Being Here

I’m back at my kitchen table in the stillness with good music and the Tel Aviv sun beaming through the non-shaded glass doors to my balcony. My roommates are at work, along with most of my friends, and their friends, and a lot of this country. Because I work for a University and the students haven’t come back from summer/holiday break my vacation lasts until Oct. 7. I couldn’t tell you what day of the week that is and to be honest the only reason I know today is Wednesday is because tonight at 19:00 I will be screaming every line to all the Yeezus songs I know.

Tonight is Kanye West. Tomorrow is camping on a beach in the north. Friday is Shabbat dinner with food we compare to crack (hummus, pita, chicken wings, cous-cous, hummus, mashed potatoes, wine, hummus and wine). Saturday is Bon Jovi. And the long days and short weeks keep rolling on with more art tours, late dinners with live music, and stand-up shows with comedians pulling me up on stage (this happened last night) followed by Amy Winehouse showdowns with a piano outside the comedy lounge and a tone-deaf me singing and dancing backup to all the lyrics I learned from Naya Riveria when she sung Valerie on Glee.

My current state is this weird but satisfying parallel feeling of being totally content and comfortable in Florentin but smiling every time I think about the things and people I get to go back to in February. The apartment I’m sitting in right now is what I currently call home. I couldn’t wait to get back to it last night after a three day hiatus from my smelly city with family in the beautiful settlement of Efrat (just outside of Jerusalem). After seeing my building’s elevator not-surpisngly broken after walking home from the bus station last night, I lugged my suitcase full of clean clothes up the five flights of stairs and loved the feeling of being back at 32 Washington. I downed half a box of cereal, went over to a friend’s apartment to catch up with my people, came home to get ready for a night of live music, which ended being one of my favorite nights of food and laughs with Israeli comedians and their horrible jokes. That is home in Tel Aviv. You really never know what’s around the corner. Last night it was a piano lounge hosting English comedy night and I can’t even begin to guess what will come from tonight, and Kanye, and the beach after dark.

Staying present in everything I do and every place I am is my biggest feat right now. There are so many walks to go on, seas to skinny-dip in, people to meet, work to finish, trips to plan, reunions to get excited for, and blogs to write that focusing on this blog, this song, and the keys I’m pressing, is close to impossible.

A friend of a friend gave me a great piece of advice while I was complaining about the amount of chocolate rugelach, wine, pita and hummus, chocolate wavers, and Ben and Jerry’s I’ve been consuming, “When you’re hungry, you’re hungry!” I’ve been hungry for a lot lately. For the bread basket at an American brunch place 15 minutes away from my apartment with avocado hummus, Nutella, and cinnamon butter as my spread choices, sushi on the beach while watching a sunset, time with family in their city inside the West Bank on top of a gorgeous hill with zero feelings of my safety being compromised, hugs with friends I missed while gone for only 3 days, soccer matches with so few women in attendance that the bathrooms are for girls and boys, and sand in my sheets from days on the beach with books, dogs, the hottest sun in the world, and cucumber and tomato sandwiches to keep me happy.

My hunger for life and all that I can squeeze out of it during these next four months is how I am going to stay present. Israel is my now, Chicago is my future, flushing my thoughts out with you and the world wide web is what’s happening at the moment and I can’t wait to press publish and move on to the next line on my bucket list.

The view outside my family's home in Efrat
The view outside my cousin’s home in Efrat
The table that held the best shrimp cocktail and seafood gnocchi I’ve ever tasted
Worst comedian of the night, made me laugh the hardest

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