One of my roommates in my Jerusalem apartment embarked today in the morning on a three-week camping trip. For three weeks, she will not take a shower or use running water. An outdoorsy friend who dropped by to say farewell predicted that after a few days she would just enter a different dimension of reality. Dirt would mean nothing to her. Apparently, you can get used to anything.

Actually, Rachel is one of the most serene people I know and she has already displayed a penchant for not freaking out, for just getting used to things. A month ago, she got lice. She started out with proactive measures. For a week or so, the floor of our shower was slippery with the mayonnaise she was using to suffocate the lice. Now, more or less lice-free, she has just adopted new habits. She wears hats and high ponytails, and occasionally she asks me and our other roommates to comb her hair for nits. Like last night, at 1:30 am...

I admit that as her roommate, I have at times wished she had freaked out and taken drastic measures to completely eradicate her lice. Like yesterday. Yesterday I really worked myself up into a tizzy over this. My scalp started itching right when I woke up, and by noon I was convinced I had caught lice from sweet, serene Rachel. I was already envisioning how I would do things differently than her—I would march straight to the drugstore and get one of those hazardous lice-poison shampoos and lather right up. I would not subject my roommates to greasy shower floors or companionable nit-picking sessions.

Not only that, I concluded, I am going to leave this country! This insane country where everyone has lice and no one seems to care! I will go back to America, where things are sanitized and boring and efficient!

My musings were broken by a phone call from a friend. An Arab from East Jerusalem had plowed a tractor into traffic, overturning buses and cars, killing two people (a third has since died) and wounding many. I heard the sirens outside. I went online and discovered that this was all happening about a five minutes walk from my house, where I walk nearly every day.

So I decided that I absolutely must stay in this country where people want to kill us. I am never leaving this country! If there are people who want to kill me for being Jewish and living here, I will stay here forever!

What to do next, though? Some immediate action seemed called for. But I couldn't think of what.

So I said Psalms.

Then I gave the equivalent of my weekly paycheck to charity. (Survivor's guilt? Thanking G‑d: "not me, not this time"?)

Then I went out, walked around the still-bustling Jerusalem streets, and bought my nieces expensive t-shirts.

I went on with life. What else was there to do? When I got back home from my t-shirt buying expedition, I checked my email. My sister had emailed me that she wanted to write to me about my niece's latest antics, but the events of the day in my neighborhood made them seem really "inconsequential and dumb."

I replied, "Of course I want to hear!" and I read on with delight. My brilliant niece, never has there been another child like her.

I went out again, as evening came on, to catch a bus to visit my aunt outside of Jerusalem. When I got back late at night, I asked one of my roommates to check me for lice. I was declared a lice-free zone.

Apparently, you really can get used to anything. Even lice.

This is my land. I'm not leaving.