ocean before landing in Cape Town, the cultural, geographical, racial (apartheid), educational (all white, all girls high school), and other differences had me slack jawed daily. My time there made me a questioner and a traveler, and led to my careers: 1st in social work and then in public interest law.
Whoever it was in the Rotary hierarchy that ignored my request to spend a year in Europe, and instead sent me to South Africa, has my eternal thanks.
On my first visit to Israel about 30 years ago, I visited a kibbutz, seemingly a shadow's distance from Lebanon on the North, with a view of Jordan to the East from my guest bedroom window. On a tour of the kibbutz, I was shown an air raid room and was told that each block of homes had such a room. I asked, "When was the last time you had to use it." "Nine months ago," she said. Made me appreciate Israel and the residents even more than before. Magnificent country.
My wife and I were on a Christen pilgrimage to Rome and Israel in the year 2000. Having such a enlightening experience I’ve wanted to return two more times- A Jewish and a Muslim pilgrimage.
I listened to the podcast. All of Jerusalem is in Israel, including the Western Wall, not in "Palestinian territory". Also you can't do justice in Israel in a couple of day's visit.