Friday, December 25, 2009

act of

December 22
After Ulpan cranky from school trauma
“It’s an act of freedom”, she tells me simply.  The woman with the Charlie Chips cans.   To shed your past….is an act of freedom.  To release the parts that causes pain and restriction. To allow the spirit to live big.  To allow the body to breathe freely. For the spirit to wash in and out with the breath. To clean the body you must be able to breath. A shallow breath clogs the body. A wheezing breath is the spirit squeezing through the gook to get out. Constriction from external refusal leaves the body weary; without enough oxygen. When expression can flow freely in and out of the body it cleanses with every breath.  With every stuffed impulse, the body retains the fruit and it molds. Too much mold makes the body more weary. A sneeze, a new Italian Ulpan friend told me yesterday, is when you’re are trying to find your way. I sneeze a lot. Maybe it’s the spirit forcing it’s way out.  I’ve been sneezing and searching with vigorous symmetry.  Michael just called. Free expression. 

our feet sometimes take us

Somewhere in the 3rd week of October
I don’t know how it happens that our feet sometimes take us just where we need to be. I was exhausted and sick and feeling more like I wanted to be under giant fluffy covers than to step into the street and the ein sof of all things here. But my feet moved, so my body had to agree. I’ve been wandering for so long that my feet are still roaming like legs off a bicycle that still feel like they are peddling. So off we went with my legs to a place navigated by who knows what and carried out by my feet.  I left the complication of unpacking and figuring of just arrived belongings from and  I wandered as I have many times through Neve Tzedek and up towards the park on Shlush Street and was pulled straight down the stairs of a nostalgically comforting antiquey place partially undergound in the stone walls of yesterday. I was in that mood where you’re too tired to talk to anyone and you think maybe if walk with your eyes closed noone will see you. So dreamily I rolled to the back of the store not really looking at anything and there in the corner was a giant Charlie Chips can! A Charlie Chips potato chips can…. the ones that were to delivered to my house at 724 Kentwood Street Phila, PA 19116 when I was a kid. They were the best chips ever and this big soft guy we called Charlie came every week in a truck and delivered eggs, I think, and Charlie Chips potato chips.  For a moment I questioned where I was. Or how old I was. Then I blinked my eyes in that silly am I dreaming way and looked again. But there it still was in a nostalgically comforting old stone place on Shlush Street in Israel. A Charlie Chips can with Mountville, PA 17554 written on it. I carried it to the front of the store to the distinctly Israeli woman and she said strongly, Yea, I lived in Philly for 25 years. 25 I think. In one moment my worlds merged. She knew Philly, she is Israel, she knows the Jewish community of Philly and the ish of the suburbs and the struggle of the Diaspora Jew and the intensity of the Israeli Jew and the burden of both. She knows where I grew up, why I belong here and all about the Charlie Chips can. She is the only person I know who can follow the lace of all the parts of my life and my soul’s journey to here. She has four of her own kids, one at 43 and one at 45. So as we sat among the pieces of various periods of American and world history we merged my world. We brought the wandered fragments here. Dayenu…and that would have been enough.  But then my eyes wandered as my feet did and they fell onto a giant framed poster of a little boy face to face with lying down camel intently feeding it a peanut. Above them were the words: Sunday Magazine of the Philadelphia Press...August 27, 1905. I was smitten. Both with the boy and the camel. It’s a Herbert Paus Normal Rockwell looking poster. Remember, I just came out of 3 months in the desert with the camels!
I could barely pull myself away, but managed to say goodbye to all of them with her invitation to come visit me more. And Dayenu, that would have been enough.
On Friday I went to back over to say hello and to visit the boy and the camel but I arrived after she closed. Shabbat sends everyone to dinner and rest early here. So I peered in the window to visit with the poster as old friends and it was gone. I searched around as much as I could through the window and couldn’t see it, but I felt for sure that it was for me.  Did someone buy it?? It couldn’t be. It couldn’t be that someone would interfere with my life like that.  So I decided not to panic and went home knowing that the boy and the camel were with me.
I returned a few days later and woman who know my life said she had something for me. Dayenu. She pulled out the giant poster of the boy and the camel and said it must be mine. Dayenu, that would have been enough.   But…Sometime after we talked it had randomly fallen off the wall and shattered. Nothing ever falls from her walls.  With the glass shattered and some scars from the fall on its face, she could not sell it. It was mine. 

a letter to a here I sit....

October 15, 2009
A letter to a friend,
 Ok, so, here I sit in a little cute apartment in Neve Tzedek with my dog trying to get treats out of her kong and mounds of boxes with a likeness to my life before.  I wonder what it is like to be person who is not so emotional? I feel so much.  It's strange and at the same time completely normal. Of course all things worked out for the best. I went to the beach sat for while with the sea and wrote down everything I wanted in an apt. The pickins have been very very slim. Not much to look at in my range in Neve Tzedek. So I set out to make something materialize. I had tried to call the guy who offered to make me an apt out of part of his house many times previously, but my phone for some reason lost his number and couldn't access it. So after the beach I walked to his house with this feeling always that he was going to be involved somehow and I tried one more time to get my phone to cooperate and with the hope that perhaps all things are possible I pushed the button for his name and his number appeared. Strange.  I called and asked for magic and he said he had an apt for me. I met him that night talked him down and the night before ulpan started I moved into the the compound of an old Yemenite family. It's right on the edge of Neve Tzedek right off the circle between the David Intercontinental and the shuk. It's amazing. It's quirky cute with lot's of windows and a merpesset. Ground floor big kitchen with lots of cabinets and a whole family looking after me. The old matriarch lives here with various family members in different apts all interconnected around a courtyard. I think I'm the first non family member in 80 years. 
Succot was amazing surrounded by succot hanging from balconies, on the corner of streets, parking lots, and sidewalks.  Simchat Torah was blinding with all the dancing and singing and succot all around. It was impossible to resist the happiness of torahs (torot?) dancing around all corners with singing people under them.  I was just here cleaning and waiting for my new toilet. The first night I slept here I couldn't use the toilet. 
So here I sit, with all my stuff, a bit blank. I think I'm afraid to unpack all the old pains and patterns. My furniture is unbubbled and the boxes are piled. To have my grandmothers chair and my great grandmothers cedar chest here in Israel is something even i don't have words for. I'm so glad to have brought my life with me...although at the moment I'm not sure how to integrate it all. It's a bit sad and lonely. I feel the weight of all the years of packing and unpacking and moving and schlepping and searching on my own. I almost can't feel the excitement now. Still here I am alone. But not at all. I live alone, but not for a moment after I walk outside. I'm in the pocket of old and new. I can feel all that has changed in me....and also the pull of the old pulling me back as old habits and hurts don't let go easily. I am so much my newer and truer self, with the stepping back and forth that happens as you gradually go from more time new and less time old. For some reason as it all sheds off, it's really as if I can feel the pain of all the years of my life passing out of me. I'm waiting for the moment I feel free. Perhaps when glasses and books have founds their places and the sandals are back in the sand again. I'm tired. 
I just waked over to the Carmel market and got hangers and toilet paper and somehow I'd forgotten how exciting it is there. Now I'm buying ear sticks not just cucumbers.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Every time I have time to write I step outside and something happens.

Here life keeps a hefty pace....I walked out to the sea in a relatively moody mood to join the brooding Mediterranean and in trying to take my own picture with the stormy sea I encountered a cheerful 7 language speaking chap born in one of the old USSR countries who's been living in Vienna for 21 years. He had on a cold weather funny woolen hat with his ears covered and a pom pom only worn by people from cold places and he asked in his nostagically Russian accent to join me for the walk. He's been here a short time and is looking for friendly opportunity. He was carrying around Clementines all day looking for the right moment to eat them. So we chatted about language and Israel and being Jewish here and instead of being moody with the sea, we shared Clementines. It's hard to be in a bad mood here.  We went on or way and time with the windy sea spray made me laugh instead of introspect.

Last night Geora, my friend from the kibbutz stopped by. He was born here but grew up all his life in South Africa. He lit candles for the first time last night with me on my grandparents old menorah in my little apartment with candles from the shuk. Then went searching for sufganyot winding around the little streets here, where all the jelly doughnuts were eaten already, and onto the tumult of Allenby Street. We almost missed the wonderful site at the tattoo parlor.... as we reglanced past the rows of pictures of body parts pierced and tattoed, yes, we saw a flurry of joyful Black Hat religious Jews inside the tattoo parlor sharing Sufganyot and the joy of Chanukah with the tattoo folks. Everyones seems happy enough to partake.  It's everywhere here...

I woke up this morning and thought maybe I would have one sufganyah for each day of Chanukah. That's a lot of dough for me. So I figured I would just see what came to me and I went out for a walk....and right into Emanuel, my 5 foot 4 Hebrew speaking friendly plumber neighbor from across the street.  He was carrying freshly made levivot, doughnuts without the jelly or the hole.  And before I left the gate I had a steaming hot doughnut in my mouth. It all comes to you here....

Yesterday I went to acupuncture again. After the slush of water last time I was eager to see what this time would offer. I was on the table trying to figure out the immense pull of force that was merging my limbs into the table as the needles again pumped flow into my life force. I'm beginning finally to feel better... related to my birthday.  I've felt the movement of energy before in acupuncture, but never like this. It was so strong and mostly in my limbs, it really gave me wonder.  Like the ride at the amusement park where it spins so fast you stick to the wall with your whole body off the floor and just the pull of cytrificle force kneading you into wall. The pull of force was so strong I felt that my energy was somehow reorganizing to reverse direction from left to right.... to right to left. Like the way the language here is from right to left and the sea in on the west. And then from outside the window came this blasting Chanukah very Jewish ethnic sounding music..... bursting from some source right outside. It sang to me for quite sometime until the irony and humor of old DNA music being pumped into my needle points was fully appreciated. I think it's the only time I laughed while being needled.

Chanukah has brought itself to me every night so far for 5 nights. On the way back from the shuk found myself behind some of the family from this house.  I'm invited....Tonight Doda Sara, the 85 year old wonder of a tiny Yemite woman who owns this house had her whole mishpacha here for Chanukah and her birthday.  More levivot and sufganyot and the prayers for Chanukah and her grandkids playing Chanukah songs on their recorders and all the family singing old Yemenite songs.

Every time I walk outside.....

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Is the world here just for each of us?

Shlush, שלוש, the voracious flow of rain water down a one way street during a storm that is the metaphor for being in the flow of life.  It's the flow I knew was here in Israel for me, but with the remnants of struggle habits from all my life, it's been hard to step into the flow here this is time. Flow is the millions of connective moments between people here that creates a current that is vital and quick.  It's what makes things happen here....  you have to be ready to step in, because the current will take you.

Yesterday I went for acupuncture  in the alternative medicine part of  the local Kupat Cholim health service. I've been sick for the entire 2 months that I have been in Tel Aviv.  As I settle here the unwinding and untangling going on in my body is wearing me out.   The years of life sloughing off are uncovering layers of dusty missed dreams and sad times, and as they escape their years of confinement in my body they are releasing a good bit of toxic memory.  I could feel the heaviness of my fatigue lingering above me as I merged into the table with the needles doing their best to jump start my weary life force. My fatigue was lifted above me a bit like a blob of thickness on me, and with the needles I felt it begin to move. I could feel the movement of energy again in the stuck places in me, those hanging on for survival as I no longer need them. When I left the clinic I had a lift in energy I haven't felt for 2 months.... and I walked into a downpour of rain so voracious it felt as if the needles unblocked the blocks not just within me.  I walked out of Florentin under my pink flowery umbrella and crossed Yafo Street onto Shlush and into Neve Tzedek.

Shlush in the wonderful little street that guides you out of the whirl of people and merchandise of Yafo Street into the secret of my neighborhood. It is also down hill. The torrent of rain was gushing with so much gusto it made a river out of Shush all the way to the bottom. I walked in the middle of the street with my feet underwater and wondered if the flow of water was just for me, to reassure me that that vitality and cleansing was again flowing through me.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

While I wonder they ask....

While I wonder what's inside the building where the music is mingling with the playful sound of children's movement, he stands on the pillar and looks in the open window. While I wonder where to go to change my address in the big mess of lines, three people ask and go. While I wonder what's in or how to or where to or why, people here just ask. No hesitation. No apparent smidgen of caution that there will be anything other than a response. And that's what happens here. People answer you. They give directions, they give advise, and they give information. Freely. You don't have to choose your words carefully or wait for the just the right moment or space and person. Here people are not afraid to talk to each other. Maybe there is irony is that.

For me the flow of exchange in Tel Aviv is almost mesmerizing. It a complete unraveling of the buttoned up New England distance. Every time I go outside with Hollow someone asks me about her boots.... they don't wonder, they ask me.  There is an ease in connection here that is really different and wonderful.  The smallness and intensity makes it natural and vital.  Here the space and connections between people is so close two big guys stood up in from of me at an Israeli league basketball game. One had a wedgy and I thought, Oh, pick that out of your butt..  and the other gut picked his own butt. One has, the other pulls. Maybe you had to be here to feel the humor, but to me it was as if the one guys butt to my thought to the other guy's hand was one smidgen. Here the Israeli league basketball game is like going to a high school game, but the guys are big and the game is real.

Bodies are out, hearts are open, families are apparent and expression of life is so palpable here it beats right into you.
I've been touched more, hugged more, thrown on the back of scooters, fed, checked on, invited in and kissed more in 2 months than in all my years in New England. And my immune system is reeling from it. I've been sick for 2 months. Is it the bugs, the water, the tiring revolution of my life...or it is just getting accustomed to being with, really with other people?

It's small here, but deep.

My ulpan class is amazing. It's right in the middle of Tel Aviv and there are people from France, Germany, Bulgaria, Australia, Korea, Brazil, England, New York, California, Tailand, Italy...really in my little Hebrew makes for much fun! Jews, boyfriends of Jews, girlfriends of Jews, people here on work, people here for work, an amazing combination of people eager to learn, bumbling through a new and crazy language and unable to express their normal personality in the small beginner language of aleph plus Hebrew....and it makes for good fun in the classroom....

Some funny endearing plays with learning the language.....

In English, for laughter we  say, "Ha, ha, ha..."  In Hebrew they say "Cha Cha Cha..."

We learned the word for "to ride" and were giving examples...a bicycle, horse,  a camel, an elephant..and elephant? It doesn't come from my mind, but right, she's from Tailand....

and we say "to be on cloud 9"... in Hebrew they say "On the clouds", in Bulgaria they say "cloud 9", in France and Germany they say "Cloud 7."  Who knew.

In Hebrew they have very distinct words for moment to moment joyful happiness and happiness as a state of being, and everyone uses the distinction

We say "Pay Attention", here they their phrase includes the word for heart. Here they pay attention with their hearts.

When you want to ask someone something the phrase includes the word for face to face.

The entire verb structure is built around the relationship between you and yourself or you and others....

and there is no verb for "is". There is "was" and "will be" but no "is".... because only G-d can "is, was, and will be."

Everything here flips your perspective.... even before and after pictures go the other way... because the language goes from right to left....

With each moment I am feeling more like myself, I think as I was meant to be.... but still I am shedding off the many awkward lives along the way...and the ways my body and mind adapted and maladapted to feeling out of sorts. I love it here. And it for sure, will strip you down to your core...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Even the paper guy at the shuk is illluminating....

אחר' ulpan אני הלכת ל קופת חולימ to sort out health coverage here in Tel Aviv. It's a tantalizing walk up Gruzenberg past the local music store with their own made guitars and across the burst of Allenby Street and a left after the 5 shekel carrot juice. It's almost so satisfying here only to walk the streets...  the feast for senses is so full, it almost fills any need for actual things. I went between the shops to the alley entry of the כלל'ת health service and ...So close I came to ...hebrew is intruding on my English! ordering a place for meeting the רופה and benefiting from state health insurance, so close only to be greeting by noone. Noone really, they were on strike. The door to a place called Paradise was opened if you went downstairs, but to go upstairs no way.... on strike....secretaries, the doctors, not sure, couldn't speak enough Hebrew. Yesterday someone translated for me that they were on strike and today the doors were locked to the clinic. Here speaking out is as basic and pita.

So I wandered along Allenby with rows of bursting shops filled with disorganized everythings. And I shopped curiously with empty bags. Then I remembered the perpetual challenge of organizing myself has come with me to Israel and I went into Shuk HaCarmel to see if I could find some little cardboard nicely designed drawers. Imagine a Middle Eastern Shuk with tightly snug consecutive slabs of fruits and veggies and bras and yarmulkes and cheese graters and juicers and pitas and spices.... along a narrow corridor of people and arms and legs and faces. I was happy to find that the guy I bought the cute paper drawer from before actually had a little booth of journals and notebooks and nicely designed organizational things. And it was there that I learned the I have to make room.

He spoke easy English and was warmed with my meager attempt at Hebrew...and so the conversation begins. Where are you from? How long have you been here? Did you make Aliyah? Wow good for you! Do you have family here?....and then a quick plunge into why. And quickly you are talking with an interested heart about why you changed everything to live here with them. Here people can handle the real answer and so we tumbled into the pull of my soul year after year and he asked if people started to tell me then to come to Israel as if to him it made so much sense.  And the encouragement of letting my brain make the switch to think in Hebrew and to not be afraid. With my head so full and tired it's hard. Tired from what? From moving. Moving? and moving. Moving? and moving...for 40 years. And his questions deepened and my answers in response as he tried to understand how I look so young. Together we figured out I lived forward the first 20 years and have been going backwards ever since.  I told how to begin anew I threw an egg into the ether on my 40th birthday and how it disappeared and he gasped as if he could feel the mystical happening it that moment. His hands talked from his heart and chest and his round face and soft body drew out what years of New England stuffed in. And he asked about my allergies and why so many from the states seem to be so sensitive and still he stayed atuned, so I told him that I believe here the people have a sense of place. They are more connection to family and friends and with the safety of כשר their bodies can relax. And he nodded with me. Here people eat vegetables in season, most of us in the states eat vegetable from the supermarket.  And there is more and more. And he told me that when he went to the states after the Army he stayed in Bethlehem Pennsylvania with his family. He didn't like it at all and was left with such a feeling of emptiness and loneliness that he felt in the states that 25 years later he had sadness in him as he talked about being there in the country of independence. I nodded. Deeper and farther with ease and interruption of people buying colorful journals and things. His dream of living in the desert and his resonance with living here. Easy. Just normal conversation here in the shuk. More questions in exchange and wonderful probing.  And an easy reference to the torah: חדש מפני ישן תעדיף new instead of old you prefer...let go make room don't be afraid to clean out and be left even with even one sock. His arms swept down and away from his body in an movement essential to life.  Make room for new to come in. More stories from him and the company hum of the shuk. Am I lonely here is asked. No. Not at all. And he encouraged me to make room, let go of the tired and the wondering, make room.
I think I'll have eggs for dinner. Shakshuka. Eggs and tomatoes and garlic. Eggs. The beginning of life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Need to make room for Hebrew

I am so filled with experiences and stories there isn't enough room for the wonders of Hebrew. This language that envelopes me here like a constantly reverberating life force.  It is truly a fascinating language. The words themselves express the culture, like Eskimos with snow.  It's fascinating to discover the links between words and words and words and childhood memorizations and words and the world around me. It's a backwards and forwards flow from the torah to the toe.  Real talking is slow coming with the fillings of 40 years within me.  I feel full.  It's time to make room for Hebrew, and it's time to write the stories. I hope you'll enjoy them.

 Today while Hollow was peeing in the street in the drizzling rain in my tiny quiet old and integrated neighborhood of hip Tel Avivians, old Yemenite families, wine bars and French families, an Ultra Orthodox old man with black garb and a well earned white beard rolled past me on a 4 wheeled scooter encased in a plastic bubble. I almost didn't look twice. Then I realized.

Then I passed a street and noticed a man with a talit (prayer shawl) and the religious markings of tassels hanging from his clothes and I noticed to myself that it was unusual that he was standing in the small neighborhood street and not inside the tiny Bet Knesset... then I turned another corner and a soldier just entering the neighborhood gently asked me if I knew where there was a synagogue. Everywhere was my instantaneous answer, and then of course I knew why the about to pray man was noticeably in the street, and I guided to soldier to his minyon.  And then I forgave Hollow for getting me out of bed 20 minutes before my alarm. Time and space flow here seemingly with purpose.

Of course my sense of time is not yet aligned here as old habits give way only with a fight. So I was speeding to class on the tayellet by the sea when I had another pondering.... more than usual here I find myself awkwardly dodging oncoming bikes without the obvious manner of avoiding collision.
Normally when to bicyclists come face to face in a moment of face on chicken it resolves itself by the inclination to go as cars go and each leans to the right and safely passes.  But if you live in a country with people from all over the world, how does the inclination to lean as cars lean help if you are face to face with someone from... England let's say....

It's a world gone afooch here....and every moment can be a discovery...

Monday, November 2, 2009

growing again

Today I was drenched gut deep in wailing Mediterranean winds pushing raindrops with such vigor you could believe each little drop had a purpose. Who would believe that my most challenging rain bicycle adventure would be in Israel. This place continues to amaze me every day. I was so drenched from pushing my way through the wind I figured I would stop at the shuk and get some carrots for soup. The crusty old vegetable man with the cigarette hanging out of him tried to put me under his coat, dried my hands off on his belly and kept trying to wipe the water off of me.  He wouldn't let me go back into the rain and filled my bag with an extra beet, a lemon, and some odd looking potato carrot wrinkly ginger looking things I could not identity or understand.  Today in ulpan we learned the words for weather. Funny here they have one verb for putting on clothes, another for putting on shoes, another for putting on hats, and I think another for putting on gloves. For each you have to use the verb. We have umpteem ways of describing snow and here it's such an occasion for putting on clothes they have special verbs. In New England you would never get out of the house.

There are accumulating things I love about Israelis...

The other day I met someone with Hollow and exchanged the usual ... is she o.k. oh she's 15 she looks great... followed by ... "15? you know you don't have much time left?" Here they just say it. Every Israeli had managed to let me know that Hollow is old and they are not afraid to say the inevitable. Truth is, they are preparing well for nature's way.

And they talk to each other. They are not afraid of each other. All the time. On their cell phones, walking, driving, on bicycles, all over the streets, on the beach, in the cafes.... and especially when they have a question. They just ask. They want to know where something is, they ask. They want to why your here, they ask. They want to know how much is your rent they ask. They want to know what the line is for, how you get somewhere, how you do something or if someone is in the bathroom stall they just ask. Simple. And people respond with a completely normal capacity for responding. When you live in a country where people are available or the asking.... things happen.

And for me I am still hibernating in my new apartment here in Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv and trying to heal my tired body.
Last night I unpacked the last box! The giraffe that Michael and I share is  here, the ringing bell from Erica is swinging on my mirpesset, the props and sandbox from my kids are here, the cook books, the high school year book and the old cedar chest from my great grandmother. My mother's old records, my grandmother's chair, and unfinished art projects. The full out shedding and recording of my belonging before I left was well worth it. My life is here. Full and abundant and with history and everything that arrived I am glad to have. It was grueling, I have to be honest. But it's been the unlayering of my life.

As I give away and sell and move and experience and unpack and sneeze, I feel truly that I am shedding off the year's of living almost. Almost as myself, almost in myself and my place. It's exhausting to live not as your full self. It's done it's damage to my body and spirit, but as I shed off the layer of adaptation and pains, I'm finding the soul untouched. It's as I remember it at birth and I'm closer and closer to living as myself each day. It's a wonder when you completely start over. You truly can be as you wish. There is noone to resist.

I've been sick for weeks. Asthma, sinuses, can't breath, keep bumping into things, falling over, cutting myself and finding all sorts of ways to need bandaids. I feel layers deeper into the unveiling of my birth. I'm going forward from my fortieth birthday starting life again and backwards as I shed off the layers of old unsuccessful lives back to the beginning. It's strange how much I feel the symptoms I am experiencing are old. I am now in the deep early stages of asthma and sensitivities to life.

Here there are pharmacists who are naturapaths also. I sat with one the other day trying to sort out and source the intensity of my experiences. He showed me a pyramid beginning at birth and going up the left side of the triangle with 0,7,14, 21 years at the point, and down with 28, 35, 42. The years going up correspond with the years going down and indicate a parallel of reexperiencing at 28 what you did at 14, 35 at 7, and 42 at birth. That puts me and my Aliyah at the stage from 1-2 years of age. Right when my asthma was terrible, I was allergic to everything, and I was testing out this new world. This is when I almost died from asthma.  Now is when my asthma has the sheer resemblance to my early years... and it's persistence and presence has left me wondering and saying so for weeks before I learned of this theory. I have been learning to walk, learning to talk, bumping into things, saturated with new stimulation, and absolutely absorbing. I feel as if I am new and developing an immune system and saying goodbye to the old ways my body tried to survive.  It's a bit circular to feel the parts of my body that hold the memories as they were recorded. If you go back into yourself enough, you get to the old cells. If this is your journey. It's not for everyone.

Today I talked to Cary for the first time. And today and I met Senai. Her gorgeous little new baby. We have a lot in common. He's having some trouble with his lungs and some dislike for the toxins in his little body. He's having more challenges than the average new little life. Gam Ani. We said goodbye and I went to make carrot soup...a bit like baby food I realized. He and I are going to grow up together. I bet we can learn a lot from each other. "All beginnings are hard" they say here. Le'at le'at, slowly slowly.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's official I'm a Tel Aviv er, ian...

Hi All,
Ok, I'm ready to outpour. I'm so full of stories and moments and insights my sinuses are clogged. It's time to let the river flow out of the sea. For the first few months my senses were so saturated at the wonder of all and it is so personal, I could only sit in it. Today I rode my bicycle up Yafo Street into Menachim Begin to the corner of Kaplan where the Misrad Hapnim מסרד הפנים lives (the ministry of the Interior). Hmm that must mean I am IN the interior! I'm in, inside, in the heart, in the lungs, in the gut of it all. Inside the language, inside the womb of history, inside the fire and intensity of the center of it all. Inside. Inside myself.
Then with the help of a kind Israeli who could read Hebrew I found I did not have all the needed documentation. Of course. So biked to the sea, caught a glimpse, and went to Ulpan to study Hebrew for 4 hours. I biked back along the תילת, the promenade along the sea and bumped home to walk Hollow and grab some food. And the rental contract from Micky (more later). Then among the cars and shopkeepers and baby strollers and motorcycles and cell phone talking Israeli's and crazy taxi drivers and fearless flying buses I cycled again through Florentine to the מסרד הפנים.
I braved the the intensely Hebrew reverberating governmental security and lines and changed my address from Kibbutz Mashabbei Sade to REHOV YAVNIEL #1 Tel Aviv 65154 ISRAEL! With a bit of humor and the low grade anxiety that accompanies not understanding anything around you, I experienced the Electric Company version of what I learned earlier in Ulpan. In Hebrew: are you last in line? who's last? are you after me? I was after him! what line is this? I was first! Is this the line? All simple when you understand the language.

And then I rode to מסרד הקליתה for another awkward governmental exchange and back to the neighborhood to the antique store on שלוש to see if I have a bed and sprinted to the sea to catch a swim at sunset. I stashed my stuff with a sweet looking grampa sort and I dunked and drenched my hot and tired body in the Mediterranean Sea and cleansed the years of living in places that did not feel like my soul's bed.

So here I sit. On my merpesset. My balony in the sweet and rich neighborhood of Neve Tzedek. I live in Tel Aviv. וגמ הולו and also Hollow.
As the days follow I will tell the stories as they come back and forward to me. The journey through the desert carried me back and forward again through all my life's stories. As if the first 4 months of Aliyah repeat the last 40 years, and then you go forth.