It has been a constant source of worry for months. The Daughter left for an internship in Israel one week before Operation Protective Edge. I worried right through the war, checking compulsively 5 times a day for news.
Not My Choice
I know. I know. I know. Many mothers will be scratching their heads asking why I allowed her to go. Like I had a choice? The Daughter is all of 20 years old. Back when I was 20 years old, I pretty much did what I wanted too. The difference between my daughter and I is that I would have gone right ahead to do what I wanted to do without telling my own mom ANYTHING.
When Israel attacked Gaza, the National University of Singapore required her to get my formal signed permission to be allowed to stay in Israel. I agonised for 2 days telling her that since I was legally responsible for her wellbeing, I would need to think hard and maybe say "No."
The defiant Whatsapp that came into my phone read as follows, "Mom, I am only a few months away from 21 years. Had this trip happened 6 months later, I would have been able to make this decision on my own. I should have just forged your signature and be done with it."
That shook me. I was made keenly aware that she wasn't asking my permission to stay. She was TELLING me to sign that piece of paper. So, I did. I signed it.
No Rest for the Worried
I breathed a sigh of relief when a long-term truce was declared and held. It appears now that The Daughter's thirst for adventure will not grant me rest.
Last Tuesday, a whatsapp arrived stating, "We are preparing to go to Petra, Jordan."
Oh dear! What with the Syrian war, ISIS, various beheadings... a mother is allowed to worry right? Staring into my phone in the dark of my bedroom, I wished that I could forever lock The Daughter up in a little cupboard at home to keep her safe from herself.
A flurry of Whatsapps ensued. I did not want her to make the trip. It wasn't safe. "There are lustful men in the desert on the way there who have no respect for women. Do you want to become a Bedouin's sex slave?" I whined.
Then, I tried some emotional blackmail. "You should not make your Mommy worry." I wrote.
The cheerful answer blinked its existence onto my phone, "Next time, I will tell you after I make the trip, ok?"
At that point, I really felt like cursing in 4 languages, "Ohhhh... bloody hell!"
Back in Israel
Anyway, now that she is back in her Tel Aviv home safe and sound, I cannot help but feel proud of her. The Daughter knew how to find, earn and deserve a rare opportunity. Of a multitude of applicants, only 12 finally made it to Israel on an internship. The Israeli companies were the final decision makers. You had to pass the job interview. The Israeli companies do not assess applicants on paper qualifications, the way Singaporean companies tend to do. Even though she has made the Dean's list almost every semester and has 8 A level distinctions to show, we knew that these qualifications cut little ice with the Israelis. They had to see her and like her.
They like her.
The Daughter has a sense of adventure and is not afraid to take some risks. The Daughter actually went to Petra!
Some market somewhere...
I dunno where...
Dead sea mud pack.
Floating in the Dead Sea.
The camels at Petra are not well-treated. However, the Bedouns in the desert are very gentle with their camels.
The Indiana Jones view of Petra.