Friday, September 29, 2006

The State of the Nation

I spent 70 shek last night trying to get out of Jerusalem and I failed. I literally sat on a bus for an hour but there was so much traffic that we just sat there on the road not moving. It was very frustrating. I started talking to the person sitting next to me, and eventually she knew my entire life story which actually didn’t really take so long to tell. It got to that awkward point where now you have exchanged pleasantries, you know that you don’t really want to keep talking but since you are stuck on a bus sitting next to each other, the ice has been broken and so now it’s rude not to acknowledge the other person’s presence So you have to talk, which was also annoying. Luckily the friend I was meant to meet was very understanding of my predicament and based on her advice, I got off the bus, Maybe I was just a bit even more frustrated because I am sick of this conversation which I am translating into English;

“Tell me your Hebrew isn’t exactly 100%, Where are you from? America?”
“No, I am from Australia”
“Aaaah Australia! It is my dream to go to Australia! It’s very far away!”
“ I Know, it’s at the end of the world and then left.”
“Tell me? Why would you leave Australia? Isn’t life easier there?”
“Well I am a Zionist! I guess for the same reasons that you stay in Israel and don’t move there, I have come here.”
“ But, where is your family?”
“They are all there.”
“You are alone? You are crazy! Why would anyone want to leave Australia to come here?”

I guess this conversation always leaves me slightly disconcerted. Maybe, because it forces me to question? Maybe, because I am not so happy with my answer? I reflect a bit more and realize that it is neither of those things…Maybe I just don’t want to be called crazy within the first minute of meeting someone, and have them pass negative judgement on a major life decision of mine… I’m not angry…I was angry when on my first day of work, I had to introduce myself to everyone and when I said I made Aliyah (go/rise up to Israel) last year, someone replied…What nonsense! You didn’t rise up to anything!...Maybe I just wish that the people that lived here, had a bit more pride. I guess I feel that these statements that they make are tinged with their personal disappointment in their experiences here…Maybe that is me passing my own personal judgement on them…I’d like to think that I am misjudging their motivation, but I don’t think I am, I almost feel like they are projecting the thought 'Are you not grateful for all the opportunities that you had in Australia that we never received here and never will?' perhaps this is stretching it..I don't know.... However, for me having changed my life to be here having to have this conversation on a regular basis and re-iterating these thoughts on a regular basis…this makes me feel a bit I dunno….duller.

On the whole Rosh Hashana thing…I was really surprised at how good it felt for my soul to be inside Shule. It was almost like I had been yearning to be there…It was a mixed feeling of being comfortable and relief and it was also surprising…My driving teacher in between screaming at me to watch out for the right…(it’s really weird having a whole car on the right hand side of you), also asked me to pray for him on Yom Kippur…He will be busy playing computer games…I replied that it won’t matter cause G-d still knows that he has been a bad person…he wasn’t impressed…he went quiet…oh well…maybe I should have thought before I said that out a loud.

I’m listening to Holly Throsby…Things Between People.
I’m reading A Nicaraguan Journey by Salman Rushdie because I saw my sister reading it once, and sometimes I feel like if you read the same books that other people read maybe you share some of the same thoughts as those people because the same words have passed through both of your headspaces…and you share that…an almost tangible type of reality when other things are missing…like her presence in the apartment around the corner.

Talking of presence….The other Friday night someone saw a ghost in my apartment. A little boy carrying a plate of food that slid into the dining room…the guest sitting next to him heard it too…I heard a rumour that ghosts don’t exist in Israel. I wasn’t really scared, but I want to know what he’s doing in my house…and if he wants to live here, maybe he should pay part of the rent, since it is a good location and all.


Blogger Wisey said...

Please elaborate on the ghost stuff.

Remember it could be fake, like that time in 3 men and a little baby, but it was just a carboard cutout of Ted Danson.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Me said...

You made me laugh out loud Gils - I can just picture you telling your driving teacher in all seriousness that he's a bad man (probably because he tells you off for speeding)

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i saw the ghost. seriously, stay away from that haunted house!

Sorry Gils, but i have to warn people.

4:06 PM  
Blogger gils said...

On the ghost p no Deb it's not like Ted Danson, and it's not like the baby in Ally McBeal - thanks to my mum for that analogy.
And no I was not speeding.
As for anonymous who I will assume aka is Yag...if you don't wanna come for Fri night dinner this week, or to the party for Simchat Torah...your call...but since I live here, and I haven't actually seen this ghost...there is no reason to be a scaredy cat and scare of others... that being other fish died this week and I think maybe the ghost killed it...cause I was so good to it, there is no other logical explanation.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Idan said...

We (my wife Tiferet) and I both get asked the "why come here" question often. On better days, we answer with a cheery "Why not?". On worse days we shake our heads and say "why, indeed."


8:44 AM  

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