Posts Tagged ‘Karen Connelly’


May 2, 2010

Thoughts upon returning home (for this writer, home = Brooklyn, New York, United States):

As I did my damndest to leave all expectation at the border, I was surprised to discover the difference between Jerusalem and Fes for me: while both cities were impactful and fascinating, I experienced Jerusalem intellectually and Fes emotionally. Jerusalem ignited my mind, while Fes moved me to tears. Cerebral versus sensual. Head versus heart.

Re. the beginner’s mind:
Kaz: “finding ease in the chaos”
Gary: “finding joy in the humility”
Ognjen: “decolonizing our idea of a strange place”
Eddin: “how are we different from tourists, if at all?”
Carol: “If I hosted someone from Morocco in Illinois, what would I show her?”

Borrowing again from Susan Orlean:
“To be honest, I view all stories as journeys. Journeys are the essential text of the human experience—the journey from birth to death, from innocence to wisdom, from ignorance to knowledge, from where we start to where we end. There is almost no piece of important writing…that isn’t explicitly or implicitly the story of a journey.”

My first stop back in Brooklyn was to our local independent bookstore, seeking a Moroccan cookbook. I chose a lovely little volume with colorful photos, simply called Tagine, by Ghillie Basan. I then headed to the best Middle Eastern grocery store in town, Sahadi’s, on Atlantic Avenue, to purchase ingredients like fresh ginger, saffron, cracked green olives, preserved lemons (for which I thanked the salesperson in Arabic: shokran). But my favorite ingredient: the recipe called for the “freshly squeezed juice of one lemon,” and I realized that I had one from Aziz Bousfiha’s organic garden still in my suitcase (don’t tell the folks at JFK customs). Plucked from a tree in Fes, and, perhaps 30 hours later, squeezed into a chicken tagine in Brooklyn.

We’ll get back to Jerusalem and Fes, and reunite with our new, far-flung friends, one day—insha’Allah, g-d willing. Meantime, some storytelling of the non-verbal variety (click on the photo to access the whole album). Salaam!



kaz for souk ukaz: there she goes. again.

April 15, 2010

the usual pre-travel mayhem
By karenconnelly
the bank, the child, the husband, the house, the article, the forward for the photobook, a note to Susan G, call greece (book ticket or no?) maru’s # in spain, the bank again, hair cut.

and as usual anxiety about the long questioning i’ll receive at customs in the u.s. though last time it wasn’t that bad. but lots of passport stamps incite questions. imagine what it must be like to travel w/ a middle eastern name, brown skin. well. no need to imagine (think of that writer who now refuses to go to the US) it was worse when i lived in greece, but still.

it is an energetic thing, actually. the customs officers sense that i am anxious about border crossing and instinctively unconsciously wonder why and therefore become suspicious. but who isn’t anxious about it these days? ( well, a lot of people, perhaps)

why? why, when i now have an address and a place to live in north america? habit of the vagabond years i suppose. et aussi l’habitude de la france, de la grece–la conviction que traverser la frontiere est casser quelque mensonge. ouvrir le mensonge qu’on dit a nous-meme—-