Friday, April 23, 2004

Sorry I haven't posted in so long. I've been really busy with my new job. It's such a great opportunity and I'm working with really talented people! But it's also more pressure than I'm used to. Working for a weekly newspaper section is very different from freelancing, that's for sure! So, it's taking up a lot of my time, but at least I like it and it's what I want to be doing.

My trip to the US was very nice. It was great to see my family. It took me a week and a half to even start getting over the jetlag, but it was worth it!

Other than work, I'm doing sort of "eh." Lately I've been feeling lonely. I need to get my act together and start making more of an effort to get out there and meet people. It's lonely working from home. I interview a lot of very interesting people on the phone -- it's not completely solitary -- but I don't get a lot of fresh air, either. It's hard. This morning I was reading the NY Times feature about the QM2's docking at New York Harbor, and I got tears in my eyes, because I miss Manhattan. Yes, Jerusalem is fabulous; I'm particularly looking forward to celebrating Israel's Independance Day next week. But every so often I think about the energy that is New York -- the energy that, unlike Jerusalem's, has no undercurrent of sadness-- and I just wish I could stroll along West End Avenue or watch the teenagers in front of the MTV building in Times Square, or nurse a Coke at the rotating restaraunt in the Marriott Marquee. Or even just sit on an A train, not worrying about whether the next person who gets on might be a terrorist.

I guess I'm just getting tired of the stress, the stress of living here and the stress of having moved here. I love what I've accomplished, but it wouldn't be right to pretend that it's all fun and games. Lately I've noticed that, although my Hebrew is not bad, I've started to clam up when talking to Israelis. The only Israelis I talk to in Hebrew are cab drivers, because we talk about simple things like when I made aliyah, and have a found a job. But even at my paper I get frustrated. I had to call the other day to speak with the woman who was copy-editing my story. I asked for her by name, but the Hebrew-speaking receptionist didn't understand who I was asking for. Do you think I know how to say "copy editor" in Hebrew? No.

The main problem is when I'm talking on the phone, and can't watch the people. It takes away 80 percent of my clues about what they are saying. And since they can't see me, I really have to be able to communicate only with my words, and that's something I have a hard time doing in Hebrew. It's so humbling and frustrating! Really brings one down a notch or three!

And in person . . . I think my self-confidence has taken a real beating, because I'm starting to think that one of the reasons that Israelis ALWAYS answer me in English, even if I ask a question in Hebrew, is not just my accent and their desire to show off their English, but perhaps because they see that I'm just a scared puppy. I feel, frankly, very short and very naive and very WHITE in this country. I feel like the people are ready to burn me just as quickly as the hot Mediterranean sun. Which they often are. Israelis can be the most impatient, gruff people on Earth and I'm just not used to it. It's also true that there's no one nicer in the world than a nice Israeli. But when I'm lost -- and I get lost in so many ways, from not knowing how to get around to not being able to read my mail -- the fear of asking questions and not being able to get the words out is pretty darn overwhelming.

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