worn embroidered sheets; blinding orange glow from the heater. we’ve been living with tsafi’s grandmother (safta) for two months now. we are relying on family as a means of existance and it’s very hard for me coming from a place where i’ve been on my own for 10 years. my stuff is in boxes. evenings are not my own. every agorot is analyzed. internet access sporatically allowed. this is my only immediate way of contacting everyone at home. i feel loved but overwhelmed. ulpan is impossible. after weeks of struggling to understand concepts of past tense verbs we’ve now moved on to future tense verbs and i’ve said to myself that i’ve given up; yet i find myself still sitting down to do homework trying to get it. the weather is just as indecisive. torrential rain one minute; bright sun the next. what a shock it wsa to me after such a summer to realize that israel has such a winter! i’ve been wearing my long wool coat everyday since coming back from my visit home in nyc. i wear it all during class as it’s absolutely freezing. the tiled floors here seem to absorb the cold and numb my feet. sometimes i lay my bookbag under my shoes. i keep feeling as if i should be working and yet i already realized the mistake of not seizing the well-timed opportunity to learn hebrew when i first had it. i just can’t seem to stick to anything here. not a job, not school, not people… and yet i am sure that this is the best place to raise my children. those not-too-far-away realities destined to be so much different than me. i feel unsettled on every level…short fuse.
i’ve come to the conclusion that the problem is just me. i hate to learn. i’m going into it kicking and screaming… operation “trying-to-learn-to-love-hebrew” in full effect. i have a friend in martine from england in class. the only other english speaker. i ask her if she thinks we are ‘princesses’, if she agrees that the problem may lie in us, and we laughed embarrassed agreeing that we are a bit finicky. the other red-head in school is eleni from south africa. the three of us meet up on the breaks and vent frustration. i understand these girls. i understand their issues. self-confidence first ad then we can take over the world! however shallow, however petty it may seem to some, our confidence and how we feel are all we really brought with us… i feel happy that i have girlfriends now.
standing outside a locked classroom door. weak sun this morning but sun in any form is welcomed after almost a straight week of cold rain, wind that blows leaves of palm trees wild and stirs the sea. two of my sisters have birthdays this week and it’s almost a physical pain to not be able to hug them in person. yesterday in my bag i found a dime and a shekel together. i put one in my pocket. i am accepting more and more my beautiful yet difficult reality here. tsafi and i have been swimming in love and laughter even more since our engagement. everything else feels so close; our future, a home, our wedding, children.
in class on the break and i’m crying. i don’t understand anything. everyone else seems to apply the concepts quickly and i’m struggling so hard. the teacher goes over things with me in english after and it helps a bit but when it comes right down to it, when i want to say something…i can’t say what i mean to say and it’s very frustrating. and when i rain, i pour and i end up crying about every struggle. and airplane receipts fall out of my book and i miss home. it always seems to come back to that…
heavy heart. diana and i trying to be funny saying goodbye in a parking lot, eyes brimming with tears. she hands me a card in a brown bag and assures me it’s funny so i read it quicker. dad and i drive in almost silence. when we hug goodbye i tell him that he’s my favorite dad…and then i correct myself ‘oh yeah. my ONLY dad!’ and we laugh. in the car i asked him how he felt when he took me to the airport in april. how he felt driving home… we both agreed it was just…strange. he knew it wasn’t a temporary move. i take deep breaths sitting here at the gate preparing to leave half my heart here. i look around to feel space because my chest is tight. i saw alot of people i wanted to see. i went to diana’s dance team at her high school and to her dance practices. danny and i went back to howell high school and some of the teachers remembered us. we met with mr. green, the director of the fine and performing arts center. he showed us his old cameras and toys and told us inside dirt about teacher scandals. we got hall passes and walked around school giggling. we walked arm in arm towards the golf course and relived high school days, agreeing to do that every decade or so. very surreal. kt and tina and i drank ourselves silly at virgil’s on 44th street; drinking long island iced teas and two orders of cheese fries, taking about every aspect of our lives, from love to pubic hair and back. the night ended at tina’s with them dragging me on the floor after stern warnings not to jump on the bed. shaunte and i were rommates and spouses for three days. a few days later she had a bit of a crisis with a plumber discovering an extreme health hazard and her having to get out of her apartment asap. we ran the gamut of emotions, resolving our crankiness with a trip to dylan’s candy bar in midtown before eating fabulous pizza and ditching broadways tickets so we could go home and sleep finally. i spent a day by myself in manhattan, making an emotional pilgrimage down to ground zero staring open-mouthed at the devastation. listened to an incredible mix of songs that danny made me and walked from wtc up to 23rd street wondering how something like that could happen to my mixed-up new york. i bought american flag stickers and a t-shirt. i got advice from grandma mully to ‘just be happy in life’. i visited with uncle eli and aunt jerri, both of whom i find not only supportive family in, but also a timeless friendship. they were so happy to hear of my engagement to tsafi. it was the reaction i always imagined. aunt stef, uncle alan and their two boys were there and when i told them the news jumpin up and down, they yelled and joined in my excitement. i showed them the video of malca and the boys and recorded some old photos of the family. dad and i made a similar video later. i like being the link between the western and the eastern korns. i can’t wait to show malca and the gan-els the video.