This is a continuation of “Holidays in the Holy Land (Part 1 of 2)“.
I’ve done a decent job of listening to my own advice and investing in a smaller circle of friends in Israel. It’s funny, though. I try to be present with people in a genuine “I see you” type of way, and to respect those around me. When you combine that with the fact that I am intense about friendships and full of love and caring, then investing in these friendships is almost like having simultaneous relationships – just without calling them as such, and sans the physical factor.
This is kind of ironic, given the desired break from relationships. Intense friendships are a normative part of my world, but are likely strange for other people to experience and to compartmentalize as only friendships – even if they rationally know where I’m at.
Parenthetically, you know that feeling when someone gets in your head and you can’t get ’em out? I’ve been musing recently about what causes that and I think that the common thread is frustrated desire. You can meet someone and have the most innocent of interactions, but if an interest is sparked and that person is unavailable, not interested or you are not allowing yourself to pursue them for whatever reason, nothing makes a mind go more crazy. Can anyone relate?
On a less philosophical note, I am essentially a four-year-old at heart, so it has been wonderful spending time with people my age. Nothing has made me happier than playing with my niece and nephew this past month and, after receiving a playful comment from a friend one day, I decided to spend my final day in Israel traipsing around the country dressed as a Greek Goddess, because… well, why not?
The acro class that I teach in Jerusalem is going really well and, with each class, I become more connected to the students and the practice. Despite all the holidays, my work at the shelter and continued project development (check out Jewrotica’s beautiful new look!), I was able to squeeze in a beach trip to Hof HaPalmachim, a few dance excursions and some malabi and chulent adventures before leaving Israel.
The trip home was smooth sailing and, on my layover in Newark, I pulled back my hair, put on some lip gloss… and walked into the executive club lounge with a nice young businessman. After two minutes of chitchat, I was freed to go munch on a limitless quantity of chocolate-covered raisins. Really, who needs jetlag when you can have chocolate-covered raisins?! Bliss.
This sugar high love was followed by the biggest surprise of my life. Just as I was about to board the plane for Austin, I felt hands cover my eyes. I began musing out loud: “Well, I’m in New Jersey. So maybe this is someone who I grew up with, or a really friendly stranger?” I turned around and it was my Dad who had left his DC business meeting early and hopped an early flight just to catch me at the gate. What an amazing gift!!
My transition to Austin has been truly great, and much more natural than I thought it would be. The weather here is glorious, the co-op is moving in a great direction, reuniting with friends has been tremendously uplifting and singing with my choir this morning was simply Godly. The music and prayers were beautiful, and I even phoned my dear friend David into the service, who proceeded to play my choir’s songs on speakerphone as he walked the streets of Jerusalem! All the kids rushed over to give me huge hugs after the service… and wouldn’t let go. It felt good to be back.
Life here is light, idyllic and easy. Everything is falling into place and I am more actively appreciating my surroundings because they may only be available to me for a limited time. It looks like I’ll be immersing in Austin’s carefree offerings this October, and then traveling to Montreal, East Texas, West Louisiana and Florida in November, after which I’ll be selling the RV and moving to Jerusalem for a couple of years to start the next chapter in my life. Surprise! Or perhaps not a surprise for those who have been following my trajectory.
If you know of anyone who is looking to purchase a gently-used and well-loved RV with solar panels and low mileage, let me know if you or a friend might be Arvie’s next family.
Til then, I have a birthday excursion in San Antonio to look forward to tomorrow and a week of art modeling (a first!) with skilled professors at two of the colleges in town.
You enjoy this season, and I’ll do the same. Blessings for a glorious October!
posted by ayo