|With my Savta, wearing her roses for my birthday|
|On my Saba and Savta's steps|
|Baking with Savta|
|My beautiful Savta when she was younger than I am now!|
|My first painting to be displayed in a gallery show|
I have made friends with my family and created a family of my friends, picked my way closer to the rough and grit that is real life and continued to try to make those lemons into sweet lemonana (lemonade with mint, a popular delicious drink). But here despite the fact that the sabra plant has its thorns, it is also already so sweet and ripe for the picking. That's how I feel here in Israel. Always on the cusp of something great and standing on the grounds of history that have built us up before. Each story is connected to the other and every Israeli knows the other's friend. I don't know where my particular story will end but I know where it began, and it was here, started with the simple dream to establish a Jewish State, that took my grandparents across a war and camps and battles to finally realize their dream of a proud, accomplished, Israeli, Jewish family. And that we are. We will see where we will go from here.
And now for a glimpse of the past two crazy months (and an excuse, I hope, for why I haven't written until now). The dust has finally *begun* to settle:
-Sat shiva with family and friends, talked, laughed, cried, reminisced, and been touched tenfold by the outpouring of love and affection that graced me during this difficult time.
-Learned to be a little more Israeli and simply invited myself over to the homes of those I care for.
-Begun a journey of greater flexibility and going-with-flow attitude, sometimes triumphing and mostly failing, but I'm hanging in there.
-Talked a lot more on the phone. Whenever my fingers itch to call my Saba, instead I am channeling that energy into talking more with others who I care about. So far so good.
-Spent a lovely distraction of four days in Paris with my grandparents, changing dresses every half day, strolling the streets, wandering through museums, eating delicious food, sharing stories, going shopping, taking lots of pictures, catching up with some family, and eating more really good food.
-Realized when I landed that Israel will simply never be the same again. It's sad. I will never have to rush to the bathroom in the Ben Gurion airport to freshen up so that when I see Saba and Savta's smiling faces, I will feel ready to greet them. It's also a new opportunity. I can create a new Israel for myself now.
|Rooftop view of the opera house|
|At the Louvre, although you can't tell|
|Me and my crepe!|
|Dinner by the Eiffel|
|With my grandpapa|
|Wandering into the Rodin Museum|
|My wonderful grandparents|
|A view from the carousel by the Toullieries Garden|
-Fallen deeper and deeper in love.
-Gone on a magical trip through Sweden and Norway with my sweetheart. Every small village was overflowing with crystal blue lakes, rising majestic mountains with waterfalls splashing from almost every peak, glaciers, rain that led to many a rainbow, flowing rivers with hints at the vibrant wildlife flitting among the waves, hikes, warm smiles, camping, woods, the midnight sun, laughter, and many piles of white plastic-covered (we think it was) wheat on every farm we passed. We slept in our cozy little tent (in the rain, cold, wind, and yet it was warm), cooked wild salmon outdoors overlooking a breathtaking lake that shifted colors beneath the late evening sun, and collected memories.
-Returned to a reality that overwhelmed me only to be wrapped up in the arms of good friends, colleagues, and my wonderful caring family.
-Met my boyfriend's friends and family, slowly but surely, and begun to partake in the sweet work of intertwining our lives.
(The following pictures are crazy out of order, but still nice for your perusing pleasure):
|Yes, that is my boyfriend you see standing on his head!|
|Beautiful island in the Stockholm archipelago|
|The Stockholm Synagogue|
|Hold on to that rainbow!|
|We were just driving by, minding our own business...|
|Can this country maybe stop being so beautiful?|
|The longest tunnel in Europe, 1/2 hour long drive|
|Our fresh salmon meal|
|View of our hotel|
|My cousin's 100 year old grandmother's childhood home|
|Random stint in Warsaw|
|Skansen Zoo and Botanical Garden|
|Where the Great Synagogue of Warsaw once stood|
|The remainder of the Warsaw Ghetto|
|We made it to the top!!|
-Undertaken the staggering challenge of job searching through connections and "protectsia" that rules the land. Connection led to connection led to connection led to maybes, interesting stories, some strange instances, and so far still just ideas. But good ideas.
-Learned how many people care about me and want to help me.
-Packed up and moved my life to Haifa.
-Searched for an apartment.
-Interviewed. Sometimes arrived at what I thought was an interview and it just wasn't.
-Tried to be accepted into a new community of academics that will revitalize the neighborhood of Hadar in Haifa. Been limited in apartment searches because of that.
-Made aliyah! I am an official citizen of Israel with the right to vote, her own bank account, soon to be Israeli credit card (and hopefully job that pays for said assumed future charges), an identification number, and new responsibilities.
-Planned my trip to New York! Soon, for the holidays, I get to see all of my friends and family back at home. What could be sweeter?
-Taken the capabilities of skype to a new level.
Doors open and close. Paths change and divide. I am over-swept by new tastes, sounds, ideas. I don't know where I'll be in a few months or what I will be doing. I don't know who I will still meet. But I do know that I will be somewhere warm and happy, full of color and fun, new ideas and challenges, and who knows what else?
Thank you for following me throughout this vivid year. This is only the beginning.
Shana tova to all! I can't believe we are here again so soon.
|This one's for you, Saba. I love you.|