I live in the center of the world. That is, if you’re going by this ancient map of the world.
The mosaic of this map is in the Cardo in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and there is a new tiled version outside of City Hall. My memory of historical facts is poor, but I believe that this map wasn’t symbolic: people actually believed “all roads lead to Jerusalem.” (Please correct me if you know the real history of this map). Of course we have all seen a modern globe and know now that Jerusalem is not in the center of the world. But I tell you, sometimes it feels like it is.
Although Jerusalem isn’t in the center of a map, it is often the center of attention and has been for centuries. Because of this, I really feel sometimes that I live in the center of the world. Oftentimes I am overwhelmed by this feeling and living in the tension breaks me down (note: I had a huge emotional breakdown over it last week). But sometimes I think, “I live in the center of the world. That is so COOL!”
I had that thought recently because I was seeing my “world” in public places:
1) A Cookbook
The new best-selling cookbook, Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi references my school and my church. And I’m not even joking when I say that the pictures in the book are so familiar that I’m looking to see if I’m in any of them.
2) A Commercial
I went to the movie theatre to see Jurassic Park in 3D (best movie-going experience of my life) and was surprised when I saw a commercial before the film that looked familiar. First I shouted, “Hey, that’s my neighborhood!” Then I shouted, “Hey, that’s my street!” And finally, “Hey, that’s my HOUSE!” It was cool. If you want to see what it looks like where I live, just watch this commercial. I know every place in it. *Note: where the kid rolls around in grass doesn’t actually exist. I saw them filming one day and was happy to see we had a new patch of grass, but when I came back later it was disappointingly and suddenly gone. At least now I know why it was there for a day!
3) A Movie
An Israeli movie came out this summer and is being shown in every theatre I know of. It’s cool because it has Patrick Stewart in it, but also because all of the hospital scenes were filmed at my school! The filming took place last year; school started a couple days late because of it, they used my classroom for props and whatnot, and Patrick Stewart autographed a copy of Romeo and Juliet for me. And now, the movie is out and my school is in it! So cool. Here’s the trailer, however our school didn’t make into the trailer itself, just the film. But watch the trailer anyway, because it’s good.
4) A Conclusion
I remember when I first moved here a friend of mine from college was passing through the city. I was taking her to the main sites in the Old City when she asked me, “What’s your favorite thing about living here?” I replied, “There is always the potential for something to happen.” At that exact moment, we saw Bill Clinton walk down from the Dome of the Rock and over to the Western Wall, where he impeccably proved my point. I am excited about moving back to the States eventually, but I do wonder if I’ll find myself a little bored after living here, in the center of the world.