Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Blahs

I'll get to the good news soon, but basically in the last week I've:

1- Lost my glasses. One evening I was in a hotel room (see below) and had them; the next morning they had utterly disappeared. There's $400 down the drain.

2- Lost my glasses. Which means that by the time I get the new ones (on Sunday, please God), I'll have been squinting and getting headaches for a week and a half.

3- Had some sort of virus that kept me in bed on and off for the last three days. Blegh.

4- Have had to face the fact that the "world economic meltdown" has trickled down to my own poor, depleted bank account. Quite a stressful turn of events.

5- Was stood up on a date. Sort of. It's a little more complicated than that, but "stood up" is the best way to describe what happened in simple terms. This feels very bad.

I realize that in the grand scheme of life, none of the above is a horrible thing. I have a nice apartment, good friends, some income, food on the table. It's fine. I'll get through it. But it's been a "blah" week.

The good news:

1- I got a free night at the Margoa hotel in Arad, and a free, excellent tour of Masada the next day. This was all for an assignment I'm working on. It had been 18 years (half my life) since I'd been to Masada, and I have to say, going as an adult who knows something about Jewish and ancient history makes the experience much richer than going as an 18-year-old who has never been to Israel before. First of all, I knew this time to wear layers. Second, I knew that the Snake Path sucks and that if you must hike up, it's the Ramp Path you want. Third, the story of the kannaim had context for me now. I understand more -- mostly from visits to other, excellent National Parks such as those at Tzippori and Bet Sha'an -- about the Roman conquest and the complex relationship between Jews and Romans. And Fourth, the double-layered history of Masada (Herod's buildings, and later the Jews' use of those buildings) was much more clear to me this time. I think the last time I went, all I could think about was how absolutely horrible the Snake Path was, and why didn't anyone tell me to wear layers?

Thanks to Peter Abelow of Keshet: The Center for Educational Tourism in Israel, for guiding me through Masada. Peter's commentary was wonderful.

2- I've ordered new glasses ... and they are much nicer than the old ones.

3- I'm very excited because my parents are coming to visit me next month!

4- For all the "blahs," my lack of funds, etc., life goes on and it's not bad. I've got my family, my friends, my books, my internet connection, my apartment, my food, my clothes... lots to be thankful for. And pretty soon I'm starting not one but two teaching jobs, each of which is a four-month gig, which will help tide me over financially and also, I hope, will be fun. I'm a bit nervous about taking on such a large teaching load, but mostly I'm looking forward to the change of pace.

And now, for something cute, a very serious conversation I recently had with my three-year-old neighbor, as we were both leaving the building one morning (this was all in Hebrew):

Tahel: Hi Sarah!
Sarah: Taheli! Good morning!
Tahel: Where are you going?
Sarah: I'm going to work. Where are you going?
Tahel: I'm going to gan [nursery school]. You have a backpack!
Sarah: Yes, I do. And so do you, I see.
Tahel: What is in your backpack?
Sarah: My computer and some papers. What's in yours?
Tahel: Food. Do you have food in your backpack?
Sarah: No.
Tahel [looking concerned]: So what do you eat?
Sarah: Um, well, see, I do my work in a restaurant, and I get food there.
[Tahel looks understandably confused.]
[Tahel's father emerges from their apartment with her jacket.]
Sarah: Tahel, you look so nice in your outfit, with your cute purple pants and your green jacket. Look, you are wearing green, and I'm wearing green too!
Tahel: You are wearing a sweater-shirt!
Sarah: Yes, that's true.
Tahel [as we all walk down the stairs]: I like green. Do you like green?
Sarah: Yes.
Tahel: But it's not my favorite color. My favorite color is purple. Do you like purple?
Sarah: Oh, yes, very much.
Tahel [as we get to the street]: Do you know what can be purple?
Sarah: Um, no, what?
Tahel: Parsely leaves can be purple!
Sarah: Um, yes, that's true.
Tahel's father: Tahel, it's time to get in the car. Say goodbye to Sarah.
All: Bye bye!

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