Tami’s ticket

When in Clil last weekend, we had a talk with the owner of Hippie Cafe Clil, Tami.

Clil Cafe is one of the great places on earth. We love  the Israeli breakfast there, consisting of more dishes than we can count. Rolls and fresh goat cheese, olives and jams, honey and butter. Tahini, sometimes scented with rosewater. Salad made with cucumbers, tomatoes, a little sea salt and some olive oil. Eggs any way you like them. And Tami remembers how you like your coffee.

Even though the kids detest the scent of cigarette smoke, I can not help but love the way Tami holds a butt between her lips while maintaining long conversations with guests. And she’s quickly forgiven by my bunch when her sun wrinkled hands put a pot of freshly brewed herbal tea on the table.

Clil Cafe itself is a gem for the hippie at heart, too. No windows, and few matching chairs. Mostly carpets and futons on the floor that invite you to take your time and relax. In a place where small children easily stay happy and relaxed for two hours just for breakfast, there must be a special vibe.

When we left, Tami wanted to know more about my husband’s work.

We try, always and everywhere, not to offend anyone. That’s a lucky trait in our nature where we live now. It is easy, much too easy, to offend someone here.

Luckily, the explanation about my husbands work can be bended a little to suit everyone’s taste. We adjust the actual work to Figs or Olives, depending on our audience. This time, we could stick close to the actual work.

Tami’s face lit up. She clearly wanted to talk about equality, freedom, loving thy neighbor. Tami told us about a great thinker shortly after 1967. When the first settlement was built, he said it was like a tumor. And that if not taken care of, it would spread. And make the whole country sick.

Boy, was he right. One look at the most current map, and one can see what takes this country down. Unfortunately, she said, she was not sure if the patient is aware of the root cause of it’s pain, yet.

Tami also said that in the old days, she would get sad, and upset, and even very angry. She would join manifestations and demonstrations. But now she would not anymore. And that made her even more upset.

The simple realization that the injustice did no longer touch her to the point of action, broke her heart. The fact she acted as if she didn’t care anymore ate her from the inside.

My husband nodded in understanding. Told Tami that we still cared, but that was why we could not stay in the country much longer. That what happened here caused us too much pain. That we had to return to the Netherlands to keep our sanity.

Tami looked him in the eye. And like I had feared someone would tell us someday soon, she said it: “You are lucky”, she said. “You can leave”.

In that, she said she found herself paired with her brothers and sisters on the other side of the wall: caught in the conflict, hating every minute of it and not being able to leave.

On the way home my ten year old son asked how much money he had in his piggy bank. He asked if it was enough for a ticket for Tami. Wanting to buy her her freedom in a world where political asylum is not granted to Hippies.

And I, moron that I am, started to explain him about citizenship and visa, in stead of praising him for his borderless kind heartedness.

As soon as we have another house in the Netherlands, I should grant my son what he wishes for most. I should give him what he wants to give others: a ticket to the absence of sorrow and pain. A ticket to freedom of fights and fear.

A ticket back to the Netherlands.



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