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Pebble in a Pond.

July 10, 2010

It’s been so long, I’ve been sitting here for 10 minutes not knowing how to begin.  This I’ll just start typing.

People are not gods.  We may strive to be ‘god like’- but all of us, doctors, lawyers, parents, friends, teachers, mechanics alike at all just people.  People who make mistakes.  People who always have a little immaturity hiding inside of them. (well, some have more than others :P).  Now, the setting of this video is Hebron, West Bank.  I assure you, it’s real!

So where have you been over the last few days, you ask?  Good question because I’m not 100% sure.

It started in the Golan Heights- learned alot about the Israeli army and the Yom Kippur war.  Fun fact: the israeli army is by no means a conventional army.  On duty on any given day, something like 80% of the soldiers are between 18-21.  How does Israel win so many wars?  answer: they dont.  they’re kids with guns who like to dance to Kasha.  The Israeli army is set up in such a way that the only job given to the front line soldiers, in the event of an attack, is to ‘hold the fort’ for 24 hours until the reserves are called up.  Let me relay a quick story.  In 1973, Israeli society is still partying in the wake of the 6 day war in 1967, the economy is booming, and Israelis feel invincible.  the Arabs decide to attack on a cold morning in October catching Israeli by surprise.  This is despite the fact that Golda Meir was personally told about the impending attack, but that’s another story.  The Syrians attacked and conquered the entire Golan heights in a matter of days- essentially walking over the 18-21 year old front line soldiers, but for some reason… they stopped advancing.  My tour guide, Yariv, gave multiple explanations why they might have stopped but in essence, the state of Israel did not fall because of that crucial, Syrian tactical mistake.  eventually, the reserves got out of shul, beat the traffic, and got to their stations (where they were still the most disorganized army on record!).

There’s no place like home, There’s no place like home, There’s no place like home… and I end up in Greece?  I’ll take it.

I spent 7 days in Greece.  Beautiful, sometimes dangers, lots of history and no jelly fish Greece.  I saw all the usual sites in Athens, the acropolis, the jewish museum, acropolis museum.  they were nice.  the greek government is rebuilding the ancient acropolis and I couldn’t stop thinking what would happen in Israel if the israeli government started rebuilding the jewish temples.  Bear with me for a second, what if there were no Palestinian conflict, and the jewish government sanctioned a rebuilding of the physical structures of the temple.  what would you think?  indifference? whoa? tourist trap?  Made me go ‘whoa’.

i met up with 3 friends in Ios, later travelling them to Santorini, and Kos.  Ios is one big party on an island completely invaded by Australians.  Santorini is a beautiful island with what is arguably one of the most beautiful sunsets on the planet.  What did we do on Santorini?  I rented a motorcycle, climbed an active volcano, visited a red beach, a black beach, and climbed down 587 stairs from the city of Fiera to the port of Fiera.  587 stairs covered in damn, stinky, donkey crap!  it was only fitting that the one (not me) who suggested that we walk down to the port fall on the stairs. hehehe!

this next part of the story is an interesting tale weaving seemingly unrelated events together in a poetic and ‘whoa’ sort of way.  First, some background.

1)a few months ago, my auntee sandee mentioned that she would like to see the world from the perspective of a kayak.  I thought it was a cool idea- but moved on.  I was never infatuated with kayaks because I was never able to do a kayak roll successfully.

2) My itinerary was never to go to Kos.  In fact, me and my friend sam wanted to go to crete with the other 2 guys.  however, we didnt buy the ferry tickets in time, and the ferry workers went on strike for 24 hours.  The first ferry off the island was to Kos.

continuing on, Sam and I arrive in Kos hang out on the beach, go out at night (also, huge parties), and the next and final day we decide to spend at the beach.  With not much to do, I decide to rent an ocean kayak and go kayaking to the end of the bay at this peninsula like point.  Now, the guy renting the kayak told me not to pass a certain balloon.  I told him no, im going past it.  I wasnt going out deep where the ferries pass by, I just didnt want to do laps in a 200 meter-50 meter box.  Anyways, im kayaking up the beach and about 200 or so meters or so past this balloon I see a guy fall out of his dingy boat into the water.  heres the thing, he couldn’t swim.  Like any other human being on earth, i paddle right to this guy who wasnt more than 15 or so meters from me and about 50 or more meters from shore.  he was coughing when he grabbed onto the kayak.  Then, George from Romania and I paddled back to shore.    Now, this story is particularly interesting not just because of the way I coincidently arrived in Kos, but because on the ocean- sound doesn’t travel, especially, when one is in distress.  In every sense of the imagination, I stumbled into the exact right place at the exact right time.  kinda crazy, right!

This story reinforces a philosophy in life that I hold really deeply that I call the ‘Ripple Effect’.  it also goes by butterfly effect.  consider dropping a pebble into a pond and watching the ripples expand.  that one action causes so many other reactions.  It was truly magnificent being able to actually trace the steps of how I met George from Romania.

coming up in the coming weeks.  Justin learns to play soccer and secures a volunteer placement.  The leading candidate is to work in a small community working with teenagers sent by the courts or child/social services.  What does working with me?  Stay tuned!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. mOm (aka Miriam) permalink
    July 11, 2010 1:38 pm

    Pebble in the pond, eh? Right place at the right time? Synchronicity?
    It’s definately all about luck and timing for George!!!!!
    Every moment IS an adventure, isn’t it!

    Again and always…. very proud of you Justin!

    Missing you….
    Have fun… Stay safe… Love you.


  2. Noa Gurvis permalink
    July 12, 2010 4:26 am

    No jelly fish in Greece!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Wow, each time I hear about it, the place gets better and better! I am SO moving there! Umm, but maybe later after I’ve published a few books and finished school and found my own place and raised three puppies to dogs (English Sheepdog, Portugese Water Dog, King German Shepard), well, it takes time to plan. I’m still thinking it over. Back to subject… I keep thinking: how lucky for George that you just so happened to be in Kos AND kayaking near him. What if you had not found him? Would someone else have found him? Was he meant to be found? Would he have been found if no one was around? Is there a force controlling this? I’M CONFUSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyways have a nice time in Greece! Looking forwards to your next post – always!!

    Lots of love,

    P.S. what’re your plans for October??

    • July 15, 2010 8:16 pm

      instead of waiting until you publish the books, maybe you write the books in greece?!?!??! What a view!
      as for the confusion… day by day! It appears that sometimes the most meaningful experiences happen completely by accident and were completely out of our control.

      Love ya and send my love to everyone!


      PS. October isnt looking too good. I think im going to have to web-cam/conference call myself into the ceremony and dancing. Looking forward to your next comment!!!!!!!

  3. Dad permalink
    July 12, 2010 3:01 pm

    Hi Justin!

    Another Excellent Blog!

    “Pebble in a Pond”. What a Great title! And so full of mystery. The question is, who threw in the first pebble? Where did it start? For instance, what happened that created a love affair between Auntie Sandee and a kayak, that allowed her to share her feelings with you on the subject? And what happened that made the person who influenced that person who influenced Auntie Sandee?

    As I’m writing, I’m laughing too, as it sounds alot like Had Gadya, Had Gadya, the Passover song about “an only kid my father bought for two zuzim!”

    Love you, miss you and look forward to seeing you soon!



  4. auntie c permalink
    July 15, 2010 2:39 am

    what intrigue…from greece and kayaks to the Golan tour guide story teller-can’t imagine what’s next–the adventure continues. I feel sometimes when you right lik I am right there sharing that moment with you…I can feel the water,the smelly dung filled steps and the great beaches. Most of all I picture your face as you take in story after story–moment after moment–and try to make sense of it all.
    18 carrying an m-16? countered by the beauty of a land a people so hard to put into words
    love you and miss you
    enjoy enjoy enjoy enjoy enjoy

    • July 15, 2010 8:14 pm

      well, to be honest- i didnt feel you when i was walking down those donkey shit stained steps… all 587 of them. but when we got off the cable (to get back up)- i definitely got a ‘rush’ of family through me!

      Love you lots and thanks for the comments 🙂


  5. Bubby Ann permalink
    July 16, 2010 9:28 pm

    So excited to read more about your adventures. You definitely have to consider writing a book about “Justin Meet the World; World, Meet Justin. You already have the chapter titles from your blogs. I can hardly wait to get the next chapters in your adventures. Loved the dancing, it’s a great way to keep one’s sanity in such dire circumstances. I wonder what the Arabs think of them?? We dance, we sing, we keep our sense of humour. No wonder we have survived for so many years. We are also the only nation on earth with a ” Defense Force” and not an “Army”. When will the world let us live in peace??
    Wishing you lots more fun happenings. Enjoy!!! Enjoy!!!
    Shabbat Shalom!!! Lots of love and hugs, Bubby Ann

  6. Sandee Sharpe permalink
    July 20, 2010 6:02 pm

    Love the new post and the photos. You’ve probably done more for international relations between Canada and Romania than anyone else recently. Trust me, George is a huge fan of Canada right now! Credit to you Just, for going with the flow and being in the right place at the right time – rather than trying to make logical sense of it all. I’m back from kayaking in the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. Not one of our booked kayaking tours happened the way we so carefully planned ahead of time – and yet, we were in kayaks 4 times over 8 days and ultimately it really did work out better than we had planned. It’s often a matter of faith and trust that things unfold as they do. Keep on being the pebble in the pond Just and embracing our wonderful world! Hugs, Auntee Sandee

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