Six years ago today, I started a blog. I'd never even heard of a blog before, but my boyfriend at the time, tech savvy Jef, introduced me to them. I wish I could remember the exact conversation, as I always do when some new technological marvel is absorbed into my life, but it's patchy. I remember looking at a few "blogs," which looked nothing like the blogs of today. Ah, things were so simple back then.
We were both moving across the world--he to South Korea and I to Israel--and we wanted a way to keep in touch with friends and family back home without the old mass email trick. This blog started on typepad, Jef's choice; I paid eight dollars a month for two years before I realized I could have one for free. Back then it was called Bar Kochva, after the street I lived on in Israel. I was still a born-again Christian at the time, fresh from serving as a missionary in the South Pacific, but burdened with doubts. I was getting my Masters in Religious Studies. I wanted to document my experience with grad school and my travels in the Middle East; I wanted a place to post pictures and impress everyone with my superior and witty prose. Obviously.
So, six years. A lot has taken place in that time, some of it recorded here, some of it just memories in my head.
In that six years...
I lived in Jerusalem.
Holy to three of the world's religions, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is also one of the most dangerous. When I was there in 2003, buses were still blowing up every day. The number 19 bus--my bus--blew up one morning, packed with students. The Israelis took the bus and set it in front of the hotly contested separation wall, to remind people why the wall stood there. I went to see it.
I saw what the Palestinians wrote on the wall to remind people that they weren't animals to be caged in.
And I saw soldiers everywhere, all the time, reminding me that I was living in a war zone.
I was in Israel when they caught Saddam Hussein. I was there when Arafat died, and later, when the pope died. I was there for dozens of bombings, and I was there when they practically stopped altogether.
I learned Hebrew and I speak it well; I learned Arabic and I can barely read a newspaper headline. I studied history, philosophy, the anthropology of religion, the Pseudepigrapha, the early Christian martyrs, Maimonides, Mohammad, biblical theory. My faith suffered.
Still, I spent Maundy Thursday in Gethsemane, walked the Via Dolorosa on Good Friday, and spent Easter Sunday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christ was buried.
I traveled to Jordan.
Somewhere along the line I fell in love with Judaism. And I fell in love with a Jewish boy.
I didn't write about him on this blog, because he read it. Instead, we moved to New York City together in 2005. I didn't write for two years. I didn't write about teaching English in a community college on 52nd Street. I didn't write about the ups and downs of our relationship. I didn't write about my 14 month conversion to Judaism, how I studied with an orthodox rabbi, how I kept kosher and shabbat, how I learned the 613 commandments.
I didn't write about our breakup and my subsequent breakdown, though I'd written of my struggles with depression before. I didn't write about how I couldn't eat or sleep, how I lost ten pounds in as many days, and how I started taking effexor. I didn't write about how it started working immediately.
I didn't write about finding a job as an intern at a fledgling business magazine called Success, and how that turned into an assistant editor job and later an associate editor job. I didn't write about having my name appear on something I wrote that 650,000 people read. I didn't write about my Scottish boss, the one who drove me crazy and sometimes drove me to drink after work, but who also managed to become a good friend.
I didn't write about going to the mikveh and finishing my conversion. I didn't write about throwing myself a bat mitzvah for my thirtieth birthday, in which I went back to 1989 (the year I should have had one) and brought my friends along with me...
I did write when, in the summer of 2007, I traveled to Germany, and went back to Israel. But I didn't write about the fact that while I was there, Success was sold and we all lost our jobs. I didn't write about how my Scottish boss--you may know him as David--emptied my desk for me, and how I went to his apartment on Horatio street to pick it up, and how we got a bit wasted and made out, and how we spent one blissful unemployed month in the big city in the summer, falling in love.
I didn't write about how I helped him pack and he moved back to Scotland.
I did write about going to Argentina for six weeks. I wrote about meeting up with some Uruguayan theater students in Montevideo. I wrote about getting beat up and mugged by a gang of children in Paraguay, and how I had to bribe the guards at the border.
I wrote about having to leave early because my grandpa was ill, but I didn't write about how he died and my heart broke.
I didn't write about my first trip to Scotland to visit David, and how blissfully in love I was, and how he asked me to come live with him there.
I did write about moving there and starting a life together. But I stopped writing when I found out I was pregnant, and I stopped the effexor, and the world fell apart. So I didn't write much about my pregnancy.
Not until he was born.
And then I wrote all about him.
And that's pretty much where we are now. Six years later.