Oct 1 2012

Notes from a Road Nerd: Israel

Our own Owen Matthews has left on a jet plane to teach an iOS class to Palestinian developers in the West Bank with one of our favorite non-profits, MercyCorps. Their mission is to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.

Owen will send us notes from the road, which we will share with you!

Sept. 26 at 7:40 p.m.

The sunset looks beautiful from the windows of Atlanta’s brand-new International Terminal F. All of the lights around the airport are on—taxiways, runways, aircraft, ground vehicles. Airports feel like completely different places to me at night. I’m plugged into a power post and sitting a chair fashioned from what seems to be recycled rubber. (It’s remarkably comfortable.) I’m taking a break from reviewing the iOS materials I’ll be teaching starting Saturday.

I have never been east of Germany. Israel/Palestine is going to be unlike any other travel I’ve done. That makes me excited. Having seen so much about that whole region of the world on the news and read about it in books and newspapers, I’m surprised at how little I truly know about what to expect. I do know that being there is always different than experiencing things secondhand.

Teaching is always a challenge, and teaching across cultures will add to the difficulty. It’s also rewarding, and I expect the cross-cultural nature will also bring me greater rewards. My primary goal is to make sure I squeeze every drop of opportunity out of this trip that I can—for the benefit of the Palestinian developers, for MercyCorps, and for my own.

Sept. 28.

I’m rested up and mostly time-adjusted; the flight was actually long enough that somehow my days wrapped around completely and I caught up with myself after going through the trans-oceanic warp tunnel. I’m sitting in a very luxurious apartment on a main street in Jerusalem, courtesy of a friend of a friend, doing more preparation for tomorrow’s teaching. Here are a few photos from my trip:

Owen Talmud

The gentleman in front of me, just outside the frame to the left, was studying when he wasn’t sleeping. (Note: no seat directly in front of me—exit row—meant comfortable legs.)

Owen airport

Ben Gurion International. Never seen airport architecture quite like this. My ramp led from the arrivals down to customs. The other ramp must’ve headed from checkin to departures.

Up next

Owen starts teaching in Ramallah Saturday (Sept. 29). We’ll update the Big Nerd Blog with his observations. If you have questions for him, post them here and we’ll get the answer!


  1. tappdarden

    Is there any update to this? i want to know how it went! what was the class like?

  2. Yes! Owen has some great updaes for us. We hope to have them up next week.

  3. cleaning services Alberton

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having
    a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% certain. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  4. Mark Dalrymple

    You can get a blog for free – just check out sites like WordPress or Tumblr. They have cheap packages where you can point your own domain name to them. The content is the hard part :-)

Leave a Comment

Join the discussion. Do not worry, your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>