I wasn’t expecting much from Nazareth, it was just a place for me to get from Israel to Jordan….I certainly never thought that my first marriage proposal would be in Nazareth…and from a total stranger at that. But it was.
I was on the Abraham Bus from Jerusalem to Nazareth and saw Joshua (his real name) get on the bus at the Tel Aviv Abraham Hostel stop. I was snoozing and opened my eyes a slit to see the newcomers board. I went back to snooze mode.
Before Joshua, I had met Mr Boston in the hostel at Jerusalem. He has a daughter around my age and was solo traveling. We talked a bit. Later on, I met Anthony from Ireland who was living in the UK. Nice guy around my parents age. When I was going to have my lunch at a little shop, he walked past and I flagged him down (recognizing him from the hostel and bus) and asked if he wanted to share my lunch (main objective was because I wanted to split the bill #budgettraveler). Haha.
When we arrived in Nazareth, we had to walk quite a ways from the drop off location to the Fauzi Azar Inn (under Abraham Hostels) and he had quickly disappeared ahead with the rest. I was walking way behind with my 16+kg bag. Upon arrival at the hostel, Joshua was finishing up his check in process. I was in the queue. The receptionist told him to wait, told all of us to wait together until the last one had checked in. I completed my process and sat at the table opposite him.
I had my non-smiley face on.
“Alright guys, you can follow me, I’ll show you around.” We all stood up. Joshua and I faced each other.
“Hi,” he said. “Where are you from?”
“Hi. Singapore. What about you?”
“Oh, I heard it’s a nice place.”
Then we ceased conversation and followed the lady. She directed Joshua to his dorm room and led the rest of us, me, Mr Boston and Anthony to a dorm room on the second level. And that was the last I saw of Joshua. Or so I thought.
I wandered around the town by myself, trying to find some stuff to buy back for my family and enjoying my walk on the cobblestones. Then I saw him, he was sitting down at a restaurant talking to a young-ish girl. I walked on. I had lunch (with Anthony), walked around more, went to the post office, bought some chocolates for friends and was ready to head back to the hostel to rest before dinner. And I bumped into him at Mary’s Well. We both had our sunglasses on but recognized each other.
“Hey!” He stopped.
“Hi there. Where are you going?” I made small talk.
“Oh, I just spent the few 2 hours talking to some Arab kids! It was awesome!”
“Nice! Are you heading back to the hostel?”
“You know what? I’m trying to find some water.”
“Ah, you can find a mini mart down the road…I just bought some stuff there.”
“Oh great! Thanks!” And we were about part our ways when he stopped. “Wait! I don’t even know your name. I’m Joshua.” He stuck out his hand.
“I’m V….” I shook his hand.
After that intro, I went back to the hostel, grabbed my diary and went down to the open air area where there were seats and found Mr Boston seated there with his hands over his wide girth. He smiled and me and motioned for me to sit opposite him. I told him that I was about to calculate my total spending in Israel and then we got caught up with talking. Anthony came through the side door later and took a seat next to Mr Boston. We talked more. I tuned the men out at times and concentrated to on calculating my expenditure.
Joshua walked in and took a seat on the couch next to me. Since I had talked in length to Mr Boston in the Jerusalem Hostel (before we even left for Nazareth), exchanged life stories with Anthony over lunch and the two men had been chatting in the bus from Jerusalem to Nazareth, we pretty much knew each other quite well. Joshua was a newcomer to our group. Naturally we started asking him questions. I tuned the men out again and continued to calculate my stuff- trust me, I can take quite a long time.
Mr Boston and Anthony asked Joshua where he flew in from…which then started a story which dating back to the beginning of the year. Joshua talked on and on (it’s too long for me to get into his story here) but it was LONG. He talked about walking along the streets and praying. Praying about the next step in life, praying for his wife etc.
Wait a minute, was he married? We asked him.
“Nope, I’m looking for her.”
Mr Boston and Anthony immediately turned to me, “There’s V….”
I looked up in horror.
Joshua immediately swerved to me, “Do you want to marry me?”
“Noooooo….” I literally choked.
He looked at me, “You know I always thought how wonderful if I can have a love story like Ruth and Boaz. He just woke up and Ruth was as his feet. It’ll be so nice if I could wake up one day and find someone at my feet.”
I laughed out loud…not a dainty, ladylike laughter (more like a snort), “Wahahahaha, I think I saw some girls sharing your dorm room. Your chance is high…you never know if your Ruth is in there. Thankfully, I’m not sharing your dorm room.”
I turned down his proposal. Perhaps he thought there was a chance for us because I was the only one that understood some of the things he was talking about when he was touching on Christianity. Or maybe he was joking…though he looked quite sincere.
But no, I’ll never be a Ruth.