Sunday, October 22, 2006

What? Where? How?

When I first moved to Israel, I was often faced with the question posed by all Israelis, “But why on earth did you make Aliyah?” I guess those people who have never actually lived in London find it very easy to comment on how wonderful a city it is to work and live in. While other friends who were also faced with the same question would allow themselves to be dragged into the heated debate of which is a better place to live, Israel or London, I found a simple 9 word sentence would just these people up long enough so I could move on to another topic of conversation, or vacate the taxi, “You don’t have to understand it. Just accept it.” I chose to move to Israel from London… deal with it!

Now two years on, people have stopped asking the question, perhaps this is because I am still here… I survived the first year of bureaucracy and came out the other side. I survived the second year of job searching, flat hunting and roommate swapping, and I am still here living and breathing with a job, an apartment and great friends. I no longer get the question of “Why did you do it?” and more the question of, “Why do you not speak Hebrew?” I find it funny that they ask me this question in English… I think they pretty much answer the question themselves just in the asking.

My weekend was a long one, starting on Thursday night in Jerusalem at a wedding of an old Ulpan friend. It was a beautiful wedding, set on the hills of Jerusalem under a canopy that the bride had sewn herself. Gypsy musicians on stilts walked the tiny bride and groom to their Chupah where she gave herself to him, he placed a ring on her finger, they drank the dangerously red wine without spilling a drop on her stunning wedding dress, and successfully smashed the glass to a round of applause and L’Chaim! My ‘girlfriend’ Eli and I found that we had finally been put in our rightful place… on the cool table for a change right next to the dance floor! It was so nice to catch up with a couple of the dudes from Ulpan, and avoid the psycho American Army guy who used to freak me out with his tales on how he knew how to shoot to kill. It is nice to see how everyone has found their place here and are creating their lives afresh in the country they have chosen to call home. Relatives visiting Israel for the first time from the States were in awe at the beauty of the venue, the relaxed atmosphere, and the fact that their siblings had found such ‘great people’ as friends and confidants in their new home. I was therefore not surprised by a phone call on the way home… it is easy to miss someone when you are reminded how great they actually are. Kinda sad that it takes the words of others for you to suddenly realise that.

Anyway, back in Tel Aviv a weekend of Oestrogen lay ahead and all things considered it was a pretty smooth and enjoyable Shabbat for all. On Saturday lunch four new girls joined our meal and it was actually nice to have some fresh blood around the table. Ok so a couple of the new girls were a joy to have around… the others… well lets just say that telling a group of new Olim that you are “privileged enough not to HAVE to make Aliyah” really does not make you very endearing. In fact this naïve little American chick was pretty lucky that despite walking into the lions den waving a piece of meat, the lions were all too tired and overfed to rise to her bate… Although the thought of swatting her like a fly did pass our minds. As one person who had been dealing with maggots all day I was not really in the mood for a pesky fly… she would find herself caught in her own spider web one day with such talk. Let the spiders sort her out.

After Shabbat we found ourselves out again at another roof top party. I was expecting a glass of wine and an early night, and at first that was exactly what I got. However, the roof began to fill up with people, the music was raised a notch, and people were beginning to forget about work in the morning and have a good time. It could have been the alcohol, it could have been the excellent tunes provided by DJ Howie, it could have been more of the alcohol, but on behalf of those of us who lay low on the brew I would like to thank the man who put a permanent smile on my face for the whole evening.

Ely, I am sorry that I never got to speak to you, to find out anymore than your name and take this picture. I would love to know if the moustache is real or if it is a dare you had going with your friends. I would love to know if your father and your brothers have the same moustache and it is in fact a family tradition handed down from generation to generation. I would love to ask if you have ever auditioned for the Village people. I would love to ask if you have a special comb for it. I would love to ask if you dye it or if that is it’s real colour… if it is in fact real. And for the other guys at the party, the ones trying to get the attentions of the girl on the sofa who was engrossed in a Chemistry lesson (no that is not a euphemism) and failing, the ones stood around the edge of the balcony staring desperately without making a move, the ones hoping that someone would notice them… Take a tip from our friend Ely... You wanna stand out, you wanna be noticed, you want women clamouring to find out who you are (without having serious surgery on your nether regions) and take pictures of you… Get a funny moustache! Ely we love you!!!

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