no. i’m not here.
i’m on a plane, miles away.
or right here. flying over starbucks and skyscrapers. i’m flying high and low. striking my wings against the air and forcing the wind away. away from me. away from skyscrapers. away from flames and smoke. so the smoke won’t reach my brother’s nostrils and choke his lungs. so he can remain pure. no smoke, no fire, no wind.
i’m not here, i’m on a beach, getting burned, i’m on a boat, getting drowned, i’m in an alley, getting raped, and i’m not here. not on a plane, getting tossed and turned in the light wind toward a skyscraper and starbucks.
i’m not here, nor will i ever be, if ‘here’ is where cowards control the towers and the capitol.
i’m not here, on the subway, wondering if i will reach my stop before the train gets blown up.
a year ago i strolled through a surface of moons; darky-tawny-creme-brown moons of people, round circles of people sitting on the thousand year old stones of then whispering words of then now.
there, behind the moons, i saw the stones through the glow of lightbulbs which i am farely sure weren’t there when the romansbabyloniansetc took down the city of jerusalem; but then again, they didn’t need lightbulbs when the whole thing went cascading through history past-present-future in a firey hellish rant.
it was the year of the crazy guy i met in a crazy circumstance with crazy repercussions which i’ll probably never forget but that’s because i’ll never have time to forget, only to keep moving like this crazy guy who just moves moves moves. a figment of my imagination.
i went to the consulate today to cancel my aliyah visa because otherwise when i leave in august for a tourist trip i might make aliyah ‘by accident’ and get detained.
the thing is, tisha b’av for me was when the hot israeli guy behind the counter stamped ‘m’vutal’ on the visa page and handed it back to me. no smile. no words of encouragement. that’s the way it goes. and reality sets in and then the tears sting the very very backs of your eyes so you don’t even feel it till it’s already gone.
but i’ll be back to the consulate.
when a ‘year ago’ is next year.
everday, you’re life is in someone else’s hands.
actually, millions of hands – your bus drivers’, the drivers cruising around you, the subway handlers’, the traffic light programmers – for starters. it’s a rough and delicate balance that we don’t much think about – maybe because it’s so big and vast – are we supposed to become paranoid?
in a place where our lives are in so many other hands at a constant rate, why not grasp onto every aspect that we can control our own lives to the fullest? you can’t control the express bus that morning, but you can control smiling at the driver as you get on (who’s steering your soul for the next 90 minutes). and you can make room in your row of seats for the man coming on the next stop (maybe he’ll be humming then while he’s stirring your iced coffee later on, or maybe he’ll be paying attention when adjusting your tax estimates).
if we all took control of our lives in all and any aspect that we can, we could really weave a tighter net in the greater expanse of human interconnectedness. since, in some capacity, we are holding the lives or being held by others, we all have a stake – a valuable one.
let’s take this and drive safely – and hold tight.
ok, so i can finally say with (somewhat) confidence that i know what my israel plans for the next 6 months are… i’m sorry if u didnt really care but a lot of people have been asking so i’m clearing it up en masse…
i will be leaving aug 10 for israel, but i will not be declaring citizenship. my ticket is open, and i have plans to return aug 31. if something comes up that is irresistable, i will consider staying an extra month or two.
then, my plan is to make proper aliyah with nefesh b nefesh in dec/jan season. after that, i have solid plans that include ulpan and starting a masters degree.
in the meanwhile, while i am home from sept – dec, i’m trying to find a temp job (if u know of anything, send my way).
the reason for the postponement is that my plans for the first year of aliyah fell through (i’ve been through a lot of them). the trip in aug will serve to solidify future plans.
the truth is, i was not supposed to make aliyah at first till summer 2005, but the hype of nefesh b nefesh really got me into planning for summer 2004. at the same time, graduating college (not living at home in 4 years) and then leaving the country straight has its pros and also its cons.
needless to say, this has been a very painful decision for me but amongst the sinking feeling in my stomach i am also feeling confident that using patience as a strategy in this case is crucial.
as many of you know, i have been comparing the aliyah process to a marriage. you have to have ultimate faith of a solid start (although i have encountered people who dont agree). i wouldnt get married unless i felt solid faith about it. it would be a lack of integrity to make aliyah at this point without a ‘smooth landing’ as my shaliach calls it.
there is NO DOUBT that i am making aliyah this year. thanks for all your support in the meanwhile.
you know that sinking, rushing feeling after you make the decision to break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend?
you just don’t believe it’s happening. it’s racing mush in your head. no one else walking down the hallway exists while your holding your diaphram and remembering to breathe.
you’re making a choice that makes you feel better but you hate it.
it leaves a terrible taste in your mouth like a night of aderol and typing. or the filmy sensation in your stomach after too many ciggarettes in one sitting.
[you'll get it soon. this isn't a story about a boyfriend anyway. there's no breaking up in this story. see july 18.]
aliyah is like a marriage.
you have to toy with the idea. there’s a lover involved; do you love your lover enough to commit? can you sacrifice for your other? will you? do you feel good sacrificing? do you feel good about youself? about your partner? do you want to build a life with this partner? for the rest of your life? can you build on your relationship as the years go by?
you date. you spend time together. slowly, or quickly, it becomes clear. there’s a possibility here.
you decide you want to commit. you want to work at it. but you can’t rush to the altar. you can’t rush natural feelings. taking it slow and solid.
slow and solid.
the first year of a marriage must be solid. there must be a clear plan with reliable resources. you want it to stick: that’s first priority. solid. security.
see, the day you get on the plane is the wedding. you’ve lived through glory and pride up until that day, basking in engagement gifts or pre-aliyah excitement.
but we all know the wedding is only a fruity party; the marriage is what matters…
basically, if the ultimate priority is a good marriage, er, living in israel successfully, than the circumstances leading up to aliyah must be authentic and secure.
it’s about success, the ultimate goal.
when my parents told us they were getting a divorce, i was chewing breaded chicken unapologetically. that is, until they told us they were getting a divorce.
then i was chewing wet cement.
a year later, i’m chewing steak and my dad who hasn’t initiated a word to me about my near-distant future plans picks that moment and makes one of his dumb angry remarks about how he’s going to lose a kid to arafat.
i don’t even remember the chewing.
this is fucked up. i hate how everyone’s all like, ‘wow, you’re making aliyah,’ and i smile and my head is reeling. i don’t want your red carpet, ok? is that egotistical of me? it’s not a dream, it’s not an israel action committee. i don’t want politicians to meet me and greet me off the plane. go sit at your nice oak desks and ponder what you’ll do with my taxes this year. it’s not a dream. it’s very very much a reality. it’s so real it burns. the kind of burning you feel when you know you’re tearing at the seams which were already coming undone… or maybe never undone at all and then you have to live with the guilt of tearing a seam.
it’s so real that it’s wake up work 9-5 eat dinner sleep real. it’s the realness of a future coated in dead flowers and leftovers at the back of the fridge.
that’s because we’re all making it that way though. with your ‘aliyah luncheons’. if they knew i was saying this, would they be so quick to smile and judge? i’m running away from their judgement… making aliyah doesn’t make me religious…
no, it won’t be that real for me and it won’t be a dream. it wont be fears of ‘dying in arafat’s hands’ and it wont be living within an hour of the kotel. it’s not about singing songs about jerusalem and it’s not about forcing yourself to cry off the plane because the lights are on you.
maybe i shouldn’t be doing this.
(placing bets yet?)
maybe i shouldn’t be making aliyah.
maybe I should be settling in Israel because that’s what I want to do right now.
backpacking fun in your own backyard:
like getting picked up by an anti israel guy you have nothing in common with ‘cept harry potter who tried but failed to sell you tickets like a tourist but then drinking apple martinis and showing up drunk to a seminar…
who says you need to spend a grand to be adventurous?