Monday, November 26, 2012

Where Have I Been?

IDF in the shuk handing out brochures from the Homefront 
Command about what to do in the instance of an attack [Nov. 21].

It's been more than a week since I updated the blog with substance about how exactly I'm doing. Since I blogged, there were days without sleep, more sirens in Jerusalem, a heightened attack by Hamas, a ceasefire, a calm in my life, an aron (closet) delivery, an utter annoyance with men, Thanksgiving, an amazing Shabbat in Ra'anana, and lots of sleep.

That's a week in a nutshell.

I meant all week to sit down and write how I was feeling, what I was thinking, what life in a "war" zone really feels like, but I was far too busy documenting it on Facebook for the sake of others, for the world to see how absolutely biased and ridiculous 99 percent of the news that goes out really is. Just today I had some guy try to tell me that Hamas dragging Gaza citizens through the street in a bloody display of retribution for supposed "spying for Israel" was fake and not real news. Google it. You'll find dozens, if not hundreds, of sources and images. It happened. Believe it didn't, but those are the kind of thugs that are running Gaza. And I pity the citizens of Gaza who are either brainwashed, suffering Stockholm Syndrome, or too scared to breathe a word of fleeing to a safer place like, oh, I don't know, Israel. The truth is, Muslim, Christian, or Jew, Israel is the safest place for anyone in the Middle East these days.

Sirens last week again in Jerusalem had me leaving some cooking in the oven, running out of my apartment in my frilly, girly apron, to the miklat (bomb shelter) across from my apartment. It was still padlocked up, so a neighbor with a crowbar hit the scene and an Israeli managed to get it open. After breaking a second lock downstairs, and after the sirens had subsided, we entered the miklat to discover a blast from the past in the form of an old office with tons of office equipment. It's rumored that some guy was using it as his office space, and there were other rumors it was rented out as a music school at some point. Chances are both are true, which just makes me laugh. This is how poorly prepared and ready Jerusalem is for an air strike -- this is how completely unlikely we thought the situation was.

After days of rockets and fear, rain swept the country. B"H.

When the ceasefire talks seemed like they were honest and serious, there were lots of mixed emotions from Israelis, myself included. Although I needed the break -- the 24/6 news cycle was creating a culture of no sleep and emotional exhaustion -- I was also willing to go months without sleep to ensure that once and for all Israel would stop allowing Hamas to terrorize Israel and Israelis, that Israel would wave its mighty fist of justice and truth and smash its enemies while showing the world its sincere commitment to human rights and life.

But it didn't happen. The ceasefire came, life has gone back to normal, and I'm finally sleeping. With one eye on Twitter and Facebook at all times, I'm waiting to see what will happen with Hezbollah in the north. When it comes to terrorism and the pursuit of murdering Jews and Israelis and destroying the state, Hezbollah wins. And they haven't even gotten started yet.

At last, it resembles a real apartment. Video forthcoming (maybe)!

Beyond war, of course, there is normal life. I went to a Thanksgiving event at Hineni on Thursday night with an e-friend turned real friend, which was a blast and a half. I'd share some pictures with you, but unfortunately the photographer for the night has failed to post them yet. Although I didn't eat much, my funds went to a good cause for those impacted by the conflict, and I got lots of my favorite Thanksgiving goodies on Friday night for "Shabbat Hodu" -- that's sort of like Indian Shabbat. I was elated and surprised when my friends in Ra'anana put together Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole for me. It felt like home, it felt like Thanksgiving, for the first time in years. My apartment has finally been filled appropriately with an aron (closet) and a table, so I am not living 24/7 on my bed. I have an oven and plenty of cooking items, so my kitchen is finally feeling like a real place to cook and bake and ease my mind on long days again.

Tonight I made Gluten-Free Oven-Baked Fish & Chips. 
Tilapia + Potato + Seasonings/Corn Meal = Roughly 23 shekels ($6)
Homecooked Meal = Priceless

And dating? Well, that world has continued to perplex me. Men who don't know what they want or can't see what's right in front of them seem to appear at my doorstep, which leaves me nowhere. I haven't had much luck with any of the guys I've encountered on JWed (formerly Frumster), and I just got one match on Saw You at Sinai that I'm contemplating. Meeting people in real life always seems to go well, until the point-blank shoot-down after what appears to be flirtations. I'm either horribly out of practice, or men have become women with their uncertainties, mixed signals, and inability to conjure an honest thought.

So that's life right now in Israel. I'm still happy as a clam here, and I can't imagine any other life for myself. I start ulpan -- intensive Hebrew language learning like I did back in Vermont -- in mid-January, and I'm incredibly eager to make it happen. I hold my own well here, arguing with the bank and bad delivery drivers over the phone without a second thought, but I want fluency and confidence, to fill the gaps, to be able to function fully in Hebrew. Everything's fallen into place with the greatest of ease, and every day that I breathe a little here in Jerusalem is another day I'm sure that I've made the best decision for me.

With that being said, when are you guys coming to visit already!?