The Good and the Bad and the Catch

Tsfat, Israel I recently moved to Tsfat. I walk around taking in the scenery and look at things. It legitimately looks like I’m walking through illustrations in a childrens story book.

The art amount of artists in Tsfat is close to ridiculous. There is beautiful, incredible, inspiring art in Tsfat. But I get it. It’s hard not to be inspired there, nestled on a hilltop surrounded by mountains. Tsfat is a palace in the air. I’ve started taking time out of my day to get lost walking in and out of little stone alleyways.

I’ve been learning about Judaism, people, and myself.  I started taking pottery lessons. I started interning and living at a campus where people come to volunteer in the community and to connect with their spirituality and Judaism through hiking, art, and learning sessions (to poorly summarize).

I feel like I’m finally touching the core of being alive–like I finally get it. Every so often I can hear my inner voice say, “Oohhh…so that’s what it’s supposed to feel like.” I’m exhausted but energized. Full and famished. Happy and sad.Tsfat, Israel

There is so much good in the world. It is incredibly important to acknowledge this; and to experience it. Find some good in the world and drink it in. Relish it because you are a good person and you deserve it.

But there is a catch.

As important as it is to recognize, enjoy, and embrace the good in the world–it is more important that we acknowledge the bad.

I just had to pause for a minute to listen to the Yom HaZicaron siren. Tomorrow is the day of remembrance for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and its Victims of Terrorism.

The siren wails so that the whole of Israel can stop and remember. It’s horrifyingly sad. All those lives lost. But the act of remembering allows me the space to stop and be thankful. It gives me the time to stop and appreciate.

What I was saying before about how important it is to recognize the bad in the world–well its true. How could you ever appreciate the light if it wasn’t for the dark?

Besides that, acknowledging the bad in the world gives us the opportunity to put more good in the world. And that is a gift.

If it resonates with you, I am working to raise money and awareness for human trafficking in Thailand. I will be going there in June to work with victims of sexual slavery and also working in at-risk population for the prevention of sexual slavery.

You can find my root funding page here:


So I haven’t been writing. Just checked. The last time I wrote was before my birthday. Over a month later I’m back. Older and more wise. Just kidding. Older yes. More wise? Not unless you count the TEFL/TESL knowledge I’ve been accumulating from the lovely people at i-to-i TEFL. So yeah, maybe I am wiser. I’m also homeless. But don’t fret. I have a closet. My clothes aren’t homeless–they have a mailing address and everything. Me on the other hand…catch me if you cannnnnnnnnn! 

Just kidding. I’m crashing with the boyfriend and taking advantage of the kindness of  Jewish Philanthropists. Except I’m mostly just crashing with the boyfriend. Which is great. Because I like cooking and showing off how great I’ll be at providing a variety nutritious and tasty meals for my lucky future family. If he hasn’t yet figured out how lucky he is then he probably never will. But I’m pretty sure he does. Or he is a really sick, twisted person considering the things he was saying to me last night. But I like to assume the best in people so I’m gonna continue believe that he’s an incredible guy and not a monster.

What am I cooking right now? Well nothing. But I laid a bunch of stuff out on the table to make it look like I’m about to start making an apple cake. Which I am, per suggestion/request of my not a monster boyfriend. Side note, I need to find a gym.

What else is cooking? Well..I only have 30 hours left of my 130 hour TEFL/TESL program and 61 days to complete it. The goal is to complete it before Monday. In theory that will happen. In practice I’m not so sure. 

Also, I’ll be starting my internship soon. I’m moving to Tsfat. I will be interning and living at Livnot, doing alumni relations.

And my program, Otzma, is over soon–which I’m sort of okay with. Having a home is always a good thing, and not really having one of those since…well May, has been difficult. I miss Bailey. I miss Bailey. I miss him, I miss him, I reallyyy miss him. That’s not getting easier. Just number. The whole taking a year off and help people is a fantastic idea in concept. I don’t think that you shouldn’t. I think that you should–but for your life. Being a part of your community and helping your community creates a deeper meaning of community and allows you to be more of help. But you don’t need too do that. Any amount of time is helpful. Even if it’s an hour a month.

The being able to take a year off makes me feel ridiculously blessed. So blessed in fact that when I hear myself complaining about my situations I feel guilty. But look, this isn’t easy. I’m far away. I don’t really know the language. I don’t have a safe, comfortable place to constantly call home. My schedule changes frequently. I haven’t reallyy been able to sink my teeth into a town yet. You know…get to know people there. Find it’s hidden special places. Find a good Pilates studio. Google is really sort of slacking in Israel.

Might be going to Thailand sometime in May. I’m gonna be back in the states starting the last week in June. I will be making Aliyah sometime in August.

Questions, comments, concerns, requests?


Birthday Hell

My mom told me that her friend Anna calls it the “birthday nightmare” is the time approaching and directly following your birthday that you become, for all intents and purposes, basically a crazy person. (My birthday is February 17th)

And right now, I’m pretty much feeling like a crazy person. I’m off balance. I’m doubting myself. I’m doubting everything. I’m freaking out about every choice I’ve ever made. I’m even having trouble dressing myself to go to bed. I can’t think straight. My head is spinning. I’m not tired when I need to/want to go to sleep and I’m exhausted when I can’t/don’t want to go to sleep.  And when I do sleep, I have the weirdest dreams.

It should end soon…but potentially it won’t. There are a lot of things happening within the next couple months that make me uncomfortable, such as changes in living situations, changes in schedules, and changes in weather. In March I’ll basically be homeless aside from the fact that I’ll have a lot of homes to go to. But I won’t have my own home. Or my own bed. (But when’s the last time I’ve had that?).

In April I’m moving to Haifa. I have 3 weeks give or take to find an internship. I’m iffy on whether or not I care about finding one anymore. I’m not worried about finding something to do with my time.

In June I’m moving again into nowhere land. I’ll be going home to get my things in order and prepare Bailey and myself to make aliyah. The plan is that I’ll already have an apartment picked out in Israel, but that I won’t be able to move in until August/September.

In August/September I’m moving again. Across the world. To where I’m supposed to live. (To where all Jews are supposed to live.)

I have four serious moves between me and a home. I want that to be already. I seriously can’t wait. I don’t want to wait either.

In the midst of birthday hell I am proud of myself that I am continuing to move forward and to be productive. I’m moving slower than I’d like…but noone is perfect. I’m super busy right now…and I’m not necessarily looking forward to being less busy–however I am looking forward to becoming equally as busy in a different place.

One day I won’t be suffering a long-distance relationship or living simultaneously in three different places. One day I’ll have a job and I’ll be making money. One day I’ll have a home that I can get comfortable in and really make my own. Until then I am happy that I at least found the general area that which I can call my home.




New day, new challenge

Sunset in Rosh HaNiqra

View in Rosh HaNiqra

Rosh HaNiqra!

Hiking to plant Haim before Shabbat!

Hiking to plant Haim before Shabbat!

Hiking in Karmiel

Hiking in Karmiel

View in Karmiel
View in Karmiel

So what’s my new challenge today? Aside from getting out a bed, which is always a challenge when I spend the weekend with my guy, I started a 130-hour TEFL course online. (TEFL is an acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

This is funny because after completing my 6-month paralegal course online through UM (which I finished in 3 months somehow), I vowed never to take a course online again.

But here we are with a new goal, seemingly more focused this time. I’m planning on this course being significantly less painful, but let’s be honest. It’ll probably be as painful–just in a different way. Either way it’ll add more stress to my day and be something I can put on my flyer when advertising for students to tutor, in addition to making me a significantly better English tutor.

So the question now is WHY am I doing this to myself. Is my normal day-to-day life in Israel not exciting enough? (Answer: it depends on the day)

So, why am I doing this to myself? I’m doing this because I’m MOVING TO ISRAEL! And more specifically because I’m planning on moving to the Galilee, which is located in the periphery of Israel. I want to dig my heels into Israel and really make an impact. I want to empower the youth from the northern periphery. I want to live here and afford to continue eating and living somewhat similarly to how I’m accustomed to–i.e. not on the street.

I feel strongly that I can make the best use of my skills to help Israel by becoming an English teacher. Being a teacher will allow me to get integrated into the community. To meet people and to have short working days and lots of vacation time. It’ll give me time to work on other projects and travel.

While I don’t currently have the time or opportunity to enroll in a Master’s Degree program that would make me wayy more qualified to teach — I do have the time to do this online certification and make myself a little more qualified to teach.

Other updates: I love Israel. I’m extremely happy here. I miss my dog terribly. I still need to buy a plane ticket home for the end of the program to collect Bailey and other things of less significant value to me. I want my mom and Grand mom to come visit me. I want my friends and family to come visit me. And you, whoever you are, you should come visit me too. I miss sewing a lot. I plan on teaching sewing when I move here. I wish I could actually start looking for apartments now. I wish my Hebrew was getting better faster and that learning by osmosis actually worked. I’m so excited for the summer. I’m dating an incredible guy. I think I’m going to surprise him with sushi for dinner and ice cream for dessert.


Winter Showers

In Israel you need to turn on the water heater to heat the water before you take a shower. This is a great idea because it ends up saving a lot of energy and money. It’s just not particularly convenient for those people that don’t plan ahead and have roommates. It also is a terrible thing when it’s cold outside (and therefore inside because you live in a house that is 75 years old and has not insulation).

Depending on the time of day, the weather, and the temperature outside it could take a while to get hot water. And sometimes you just don’t feel like waiting. When you don’t feel like waiting…you know what you are getting yourself into. You know that the shower is going to be cold. You know that you are going to be cold getting in and be even colder getting out. But the worst is when you think that the water is hot…or that there is enough hot water–and its only too late when you realize that you were wrong. You have soap in your hair and eyes, possibly you are holding a razor, and the water coming out of the tap slowing keeps getting colder and colder. You race to finish your shower–perhaps only shaving one leg and only partially rinsing out all of the soap from your hair…because you know that soon the water that is going to come out of the tap will feel like hail and sadness.

You get out of the shower feeling a little bit more clean and significantly more uncomfortable than you did when you got into the shower in the first place. And then after you dry off and warm yourself up enough to feel most of your limbs and be able to move the bulk of your digits–you have to convince yourself to get back into the shower in order to shave your other leg and get all of the soap out of your hair.

I know that they say that beauty is pain…but sometimes getting clean really just isn’t worth the pain of a cold shower and the feeling that all of your organs are about to shut down.


2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


(Christian) New Years Reflections

My mom recently came to visit me in Israel. It was her first time in the country. The first three days were amazing. The next week was up and down. I guess it’s hard to thrust yourself out of your routine when it’s become something like second nature to you. It’s hard for me to relate, being as I haven’t exactly had a routine in a years. It’s been years (6 to be exact) since I’ve even lived in the same place for longer than a couple of months. You’d think I’d be a pro at moving by now. But each time I hate it even more. Each time having a home becomes more and more important to me.

But my mom, she’s have years to perfect her schedule. And never has she been as far away from home as Israel. So maybe that had something to do with the hard parts of her visit.

A lot of other things happened over the break. I got a lot closer to a of people (my significant other included). My family is bigger and more loving then ever before. I celebrated new years surrounded by family…all met within the last year.

It’s really an amazing feeling to have been accepted–to be accepted. And understood. And loved. And protected.

All of these new changes in my life are a bit overwhelming. I almost become paralyzed by intense emotion and appreciation when I think about where I was a year ago versus where I am today. It’s a lot to be grateful for…and also a lot to take in. I’ve never imagined that I’d have so many people in my life so eager to help me…so eager to just be a part of it.

And I’m excited. Beyond excited for the next steps. I can’t wait to what happens next.