By Meghna Girish, a student of MA program in Art Therapy, 2016-2017 Cohort.
There’s something about travelling which has with it a sense of discovery and amazement, if one is keen enough to keep one’s eyes open. Even the most trivial things seem to grab our attention then, causing us to go deeper and move into the land of where thoughts give shape and form to our memories and experiences in life. This sums up my travel experience in Haifa.
For me every time I use the public transportation it’s like I discover something new. In the midst of justle, trying to catch your space in the bus, swiping away your rav kav I realize how the past months have flown by and how I’ve become accustomed to travelling in the Egged buses. The ups and downs, the hills and valleys which the bus covers by, itself lends a deep thought where I can’t help but think about my journey of coming to study in Israel.
Aside from the seemingly deep, or almost philosophical impressions from my bus journeys, I find Haifa to be a great city to be at in Israel. From young kids going to school, to IDF soldiers, to religious men reading their scriptures, to elderly women with their agalas (carts) containing groceries, it’s a rich experience of seeing people from different age groups, different backgrounds and occupations.
Back at home in India, where I am used to carrying with me a couple of coins for the bus ticket, where there’s a bus conductor asking me what ticket I’d want, working with the rav kav has been different. Initially it was quite challenging as all the announcements and writings were in Hebrew. This pushed me to google and find out what the phrases meant and how to say line number in Hebrew. I managed to even say it in the same way too, with the rhythm and tone – “ Atahana Abaa, Aba Hushi, Shaahar Haifa” (the next station, Aba Hushi [street name])
There were moments where I’ve missed buses, caught the wrong bus, having to wait for almost 40 minutes to catch the right one. Though it was frustrating at the moment, I feel the experience sharpened me, to be more alert and I could discover another part of the city which I normally wouldn’t gone into, haha!
Moving on, another thing which I love about the bus travels is the geography of the land; peering outside the window I find the landscape breathtakingly beautiful. Its almost meditative for me. Other than the bus, I’ve ridden on the Carmelit, the underground, just once during one of the Haifa tours which was an interesting experience too, skipping the traffic and the long delays.