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.