DECEMBER 18, 2020

Since the last time I wrote in April, there have been many changes to the Munayer family and their lives. As I write this, we in Jerusalem are just edging out of a second complete lockdown that lasted for over a month. News:

Kay and Salim
My Father died 1/9/20 less than seven months after my Mother. Salim, Sam and I flew to the UK to arrange the funeral (6 people allowed and no singing, one of those weird funerals in COVID time). Sorting the house was difficult due to time restrictions and very quick decisions had to be made.

Since then I have had shingles and numerous back/ shoulder issues probably if not totally related to stress. We were exempt from quarantine in the UK due to ‘exceptional circumstances’ and in Israel due to the UK still being a ‘green’ country at that time. I also lost a good friend who died suddenly in June. It has been a year of loss.

Salim and I continue on with lockdowns and opening ups and everything in between like everybody else. Not sure if it is my age, but I can never seem to remember what we are allowed to do or what times or how many, it changes every week! It is much simpler if everything is open or shut.

Salim and I (or I and he reluctantly agreed), as soon as it is possible, want to walk the Camino de Santiago (French way), a rite of passage into older age, to say goodbye to the old era (me), embrace the next era and accept the changes happening in our lives sort of a rededication of what is left. This decision has prompted buying walking shoes when the shops opened 3 days ago and now we have to break them in and walk! Our Camino will be 500 miles or 790 km, no easy task for two people over 60 years old. Nevertheless, I (and now Salim) are determined to drag ourselves over the Pyrenees. When I first presented the idea to Salim his response was ‘only a week it might rain’. It will rain and we will walking for at least 7 weeks!

Jack and Rawan
John Fareed was born 30/7. He joined his brother (little Salim) now 2. Salim gave himself a version of his name and we all followed his lead calling him Simo. John is now known as Baby John. I might be biased, but they are both gorgeous. Simo has started day-care and is adding Hebrew to his already fluent Arabic and English. He also has started the ‘green runny nose’ that comes with the first winter in day-care out of the house. You might wonder about the doubling of names, John is called after the many Johns in my family including my Father. Rawan is changing jobs and after maternity leave I will be babysitting Baby John 3 days a week. Jack’s job remains uncertain in COVID times.

Still working for Musalaha and bringing order in the office with some tension at home! Sometimes it is hard to know who is the boss of who. He managed to make it to a good friend’s wedding in September in Bavaria and had to wear a green hat and socks. He and John go jogging together to keep fit till the pool reopens.

He finished his MA on line in Jerusalem and did not return to Amsterdam due to COVID. After his internship he was offered a job at the Rossing Centre and is working full time which to be honest was some sort of a miracle in these times.

After spending 5 months here in Jerusalem returned to his (now online) studies at Durham University. I am pleased he managed to get almost 2 years of what university life was like before COVID. The big question is WHAT NEXT? Hopefully he can join us for Christmas. Back to reshuffling study places, leisure spaces and bedrooms. John’s vegetarian arrival to our house meant we all followed suit as I was too lazy to prepare meat and non-meat meals at the same time. All of us, but John, eat meat out of the house (not much though). His reasons were environmental foremost with cost, health and treatment of animals second. Nothing strange has happened to any of us after our new diet, in fact we all feel better!

This is a long update despite the lack of activity forced upon us by COVID.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from us.
Kay Munayer (for all of the family).