Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How To Twiddle Your Thumbs While Waiting to Make Aliyah

Shalom, chaverim! I've been absent a few days because several days ago, I received the alarming news that my mother was in the hospital. Since I want to protect her privacy, I don't want to discuss her actual health problem. But happily, she is on the mend now and should be going home fairly soon. She is bored, irritated, and sick of the crappy hospital food. In other words, she sounds perfectly normal. At the outset, though, it was a very scary time, and I was hovering near the phone and computer for updates. Time takes on a different quality when a loved one is in the hospital!

Prior to this unexpected event, however, I'd been planning on writing about how Elul and I have been basically twiddling our thumbs these past months, waiting to make Aliyah. Of course, in addition to studying Hebrew using Rosetta Stone, Elul has been very busy dealing with the seemingly unending tasks involved in organizing an overseas move. He found us an apartment, of course, and has arranged for someone to buy our furniture. He is working on leads for a buyer of our car, when the time comes. We have also been consolidating bank accounts and tidying up our personal business affairs.

As for me, I've been doing research on what types of physical goods we should stock up on here and bring with us. It sounds silly, but I am very attached to the "secret formula" of hair colors I use, and don't know if I can get the same brand in the same shade in Israel. As part of our earlier, and ultimately successful, efforts to get out of debt before making Aliyah, I cut out expensive salon visits and started coloring my own hair again. Later, I even learned to cut my own hair, but that's a different story! An Israeli friend told me I should definitely come with a few months' worth of hair color, so that's what I'll do.

Another item we're wondering if we should take with us is protein shake powder. Elul and I both exercise daily by walking for one hour, but we also lift weights--Elul in our apartment complex gym, and me to DVD's at home. My brother is very fit and an experienced weightlifter, and he swears by having protein shakes before lifting weights. He's right--they really make a difference in your energy and in building muscle. Of course, I'm sure we would be able to find shake powder in Israel, but at Wal-Mart prices? Probably not!

I've wound down some of my volunteer activities with our temple, but fortuitously, I was approached by a composer to perform some of her works on an album she's producing. That will take up some time and artistic energy, and there's also my last blogging class tomorrow night. (God bless the Palm Beach County School System's Adult Ed program!) I'm also singing a couple of duets with our temple's excellent Cantorial Soloist for a Hanukkah concert, just before we leave.

On a daily basis, though, there's actually not a lot to do that doesn't involve some form of "detaching" activity. I've detached from buying any non-essential objects, since I'll just have to pay to move them to Israel. I still keep finding things to donate, recycle, or discard altogether, so more things become detached from our household. I am discarding useless old paperwork. We are using up everything in our kitchen cupboards, which is producing some unusual dinners and freeing up space. By the way, does anyone have a recipe that would use up a whole bottle of maraschino cherries in one fell swoop?

Elul and I constantly listen to the internet radio stations of the Israeli Broadcasting Authority. It's amusing to hear two men arguing about Israeli soccer (kadur-regel, literally "ball-foot,"), and hearing them say "blah blah blah...BULLSHIT!...blah blah blah." I guess if you swear in English on a Hebrew radio station, it doesn't violate obscenity laws. We also provide endless amusement for ourselves by singing the "Reshet Gimmel" jingle as a duet, both of us singing in silly falsetto voices. When I can learn how to upload an audio file to this blog, I promise to share this tuneful effort with all of you!

We also speculate on what kinds of jobs we might get in Israel, or what kind of businesses we could start. My intention is to try to get work as a Cantorial Soloist (i.e. singing sacred music in synagogues), but that may take time and may not even happen at all. We could work as English tutors. Elul might work in journalism, and he's even thinking of starting a blog dealing with Middle East politics. Perhaps I can make amusing art work and sell it, or make gluten-free baked goods and sell them to local cafes. Elul has considered becoming an importer of motorized trikes. Or maybe we could open a kosher hot dog stand!

As can be seen from this free-wheeling daydreaming, neither of us is really that certain about what we want to do, or what's even possible there. We both recognize that learning Hebrew, and learning to be as fluent as possible, must be our first priority. The rest will have to take care of itself, in time. But we've got six more weeks of twiddling to do, so that's what we're doing!

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