Being under pressure for weeks can be stressful. In the morning, I have to go to work. In the evening, I have to do my housework. Then at night, I have to prepare my applications to study my MA abroad. For weeks, I was in the same circle. I didn’t have time to meet friends or to join any social activities. With all of this, I felt exhausted and lonely.
Even after I finished applying to the social science programs at the universities, I felt stressed about whether I will be accepted or not. Until now, I still can’t feel calm.
In addition to all of this, the power was cut off as I live in Gaza, which has been under the siege for more than ten years. We had electricity for just four hours a day, which meant I didn’t know what do with these four hours!! I didn’t know whether to finish my applications or do my housework. Life in Gaza drives me crazy day after day.
Finally, I had time to open my Facebook. My friends were organizing a trip to pick strawberries. Without thinking, I said, “I will join you guys.” It was a good chance to try something new. Gaza is a small place where there are not many entertainment places; even though there are some places, it is so expensive for a student!
We went a long way from the middle of Gaza to the north to reach Bit’Lahya where the strawberries are. In some streets, you could see the destruction of homes which were destroyed by Israelis during the last aggression. Then there is the bright side where green lands with the fruits and vegetables are. As much the first picture can make you feel sad, the second one can give you a sense of calmness through the green colors.
Picking strawberry with friends, telling jokes, and taking photos and selfies through the vast green lands all changed my mood totally. I could forget about all of the exhausting moments I had before. I enjoyed meeting new people, new friends with pure spirits. I was full of life and love.
Simple things can have great effects. After picking the strawberries, we made a strawberry juice together, and prepared some sandwiches of thyme (Za’atar), cheese and hummus. Living the simple life as Palestinian farmers do gave us inspiration and the power of calmness rather than the hard, chaotic life in the city.
Strawberries gave me the power to love, to find new things, to bring lovely new moments to my life. Now I can come back home and finish my work with so much power, smiling while I eat the strawberry that I picked.