Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Same Channahboo... A New Adventure

London, Tel Aviv, London, New York… And so now my adventure takes a new twist and I am finding myself sipping Mocca Latte in terminal 5, staring out at the British Airways planes lined in a row and smiling at the irony of the situation that an English Girl who had just 5 years before moved to Israel, has now found herself back in London in transit to New York for the next leg of her adventure.

How many legs does this adventure have? I do not know and I have stopped asking now. The point is that it keeps on running.

I think it is fair to say that the last year saw my life as I knew it flip upside down and while I could have carried on being the same, living the same life as before I took a long hard look at what was my adventure so far, and thanks to this blog I had record proof of my adventure so far, and so far my adventure was rather unadventurous… and downright repetitive. I jumped from year to year and found that the same stories were repeated year in year out and ultimately I needed a change. Ultimately I need a change.

This is not to say I am done with Israel. I have mixed feelings about this statement. I have mixed feelings when people say, “Oh no! You can’t leave Israel! How sad!” I guess I would have said the same thing if the person was not me. So I say it again. I am not done with Israel. But after 5 years living in this bash my head against the wall one day and jump up and down with gratitude the next day country, I feel I am entitled to a break, or as we would say in Israelהפםקת נפש or a break for the soul. And for those of you have stuck with the sad and woeful blog over the last few months you will agree that the soul of this blog needs a break indeed.

Now we can enter into a whole debate about whether I have allowed myself to be defeated by Israel and the harsh way she treats her new immigrants by separating the fair-weather friends from the dedicated settlers. We can have a discussion for hours and split hairs over whether I made the move to Israel for the right reasons or am leaving for better ones. We can talk for hours about the ins and outs and whys and who is to blame, but seriously who gives a shit and who really takes life that seriously. Basically it breaks down to the following; I need a change, my job offered me the chance to move to New York, I decided it was an opportunity I could not say no to, So for the next six months I am giving New York all that I got and will see if she is a keeper or not.

As I said, I am not done with Israel. I will never be done with Israel. My family and my dearest friends are in Israel and if that is not reason enough I will stand proudly in the middle of Heathrow airport and shout rather un-politically correctly that Israel is my homeland and I will never be done with her! However, that does not mean I have to be stuck to her for the rest of my life; the equivalent of living at home with the parents forever (so says a 30 year old who until this morning was living at home with her parents). No it is time this Israelite flew the nest and spread her wings in another land. I will still have sweet dreams of a land flowing with milk and honey, but for now I will be dancing in streets paved with gold (or cheese depending on how you look at it).

So here I am in Heathrow again only this time I am heading West and high off my ass on a concoction of cold and flu remedies that ultimately will make no difference at all to the state of my mucus filled head, only to give an illusion to the swine flu scared passengers around me that I at least making an effort to get better. I am seriously looking forward to knocking back a few whiskeys on the plane and passing out…. Just wonder if I am sick enough to beg an upgrade to class with the beds, or if I am too sick that they may refuse me entry into the USA until I have completed quarantine. Cats and dogs must have 6 months quarantine before being allowed into a country… imagine if they imposed the same with humans. I could spend the 6 months I am supposed to be in New York in quarantine instead…

Ok I am going to take America English chocolates so they let me in!

By the way, England is still grey, Terminal 5 is not all that (the Prêt a Manger has only 5 sandwich choices) and I would like someone to explain the logic to me of why security in this country makes people throw away their water bottles when they are clearly swigging from it so it cannot be anything other than water… oh and yet at the same time recommending their passengers to keep themselves hydrated on the flight. One thing the world could learn from Israeli security… yes we do not have to take off our shoes to ensure that there are no terrorists on our flights!

New York baby here I come!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Must write blogs for all that has been going on, but what has been going on is a lot and I am too used to writing in 140 characters Twitter!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wrong Number... asshole!

For the last week and a half I have had the great displeasure of repeat phone calls from a man. Now I do not want to imply that this man is my stalker, nor to I want to imply that I encourage him in any way to continue to call me by striking up a conversation or asking how his day has been. To the contrary I make it very clear to the man what an irritant he is to my life and how I wish he would learn to input numbers correctly and thereby remove himself from the bubble of my universe forever.

The phone rings again and I see the same number that I have seen flashing up on my phone for days and even though I have a rule not to answer numbers I do not recognise, I have seen this number come up several times before and have a voicemail message on my phone from a very agitated man looking for Amit.

Channahboo: Hello
Man: Hello can I speak to Amit (in Hebrew)
Channahboo: No. Again, this is not Amit.
Man: Oh I have no idea how I keep calling your number by mistake
Channahboo: Perhaps Amit gave you the wrong number deliberately so you would annoy me instead of him
Man: But there are times when I have called this number and got through to Amit
Channahboo: You see that would be a lie sir, because if you actually dialled in Amit's number every time then you would only ever get through to Amit, but you don't do you... several times a day you call me instead.
Man: There must be something wrong with the phone
Channahboo: Now if you were using speed dial to call Amit then I would agree with you, but I think that we both know that is not true now don't we.
Man: I am so sorry this will not happen again
Channahboo: Oh I live in hope!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Hendonshites

Israel is taking a little הפסקה (break), taking a deep breath and exhaling with relief that for a short period of time between Pesach and the summer there is a little respite from the tourists. Not to seem ungrateful, the tourist provide a much needed boost to Israel’s somewhat flailing economy, and don’t get me wrong it is always a pleasure to have visitors to stay. However, I think the old phrase, “The best part of having a guest to stay is their leaving,” can be held true, or was it “After three days, fish and guests stink.”? Either way we love it when they come; we just love having our place to ourselves when they leave.

So many tourists came over Pesach and it was actually pretty amazing to see so many Anglos around. Seriously I wonder how many synagogues in London closed their doors as most of the congregation was walking the streets of Tel Aviv and Netanya (why do people still go to Netanya?) At the same time it was a little strange for me. As someone who moved to Israel almost 5 years ago (no I cannot really believe it myself), it is one thing to go back to England to visit my family and friends who are still there. It is a different feeling though to find the ‘London’ scene on my doorstep. When I go back to England, maybe it is that I only see the people I really care about, or perhaps I slot back without a second thought, but when I see the London scene in my home, I can really see full on how different our two worlds are.

I know part of my urge to come to Israel was to rid myself of the “keeping up with the Jones’” mentality, to be around like minded people as opposed to judgemental and hypocritical types. To be honest I had all but forgotten their existence until I bumped into an old friend who reminded me of one of the things I gladly left behind. Not the bad weather, not the long commute to work, not even ridiculously long queues at H&M. No, my friend reminded me that one of the greatest joys I left behind in England were her men, specifically (because I actually am rather partial to a man with a posh voice) what has come to be referred to as the “Hendonshites”. The “Hendonshites”? I hear you all ask. Well to explain further I would like to call once again my favourite expert (note also a British yet yummy man) Sir David Attenborough.

For those of you who do not recall, Sir David Attenborough once assisted me with the analysis of the Jerusalem plague of The Katamonster. Today he has been working on the enigma that is The Hendonshite within his new study “The man with two faces and little else”. I simply had to find out more:

Channahboo: - Hello David, I can call you David now right? What exactly is a Hendonshite?

Of course Channahboo. Well in order to answer that question and define the Hendonshite, one must first explore its origins. Born and bread within North West London, this creature is of male sex and past its years of sewing its oats across middle England and travels overseas, has come to rest in the area known as Hendon, London. Known as a largely Jewish populated area, it also holds a great deal of wealth which is what attracts these men to the region. They work in a variety of fields, not out of passion per se, but with the specific aim of funding the mortgage to their Hendon apartments which they quickly furnish into bachelor dens to lure their prey back to.

Channahboo: Prey?

Yes. These males not only choose Hendon for its wealth and prestige, Hendon is also a stalking ground, rich with fertile females and more importantly numerous dark alleyways hidden amongst the houses where they can hunt out new young prey, lure them back to their dens and wolf down whatever will fit into their oversized egos.

Channahboo: Wow sounds scary. Are they really so dangerous?

Not perhaps in the way that one might think. You see these males forget that it was a woman who brought them into this world, or perhaps they see no connection between the women they bed and their mothers and sisters, but they have a primeval view of women. I spent a week amongst them in disguise and found that I was quickly accepted once I told them how I had told a girl I loved her to get her into bed and then dumped her the next day.

Channahboo: Is that true?

I am a gentleman! Of course not. But I had to be accepted into the pack in order to study them more closely in their natural habitat, being at one of their houses, on their sofa watching the football. In the group they love nothing more than football and sharing stories of their conquests. One evening a particular Hendonshite was telling the pack of his recent conquest. As I mentioned earlier Hendonshite, predominantly prefer the younger flesh as their prey. There are theories as to why this is, some say it is their preference, others claim that it is all they can get as the older woman knows better. It is an area I am actually studying further at the moment.

Regardless this one night one of the Hendonshites was regaling the group with his tale of conquest and in this occasion the lady in question was in her 30’s. One Hendonshite upon hearing her age called out, “Wo ho! In her dirty thirties??” to which the group all began laughing. Another Hendonshite bellowed out beer bottle in hand, “Older girls love cock… And even if they don’t they do”.

Channahboo: So if that is their view how do they interact with the rest of society?

In disguise. They have friends who are married who they go to for meals and “endure the pitiful looks from the smug marrieds”. They have female friends who they use to further fuel their egos by telling them what sluts they are for being intimate with someone they liked (not knowing that they were also a Hendonshite too). I was intrigued by the primitive behaviour of these men who still in today’s day and age still refer to women as ‘sluts’, ‘whores’ and ‘bitches’.

Channahboo: I am confused here you say that they “endure the pitiful looks of smug marrieds”, so they themselves want to settle down with a mate?

Correct. However they may never do until they learn to respect the opposite sex.

My head was reeling from our conversation and I could not help thinking that although I am repulsed by these creatures I in some ways feel sorry for them. These lowly men seem to be stuck somewhere in the ages where it was ok to treat women in such a second class manner, that it is ok to degrade women publicly to such an extent for what? Admitting that they are sexually active? Is this jealousy and therefore their own ego at hand… I mean literally at hand because that is the only place their action is coming from? Or are they simply a group of boys who never grew up and that perhaps one day when they meet the right woman to tame them, then they will learn the value of a woman? I tried to ask Sir David these final questions, but he was unable to answer as he had yet to complete his studies to this extent. However he did state that from what he saw once a Hendonshite always a Hendonshite. So I wonder to myself, what are the women there doing? Run girls run! Save yourselves.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Things I have learned...

As I walked out of the office yesterday I took in a deep breath of fresh sea air and my heart felt like a weight had been removed. So many things are swimming around my head, but my heart is finally feeling clear and at peace. I have so much to tell, but nothing I can yet say… lets just say that plans may finally be coming together and I am finally feeling the fear and doing it anyway instead of hiding back under the blankets. Oh I am scared shitless, but oh lord I am doing it anyway!

I walked to my car, heading to Tel Aviv for some FroYo loving, and smiled to myself as I saw a young family walking towards their car after a day at the beach. The father and little son packing up the car while the mother and young daughter in matching short denim skirts danced to the music pouring from one of the restaurants.

I drove to Tel Aviv singing “Sin Wagon” at the top of my voice, imagining what Simon Cowell would say if I sang it to him and I giggled to myself as I imagined what I would say back to him in response, “Hey I just love singing this song!”

And so as I call an end to the dark time I have been in (thank you for your patience with me) I would like to end this post with some inspiration from dear friend and a list of things I have learned/ heard/ thought about during this time. (Thank you for your continued patience)

I’ve learned that no matter what he said, you said, they said, sometimes it just does not work out the way you thought it would

I’ve realised that I deserve better

I’ve thought a lot about the future and it is not as scary as I thought… ok still scary, but doable

I’ve heard that “guys have to eat a lot of shit before they realise the caviar they had”

I’ve learned that no matter how crazy you think you are being that there is someone who will tell you that they were so much worse!

I’ve realised that I am so lucky

I’ve thought about what it is I want and I am working on it

I’ve learned that beating ones self up is only self destructive and otherwise futile

I’ve realised again how blessed I am to have a family who are unconditionally there for me and friends who are like family

I’ve heard and learnt to “feel the fear and do it anyway”

I’ve had a good talk with myself and we are still friends

I’ve realised that I don’t want to be the kind of person who makes promises (to myself or others) that I cannot or won’t keep

I have realised that despite my depression/ nervous breakdown I am a pretty self aware and well grounded person

I have been told that I tell people too much about myself

I have realised that I don’t care!

Thanks for baring with me!

I’ll be back :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Sweet Fruit Crumble and Sticky Toffee Pudding were sitting over a Chocolate Ball wishing for a Belgium Waffle and replayed and old song, an old conversation that happened so long ago with a Cornflake Girl and a Raisin Girl in a cereal box.

Sticky Toffee Pudding: I just cannot get over it. How do you get over it?
Sweet Fruit Crumble: I’ve been there babe. It was horrible.
Sticky Toffee Pudding: As horrible as calling five times in a row because he didn’t answer the first time?
Sweet Fruit Crumble: Oh so much worse. And it was mean, cruel, evil words that would come out.

Sticky Toffee Pudding: Did you beg for him back?
Sweet Fruit Crumble: Oh yes. Even though I knew he was with someone else. It was a dark place.
Sticky Toffee Pudding: So how do you get out of it?
Sweet Fruit Crumble: You will
Sticky Toffee Pudding: Ha! How can you be so sure?

Sweet Fruit Crumble: Because you may not believe it right now, but you are not crazy.
Chocolate Ball: Men are assholes – Get off my Balls!

I never loved nobody fully
Always one foot on the ground
And by protecting my heart truly
I got lost in the sounds
I hear in my mind
All these voices
I hear in my mind all these words
I hear in my mind all this music

And it breaks my heart

Sticky Toffee Pudding: You know I have not seen him since.
Sweet Fruit Crumble: Ha his loss! You know you are looking gorgeous.
Sticky Toffee Pudding: Me?
Sweet Fruit Crumble: Yes you! Who you think I mean Chocolate Ball?
Chocolate Ball: Why thanks a lot ladies!

Sticky Toffee Pudding: Awwww thanks. You know he said that he saw pictures and said something about how us breaking up agrees with me… funny that.
Sweet Fruit Crumble: What a douchebag thing to say.
Sticky Toffee Pudding: I guess.
Chocolate Ball: What a Spotted Dick!

And suppose I never met you
Suppose we never fell in love
Suppose I never ever let you kiss me so sweet and so soft
Suppose I never ever saw you
Suppose we never ever called
Suppose I kept on singing love songs just to break my own fall
Just to break my fall

And it breaks my heart

Sweet Fruit Crumble: You seem to be keeping it together
Sticky Toffee Pudding: It’s been four months!
Sweet Fruit Crumble: So! There is no time limit on these things.
Sticky Toffee Pudding: Oh there definitely is. There is a time limit until you become a psycho bitch and then another time limit before you are just pathetic. I think I have exceeded both those time limits
Sweet Fruit Crumble: I think you are too hard on yourself
Sticky Toffee Pudding: I think it is time for a little tough love… So I can keep saying to myself “Why can it not just be easy? Why can it not be simple?” but the truth is it wasn’t and it ended for a reason and I should just get over it.
Sweet Fruit Crumble: Of course but it is not that simple
Sticky Toffee Pudding: Of course not. Too much hurt. Too many broken promises and one broken heart.
Sweet Fruit Crumble: Hun, you did everything you could… It really is his loss.
Sticky Toffee Pudding: I am not sure he sees it that way now.
Chocolate Ball: Seriously you are a quality girl. Seriously get off my Balls!

All my friends say that of course its gonna get better
Gonna get better

And it breaks my heart

Sweet Fruit Crumble: You’ll meet someone else
Sticky Toffee Pudding: So they say
Sweet Fruit Crumble: I promise it will get better you will see.
Sticky Toffee Pudding: Oh I am sure the world with unfold the way it should.
Sweet Fruit Crumble: You will meet the right Cupcake for you.
Sticky Toffee Pudding: What if I already did?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fimo Heart

I am trying to write again. I stare and this plain page in front of me and think about the multitude of words that I want to say, how I want to laugh at myself, how the dreams I have at night have surprisingly nothing to do with the tears that come in the morning… some mornings, not every morning.

I am trying to organise my thoughts somehow; to feel one emotion at a time, rather than every emotion at once. It is not easy. An internal conflict arises every time and I am left shouting myself down and the one thing my head and heart both agree on and belt out is “You Fool!” I guess that thought is not just voiced at me.

The song ‘Why do fools fall in love’ comes into my head and I consider it has a point, but then I get angry at the happy beat that accompanies those sombre words and I move on to an all encompassing rage that spans from every corner of my soul and I am left clenching my teeth and piercing my palm with my nails and trying to breath it out while my heart becomes leaden in my chest and then cracks.

It is funny how in reality you cannot break something soft. Fimo does not break; it moulds into a new shape. Only something hard can break. So how is it that a heart is the opposite? Or maybe it isn’t. Maybe if my heart truly was open and softened then I could just bounce back with a newly moulded heart. Crack.

You see this is why I have found it so hard to write again.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Lauryn Hill says it best...

It could all be so simple
But youd rather make it hard
Loving you is like a battle
And we both end up with scars
Tell me, who I have to be
To get some reciprocity
See no-one loves you more than me
And no one ever will

Is this just a silly game
That forces you to act this way
Forces you to scream my name
Then pretend that you cant stay
Tell me, who I have to be
To get some reciprocity
See no-one loves you more than me
And no one ever will

No matter how I think we grow
You always seem to let me know
It aint workin
It aint workin
And when I try to walk away
You hurt yourself to make me stay
This is crazy
This is crazy

I keep letting you back in
How can I explain myself
As painful as this thing has been
I just cant be with no one else
See I know what we got to do
You let go and Ill let go too
Cause no-ones hurt me more than you
And no one ever will

Care for me, care for me
I know you care for me
There for me, there for me
Said you'd be there for me
Cry for me, cry for me
You said you'd die for me
Give to me, give to me
Why won't you live for me

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Got a nice little story?

"How you, uh, how you coming on that working on, huh? Got a big, uh, big stack of papers there? Got a, got a, got a nice little, nice little story you're working on there...your big novel you’ve been working on for three years. Huh? Got a, got a compelling protagonist, huh? Got an obstacle for him to overcome, huh? Little story brewing there...working on...working on that for quite some time, huh? Yeah, talking about that three years ago, huh? Been working on that the whole time? Nice little, uh, narrative- beginning, middle, and end? Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends? Yeah? At the end your, uh, main character is, uh, richer for the experience? Yeah? Yeah? Yeah?" Stewie Griffin

It is not easy to write about what is going on in your life, when the better half of it has been sectioned off away from public view. Being in a relationship changes everything. Whereas before I would have happily waffled on about the ins and outs of my love life for everyone to read, now there are things I want to keep private.

And what else is there to write about? Work? The situation in Israel? I prefer to write about the things I know, the things I have experienced, and although I am currently experiencing another time of war in Israel, I am not really in a place right now where I want to have all the crazies of the world using my blog as a place to air their hate of Israel and all Jews through hateful comments. Speaking as one Jew in Israel… I just don’t care what you think.

So back to me. I moved back home with my parents a few months ago. Now as someone about to turn 30 you would think I would be embarrassed of this fact, but I certainly am not! At the age of 18 my parents moved to Israel and I was suddenly thrust into a world of independence and having to fix my own car problems, issues with the bank, landlord and phone companies, and I think I handled it pretty well. While many of my friends started off their working life in London living at their parents and saving money I was living in London on almost minimum wage and I managed, I coped and eventually I did better. So after all that time I feel like I deserve a little time to take advantage of the closeness of my family and make some life savings while new life choices and possible life changes lay ahead of me.

I was somewhat nervous about the move. The return home has always been like a return to my childhood even when I was just visiting. Surrounded by my parents and sisters I would find myself transformed to a stroppy fifteen year old, annoyed by her sisters who seem to want to touch everything she owns and thoroughly un-amused by her fathers jokes at her expense. But this time maybe I am a little bit older, maybe it is because it has been so long since I have lived in a real home, but I find coming home so comforting. I am loving getting to know my younger sisters better and becoming closer to them. I love the days that my dad comes walking with me around the park. I love to come home on a Friday and help mum around in the kitchen before Shabbat. Now I admit I don’t always stay at home. Having a boyfriend less than half an hour away means that many nights I stay away, but I look forward every day to those hours when I leave work and walk into the Graham house.

The house may be different; the walls a stark Israeli white painted plaster to keep the room cool, as opposed to the soft coloured papered walls of our warm home in England, but the furniture is still the same. The piano I sat at, trying to play, but never managing to get my hands to do two different things at once; the wooden cabinets built by my grandfather that are spread throughout the house in almost every room; the old couch that has been given a new lease of life every 10 years since I was born, originally in floral, then to pink and now in rich cream covered when the grandchildren are in town.

I love the smells that greet me every time I walk in. Once a week there is the smell of ginger dough from the biscuits my mother bakes to feed my father’s habit. Then there are the chicken soup days, the days of barley soup and brisket, the days when mum is preparing for a dinner party and the entire house smells of roasted peppers and chicken. I wake up in the morning to sound of clattering pans, the kettle boiling for my dad’s first cup of tea and people chattering downstairs and rushing to get to the gym or bus station before their first appointment of the day.

After ten years I forgot what it was like to grow up in a big household. A home that seemed to move with all the bustle within and swelled and sighed with joy at the number of people who would come to be entertained, fed and maybe given a bed for the night. I now realise how much I have missed it. I have lived a lonely and somewhat selfish life for so long and now in the heart of a family, of my family, I am looking with different eyes at how I grew up, how we lived as a family, and how I would like my own family one day to be.

There is also a sadness. I loss for the people who are no longer there, who are in a different city, country or just no longer of this world. I find myself transported back to moments in my youth. I lay in bed and I sometimes think I can hear my grandmother snoring next to me as she would do every Friday night when she stayed over. Some may say that what I am hearing is actually myself snoring, and they may be right, but it is far more romantic to think I am hearing my dead grandmother. I see the sofa bed that was the bed my grandfather would sleep in when he came to stay and which was also the bed in which my parents nursed me with chicken soup when I was sent home from my year out with the flu. I remember Rebecca and a tear comes to my eye. I cannot remember Benjamin, so a tear comes to my eye for he who I cannot remember. I think about the struggles my parents as parents went through. I think about the wedding speeches made when they said, “mum, dad you really are our inspiration” and I now appreciate that all the more.

If you have come expecting me to regale you with stories of my love life then you will be disappointed, if you weren’t already disappointed by my love life. Instead when I write, and hopefully it will now be more often, I will write about the things that made me who I am, the memories I still hold dear and that I still dream of almost every night. I will write about the people and the times I loved and hated the most. I will be writing about family.