Thursday, March 4, 2010

Paying it Forward

Hello, internet!

On Tuesday I went to the Moadon No'ar (youth center) in Petach Tikva. Well, to say I "went" might be a little optimistic. Due to some miscommunication, I didn't actually make it there. However, my peregrinations proved productive. (Say that ten times fast!) You learn a lot from wandering about, asking people for directions. Here is what I learned:

-The Israeli stereotype is true: though Israelis may seem brusque, they will knock themselves out to make sure you get where you need to be.

-Case in point: after an embarrassingly long time spent circling Petach Tikva, I came upon a very sweet couple who took personal offense at the fact that I was lost. They checked their GPS for directions. They called their friends. They Googled. (iPhones are wonderful things--you can surf the Internet from a deserted parking lot!) Finally, when it became clear I wasn't going to find this center, they checked bus times back to Jerusalem and drove me to the nearest bus stop. I didn't know their names or anything about them, but they went out of their way to get me to where I needed to be.

This got me thinking about the concept of "paying it forward." (Yes, like the corny movie.) I had done nothing to deserve this random act of kindness except be there. And though I didn't make it to the youth center, I felt--oddly enough--motivated to do more the next time I go to Bet Shemesh. ENP is such a worthwhile organization, and despite the momentary frustration I experienced this Tuesday, I am even more committed to "paying it forward" at the next available opportunity. I'm not sure how this will play out--whether it's tutoring an eighth grader in English or just playing a game of pool with a student, I want to do the best job I can for these kids, just because they're there.

I hope my next post will chronicle that!