Sunday, July 03, 2005

My last post in israel?

I leave Israel in two and a half days.  It is heading towards me far too quickly, which is strange.  I almost never leave a place before I am ready to leave it.  Usually I am in a terrible rush--no matter how happy I was in some non-homey place--to get home.  HOME.  I am so excited to be with the familiar, the family, the people and places that I love, but this is the most bittersweet little exit I've ever made.  Mostly because the whole color of the world has changed for me.  While I am accustomed to looking forward to the mundane everyday activities that make home home, (Mom setting the table, Dad fixing me a drink before dinner, sisters laughing or fighting, Koti following me around, bla bla bla a hundred simple little happinesses), and I still do, it is hard to imagine them all happening without HIM there.  This is particularly strange because he has never been a part of any of these things, they have always occurred, quite naturally, without him.  But now, pretty much anything that happens without him feels unnatural, and all my silly, wonderful memories are not enough to make the new yet-to-be-made memories worthwhile if he is not there to make them with me. 

There is so much more to write, updates on what I've been up to during my last two week respite, but now I am too sad and melancholy.

Let me just say Happy Birthday to my Papa, the best Papa of ever, who I love and love and love, and to Wes, who's also okay in my book...(wink and smile)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

School's out for summer...

I passed my Hebrew exam, so I officially have only one more class to take, which I suppose I will do in New York next year.  As for Arabic, no news on how I did, but I spent over four hours on the test.  By the end I was so hungry (forgot to eat beforehand...stupid) I was shaking and so tired I couldn't concentrate.  So I guess we'll see how it went!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Three more weeks

I changed my flight date.  Or, rather, I bought a new ticket, as changing the date proved to be impossible.  If I hadn't done this, however, I would be leaving in four days, which is remarkably soon.  I am pleased with my exorbitant choice.

I have one exam left.  I still haven't gotten the results of my Hebrew exam, but here's hoping I passed.  Arabic is tomorrow, so in a few minutes I'm off to some coffee shop somewhere to immerse myself in squiggly lines.  Hooray!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Um...well then


I must admit, it was probably not such a good idea to quit posting after that last one.  I assure you I am much more stable now, and slightly embarrassed that my emotional ravings have been on display and uncapped for so long.

I am very well.  Doped up on the Paxil again, of course, but well nonetheless.  And, as it turns out, the entire class failed that exam, took it again, and failed a second time.  So I don't feel too bad or too crazy.

I come home very, very soon and my heart feels split in two.  I am happy, at the moment I am happy, but a divided heart is a bit of a burden.  I will miss this place much more than I care to dwell on, so much so that I try to calculate when in my life I could possibly live here again...sigh and sigh.

I was in the States a week or so again, however, and I must admit I miss my country a lot a lot.  It was very good to be home, where people understand me.  I am excited about staying there for a while.

I'm sorry that there haven't been many updates lately; my computer at home won't let me on the typepad site, so I have to come to school to write, which is, you know, a hassle and all.

But I will try to be better.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Cracking up slowly

I failed a test today, for the first time since high school.  I am not in a good state.  The combination of stressing out over school, preparing to leave the country that I love, and uncertainty over the future has me teetering on the edge of fear and panic.  And things with Dave being so precarious at the moment has pushed me dangerously close to despair.  (That's a lie.  I am right smack in the middle of despair.) The result of all of these little messes is that I can't sleep, can barely eat, and certainly can't concentrate on school. 

So I failed my Arabic test.  Last night I remember thinking: I should study for this test.  I really, honestly should.  And then I remember thinking: I don't have one ounce of strength left.  I had to leave my apartment, get out, see people.  I was on the way into town when Dave called, and he was near my apartment, but I'd already left, and that knocked the wind out of me even more.  I tried to play it cool, but I don't know how to play it anymore.

And then this morning I was staring at this test, and I couldn't make myself care about it at all.  I left most of it blank, and half-heartedly filled in the rest.  I am alternating between an eerie numbness and the sudden inability to keep myself from crying.  Not good.

Friday, April 29, 2005

28 years...

A recent request from my grandmother has prompted me to at last sit down and write an update.  I really don't have much excuse for not having written in so long; the truth is, I haven't had a whole lot to say.  Not that I haven't been doing anything.  Here's a quick review of the past month:

We celebrated Luise's birthday by piling into cars and heading out of the city to some big national park--I forget the name--and having a BBQ on the side of a cliff.  Later that week, Shadi invited us to his home in East Jerusalem, where his family cooked up for us an Arab feast and we watched Shadi in a Palestinian movie.  Tom flew into town and we celebrated yet another birthday on the balcony with wine and sachertorte. The next week was, of course, my birthday, and my friends took me out to eat a few days before, as the actual day fell during vacation and no one was here.  Well, not no one--Dave was here, and we spent the day together, and he made me feel loved and special and not too old.  Last week was vacation, and Dave and I spent most of it together--at the Israel Museum (free entrance!), the cinematheque, a concert at the dead sea, cooking kosher-for-passover meals (um...salad, basically), etc.  Last Saturday was the seder and we spent it with a British family in Baka, which was wonderful.  Nobody asked me to read in Hebrew, to my delight, and they actually went through the entire Hagaddah, which took about four hours or so.  I didn't drink four glasses of wine, but I should have.  Maybe then I would have joined in some of the singing.

Anyway, I've finally posted some pictures of Egypt for your enjoyment.  There shall be more presently.  I'll try to be better with keeping up!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Passion Week

I've gone to the synagogue these past two weeks on Friday night.  I went with Dave, but we couldn't sit together, so before it started, my first time there, he very kindly took me into a corner with a prayer book and showed me where to read.  I followed along all right, only getting lost at the parts where everyone reads to themselves.  The service is fairly short--an hour, maybe an hour and a half--and a lot of it is strangely familiar to me, except for the fact that it's all in Hebrew.  Part of it comes from the Psalms--92 through 99, or something like that--which I find, in an odd way, truly comforting.  These are Psalms I used to memorize (in English of course) and say out loud in bed, on long walks, in airplanes, when I was happy, or sad, or anxious.  Psalm 96 especially.  It has a strange effect on me when I hear it sung in Hebrew.  It makes me feel thick and liquid inside.  There's no explaining it, but there it is.  It makes me miss and miss and miss God.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


My strep is gone, my papers are in, I'm all caught up in all my is pretty good right now.  However, there's not much to write about.  Things have definitely returned to the happy and humdrum.  I go to school, come home, spend time with Dave or my friends, eat, and sleep. 

I wish I could stay here, just for another year or so, perfect (ha) my Hebrew, continue with Arabic, get a job and settle in.  There are lots of reasons to stay, but lots of reasons to go as well.  I'm pretty much wavering between spending the next year here or in New York.  I miss my country, but what the hell would I do there for a year?  What would I do here?  I'm too old to not know these things yet.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Sick again

I've been very busy lately, been spending a lot of time out with friends, which means I've kind of been slacking off at school.  I've noticed something: when I am depressed, as I was last semester, I am unable to work.  When I am happy, as I am this semester, I am unable to work.  Thus, for me to be productive at all, I have to exist in a state of perpetual boring emotional calm, as I was last year.  Not too happy, not too sad.  Hmmm.  This does not bode so well for me.

But at least I am happy.  There are so many people around all of a sudden, and there is constantly something to do.  I am taking, as I said, an easy load this semester, but it still somehow feels like a lot.  Maybe that's because I still have classes from last year hanging over my head--two papers due tomorrow, neither of which I have started.  No worries, though.  Give me three or four hours and they'll be done.

I also have strep throat, which basically sucks.  I am not a good sick person.  I moan and whimper and whine.  Ah, but soon this too shall pass away.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

A new semester

I just realized how long it's been since I've posted.  I've noticed that I have a tendency to write when I'm upset over something, which no doubt has led some people to believe that I'm a miserable and depressed person.  That certainly doesn't feel like the case lately--I swear it must be the weather.  The sun is coming out, Spring is on it's away, and everything has taken on a whole new color.  I feel hopeful and happy, and am painfully aware that I only have four months left here. 

I've finished two of my papers from last semester, and have only two more to go.  Second semester has begun, and I am determined to throw myself into my work--Hebrew especially.  I am only taking Hebrew, Arabic, and two classes this semester, Modern Christian Spirituality and Christian Mysticism, so I'm hoping to have more time to study my languages.  I have to pass the Hebrew exemption exam at the end of this semester, and my prospects are pretty gloomy.  We'll see.

As far as non-academic stuff goes, Bernd has come into town for a month, which of course makes me very happy.  Last night the whole neighborhood was over at Luise's place, drinking Hungarian liquor and talking too loudly.  It's been a long time since we've hung out like that; we were all a bit like hermits last semester.  Spring must be affecting us all.  Last Saturday I ditched my work to go to the beach with Luise and Famke and Rotem and Shimmy, and it was a perfect day.  On the way back we stopped at Abu Gosh for Hummus--apparently the best Hummus in Israel--and I even managed to finish my paper that night.  Things are settling back into normalcy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

In Cairo

I have tried over and over again to update this site here in Egypt, but this is the first Internet Cafe that has let me onto the page! I apologize to those of you out there (read: my parents) who have been worried and wondering whether I am dead or alive.

I am alive, feeling more and more so actually--I was pretty sick the first few days I was here, as a German Girl Who Shall Remain Nameless (Luise) gave me a cold to take with me to Egypt to remind me of her. I have managed, however, to have a fantastic time.

How to explain Egypt? Others have tried before, and done better than I possibly could. Parts of it remind me of India--the crowds, the constant horn-honking, the annoying vendors, the smells and colors, the hassle, the exotic nature of it all. But at the same time, it's much more accessible, much more modern in a way. So you have this fairly modern world set up against this ancient, incredible background, a crazy juxtaposition.

We rented horses to go and see the pyramids, and our guide rode us way out into the desert and through a hole in the fence to get in...the result being we paid no entry fees, except into his pocket, which I'm okay with really. We were trotting and cantering towards these great enormous structures that I've seen so often on books, and I was of course having one of my this is my life moments, only it was so cold and windy when the sun went behind the clouds that I actually managed to be in the present rather than removing myself to make my usual mental comments. We went inside the second pyramid, crouching down low all the way into the hot, airless interior, and I found myself frighteningly aware of how many thousands of tons of rock were layered above me, and suddenly trying to remember how often Egypt has earthquakes. Enia kindly remarked that if the pyramids have stood for 4500 years, they most likely were not going to collapse then, but I was not to be comforted. Unforgettable to go in, but a huge relief to get back out again.

After Cairo we took a night train down to Aswan, where we spent the day perusing the Nubian Museun, then drifting about on a Felluca on the Nile while the sun set. It was nice for a change of pace, especially since our next stop was Luxor (ancient Thebes), which has more sights than it is possible to see in weeks, let alone two days. We saw the amazing, enormous temple of Karnak, and the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, full of wall paintings that were still in vivid color, showing Ramses being accepted into the afterlife by Osiris, or the goddess Nut among the books of the day and night. It was way too much to take in, and I am full and thick and happy.

Now we're back in Cairo, and tomorrow it's back to Jerusalem. I'm excited to get back, am a bit homesick. Soon I will post a million pictures, I promise.

Sunday, February 06, 2005


Grandma e-mailed me just to find out if I'm still alive; apparently it's time for an update.  Yes, I'm alive, still here, just on vacation.  The scores are in: I passed my Hebrew exam, and managed an A in Arabic, so I am pleased.  I would be resting easy if I didn't have four papers due, easier still if one of them weren't on a subject I don't understand at all.  I keep thinking: this will all be over in a month.  The papers will be in, and a new, fresh semester beginning.  I'll do better this time.  This is what I tell myself.

Friday, January 28, 2005

A little faith

The other night I was at a party, sitting around a huge glass table drinking wine and talking about the things you talk about at parties like that, when we started talking about religion.  My friend Maya made some joke about me being a Jesus Freak, and without thinking, I blurted out "ex-Jesus Freak."  The minute the words were out of my mouth, I felt the most horrible sense of shame.  After all, these are my private, painful musings, not meant to be made into a public joke; after all, this is Jesus we are talking about, to whom my entire life was dedicated for so long; after all, I am still my mother's daughter. 

So the question remains, what do I really think?  Who is it that I am becoming, what leg does she have to stand on?  My search seems much more frantic from the pages of this website; the truth is I am more than stalled.  I wrestle constantly with converting to Judaism, even still, but mostly I manage to keep that urge quiet.  As for Christianity, I try not even to think about it anymore.  There are no answers that satisfy me.  Instead I fill up my days with distractions, until some comment at some party jolts me back into the middle of whatever inner conflict it is that I am successfully ignoring most of the time.

But today is gorgeous and the sun is shining, and my only odd urge is to write.  I want to grab a pen and a notebook and sit in the sun in the old city somewhere and make up some people who understand me, give somebody life--you know, be God for a little bit, make things right.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

All's well that ends well

I am finally finished with the semester, and can exhale a little bit.  As for my finals, I'm pretty sure I failed my Hebrew final and aced my Arabic final--so I guess I achieved some sort of balance.  I now have four mini-papers to write, but I'm not planning on starting those for a week or two.  Life is good. 

I'd also like to say Happy Birthday to my little sister Sara, who turns 26 today.  She's 26 and married with a real job, living a real life.  What am I doing with myself???

Friday, January 21, 2005

Advice from my youth

Sometimes I have to remind myself of things.  Rilke helps:

"If you have this love for insignificant things and seek, simply as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems to be poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory, not perhaps in understanding, which lags wandering behind, but in your innermost consciousness, wakefulness and knowing.  You are so young, you have not even begun, and I would like to beg you to have patience with everything that is unsolved in your heart and to try to cherish the questions themselves, like closed rooms and like books written in a very strange tongue.  Do not search now for the answers which cannot be given you because you could not live them.  It is a matter of living everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, one distant day live right into the answer."

Last night I had a dream that I was sitting on the beach, and the tide started rising really quickly, and I had to scramble up the sand dunes, and even higher and higher, as the water kept rising and the waves kept getting stronger.  There was nothing threatening about it--the waves were almost gentle--but they were eroding something, taking pieces of things away, and I couldn't stop to save any of it, just had to keep moving.  I was grabbing onto things for leverage: trees, roots, heavy stones, and pulling myself up slowly slowly, but I was still wet, still aware that if I stopped moving I'd be swept away.  So of course the waves are time, making loss out of everything, and the things I take hold of are these questions, that help me climb upwards but do nothing to stop the tide, and the sea itself may be mortality, or it may be the answer, because no matter how fast I scurried, I never thought for one moment that I was moving towards anything in particular, and I had the vague sensation that what I really wanted was behind me, that what I really wanted more than anything was to be swallowed up and carried off.  And yet there I was, still scrambling and panting, grabbing onto what I could and watching precious things drift away.  These are the things I dream about.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I keep on keeping on

I erased my last post, as you can see...sometimes I forget that this isn't my own personal diary, that people actually read this, people who might possibly think that I'm crazy...I get a little carried away, you see.  It's probably because I haven't written in my actual journal in so long, which is really strange for me.  All my thoughts have gotten all jumbled up into a big impenetrable mass, which obviously makes it harder for me to make any sense when I try to sort them out (often to no avail).

I am okay.  I will be okay, anyway.  It's so weird how different this year is from last year.  Perhaps I've stayed past my usual allotment of time to any given space--I already feel the urge to move, move, know, keep things whole.  The second year in a place is always hardest; that's when it begins, the little howling.  It gets louder with time.  Here it is, only January, and it's at a fever pitch.