Sunday, December 28, 2008

i will lay in grass, in the grass, all day

woke up early, freaking out because i knew my dad would be flying in. i tried to get money from al, both in our sleepy states, but ended up just falling back asleep, only to be woken up by my dad's call from the airport. i called my bro to wire money so i could get a cab there. it worked. i finally got to the airport driving in pouring rain. the cab driver assured me that it was his job to get me there safely. i finally found dad and joan upstairs near the car rental place. we had a big big hug, but i knew they were beat from traveling. so we looked everywhere for the car. found the damn thing. drove to tel aviv straight from the airport because joan wanted to check out the contemporary galleries there. i was really surprised at how well i navigated the area considering i don't drive here. we visited a few galleries within walking distance of each other. it's always cool, because joan asks to see artists' work for possible opportunities at her palce in dallas, so we got to see some portfolios of some neat photographers, painters, and sculpters (aged 25-35... i got time). my favorite was this photographer that uses her transvestite brother and herself as her subjects. she also did a series about pippy longstocking. we stopped by max brenner for some chocolate chai tea and hot cocoa, and posed for some photos before finding some sucariot (hanukkah donuts) and another contemporary photography gallery. then we got lost driving back to ramla. my dad gets super frustrated when he drives in foreign countries apparently. its kinda funny. we got back to the house and met alli. i showed them the house and we scrounged around to get them directions to their kibbutz near jerusalem.

dad and joan went on their way and zvi called to say that he would be picking us up to speak to a birthright group at a kibbutz in jerusalem later that evening. we got ready, kinda nervous, and went on out way. zvi thinks he's telepathic, which is pretty fantastic. anyway, we arrived to the hotel and walked in the back while momo was speaking. there was about 200 fucking people in that room. nervous. we sat through the whole thing of course, trying not to get a laugh attack. i'm terrified of mom0 yelling at me in front of 200 people. so it came time for us to speak and i grabbed the mic knowing that i'd need it. i ended up speaking too quietly anyway, and momo told me so. i just need to talk to the crowd like i'm talking on the phone. because i'm fucking loud there, as alice keeps telling me. i must get that from my mom. afterwards, we grabbed some food in the dining room and todd dropped us at home first, to pick up the vid cam, before driving us to tel aviv. sub kuch, of course. it was a good directions day for me. we spent that night hanging out with daniel, etan, and sagi, before i swiftly passed out from a long day in daniel's room. alice woke me up in time to walk to the sheruit station in the freezing rain so i could then pass back out in the sheruit while we waited, so i could wake up just in time to arrive home and pass the fuck back out in my own bed. go al. good call.

we woke up the next morning and just hung around watching movies and being lazy assholes until al had to get ready to attend a candle lighting with the prime minister and i got ready to meet my dad and joan in jerusalem. it's christmas, remember that. i finally got to the bus station and ran to catch a bus that was leaving just as i arrived. well i finally got to the central station and waited for a while. i bought a thingy-tapestry. waited more. dad and joan FINALLY got there and we sat through 40,000 car strong traffic going down the hill. we also passed 10 dead cars on the way, so that had something to do with it, coupled with the fact that i'm told there was 40,000 people going to bethlehem for ole' jesus's b-day. by the time we had escaped form the automotive stronghold, i had convinced dad and joan to drive to tel aviv for some grub at the sub kuch, and to show them where i hang my party hat. we arrived and had a lovely meal enhanced by lovely daniel's generosity in the form of fried veggies. they were tired and anxious to head home so they did, but not before i got to introduce dad and joan to some friends. it was really nice. after they left, al arrived on their heels. we had a couple drinks and al decided to go home. i had some really nice chats with my new friend and we tried to pass out in the bunk. didn't really work and i hung out with sagi before deciding to pass out on the couch. woke up the next morning and headed home alone. i like walking and listening to music alone. its nice. arrived home and al and i just relaxed and hung out, watching movies and talking.

the next day we vegged out as well, just watching movies and chilling. it was beautiful. we even just passed out until yesterday, when we woke up with enough time to get ready to meet my dad for dinner. we were walking to the bus station when he called and embarrassingly admitted that they only had room for three. we assured him it was no big deal. plus, that meant we were free to go to natanya and hang with the boys. i thought about the quote that "a girld even knows what she looks like crying over the death of her father". so we caught some sheruits out there, getting picked up by roni and lior. it was a lovely gesture. we spent the whole night making fires, sitting by them, i fell again off a bench. we ate some grub, played some guitars, worked on making up words and explaining. i lost al at one point and decided to pass right out in roni's bed, thinking about jeremy and dave. i sent a leonard cohen lyric. woke up nicely and al and i booked it back to ramla in time to get to our activity at y-shai school. we basically had to make up these activites for these random kids. we figured out a pin-the-tail on the donkey thing with balloons and popping and menorahs (actually called hanukiot). it was a hit, then we played pictionary. they're good kids. got photos. THEN WE WENT BOWLING AND ATE PIZZA AND PLAYED GAMES!!!! i suck at bowling, but it was so much fun. i had to con the bus driver to let us off, but we made it home and now we're getting ready to go to dad's kibbutz to sleep before driving to mesada, dead sea and then eilot on the way to PETRA!!!! that's why this post is so choppy and not grammatically correct or even that interesting. i can do better. promith. OH, the gaza attacks are happening right now, but not anywhere close to me so don't worry. i'm fine and will be fine. "ok, a guy could get it up for a fucking air-conditioner." al just said that right now and it made me laugh so i typed it. i'll leave you with that sentiment.

more soon about petra and LOTS of pics.



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

you're not obliged to swallow anything you despise

today was a good day. we woke up late. but this time, we were allowed to. the only obligation we had today was to attend a meeting with the absorption center people so that they could inform us about the details involved with making aliyah (moving to israel). i wasn't that interested because i don't plan on moving to israel any time soon. but i did get the chance to write the really cool dream i had in my brand spanking new journal. hey, at least i didn't break into a laughing fit. anyway, after the meeting, alice and i came home and cleaned our entire room from top to bottom. we swept, organized (as much as i can organize), washed our sheets and clothes. the whole nine yards. listened to some good music. alice made bean burritos with guacamole. absolutely amazing. later in the evening, imanuel stopped by for a smoke and to see if he could fix the bike parts we found and fashion them into actual bikes. no luck yet, but he's optimistic as long as he can take some tools to them. we'll see. we also worked on the photos i took of him last week. he seemed to like them. after he left, i skyped the hell out of everyone and spoke to very many good friends and family members. i was inspired to edit photos by adam because we're both living the dream, informed by kaity that she's getting engaged, was told by denise that she's enjoying austin, eddie is getting excited and nervous for israel, mom wants me to call lisette, emily wants me to come home so we can go on a trip, made aunt andie cry and prompted a very sweet email from her, got excited by most, a little sad too. dad texted me. he's on a plane as we speak. then, i watched 'year of the dog' with al. it's a dark, sweet comedy with molly shannon, peter saarsgard, and john c. reilly. really good. for some reason it made me think of gammy, whom i also spoke to today. she hasn't changed her tune, however she is getting surgery to see if they can restore some of her vision, at least back to the limited state it was in until recently. i'm just sad and a little guilty that i can't be there with her. hopefully she'll understand. still telling me to meet a nice jewish boy and leave him here. she's a legend. now i'm listening to elliott smith with the power out. alice just blew out all the candles we had lit so that we could see. but i did finally post some photos today. i'm pretty proud of them...

take a gander... for some reason i don't feel like sleeping. probably has to do with the fact that dad's plane gets in at 6:55AM and it's 3AM now. fuck me right? welp... goodnight hopefully.



Monday, December 22, 2008

i don't think i'm ever gonna figure it out

wow, ok so after that clusterfuck of a post, i have some normal things to say. well, relatively normal, considering those involved. however, here goes...

yesterday after we last spoke, i finished editing photos of jen and rachael (for her brithday). last night was also the first time we were scheduled to speak to birthright groups at their closing sessions about ISC. so we got all excited and antsy for that. i forced alice to walk with me to the photo place that never really EVER seems to be open, but i figured i'd give it a shot to see if i could get rachael's photos printed before the next day. we arrived at a closed store (surprise, surprise), but knocked anyway, and the door was answered (surprisingly) by a guy that spoke only enough english to say, "i no speak english" (not surprisingly). so we abandoned that effort in enough time to get home and showered and ready to catch a sheruit to tel aviv to scope out the mall for a photo printing place. but not before lighting the first night's worth of hannukah candles and saying the blessings at home with al and buffy. it was really nice. i miss lighting them at home.

after a short sheruit ride, we finally got to the escher drawing that is the tel aviv mall/central bus station and looked around just long enough to 1) not get sucked into oblivion and 2) not find a photo printing establishment. so i decided to just give rachael the CD with the photos on it the next day and print them this week. in a freakishly obsessive effort to be on time to the closing session, and not get yelled at by momo, we immediately started walking in the direction of the hotel in which the closing session was taking place. we checked the place out, realizing that we had plenty of time, so we walked across the street to this pizza place to munch on some mozarella pesto thingies. once fully satiated, we went to pay out, but the cashier informed us that they are interested in hiring a couple of people. so we left our numbers and moseyed along. it was nearly time for us to speak, although we were still super early, so we just snuck in the door of the session and leaned against a table in the back, attempting to be as inconspicuous as possible. by now, you should realize that i have problems laughing at inappropriate times. and by laughing, i mean that i get the giggles so badly that it interrupts pretty much anything that's going on, usually something serious, and i'm mortified. both for myself and the serious person speaking. luckily, this didn't happen last night, otherwise momo would've called me out in front of a room full of people. so bullet dodged there. alice and i were both nervous, so when momo called us up to sit on the floor in the middle of a circle, it didn't really help calm the nerves. but we went anyway. i don't really remember what i said, but alice covered most of what we were collectively supposed to talk about, so i sheepishly, redundantly spoke my piece and momo mercifully took over. it wasn't all that bad, really. just terribly unprepared, i'd say. but at least now we know what to say, who will say it, etc. actually, that's a lie. we don't know that shit now. but we will. and near the end, some strange woman speaks up in the back. someone we didn't even notice enter the room. she said that her name was valerie green and that she'd left her amazing job in england, bought a car, and drove herself and her dog all the way to israel and just wanted to share her decision to make alliyah with the ripe birthright potentialities. it was cute. real surprise. after they broke for dinner, a girl came up to me that remembered me from her phone interview, mainly becuase she worked for nylon magazine at the time and i had shared my plight about the missing art layout for the photos i took for them. i suspect she was part of the reason i actually received the layout. i found out last night that she's dating the guy that i was emailing about the fucking thing. but anyway, we ended up talking with her over dinner and she seems interested to come back. she's a kickass girl, ariella. i hope she contacts us.

we left the hotel and cabbed it to the sub kuch for open mic. as soon as i walked in, i saw craig from houston (yeah, i know!) that i'd met the previous week. in the interim i'd discovered that his bandmate is dating an old friend of mine from dallas. as soon as i saw him, i mentioned her name and he freaked out. then i freaked out. then we freaked out together, and now we're friends. it's adorable. anyhoo, meital called al and i upstairs for a special candle lighting before open stage began. daniel lit the candles with his special paper candle hat made by nufar, and we all sang songs together. i met a slovanian landscape architecture student, digeridoo player named janez (which apparently means jonathan). we all hung around to see a couple of performers, when tal called me up. i played rocky raccoon for daniel and alice and history of fiction for myself. i didn't do as well as i could, but i just really need to fucking practice. that's all. however, craig did tell me that i got the audience to be quiet and listen, so that's something. then craig got up there and fuckin wailed on the guit/harmonica. then he got the resident fiddle player (cool chick) to accompany him on a tune. we cheered. it was good. next, some orthodox guys came by to make sure that every person had the opportunity to light candles. they even did it upstairs and downstairs. i got some cool photos of that. i finished up with open mic and went downstairs so that janez could teach me how to breathe right for playing the digeridoo. he ordered a glass of water with a straw and taught me how to puff up my cheeks and breathe through my nose, pushing the air out of my cheeks at the same time so the bubbles never stop forming in the water. really tricky, but i think i got the hang of it. and in the process, i met a very special person. i won't elaborate too much, but i allowed myself to feel something without judging it or becoming cynical right away. we talked about important things and about how nothing is really important. how the world would be such a better place if we didn't succumb to our egos and if women were in charge of everything. it felt nice not to try so hard, but also just be ok with whatever it was. i'll spare you. anyway, we had consciously missed the last sheruit at 3Am so that we could stay until 5AM. i ended up passing out on the couch after a nice chat with ran, the bartender about the song ("i started writing poetry so i didn't have to work, and now i work so that i don't have to write poetry"). alice woke me up at 5:30AM and we caught a cab home. we were both basically dead, when all of a sudden "happy together" by the turtles came on the radio and we both started singing and dancing in the back of the cab. supergreat moment. the driver must've been either really confused or really amused. wonderful. we passed out as soon as we got home.

this morning, we were assholes. assholes that slept through/turned off our alarms. fuck fuck fuck. so i missed rachael's birthday. and i am an asshole. i will hopefully see her this week. i'm an asshole. just in case that wasn't clear before. last night, we missed jen's farewell get together, so after scrounging around unsuccessfully for pants, i ran outside with alice to say goodbye to her as she got her aunt to drop her by the house. i'm sure going to miss that girl. wow. she's the best persian i've ever met. funniest. hands down. ever. after this, alice and i lazied about the room, watching scrubs on the internet. the only other thing we had to do was get ready for a hanukkah party at zvi's house, so we got showered and caught bits of a documentary on transvestite relatonships and one on child geniuses. both really interesting.

we left about 6PM to zvi's, where we lit candles, ate latkes, and received very sweet presents from zvi in the form of journals (including the ISC mission statement clued inside). it was lovely. something about the fact that our journey didn't start here and it won't end here, but we can document it or something. you get it. we also ate some very important hanukah pastries. donuts. fuck. i don't want to talk about it.

next, some guy stopped by the house with texts and an adam sandler song (i'll let you guess which one), to have an intimate little discussion about the nature of the hanukkah story. it was pretty cool for a bit, but then i started to fall asleep. i saw him see me dozing, so i snapped out of it just long enough to notice something funny about the text, point it out to al, start laughing, and then be completely fucked for the entire rest of the discussion. i could not stop laughing. it did not help that the moderator asked me what was so funny, which prompted me to try to give a ridiculous-sounding explanation, which made me laugh more, which made ofir pinch me and hiss "sherutim!" at me (meaning, "go the fuck to the bathroom!"), which caused alice to get up and go to the bathroom, which allowed me to calm down a bit before realizing that i might have to fart, which got me started again because i thought how i would just destroy everything if that happened and what al would do. she came back to the couch, and i immediately took her place in the bathroom, taking my sweet, sweet time so that i could just get the thing over with. i've never wanted something to be over so much in my life. i came back out to the group to sit down. about 1 minute later, we all look over and one of the texts has just lit on fire from one of the hannukah candles which just sent me to the moon. i couldn't stop laughing after that to save my life, except now everyone was laughing. so at least i was safe. the discussion was actually interesting, but it went on way too long. something about how the miracle of hannukah was really about the hasmoneans defeating the greeks, not the fucking oil. but for some reason, the jews diminished celebrating the war victory and instead promoted the magical, ritualistic miracle for the purpose of the holiday. but whatever. i apologized to the guy and asked for the piece of paper that got burned to put on our wall. ofir spent a few minutes teaching us how to make calls for oranim so we can make some extra money. i am broker than i've ever been, so it'll help.

we came back home and i chatted with some good friends that i miss very much, both from here and from home. then alli and i watched superbad. i got an email from the janez and from aunt andy and pregnant missy. i even got a comment from ernie bernie in hebrew and one from caitlin. a message from the blog about a year-end summary. i gave em one. i've had a really great year. i should summarize my year. wow. fuck. that'll take a hot minute. i'm going to bed now. i miss my gammy. my daddy comes in 2 days. tomorrow we have a meeting at the absorption center in ramla to find out about making alliyah for all interested. we get to sleep in. that's all i care about actually. jeez. the things we'll do for love, food, and sleep. it's amazing really. well, on that note...

goodnight and happy hannukah!!!! (notice how i spell it about 78 different ways? yep.)



Thursday, December 18, 2008

everybody's dying just to get the disease

so i've had a long shabbos weekend at my mom's cousin's house, but i'll fill you in on the last few days. it's been an adventure.

we woke up for sharet wednesday and played games with the kids all day. zvi, naama, and a couple of jewish federation weird people came by interrupting our lesson to ask about ISC. i spent the rest of the morning stressing out over the decision to either accompany alice to the airport to pick up her package, or going to teach photography with karen whom i've barely spoken with on the subject. i decided that i'd wait until after lunch and hope that the situation would remedy itself. it's a miracle what sandwiches can do for one's life. alice found out that she was too late anyway. meanwhile, after finishing my sandwich and rejoicing at finding the solution to my problem, i buried myself in a tub of what is essentially chocolate frosting and ate it with pretzels. i think i have a problem. maybe in anticipation for teaching-time. who knows. i headed to the idanim school for my class, listening to elliott smith on the way. i think i needed to put my mind in a previous place. a place where i felt confident about where i was or my abilities as a human. when i was studying philosophy and was managing as an independent person with my own ideas and balance and direction. i needed to remember that feeling. to remember what i wanted to say. so as i was walking through ramla, i thought about what i saw here every day. what i noticed. who i knew. what i knew about them. what i would want to express about these people. then i thought about all the children and what they go through and how they live. its almost as if they are forced to grow up sooner than other children. so i thought about the words "lost innocents", and everything made sense. that's what i'll take photos of. it was as if i was giving myself an assignment. so automatically, i wasn't just taking photos just to do it. i had a reason. so that felt pretty amazing. i ended up having to wait about 30 minutes for karen to get all the kids together, while elliott smith made me feel like a person again. i finally got all the kids together (all 2 of them) and we went through the book, figuring out which photos they liked and/or didn't like and why. mostly they just cringe at the holocaust photo and laugh hysterically at the photo of a bunch of bare-assed english dudes running down the street. never fails. but i gave them the cameras anyway, and they went to town. a crowd started to gather, so the kids passed the cameras around the group.

this is when i got tired and went to sleep, will fill it out later...

came home, al and i went to daycare center
played with babies
babies are weird
came home for dinner.
watched tv
practiced guitar and watched beyonce videos
went to avi's to try out
was real rusty
al's almost completely learned how to play rocky raccoon
i need to annunciate more
music is great. jdate is not
its cold
wrote in journal personal stuff
no more internet
eating badly
anyway, bedtime now.

woke up and went to the elderly center, al went to airport
had a long talk with jodi
writing down her stories
got a ride back with shlomi to home to charge cameras and work on song
al got home with package
went to meet dana with kids
waited for a while becuase i was early
kids got there and i showed them the photos they took and i printed
some they loved and some they didnt because they are abstract and weird
we took the cameras out for a trip
i was proud at how fearless they were
found perfect place for lost innocents (broken playground)
got all packed up to go home, dana took me
got packed up for the weekend, went to jerusalem
everyone was a sourpuss on the bus
saw etgar kerach and shlomi shabaz speak
really inspiring little talk, not at all on the surface
they reminded me what it truly is to be an artist
touching all the deeper layers of an issue, but using simpler representations
for commentary
i asked about writer's block
two things:
one said that when he needed to write, he wrote and if he didn't write he must not have needed to write, so it didn't matter
the other said that there was 7 years between his first and second album, so it'll probably just come and go, but always return (hoped that if i was experiencing it, he hoped i would wake up and it would be gone)
left the thing hopeing for an adventure. it found us in the form of eyal whom we struck up conversaton with on the street.
went to dinner with him and his friends who were lovely people
lef them on ben yehuda at 2am in search of more adventure, and possibly a place to sleep
ended up on the steps of american apparel, near the first club we went to on our birthright
we played you and yours for about 2 hours, (and being accosted 3 different times, offered sex)
one of our victims, skipping guy, offered us a place to stay
we took a cab there, no red flags, and were introduced to two sweet, young but sweet guys.
we watched zohan and al went to sleep.
next morning, we took a bus to tachanat mercozit, where al and i ate at holy bagel before trying to figure out how to get to my mom's cousin's house in beitar ilit
finally figured it out after many stressed, confused phone calls.
kind of weird at first, but really sweet
offered clothes
fashion show and photos
changed, showered, slept
biggest meal ever
talked about arabs, shabbat, weird progaganda on the walls, hashem and 5 million pounds of fish
played party game
slept and woke up in the morning to yummy salad meal
i've never been so full
we spoke about evolution, and thinking that its genetically impossible
spoke about arabs again
55 percent of women and 65 percent of men unfaithful
because the kadisha is being drained from the home
now everyone is working for themselves and not for each other
how no one knows what it feels like to fear god like a king
really scary
i thought of jeremy
how these people are so afraid of pissing god off that they restrict everything, but i'd rather welcome the apocolypse than live like this
so afraid to be the same as animals
we packed up and al had a devastating moment with the photos
said goodbye to girls
i want to write a short story about how the weekend went
really weird reactions from mom about evolution, pots, arabs
but sweet sweet family
got a bus back to tel aviv
sheruit back to ramla
looked through photos with jen
going to bed
excited for dad to come


woke up this morning and went to ulpan. michal taught us songs in hebrew. really fun ones. home now, working on photos for rachael's birthday and jen's farewell. fuck i'm tired. i love harry potter. nothing much left. love everyone. edited photos for jen and of rachael. going to tel aviv now to speak to irthright groups about ISC. kind of nervous. sorry about the shabbiness of this post. lots happened. i'll fill in the rest later... happy hanukkah.



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

some girlie out there must be needy for a weedy shy guy

yesterday we went early to the volcani center. we did the normal mulch sifting and kid watching. there's these two huge kids that looks way older than 12 but have attitudes like you've never seen. however, they got into manual labor. it made me proud. hung out with rachael of course. she's a joke. in the best way. i found out that her birthday is in a week. she even asked me to take photos of her. i'll print them for her as a gift. once we were done with the normal maintenance, we all took a walk through the compound to check out the expanse of fruit tree fields. we walked by the olive orchard. i fucking hate olives, but alice heard that if you strip a branch down to its core and rub your teeth with it, it makes them whiter. i don't know about that, but she thinks it works. so that matters. our walk led us to the orange trees, where we were allowed to pick a few each. these oranges are so amazingly ripe, that their peels would come off with the branch as you pulled the fruit off. really delicious. after we ate a terribly disgusting meal (really bad, i'm not picky), we got dropped off at home. OH, there's one kid in our volcani group that gets off the bus near our house. one day last week, alice and i were walking past a house caddy corner from ours that had it's door wide open. we glanced inside as we walked past and noticed a considerably medium-sized framed portrait of this kid just up on the wall directly in front of the entrance. we died laughing of course. shlomo is his name. he thought it was really amusing when we told him about it on our walk home from the bus stop.

we arrived home with enough time to go to kadima and hang out with the kids before going to tel aviv for david's goodbye party. worked with gal on english. she's probably my favorite kid there, really hilarious one. very quick and very sweet. i feel like i actually helped her with her sheet. she told me i spoke hebrew well, albeit slowly. "leat, leat", she says. we broke for breaking breakness and played some soccer at the court. all the little boys want alli on their team because she's the best ever. i'm like the fat kid that doesn't get picked for dodgeball. literally and metaphorically. except it's soccer. i always get directed to the goal on the opposing team. i have no street cred soccer-wise with these kids. i need to get better and practice, so i can actually have fun playing this game. even in high school i was terrible, but i knew enough to make some good decisions on the field so i could enjoy the thing. even the boys are becoming more friendly, though. on the way out to the court, i started to race a couple of them. i had almost won, when i noticed that two of them had stopped, and it looked like one was crying on the curb, the other comforting him and motioning for me to come over and help. i stopped running and walked back to see if i could make the kid feel better or at least find out what was wrong. as i knelt down, in comfort-mode, both boys shot up, pointing and laughing, as they ran full speed to the court, beating me at my own game. it was a good one. i was pretty impressed. also, the other day at kadima, one of the little punk asses (nisim) was trying to play guitar when alice and i stopped by to say hi. so i asked if i could help him figure out the song. i'm not the best guitarist ever, but i think it broke some ice somewhere so that i could communicate with him in connection with music as opposed to football or words. anyway, got home after kadima, worked on music a little, made mac and cheese for al and myself, and took a shower so that i didn't smell.

when it was time, we caught a sheruit to the sub kuch, where we arrived and promptly order 2 beers. i had the idea while riding that i'd add one photo per post that is related to the post itself. that's not happening this time. because _______ excuse. plus, there was a little person. at the bar, etan decided that he's great at interpreting a woman's personality by what's in her purse. he concluded that...

i am:
always prepared, by my pen
scared of technology, by my ancient phone
thinking i'm funny, from an andrew tolentino poster
loving music, from my ipod
a photographer, from my camera
on my period, from my tampon
not getting laid, from my lack of condoms

not bad huh? we also got into a conversation about love (al's favorite, my worst subject). he said that any successful, love relationship needs two things to make it work: 1) sex and 2) tolerance of the other's flaws. he used flirting as an example. it's weird. i don't even remember what its like to be in a relationship even though it was 4 and a half years long. etan insisted that there is no automatic love. it doesn't just emerge from nothing, but must be cultivated and evolve over time, which i have believed in the past when i beleved things about love and relationships. i tend recently to have not much enlightening to say on the subject, but ust being open to whatever direction i take myself or am taken or something. (as a sidenote, alice said something to me that made a lot of sense but scared and annoyed me at the same time... we were walking from a quick errand and we walked back home through the park. i started walking on the sidewalk and she cut through the park on a hill. i cut my path and walked the direction she had charted. she said, "you like paths a lot, i noticed". that idea doesn't sit well with me. probably because it is true and not a positive thing. i don't want to be a sheep among the herd. but i'm afraid that it is exactly what i am. really annoying) anyway, the bar playlist was the soundtrack from the film, fear and loathing in las vegas, which plays narration from the book, also in the film, before each song. one passage in particular was read out loud to me by dr. blake hestir at the beginning of an existentialism class the day that hunter s. thompson killed himself. blake was obsessed with thompson, and it made me think of him, so i gave him a call not expecting an answer. i was pleasantly surprised to be wrong in this moment. so we talked briefly and we updated each other as basically as possible before my phone started to cut out. i told him i'd email him, but it was really lovely to talk with blake as he was such a hugely important person for me during college. later, at the bar, i met one craig kinsey from texas. much older man. aging gypsy rocker from houston (whom i found out today, is in a band with one of my friend's boyfriends. really twisted. he's staying at the subkuch and very friendly. hopefully i'll see him play on sunday.

alice and i continue to wait for david, and treat ourselves. i head up to daniel's room, thinking alice is on my heels. she doesn't join and after about 30 minutes, i go to check to make sure she's ok, expecting to see her at the bar or in the gallery or even out front of the restuarant. no dice. i walk back up to daniel's room to see if she found her way there, but i was greeted instead by david, which was a lovely suprise. i told him i didn't know where alli was, so he accompanied me on a search mission around the corner, and up a really creepy and dark staircase. he even thought he heard her cell ringing the 13th time i called her. no answer. i went back through the subkuch, upstairs and downstairs, but no alli. i decided to walk the streets because sagi tipped me off that she was on the phone the last time i saw her. so at this point, alice is 1 of 4 possibilities:

1) dead
2) sleeping
3) with a boy
4) upset and wandering the streets

so i wander the streets, calling her name. like an idiot. but i didn't care. i wasn't really scared, because her phone was still on. just kind of nervous. i went back to daniel's room, who called her from his phone with no answer after david tried the same thing. he can tell that i'm nervous about her whereabouts, but calms me down anyway. he says he'll be right back. about 5 minutes later, daniel returns, saying that he's brought me a present and lo and behold, al comes dragging in behind him, smiling sleepily. she had fallen asleep on the bathroom floor, in the dark, at the top of the stairs, WHERE i had looked already. but not carefully enough apparently. we laughed about the whole thing and said our very sad goodbyes to david whom we won't see for a while, since he's going back to germany for the holidays. i will miss him. we make the most unexpected friends.

we walked down the street to the ATM to get cash for a sheruit after getting some munchies at the kiosk. upon the realization that we won't be able to catch a sheruit until 5AM, we hop in a cab, which takes us directly, and expensively right to our door. good quotes and a quick ride home. it's all worth it. we get home and have to climb through the kitchen window again since there's a kiey in the door already. alice breaks jodi's spice bottle, spilling mounds of chili powder all over the kitchen floor. really pretty though. reminded me of those sand bottles you make as a kid.

this morning, we slept through ulpan. woke up late, like assholes, and walked to the bank and then to the market to buy stuff for grilled cheese sandwiches. after making a series of very bad, delicious decisions, we checked out and went back home to fulfill our clogged destinies in the kitchen. our kitchen electricity is fucked, so we had to grill cheeses in our room with the panini maker. then ate. then continued hanging out until it was time to walk to the TV station. karen was not actually there, so we left and bought soup at rambo's neighborhood market. rambo is a little dude that looks very much like sylvester stallone. i'll take a photo of him. he's hilarious. very friendly guy. we arrived back and al made some delicious mushroom soup that we put cream and little crackers in. after dinner, i picked the 6 most interesting photos (posted soon) that the kids took the other day so that i could print them and show them next class. i ran with al to the print shop with my burned CD. i'll pick them up tomorrow. really excited. on the way home, there was a pile of broken or dismanlted bike parts just laying there. on the street. discarded and unattended. so naturally, alice and i scrounged up what matching parts we could grab in two trips and posted them up to fix them later. really exciting stuff. i can now be a bike friend. they're fixer-uppers for sure. relaxing, we invited imanuel over for a visit. he came and brought tim-tams. this is important later. we hung out talking and listening to music. conspiracy theories came up as a topic of conversation and how israeli's can't keep secrets so conspiracies, such as the rabin assassination, could not really exist. but the moon landing isn't real, we all agreed. i'll need to do more research on that. we made coffee and dug into the tim-tams. i started to dip mine in my coffee when i was reprimanded. i was eating them the wrong way. you're supposed to bite the caddy-corners off and suck the coffee through the hole on one end with the other hole in the hot liquid. basically, the end result is a perfectly melted chocolate melty good pile of chocolate goodness and hot coffee. its fucking the best thing i've ever put in my mouth ever in life. wow. i'm a changed woman. we had a little photo shoot for imanuel and his monstrous afro. really fantastic. then we showed him outside to see if he can help us with bikes (as well as help finding a place to live, not to mention bringing over 'heart of gold' neil young's concert DVD). he just about died laughing when he saw the bike parts we grabbed. but i know that we'll put them to good use. al and i watched nobody's fool after imanuel left. she fell asleep. for some reason, it made me really sad. i missed josh. or rather, i missed what it felt like to be so closely intimate with someone. it feels so far away now. after the movie was over, i logged online and saw him. so we chatted. and i feel better. i told him that only now am i dealing with the feelings stirred up by ending something so long term and serious. he knows how i feel. we had a good chat. i'm just really glad we're still such good friends. also, another good pal of mine reminded me about the nature of external systems of natural reactions and that being scared of what i'm doing is pretty unnecessary considering that animals don't get scared to observe other animals. unless said animal is a mouse observing a snake. or something like this... so thanks for that. and everything. buddies.

in other news, alice and i are going to be talking to birthright groups about ISC, which is exciting. we got the dates and locations today. in other other news, i'm sleepy. tomorrow is a new day. fuck man. yeah.

i'm proud of you,


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

they tumble and fight and they're beautiful

it's a lot. get buckled. i haven't had internet for days and days.

in the morning, we wake up and walk to sharet after coffee and toast. i'm the official morning coffee maker, i feel. after sharet, and deciding that we'd return there as opposed to going to teach english at nave yonatan, we ran home to make delicious sandwiches for lunch. we've been getting really into sandwich making lately, especially because they are so healthy. we finish our amazing food and walk to sharet, running into naama in the park on the way. she informs us that we're expected at nave yonatan so we shift directions and walk there instead, with enough extra time to sit in the park and talk for a bit.

we get to school with the rowdy ass 15 year old boys. they're very hard to teach, not at all attentive and at times downright unpleasant. but they are very interesting to communicate with. we had two new girls in the class that were pretty cute, trying to speak spanish with me, most of which i've completely forgotten since i've been learning hebrew. it's really sad that a girl from texas can forget the shit spanish in 4 months. but its funny that all the little girls know basic spanish from watching telenovellas. it's hilarious. my buddy rachael was even there. she seriously kicks so much ass in the kid department, even in the awesome person category. she yells at the boys when they're being idiots, kind of protecting us from their rudeness, which we can't understand in the first place, or rather pretend not to understand. anyway, i made drawings of people and faces for them to label in english so i felt like i did some good. al, on the other hand was struggling to keep the boys in the room without harassing her, so by the time class ended we were a little relieved, but it was, like i said, an interesting group.

after nave yonatan, we went to the park on the way to the daycare center to sit for a minute before visiting our final placement for the day. we get to the daycare center, and man, babies take a lot of energy. the one that i played with WOULD NOT smile. but at least i got her to stop crying. it really took every last microbe of power to keep this kid occupied. i honestly can't imagine having my own. but whatever i did, it must have worked, because she started crying when she saw me leaving. that was really sad. these kids must not get ANY attention. well, this daycare center actually exists for parents that do not know how to raise their kids, are either out of rehab or jail, etc. really sad stuff.

once we got home, i made peanut butter toast and watched end of groundhog day with alice. great fucking movie. i listened to some music, and started to write a song that sounds a little too much like motion picture soundtrack, but i sent it to josh (as usual) to get some feedback. he's always so supportive, telling me to just work on the lyrics and vocal melody and it'll be fine. i really just want to record shit. i don't care how it sounds. i like it better before it's polished anyway. it's cold and snowing in texas right now. i'm jealous. al and i started talking about death and i told her the story about ben and phil, which i won't elaborate on because it's very sad, but the craziest fucking story ever. she wanted to learn a song on guitar so i started to teach her rocky raccoon. she's getting better. i talked to mom a little bit, which was nice but i was distracted by this interview with friend and newly NY photographer josh maupin, who i have always admired for the fact that he's insane, which makes for interesting situations to photograph as well as the balls to go for the shot, no matter how ridiculous and obscene. i want those balls. i'm too fucking polite. but then i realized what i really need to do is make friends with who i want to photograph. there's a reason why portraits are powerful sometimes, and that's because the photographer gets to know the subject. somehow, whether its over years or hours, or minutes if you're lucky. or just that good. diane arbus got to know all of her subjects, so they did not feel exploited. which is my worst fear as a photographer. anyway, the power's been going out all week, so i went to bed...

on thursday, we woke up and went to the elderly center. went on a walk with the oldies, who are very fun. israel, my boyfriend, has the most amazing style ever. he's adorable. and i can even understand him a little with his sqeaky hebrew. found out that the israeli volunteer, guy, is in a band and that two of his favorites are radiohead and sigur ros. we bonded over that and exchanged music myspace pages. we may jam hopefully:

went home for lunch and worked on the song i just started until it was time for me to run to sharet to play soccer with al and the kids. we played with the boys that day. i'm terrified of little boys passing me the ball. i fucking suck. but i'm making al coach me so i can dazzle on the field. mostly myself, but them a little. i went home to take a shower and get ready to go to jerusalem for a little ISC trip thing. we all met at the house around 7 and walked to the bus station. al got a call from home and was visibly upset so we talked about what happened. for some reason, everyone was in a bad mood that night. buffy, jen, jade, eric. it was very strange. we finally got on a bus, after missing the one we were supposed to be on and running into one of the israeli volunteers from kadima. really sweet girl. once on the bus (standing room only), we made friends with a couple of israeli soldiers and a religious guy who's mom was from NY. we exchanged numbers so that we could meet the soldiers later for a barbeque, although we never did. but we DID go on a late-night museum tour in jerusalem, looking at very cool artifacts from the inception of the state of israel. the building (in which alice and i got lost of course---on purpose) was complete with a children's library, so al and i sat down and looked through some photo books. photojournalism is definitely where my heart lies. in portraiture. but it's a balance i'll have to discover on my own. being able to capture the emotion as well as retaining the technical aspects that i want, like colors, etc. i was so tired that i passed out on the sheruit home. but it was a good night. fucking freezing. home sleep.

the next morning, al and i slept in and watched this documentary called 'forgiving dr. mengele', about this woman who was a twin that was an unwilling subject in one of the horrific experiments conducted by dr. mengele during the holocaust and how she has decided to forgive the dr. and the nazi's as a way of freeing herself from the pain, but never forgetting. her stance was very controversial, as many holocaust survivors think it's blasphemous to forgive such a heinous travesty. but i think she's courageous, even setting up a holocaust museum in indiana, which was burned to the ground, only the be resurrected in another building. i admire that woman. we also watched another terribly sad, but really interesting documentary about mothers who've lost children and a 17 day retreat that they take to africa to escape pretending to be OK and volunteering with children. it's what i would want my mom to do, i think. it's called 'motherland'. alice and i walked to the post office to mail rayna's phone and met this artist on the way, yusef, who was painting a mural on a restaurant. i stopped to take a photo of him, we started talking. he let me know that the nearby shop owners did not like his work and were laughing at him. he also told me that he has a studio nearby, so i asked if we could come by to see his work sometime. he happily agreed. we ended up going to the shook for food, and grabbed a soccer ball on the way so we can practice so i can get better so i don't completely blow chow, as blake would say. on the way back, we ran into yusef, who was still painting and made plans to meet him at his studio (or on the corner by his studio) at noon the next day/right when we got home, zvi dropped by the camera for our day trip to rehovot and stayed for a cigarette and a chat. he has commissioned alli and i to create a sort of handbook for the next ISC group, as far as where to go, how, why, what to eat, where, etc... so we'll do that. later on in the evening, david finally comes over with his friend from germany, bianca. we all hung out and made food and ate treats and listened to music. i made delicious veggie pizza with avocados and al made challah with nutella and strawberries. we decided to make a nutella cookbook, complete with peanutbutter/honey/bananas/nutella. yum, says i. yuck, says al. while we were hanging out in our room, i started taking succession shots, and had ideas for a project, putting them all together... then i thought that i shoudn't take photos that i think others will like either. it's about me expressing myself, so whatever i like, i'll feel and do. that's how i should be about the music that i make also. i would love to just layer sounds and voices and tones and beats and weirdness. like coco rosie. it's so fucking weird, but infectious. we went to sleep kind of late, alice and david on the couch watching fashion TV. bianca in al's bed, me in mine.

yesterday, we woke up and had breakfast and hung out with david and bianca, then rescheduling our meeting with yusef for later in the day. only al and i were interested in going, so at around 3Pm we headed out to meet our new artist friend. we finally arrive at our corner, and are late. yusef told us he'd been waiting earlier and then again. we're assholes. anyway, so he walks us by the church and into the old city of ramla through the cobblestone streets to a rickity wooden door across some really cool tiles that he found in the garbage and restored for his walkway. he unbolts the lock ans opens the door, revealing his lair: it looks like a dungeon converted into a workroom/living space complete with stone arches and a little raised cot with paintings lining the walls and tim burton-esque bone sculptures inhabiting many of the flat surfaces not occupied by droves of art books. we step through the door and are greeted by a dinosaur-looking skeleton yusef says he made from found cow bones. we walk down the stone steps and into his place. he offers us coffee, but not until later, he says. now, this entire time, we are attempting to communicate through his terrible english and our terrible hebrew, but it seems to work for the most part. we spend the next hour or so look at all of his work. paintings and sculptures. he uses lots of found materials to create his work and his life, besides oil paints and canvas. satellite paintings, and bone sculptures. sketches on tiles and collages on torn up fake wood floors. surrealist and realist. he shows us a magazine for french edgy hairstyles, pointing to one in particular. he asks us where the hairstyle is from, noting the straight bit with the coiled bit on top. we have no idea, until he pulls out this bronze plate, engraved with egyptian women figures, one of which has the exact hairstyle as the one in the magazine. he notices alice's shirt, with a pale yellow stripe and compares that yellow to the color he uses in so many of his paintings. he likes this color, he says, because it is the color of sunflowers. he even invites us to come with him to the gallery that shows his work in tel aviv, but we must get back to david and bianca. before we leave, he shows us the photos of a school which he painted murals for in lod, and the students that fill in the outlines he draws. leat, leat ("slowly slowly"). so much trash that he turns into art. i really liked a lot of his work, but mainly i just fell in love with his lifestyle. he just lives to make art. sees it in everything. loves learning and reading about artists and their work. finds potential in every garbage can and trash heap. he lives modestly underground in this beautiful charming rugged little cave with his cat. and he's a little odd, but in a sweet, innocent way. not at all creepy. but he was very curious about what alice thought of his work. she even told him she didn't like one of the pieces he restored, and had painted over a rennassance profile of a girl. he told her that tomorrow, he'd work on it. he made us coffee, and we drank it before saying our goodbyes, promising to return another day. i'm fascinated by this man. it was one of my favorite things that's ever happened. truly magical and surprising.

on the way back, we decided to stop into the hummus place for dinner since we'd never been. david and bianca happened to be sitting, having just finished their meal. so we joined them and ate as well, before it started and then stopped raining, then walking home. we got home and relaxed, watching both darjeeling limited and human nature. we started out on alice's bed, but it started to break, finally completely giving way on one corner. so we switched beds. in between movies, i recorded two more guitar parts, and realizing that i'd forgotten how to play a few parts that i'd written longer ago. shittttt. we finished the movies and al and i start to work on the soundtrack to our project. 'somebody that i used to know' comes on and i get really very sad all of a sudden, and get the urge to call josh. and my dad. and sherri. so i call and leave a message for sherri, things i've been needing to say to express what she means to me. i call josh and leave a mildly sad message. i finally get dad and we have a nice conversation, in which i explained to him why i want to stay over seas for a while. i think he's confused by reading this blog and not hearing the reasons or updates from me, myself. but it was really nice to have a meaningful chat with him about life stuff, about him coming here, etc. also, we had a little giggle about some family joke and couldn't even stop laughing for a minute. i'm proud of you dad. we said goodbye and al and i worked some more on our project before retiring to our own beds. i checked facebook, on which i found out that my college roomate, cheech, is a miss japan finalist, which is fucking awesome, considering she'd only asked me to shoot her application shots 1 week before i left to come here. i'm so proud of her. we settle in, say goodnight, and go to bed.

today was our rehovot trip, which is a suburb on the way to tel aviv from ramla. we had to kick david and bianca out this morning, so we said our goodbyes and we hopped on a sheruit to rehovot. first, we got to the weizman institute of technology, which is named after the first president of israel and is responsible for advances in drug development to treat cancer and MS. also, the president's house is on the campus, which was amazing. i took a lot of weird, cool photos of his stuff. later, we went to this 'science place' type garden with a bunch of musical, sound, light, water, motion gadgets that you can play with all around the garden. we had fun with that today. afterwards, we ate lunch. i stuffed myself with veggies. afterwards, we walked a bit through rehovot, with our tour guide (menash who might be my brother's tour guide--he's good). he showed us the millionaire houses (old and dilapidated, but gorgeous... my fave was this one with red shutters and doors) and an herb garden in the middle. we then drove to a kibbutz which was the site of an underground bullet factory, started by the israeli secret defense forces (called the 'hagana', during the war, now the israeli defense force). they had to secretly produce ammunition for the israeli fighters. really fucked up, but very cool place. secret dors in laundry rooms and bakeries. sure is neat and convert. very brave. anyway, all day long, al and i were listening to songs and thinking of ideas for our project. i'm really excited about it. but we have a shitload of work to do. we'll get it done. i know it.

we made pizza and guacamole for dinner, then i wrote (filled in a template) a thank you letter to the donors from the jewish federation from dallas at naama's request. we just finished watching 'inside deep throayt, which brings up a lot of interesting points about human rights and sex. i love dr. ruth westheimer. i do know that. then i ended up reading a friend' blog including 10 possible role models for a girl that's not paris hilton. now, on this list is susan sontag, who i didn't know about. but she is fascinating and smart and was in love with annie lebovitz, who i'd love to be. i hope i can take portraits like her one day. but i'm getting really tired now. FINALLY finished this shit. let's hope my fucking internet doesn't die on me. love love love you guys.



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

we won't grow up like weeds, when the moon tells us when to grow

FUUUUUUUUUUUCK we slept through my alarm AGAIN today. but luckily jade called us in time to at least get to ulpan at some reasonably respectable time. we learned some things. like the past tense of a certain kind of verb. say what you will about english being a difficult language, but at least the verb conjugations are easy. shit. after ulpan, our teacher michal drove us all to the supermarket so al and i could get sandwich stuff before walking home. i'm so fucking excited to have food in the house that when we got home i made the best sandwich ever: yellow peppers, tomatoes, sprouts, lettuce, mushrooms, melted smoked gouda, and a little schmear of hummus all on a whole grain bagel with sunflower seeds in it. i was beside myself. we even bought little werther's candies. those shits is good. after i ate my delicious sandwich, i hung out with alli and we watched orange county and took ridiculous photos on her computer as it started to pour outside. we didn't have much to work on at our volunteer placement today, so we stayed home. we really need to figure out how to extract the video we've shot from the oranim camera.

since the best thing to do EVER when it is raining is take a nap, that's exactly what i did. well, after looking up 'how to write a screenplay'. pretty helpful starter tips. too bad i have no fucking clue what i'm doing. we'll just work really hard. that's all. well, about 5 hours later, i woke up and made myself another sandwich and plopped down with alli to watch the end of 'the family stone' which always makes me think of josh and his family. once it was over, i wrote a list of things that i miss about home, especially this time of year. i know i miss things and i'm terribly homesick, but i also know that anything worth doing, anything potentially important must be persevered through during difficult times. and i'm just glad that it's nothing that too painful. it just aches a little. i can handle that. but i am VERY excited to see my dad (and his new iphone, ha), joan, and eddie. seeing my mom was great, so it'll be nice to relive that feeling of familiarity. plus, we're going to petra and jordan. WOOOOOOOOO. video chatted with very good old friend john-laurent tonight. man i love that guy.

tomorrow is sharet. i love going there to volunteer with those kids, so it shouldn't be hard to wake up. then we go to the flea market to see if we can find our stuff. probably won't, but it's worth a gander. plus, i can't get a new retainer without being home, so everyone hope that my teeth don't shift. or some shit. oh well :(. my teddy bear will just keep me company.




Monday, December 8, 2008

and every night has its price

so fast forward about 2 hours and alli finally woke up. we made macaroni and cheese rapid-style before walking to kadima. we kissed and made up. we were both just grumpy i think. we got to kadima and said hi to everyone we saw, although we were later than usual, so the kids were all in class. sivan saw us and asked us to check on michael, who had fled the building and was apparently upset. she also asked us to take the kids outside to play since they were short on israeli volunteers today. so we did. we shared the court with kids from the outside. i was banished to the goal by the girls, since i suck so badly. this coming from 9 and 10 year old girls. that MEANS something, ok? we played pretty well. i am constantly amazed by how good alli is at soccer. she was kicking the shit out of EVERYONE, and wasn't even giving it all she had. we brought the kids inside for a snack and hung out with them. i'm really getting in with these kids. really playing with them. i don't know what the hell i'm doing, but i don't think it matters. just having fun and learning how to play. we all ran to the back to grab a snack, which happened to be plain yogurt, enhanced apparently by cocoa puffs mixed in. one of the kids insisted that i spread this concoction on a cracker, which i happily tried. they were laughing, but i turned to al and said, "i know they're playing a joke on me but this shit is good." we started cracking up, which cracked up the kids, and then we were all a mess. the cracker kid then put pepper in my yogurt and i couldn't really eat it after that. but the joke was on them. i eat weird shit. ain't no thing. anyway, al and i went to gadi's for a falafel from kadima since we are so hungry and poor. how poor might you ask? well, so poor that as of tonight we owe gadi for two whole falafels. what's even funnier is the fact that we go to this place so often that it's not even a big deal that we pay later. very fucked. so we ate well and came home. i downloaded 40 year old virgin, and we watched it. after it was over, al and i both looked at each other and decided that we wanted to work on a fun movie set. how would we do this, i asked. well, we'll write our own movie of course! so that is what we did tonight. i won't tell you what it's about yet. but the beginning stages are going very well. i'm excited. but i'm also really fucking tired. oh, and i talked to gammy which is awesome. i miss her. even though she keeps trying t get me to say tht i'll be home for my birthday which i definitely won't be. although, al and i are making plans to camp on the beach for the occasion. we'll make s'mores. yeahhhhh. so goodnight. ulpan tomorrow. love love love.



worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends

after i last wrote, jono, al, and i walked to sharet to play soccer with the littler boys. i really suck at soccer, but i kept going for the ball anyway. it was hot. i was sweaty. and sucking. after soccer, i started walking to nave yonatan for my photography class, but realized i had plenty of time so i walked back to meander with al and jono until it was time for me to leave. took photos of this shoe repairman that works out of the back of his van. then walekd to nave yonatan with my camera in hand, asking people if i could take photos of them. not many 'yes' responses. it's scary to ask. i would rather take candids but i always remember what a man in the jerusalem market said to me when i was sneaking photos in the shook. he said, "don't steal photos'", which really struck me for reason. but its these decisions that i must make as a photographer. that, and i really need to work on my composition. i feel like i'm not really doing anything interesting at all, besides the subject matter. anyway, i took some cool stuff on the way to the school, only finding out upon arrival that i need to schedule the class on a different day because the girls want a bigger class. so i walked home instead, taking more photos on the way.

got home and showered before heading off to meet naama and peeps at the apartment so we could all walk together to this pro co-existence event being held in ramla, featuring an israeli and then a palestinian hip-hop group. once we got there, we sat through a bunch of speeches in hebrew and then the israeli hip-hop guy. he was actually pretty good, even though we couldn't understand him. would have been nice to know. but al and i left early so we could get to the open mic night at the sub kuch in time for me to play. we picked up jono at the house and caught a sheruit on the street, jono telling us about the time he had snake in china.

we arrived at the sub kuch in plenty of time, just sticking our heads into the gallery to see what time everything was starting before retreating to daniel's room to play guitar and hang out. went down to the bar right before, and tomer dedicated 'mercedes benz' to me, plopping a tiny toy benz in front of me. after watching a few others, eventually it was time for me to play, so taking some inspiration from earlier, i belted as best i could, 'mercedes benz', just rapping on the guitar. no chords, just percussion and vocals. everyone clapped along. had some accompanying singers. it was great. then i played 'i will be there when you die' and 'history of fiction'. i finished, and al and jono gave me nice feedback. so did a few other people. some guy from brooklyn said i reminded him of regina spektor. nice compliment. then we went back downstairs to the bar for a bit before it was time to leave. daniel cleared up an embarrassing non-misunderstanding misunderstanding. it was really sweet. that guy is amazing. we went back up to his room to hang out a little bit more before we said goodbye and he told us about his new company where he delivers food from all surrounding restaurants on bikes. al signed us both up to do it, but i don't know if it was the night or the beer or not eating. so we'll see. anyway, i tried to round us up the best i could, paying and saying our goodbyes. but al couldn't make it to the sheruit station and we are too broke to take a cab, so we waited. i was a little bit frustrated, as i wanted to go home and sleep before we volunteered. but it made the most sense given the circumstances. so she passed out on the couch, and i went outside for some air. two guys were sitting outside talking about their ex-relationships that had coincidentally just ended that day. both of them. talking about what went wrong. why. how. i shared some of my own personal experiences when prompted. then i was approached by some of the guys that heard me play. one played for me and asked me a bunch of intense questions. one told me i have a style that reminds him of all the famous female vocalists. that one felt pretty good. the intense guy was a little too intense for my mood (inviting me to play sometime or go camping with him, which reminded me of some weirdness from home), so i went inside to check on alice (i.e. escape). i tried to lay down on the couch and fall asleep. i opened my eyes very briefly just in time to see intense guy walk in, see me sleeping, and very quickly turn around to leave. i felt kind of badly about that one. but it just wasn't the time. i did it to myself. i admit i was curious about the guy, he looks like thurston moore.

anyway, daniel came down and saw us sleeping after he had earlier asked us if we needed to crash in his room. he laughed and asked why we were so funny. he set up a mattress for me on his floor and i woke alice up to tell her i was sleeping there. i passed out after many thank yous and woke up to al banging on the door at 5:30AM. we walked downstairs to leave, saying hi to david who had just began his shift. big warm hugs all around, then a cold walk to the sheruit station. we talked about the night before and i was still not super excited about it, grabbing some food and water on the way. but we caught the sheruit and got home in enough time climb through the window, since i've lost my keys, pass out, and sleep through both our alarms. naama woke us up later, upset, asking us if we wanted to try to still go to the greenhouse project. it didn't work out so we just talked in the kitchen as i did dishes and made myself peanut butter toast. she told me that after we left the co-existence event, the palestinian hip-hop artist got really controversial, talking about how the jews stole his land (all in arabic of course), to which naama became defensive, albeit very articulately. she knows the issue well, more than most people, and is of course biased. but at least she puts forth more educated and well stated arguments than pretty much everyone i've spoken to on the subject. she had to leave, so we said goodbye. now i've just been sitting here, writing and thinking a lot. looking up volunteer programs in india and africa. feeling kind of lost in a safe way. confused and a little homesick, as always. thinking about people at home and being here and what's next. reading all my old blogs and feeling sweet and sad and happy. so many amazing people. i'm actually proud of myself and all the things i've written. a lot of it seems to progress in circles, but i'm really glad i took the time to document everything i feel and think and silly things and wonderful things. i'm emailing them all to myself so i never lose them. writing is good for me. maybe it's my outlet. hmmmm. and also thinking about starting a business that incorporates photography and volunteering. somehow. i don't know. later we have kadima. so that'll be nice. i'm just looking forward to laying low tonight. maybe watching a movie. taking a shower. buying a toothbrush. finding out about my retainer. funny how losing a piece of plastic can dismantle any semblance of a nighttime routine. hmm. ok. good morning.



Saturday, December 6, 2008

rape me my friend

so the other night after writing, we spent our evening making blueberry pancakes for buffy's birthday breakfast-for-dinner dinner and preparing our moustaches and beards for the party. we didn't really have much to work with because we had slacked off considerably in the moustache purchasing department. so we used yarn, at rayna's brlliant suggestion. after taing some cues from her, i impressed myself with yarn-work, creating a pretty sweet moustache/beard combo that i could tie behind my head. after dinner, we all showered and got bearded up. alice and i decided to go as men, giving each other alter-personas. i was morty. she was sheldon. that's how it went. now as you can imagine, ramla isn't used to a whole group of women walking down the street wearing yarn facial hair. we got some interested looks and questions walking to the sheruit, especially carrying all of rayna's luggage. we even walked by a sandwich shop in which one of the kids we volunteer with, worked. he looked just the most confused i've ever seen someone. while waiting in the sheruit, there were three spots and all of a sudden, jade, jen, and buffy happen to jump on. it was really sweet, all of us on the same one. we finally got to the sub kuch, while jen, lade, and buff went to a movie. we got millions of weird looks, but i wore my bear-stache proudly. we had a few beers, saw some friends, inbal showed up looking great, met some new people that play music, took some photos, and drew some moustaches on people who were lacking them. it was a good night. i got the hiccups, went for a walk with roni. walked to ben-el's place with al and david for a while and discussed some weird drug that i've never heard of: hagigat. went back to the sub kuch. al and i split up for the evening and i stayed at the sub kuch hanging with eran, daniel, jono, and david, finally falling asleep on the couch.

i woke up the next morning refreshed. read the newspaper with david and jono and ate some yummy buffet before walking with david over to his and nufar's place on levinsky. man, their place is beautiful and HUGE. they have this little enclosed balcony room with sliding window shades. we watched fashion tv because david is obsessed with it. jono stopped by and we all just watched tv before nufar came home. she dropped in with an actor friend of hers. i'll just refer to him as 'the most beautiful man i've ever seen'. i've never seen nufar act, so she put on a short film she's in, in which she plays a religious girl who's a lesbian, and in love with a married religious woman. it was really good, kinda funny. i finally talked to alli and she was hanging out with lior and roni at our house so i said my goodbyes to david, jono, and nufar before heading out the door. 'most beautiful man i have ever seen' offered me a ride to the central bus station on his motorcycle thingy. yes i said motorcycle thingy. i've never really ridden on a motorcycle save for the instance with my neighbor's friend who didn't know how to ride the thing and we almost just tumped over in this field. but that's neither here nor there. he passed me a helment and i climbed on. i asked him if i could hold on. he said yes. so i lived out my grease 2 fantasy on this guy. he drove fast. i pretended not to be scared. it was really fun. i held on tighter and he dropped me off. i gave him a hug and nearly knocked his bike over, then almost ran off with his helmet. man i am smooth.

finally got back home after almost suffering a clostrophobia attack in the sheruit, sitting stuck in a corner next to this HUGE guy. spent some fun time hanging out with lior and roni, talking about and looking up photos of s'mores. also, lior told me that their studio is almost done being built so i can come and record one of my songs there. i'm excited as shit about that. we played some music and laughed about stuff. after roni and lior left, sort of short notice, orna picked alice and i up for dinner at the house with eran. she told us about her trip to romania for a screening. once we got there, we ate her amazing tomato soup and broccoli. we spent the rest of the evening hanging out with yarden and eran, checking out their facebooks, and orna showed us photos of her and elan's halloween costume. i've never seen a funnier man in a wedding dress and red lipstick. also, yarden showed us photos of when she dressed eran up as a girl. priceless stuff. for dessert, orna melted chocolate and cut up fruit. we ate that. chocolate fondue. just sayin. well we said goodbye to elan and yarden so orna and eran could take us home. said goodbye to orna and eran at home, then we went inside to get ready for the nature party that lior and roni were supposed to pick us up for at 11PM. we had about 10 minutes to get ready. or so we thought. we thought carefully about what to bring and packed everything up. well after a few phone calls, and a nap on my part, 2:30Am rolls around and the boys finally show up. nature parties start around 2 or 3 in the morning apparently, so it was not out of the ordinary that they picked us up at this time. plus, the party wasn't far away, so we got there in no time. the theme was a jungle party, so if we brought an animal, we got in for reduced price. we forgot, but brought the DJ, so we still got in for less. we parked the car, grabbed our backpacks and walked down a dirt road following the trance beats. the music was playing for a couple of hours when the cops came. apparently you can't play loud trance music in the desert until 7AM, so we had to wait until sunrise. no complaints here. we just took a walk and watched the sun come up. the colors were insane. we found a kind of shelter/grape growing cage and stood there until the music came back on. we walked back and danced and played guitar and danced some more. met some nice people.

then, we took another walk. we found this amazing field. walked around the gate to get to the field. it was an orchard. i've never seen anything like this. it was just rows and rows and rows of perfectly line trees with green and yellow leave as far as the eye could see. i just remember this feeling of being completely overwhelmed with beauty being among these trees. we just kept walking and walking and more trees and more trees. perfectly lined. each way you turned. it was just gorgeous. anyway we walked to the end of the orchard, to this lookout point that spanned the entire agricultural development ahead. really amazing view. so naturally, i climbed the rock on the overlook point to take a photo. once i was done i felt myself slipping backwards but luckily grabbed onto some branches to keep from falling over. i yelled to alli that she just missed me narrowly avoiding eating shit. i reenacted my daring escape from death. i had just finished and was climbing down, chuckling to myself, while sitting on the lower rock, when i felt myself start to slide backwards. i'm sure all i could do was make a noise as i fell off the rock backwards, my legs flailing in the air as i slid into a thornbush. all i could do was piss myself laughing as i laid there for a second and struggled to get up. when i finally raised my body covered with thorns and all in my hair, lior was laying on the ground laughing and alli had run off somewhere because she couldn't take it anymore and peed her pants. she couldn't even hold it. hadar just took a photo of me laying helpless on the ground. i got a bruise.

we walked back through a field to sit somewhere. we all laid down and passed out, warmed by the sun. we woke up a few hours later and got ready to go. alli and i looked for our backpacks, which we had stowed by a tree near the party. they were nowhere to be found. we asked around, but to no avail. our backpacks got stolen. in mine were my blanket that i'd bought from the jerusalem shook, my man man shirt, my socks that i'd bought at the flea market. my retainer, the charger to the video camera, and a couple of CF cards for my camera. also my phone. total fucking bummer. the pizza guy gave us a mini for free. then we walked down the road to see if the thieves had realized there was nothing of value in the bags and ditched them. no luck. roni picked us up on the road and took us home. the guys felt really upset that our shit got jacked. mainly because no one steals at nature parties apparently. well, they did this time. it was our own fault, but it just really feels like i got raped. alli just laughed about it. we'll probably see our shit at a flea market somewhere.

we got home and almost immediately passed out until about 8PM. i woke up and called my dad to see if i could get a new retainer sent to me. i have to call my orthodontist, but he reckons it won't do any good. i need a new toothbrush and toothpaste too. too bad i'm broke. fuck. called naama to see about getting a new phone. she just laughed. we need to get a new camera charger too. buffy and jen walked in as i was making some macaroni and cheese for al and i. we hung out and watched lucky number slevin. or the end of it. not a bad movie. rayna made a video of all the ISC people and it made me realize how special everything is that we're donig here. sometimes i forget. we retreated back to our room to watch darjeeling limited. i really could watch that movie over and over. we passed out once it was over after i made some significant progress on this here blog. art conspiracy was last night. i hope it went well. it makes me remember last year and how cold and beautiful it was. how everyone i knew at that time was wonderful and creative and amazing and how thankful i am that i still know them. man. if i could be home. i was asked by a very talented photographer to do the photo booth this year. i had to regretfully turn her down. next year.

this morning we woke up and felt bad so we didn't go to ulpan. i don't think we'll have it much longer. it's become more of a hassle than a privelage and that's a shame. it's my own fault. i'm an asshole. kinda. made some toast and jono came to surprise us. i took a walk with him and my coffee cup. came back and hung out with al and jen, watching the end of point break. that's my favorite part. and the only part i've ever seen. that wave man. righteous. just kidding. anyway, i teach more photography today and i'll play soccer with al and the kids. too bad i can't brush my teeth. ha. talk soon.



Wednesday, December 3, 2008

and everybody hurts sometimes

yesterday was a really good day. we went to ulpan and learned the past tense of certain verbs. i think my hebrew is rudimentary at best, but i practice all the time, so i think its coming along. after ulpan, al and i walked home to chill out before going to the tv station to start editing the segment that we've been taping for the tv show.

goddamnit i just deleted everything i wrote. that's what i get for falling asleep while typing...


we played with the film, splitting it into clips. we left and i walked home to get ready, while alice went to kadima for her soccer thing. i showered and got a visit from imanuel, really cool guy. showed him some stuff oh photoshop and my online flickr portfolio. it was nice to hear some encouraging words from him. al got home, we got ready in great spirits and walked to the sheruit station to grab a way to tel aviv to see our natanya friends' band (zelohashuv-- which means, appropriately, 'its not important'). saw jen standing outside the piercing place on the way, where she had just gotten her nose peirced and eric was now getting a gnarly tattoo. we said hi and continued on. listened to antony and the johnsons on my ipod. alice really liked them. it put us in a beautiful mood. we walked to the bloom bar in record time, because al found a shortcut. we said hi to everyone, just as excited as we could be, drinking our guinnesses and laughing and talking. our boys went on and i was simply beaming. so happy to see live music, especially theirs, since we've been spending so much time with them behind the scenes so to speak. lior even broke a string, but gingy eased the progression with some killer face percussing. alice and i filmed and took photos, which i'm sure they were happy about. it was a wonderful show. afterwards, we helped the boys with their gear and had a little filming sesh on king george. then we booked it to the sub kuch to hang out. basically all we did was play guitar and chill out in daniel's room, but it was lovely. i learned a couple of songs on the guitar. unfortunately, or fortunately, we missed the sheruit at 3 so we had to wait until 5 to go home. it was worth it. once we got to the sheruit, there was a really creepy, sketchy guy with a giant suitcase. after a scare in tel aviv this morning, al got really creeped out, so we took a cab instead. i realize this is cryptic, but i have reasons. i had tried to explain the man to the security guard at the bus station, but he didn't speak english. i hope everything is ok.

we got home at 6:30AM, passed out for an hour and woke up to teach at sharet. i was completely devastated. basically sleeping with my eyes open. but we had a really great day at all of our volunteer placements. we played pictionary and read stories with the kids at sharet. i'm really enjoying being there. i feel like we actually help. i went with al to teach english at nave yonatan. the kids there didn't really give a shit, and one kept hitting on us. kind of a shithead, but we deflected his advances with grace. rachael was there, and i had my ipod, so i thought that since she shared her westlife with me, i'd share my own music with her. she didn't really seem to like it, and told me so. the best criticism is the honest kind. we settled on michael jackson instead. anyway, after that, we were scheduled for this daycare center for children whose parents don't know how to raise them. when we walked in, it was very sad. i could feel it. but i sat down and played with the kids. i fed one and kept trying to communicate with my eyes and limited hebrew. i thought it was going pretty well, after the first moment i sat down and one kid just started bawling at me and ran away and proceeded to keep crying until he got used to me. once it was almost time to leave, al walked in and immediately started playing with the kids. she lit up the entire room and made them all smile. they gravitated towards her. and in that moment, instead of being jealous that i couldn't do that, i realized that i'm here to learn. i may be the wrongest person that's ever lived, but i can learn from her. and i do, everyday.

we came back home and hung out with peeps before chilling back in each others' beds, just talking about why we're here. why its right and why its different. we both feel differently about our reasons, partially because we're in two stages of life. i've already done the college thing and she's just beginning with all those expecations on her. i'm exploring and she's trying to find herself and her interests. i realized that i'm still not in my comfort zone, which is why i keep feeling the pull of home and comfortable places and people. but i'm glad. because that means i'm stll pushing myself to experience things and create. we wrote improv collaborative poetry that we'll turn into music. then we went to bed.

this morning, we slept through the elderly center, which sucks. we needed sleep, i guess. upon waing, i checked my facebook and there was a link posted on my page from my very good friend and amazing artist andrew tolentino. it was an interview that he gave to the KERA blog about art conspiracy and his art. in it, he named some of his personal art conspirators. he named somebody's darling, halcyon night, cara, and corey. he also named me. i was so happy that i called him even though it's 3 AM in dallas. we had a lovely conversation. i don't know what i did to deserve someone so encouraging that believes in what i'm doing so much, but whatever it is makes me feel like a better person. afterwards, alice and i picked outfits for the party tonight and went to sharet to play soccer. we worked mostly with the girls donig drills. i learned how to pass better, shoot better, etc. afterwards, al and i parted ways and i walked home on shuffle. bob dylan sure is good. he reminds me of keegan, or vice versa. bill frisell is pretty great too.

anyway, on the walk home i saw this old couple standing outside their house, under their amazing tree. i wanted to take their photo the other day, but i didn't. today, i just caught the man's eye and made a motion like, "can i take your photo?" i didn't really see his answer but once i finally untangled my camera from my bag, he and his wife were posed and ready. i shot a few and then went over to speak with them. i forgot the woman's name, but the man is named chaim. she spoke with me for a while once i told her what i was donig here. she explained to me that she taught people from all over the world. she was alive during the holocaust. her languages come from her heart, she says. and that her goal is for me to never see the things her eyes have seen, that she still sees when she closes her eyes at night. things she knew when she was "under the earth", during hitler's time. she was very sweet. i think i'll visit her again.

later, i'll go with naama to attempt to get sponsorships from studios to print the photos that the kids take so that i can show them. apparently the photo class i did was such a hit, that they are making another time that i can come and teach. some girls even cried because they couldn't do it. andrew gave me some ideas about what to teach them. about cropping, and stuff. or something. i also just got done reading the dalphos blog, which consists of brian harkin, brandom thibodeaux, allison v. smith, and matt nager, four amazing photographer friends of mine from dallas. just really inspiring. they are currently working as photojournalists. seeing their work makes me gravitate towards becoming that. so good.

so now, i'll chill out and work on photos and maybe practice guitar a little before going with naama. then, moustache development. then, buffy's birthday breakfast-for-dinner dinner. then MOUSTACHE PARTYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY> woo.



Sunday, November 30, 2008

i'm black. and i'm white. and i'm black and i'm white, yeah yeah yeah

woke up late, then met david at the sub kuch. hung out with daniel in his room for a while before walking for what seemed like foreeeeeeeever to the flea market in yaffo. it was a very windy day. blowing in my face, my hair away from my eyes. we found the flea market and found lots of cool stuff, some of it even for free. also, remember the guy that yelled at me and tore my photos for making a face at 5 sheckels? well, firstly he asked me a question in hebrew and didn't even recognize me. secondly, david grimaced himself at some high price and the guy totally shoved him and yelled at him also. david wasn't phased at all. that, coupled with the fact that the guy seemed to yell at everyone and is just mad at life in general made me feel better. after getting alot of really great stuff, then finding a sweet suitcase in a tiny alley, we walked all the way back to the sub kuch. ate a really yummy dinner there and met up with eran and lior, plus a new guy (daniel) that picked al and i up and drove us (with dog in my lap---'sichor', also named 'tina' by alice and i) to their place right off the beach near natanya. its the most beautiful place, from which we took a beautiful walk to the cliff which overlooks the water. it was chilly but gorgeous. i was comfortable in a sweater (from the flea market) and jeans. i took a lot of really cool photos. got some nice compliments from daniel, saying he liked the way i see the world. this guy is really cool also, a composer that lives and studies on a kibbutz near the south. he invited us to come visit, so i think we will on the way to visit adva in eilat. most of the night we just played song after song, all alternating bass, guitar, and african drum. it was just amazing. i completely zoned out, just figuring out bass lines and singing harmonies. that's my favorite thing i've done since i've been here i think. we walked back out to the cliff before having a bit of veggie dinner at the apartment downstairs near the back. after dinner, we all talked and played more music, laughing and joking. lior made up some ridiculous songs about michael jackson the lyrics of which are in the title of this blog. lior had a eran and daniel ask alice and i questions about love and things. daniel asked me the last time i had my heart broken. the first thing i thought was when my parents got divorced. and after he found out that i wrote music, he asked me to play my favorite song that i've written. so i played 'history of ficton'. i think it went pretty well. we talked a little more before pairing up in beds... i love coming here. all the people are so funny and sweet and talented. it's really great.

the next morning, we woke up and hung out, walking to the cliff, just alice, eran, and i. i told eran how much i liked coming out here and how much alli and i both just genuinely enjoyed all of he and his friends and we just love it. he agreed. i felt really at peace watching the water. just sat there for a second. daniel and lior came and brought the dogs. afterwards, eran walekd al and i to show us the fallout shelter that theyare in the process of converting into a studio/practice space. so fucking cool. they're soundproofing and stuff. really amazing. we walked back to the house and played more music before walking to the cliff at sunset. got some beautiful photos. watched a really stupid movie called 'discworld' or something about an alien world on the back of a turtle. anyway, got really bored with that. daniel said goodbye and we got his number. he's a joke. wow. but for some reason i'd gotten shy and forgot how to talk to people. but i don't know what happened. it's one of my strengths. weird. batted a ball around with our hands for a while before eating some delicious yam soup with cream, crackers, and bread that gingy's girlfriend made. really yummy. lior made up a quiz game for alice and i to learn hebrew. there were buzzers. alice won by reading the word for 'chicken'. oh well. we all went back upstairs and lior taught alice and i a song in hebrew. it goes like so:

ve he morida oti al aberkaim sheli
ci lo amarti la clum
ma od efshar kvar le hagid

i want to learn the rest. really cool. we were all suppose to walk to the nearby hotel so we could check out the view, but while we were waiting, we started to play soccer with a flattened bottle cap on the side street. i was wearing ballet flats. as i went to kick the cap, i felt my foot begin to slide on the smooth cement and i knew i was going down. i just landed on my elbow and immediately almost peed myself laughing. i wasn't the only one either, all three of the others were dying laughing as well. we ended up waiting forever, so we just walked back to the house and watched a live arctic monkeys dvd. boys are really weird. roni was there. sweet guy, but wow... i ran away to another room with alice, who saved me. got my back tickled and passed out after lots of laughing and talking.

we wake up late (to a yelling lior and a confused eran) and miss ulpan, have coffee and cookies with eran and he walks us to the sheruit station to natanya. about 3 sheruits later (and an annoyed phone call from naama because we missed ulpan), we make it back to ramla just in time for my photography class. i pick up the cameras, and a book. alli decides to come with me, so to save time we catch a cab to nave yonatan (school). i meet dana, who introduces me to the girls. i get the all in the classroom. all sweet girls by the way, very lively. i start by trying to get them all to pick a photo in the one book (i need more books) that they either like or dislike and tell me why. about half or more actually did this. the one that sticks out in my mind is the girl that liked the photo of the hindenburg blowing up. she thought it looked cool and beautiful. i liked that. then i gave out cameras and the kids got to just go ape shit with them mostly taking photos of each other and this one girl who was essentially a little model, attention-fiend. but rightfully so, she's adorable. so i feel it went very well and dana told me that the girls loved the class and can't wait to come again next week. i want to print out some of their photos to show them what they did. maybe a mini-critique.

after teaching, alice and i got some pizza from boaz pizza by the apartment, then stopped by to see the roomates there. watched some TV, chilled out a bit, then walked back to the house to hang out before bed. sometimes i wonder what it would be like if i was here by myself. not as much fun? would i be better friends with people? am i co-dependent on this one? or do we just really get along well? who knows... watched darjeeling limited with al. its amazing how much wes anderson pays attention to the tiniest details. makes for great movies. al and i talked about love, and the difference between self-love and being selfish. i will strive to be less selfish. it made me think about josh and how i don't know if i'll ever be that close to someone again. i talked to jo about what she does when she feels bad and she gave me some good advice. then i went to bed.

woke up early for the volcani center today, and hung with rachael on the bus. we talked about westlide of course. she's a really great girl. probably my fave. really funny. we teach each other words. its great. we spent all day pulling weeds, raking, talking with the kids and filming them. i allowed a couple of the kids to take photos with my camera. i just showed them basic things on the camera, like shutter speed and how it makes the photo bright or dark. and the focus button. and they did the rest. really paid attention to what they were doing. and i wondered if they will maybe take this idea of a skill and developing it after being introduced for the first time today. that'd be really great. i think my whole time would be worth it here if that happened with even one kid.

came home and hung out for a while. made mac and cheese, waiting for a meeting with zvi and naama about some drama that is going on with the program and some people that are leaving early. basically he wanted to know what we thought could improve about the program so that we are all on the same page. some people complained that they didn't like kadima because the kids don't like them and they feel useless there. alli and i both spoke up because of what sivan said to us the other day about our simple presence there making a difference. so i expressed that we make more of an impact than we know, and it may seem like these kids don't like us and that can be scary, but they're used to terrible circumstances and the fact that we are adults that don't treat them like shit, matters to them. i actually got kind of emotional talking about this, and my voice was shaking. so i think the point was well received. anyway, we finished the meeting and all hung out together. i asked naama where i could print the kids' photos... gave jade some photos i took from the nature party, then chilled with alon and alice. called marissa and talked to my mom. gammy's infection is going away thankfully and she keeps asking mom when i'm coming home, to which my mom has no response, to which gammy becomes indignant about me coming home, to which i don't know what the fuck to do. now i'm going to sleep. we have ulpan tomorrow and the tv station. i can't wait to edit the footage that we got the other day. then, at night, eran's band is playing in tel aviv. it's going to be great. THEN! moustache party on thursday. so fucking sweet. goodnight.



Thursday, November 27, 2008

his goal in life was to be an echo

o mashu cazeh (or something like this). i'll start with the important stuff, and fill in the backwards backwards. got it?

so the biggest thing that happened yesterday was that my mom left to go back to the states. or last night actually. i thought i might cry because i don't know when i'll see her again. and in truth it was really nice to have her here, all aggravations and annoyances included. even the embarrassing stuff carried a nostalgic tinge to it. i was proud of her. wanted to show her off. after finally getting her in a cab, laughing through it, we got to the airport with 15 minutes to say goodbye. i stood with her in the airport line and after a few minor power struggles and more laughs i finally had to leave her. we hugged, and i told her that i had grown a new appreciation for her and that she was much cooler than i thought. this seemed to have taken her aback just a bit. it was lovely. she of course told me how proud she is of me and that i should call lisette to discuss my africa plans because lisette always gives me good advice. which is true. so we hugged a whole lot and kissed and i wished her a safe flight and to call me once she lands in jersey and again once she gets home. i will miss her. she's a great lady and i'm proud to have sprung from her uterus. k, moving on...

so the last time i left you, mom and i hopped in a sheruit to tel aviv and then another to get to her hotel from the central station. when we got on, there was only one other guy and he happened to be from alabama (made alliyah for a girl, she dumped him now he may be moving to florida with another one). then 5 guys (one basketball coach and 4 dancers/djs that just got back from dubai) from new york hopped on (the driver tried to greet them with a hearty "what's up my nigga?". that did NOT go over well. caused a lot of tension at first.) then, another guy that i didn't notice before whom i assumed was ethiopian was a really tall tenor saxophone player that has been in israel for 30 years. it was a cool time. i want to make a short film bout that sheruit ride. anyway, mom and i got back to her hotel and i crashed and burned.

the next morning we got picked up for our tour. i did realize something interesting, i asked mom if she wanted to read my book and she said that she only wanted to read something 'light'. i realized that i am not exactly like her and that i am my own person. we are very similar in lots of ways, but lalala. i was pretty grumpy for the first part of the day, but i got some cool photos at the places we saw and we met a really nice friendly british couple. so i warmed up a bit. we went to a lookout point, drove past some really cool churches that i'd never seen, went to the old city and the shuk, went through the muslim and christian quarters of the old city which was sweet since i'd never been. the church of the holy sepulcre is amazing. got some cool pictures there too. i'm proud of myself. i'm getting stronger. plus, we ate hummus. then mom and i sipped out on the rest of the tour to meet her cousin, rusty, and his daughter and granddaughter. my relatives too obviously. so we went to this amazing vegetarian restaurant called village green near kikat zion. so delicious. we all had a lovely chat and took some photos. i got my ear talked off about really depressing things, but i listened carefully. it was a good lesson. i don't listen enough.

anyway, after dinner, mom and i wanted to do some shopping, so we got a reccommendaton from rusty to go to geula street. so we took a cab there. if you want to know my idea of a NOT good time, go to geula street. it's a street designated solely for orthodox clothing, wares, items, food, everything. basically blander than the amish. but i digress. plus i was real tired. and grumpy. actually i just typed 'frumpy' and erased it, but it was probably true too.

anyway, we caught a cab back to the bus station and waited in a sheruit for what seemed like days while the drive stood outside and yelled, "TELAVIVTELAVIVTELAVIV!" over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over... you get the point.

we finally got back to tel aviv and parted ways. came home and hung with the roomies for a while and i realized that if i don't constrict myself to the thoughts in my body and preconceived notions i have about myself, i could do a lot more. just be open to whatever happens. david (german buddy) stayed over and we each cuddled up in our own blankets and curled up, falling asleep to sigur ros. woke up and went to sharet for tutoring. we were on time, but had to leave early for our VISA meeting, which was a bummer because i really like the kids there. i think they were a little disappointed.

on the way back home, alli and i walked through an apartment parking lot like we always do. but this time, there was a man throwing things away in the dumpster, but left a few rugs on a fence. so, being the natural scavengers that alice and i are, we decided to stuff these rugs in our backpacks and see what we could do with them at home. we started to walk away when the man started to call us in hebrew, so of course we did the only thing you can do in that situation: completely ignore him and walk faster. we weren't trying to steal anything, we genuinely had no idea this man did not want these rugs. we didn't do anything wrong, but our bodies disagreed with our moral stance on the matter. we just kept walking faster and faster while the man kept getting louder and harder to ignore. all of a sudden he comes up from behind and approaches us in hebrew. we stop and pretend not to know what he's saying. he grabs al's backpack and takes the rugs back. we die of embarrassment and walk home quickly. once we recovered from this episode, we walked to the ramla mall/central bus station (same building, mind you, which also houses the government offices) to handle our visa stuff. blah blah blah, i did it. my visa officially now expires january 19, 2009 unless i extend it further. which i'll have to pay for. whatevskies. anyway, after the meeting naama and i talked about my schedule in the food court over some mcdonald's fries. yeah, mcdonalds then alice and i found the flea market in ramla that everyone raves about. we scored big time. it was just like the yaffo market but i had no idea that the wednesday shuk (the big cool traveling one) was so awesome. we both grabbed some cool shit before making one amazing dress shop stop before making it home.

i had to get to tel aviv to see mom off, and david was getting ready to go to the sub kuch so we shared a sheruit. it was actually a very sweet ride. he asked me to play the postal service on my ipod and we both listened. the sunset streaked scenery was slowly streaming past our windows as we listened, occasionally catching a smile from the other. when we arrived, he asked me if i also thought that it was an oddly refreshing and relaxing moment. i did. we parted ways and i walked, tripped, and searched unsuccessfully for a sheruit all the way back to mom's hotel. finally got to her, and i watched TV while i nagged her to get ready so we could go do the souvenier shopping she wanted us to do. we FINALLY got her packed and ready, then we went down to say goodbye to her jam friends from the pizza joint downstairs and shopped a little bit before meeting the cab that took us to the airport and would take me back to ramla afterwards.

i already described the goodbye. i found out today after speaking with her, that she had read her ticket wrong and should've stayed for an extra day, which is a bummer. but it was nice to talk to her. she's safe and sound. i need to make her a list of all the reasons i'm proud of her. got dropped off by a very nice cab driver. i sat in the front (after being kicked out of, and then let back in the front due to random inspections...) and we had a nice chat. alice and i spoke to a very good friend of ours, who will be henceforth known as angelo.

this morning, we went to the elderly center and we brought the camera that karen is letting us use to get footage for the segment we're making about ISC and what we're doing here. i spent most of my time knitting (denise did a lot of work on the scarf she started for my mom last week and so i picked up where she left off). i'm really getting the hang of it i think. so i spent my time working on the scarf and getting pimped out, by denise, to her grandson (whom i've found out is my age). after i stupidly answered her question as to whether or not i have a boyfriend in the negative, she basically rings him and hands me the phone since she can't speak english. we ask each other a few questions and i realize pretty quickly that there is a reason why grandmothers in israel must resort to pimping out their grandsons. and the worst part about the whole scenario is how persistent they are. he pulled every trick out of the book to hang out tonight. its like, 'look man, no thanks m'kay?' when i turned down his request for my number, instead getting his, denise looked in her number book to find it since i'd given it to her earlier. ayayay. yentas. we finished up the day dancing with the oldies, after which, al and i headed to the mall again to pick up a prescription for her, then grabbing a half falafel from gadi's place before booking it home so al would be able to get her whistle before coaching soccer at sharet. apparently this whistle is a necessary accessory. whew say that ten times fast...

when i got home, i spent a few hours picking photos for a photo book i want to make chronicling my time here. i'm real excited about it. i skyped some friends and got to speak to shmiffany and jojo and andy (whom i love very much) and wish them a happy thanksgiving. after she finished coaching for the night, al called me and invited me along with buffy and jen, to the indian restaurant for our own thanksgiving dinner. we all took turns expressing what we are thankful for. i am thankful that mom came and for all the lessons i'm learning about myself and others. and we ate delicious food as well. full and happy, we all walked home and have been listening to music and talking and knitting. well i've been knitting. and i got to talk to josh, donna, mom, dad, eddie, and joan. the last three are in florida for thanksgiving. i asked everyone what they were thankful for. i called gammy, but no answer. i am also thankful for all of the experiences i'm having here, and the lessons i'm learning from myself and others. i am also thankful that i get to sleep in my bed for an extended period of time. we were supposed to sleep in the sub kuch tonight, but luckily al and i both agreed that it would be nicer to sleep at home. it's going to be a long weekend. tomorrow, we're going to the yaffo market with david and then to natanya with eran. can't fucking wait. i also noticed that when i make a mistake while knitting, i get stressed out. but it's ok that the scarf isn't perfect. it's imperfections are what make it unique. i should remember that.

OH, and naama brought alice and i the vid cam from oranim so we can film our documentary! woo.

AND i emailed dad al and i's passport stuff so we can go to petra and jordan right before new year's eve.

AAAAAND that's al folks...