In Search of Home(s)
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Somebody check the Kinneret: Thanksgiving, by way of toilet flushing

In October, I decided that home is where the mosquitoes are. And then all of a sudden the desert heat left us, and so did the mosquitoes, and I had to come up with less itchy signals of home. This month’s reference point comes in the form of toilet flushing.

Not having grown up in an English-speaking country meant I missed out on all the expressions about pee and poo and everything in between. Luckily, as a 20-something in Israel, I get to atone for this early childhood shortcoming. Even though I work as far from a kindergarten as humanly possible, I find myself sing-songing: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” The water level of Lake Kinneret, the Hebrew name for the Sea of Galilee, is decreasing worrisomely. As such, it becomes impossible to wash an extra dish or flush the toilet in Israel without someone reminding you that you are one-handedly killing the Kinneret. It is, by necessity, a country of environmental conservation, at least when it comes to (toilet) water. Flush erroneously and you shall be rewarded with a Glare.

Seeking to fulfill the athletic ability requirement for both people in this relationship, Elijah chose to bike 60 kilometers today. [The last time I did 60 kms of anything that did not involve more than two wheels was when I thought it was a good idea to trek through the Amazon in the rainy season.] The intrepid biker returned home smelling delicious. When I informed him I had–uncharacteristically–already showered more than once today, he exclaimed, “Oh my goodness! Somebody check the Kinneret! Is it still there?!”

What do you know, it still is. But let’s go easy on the flushing.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for water. For good plumbing, and for toilets. For loved ones who monitor my flushing and nurse me back to health. For the doctors, peace-keepers, peace-makers, development specialists, and volunteers who go out there and give. For those who jar imaginations and plant inspiration. For those who keep us safe, and those who love us from a world away. For the moments at which I can feel the universe winking. This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for love. Because, as Morrie taught me, “love is the only rational act.”


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