And then there were none.

Anthony Crisafio writes:

And then there were none.  The dig is winding down, we have taken down our shades, dismantled our tool collection, moved our rocks, cleaned our dirt, and done every other mindless and menial task in preparation for the impending balloon photo shoot.  Outside of the winding down of lectures, the last minute scramble to finish papers and course work, my thoughts turn to all of the things that I will miss about the dig and all those things I cannot wait to return to.

Of the things I will miss most, the people (both staff and students) rank highest.  Over the past 7 weeks, I have come to rely on these people as much as my friends and family at home.  The staff have taken me in when I am sick and “mothered” me until I submitted to their recommendations to see a doctor or to take a 5 minute break and drink some water so I don’t pass out.  They have taught me about a field I know nothing about (though that has changed now) and have made sure I wasn’t destroying anything too important.  The students have made sure that my sanity left in the same shambled manner that it came it and that my own unique brand of crazy was kept in check.

I will also miss the digging. Though back break, foot twisting, and exhausting, I have come to enjoy the manual labour, for both its mindless repetition and for its intellectual rigour (i.e., don’t destroy anything too important).  I have come to enjoy watching the sun come up in the morning and the sun in general while I work.

In addition to the Tel, I will miss this country.  Israel is a country I have wanted to come to for a long time, it was one of the primary reasons for me coming on this dig this summer.  Have spent 7 weeks travelling and seeing thigns I have constantly heard of was spectacular.  It has reaffirmed my faith in the world and in myself.  Of all the places within the country I will miss Jerusalem most.  It was a place where I was able to finally think about my life post-graduate school and to sit in quiet contemplation and just be.  This might not seem like much to most, but I don’t (and can’t) do this when I am in the states.

Of the things I am looking forward to when I get home, I will quickly list them as to not take away from all the things I will miss: sleeping in a proper bed, amazing food (though when not on the kibbutz the food is quiet good), a shower in the morning and staying clean past 6am, my people (both friends and family), having my car, and being able to charge my phone (I lost my charger the first weekend).

As I prepare to leave, I think about whether or not I will be coming back.  To this country is a simple and resounding YES!  I am already making plans to come back and what sights I will see and resee.  But to the Tel, I don’t know.  In 2 years I will (hopefully!) be finishing my first year of PhD in clinical psychology (or a master’s degree in anthropology), I will be surviving on a graduate student’s salary (aka, nothing) and I don’t know if I will be able to take 3 or 7 weeks off to come back.  I do hope to return at some point.  I want to see all of the amazing and talented people again and to maybe dig a little (despite Area J possibly being closed post this season).  But I don’t know.  You will just have to check back in June of 2012 to see if I will be surviving Armageddon again.


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