16 ~ First Election and Hello Dolly
I wake up thinking of you more often than not. How will I bring you with me to a moment in time, to a thought. I do my best to frame my heart and experiences in a way that speak meaningfully to you, hoping you GET it, hoping to give you new ways to think, to know, perhaps to pray.
The photos and videos reflect a few of Spring’s greetings throughout Jerusalem. My eyes are happy to find brilliant tumbles of blossoms and enjoy these occasional days of warmer weather. One day even warranted sandals! The roofers have reexamined my apartment roof and another “repair” is planned, followed by the painters, and perhaps I’ll have the pure luxury of truly nesting. I’ve posted a musician whose strange instrument’s melancholy sounds called to me from an underpass of the large reserve/park near my home. A soccer game of men translates pretty well. The various bands are from the Jerusalem Music Festival in the Old City, a smorgasbord of styles and I caught a few to give you a taste.
I voted March 17th for leadership that will give top priority to the security of Israel, rather than allowing other ever-important issues to become distractions from survival. Economy won’t matter IF our borders aren’t safe, or Iran has a bomb, or there are more agreements made with people who don’t intend to share this land and have refused “2-state” options for decades. I was grateful to vote, as always appreciating the privilege of democracy. http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Iran-and-the-Bomb.html
Moving on, I’ve grown acutely aware of my belonging-deficit at this point of this transition. I accepted an invitation to visit an audition/rehearsal of Hello Dolly at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and immediately found myself on the stage learning the steps for the opening song with approximately two dozen mostly 20-30somethings. The aroma was eau de locker room, but otherwise it was 3 hours of pure fun. The director and other leaders said I’d be entirely welcome, and complimented my energy level and adaptation. J “Why?” you ask, “Hello Dolly in Jerusalem?” Quality English speaking performances are welcomed by Jerusalem’s substantial English speaking community. Will these talented, fun young Israelis and immigrants be my new best friends? Probably not, but there appears to be an all-for-1 sense of teamwork I’ve learned is crucial for me to thrive. Besides the fun of singing and dancing and doing a show, I’d benefit from “belonging” even if only for a 3 month project.
I’m certain I would have a lot of fun with the Hello Dolly rehearsals and especially the 7 performances in June. So that sounds like a fit, and to get on board, right? BUT! The schedule of three 3-hour rehearsals each week plus the 45 minute bus ride to and from the University plus the 7 performances in 10 days all occur during my remaining 3 months of 5 hours/day in language school plus homework. It just might be too much to do anything well. Priorities! Drats.
The decision/commitment has to be made very soon, and I intend to be certain I can keep the commitment. Performers rely on each other to know their part and do it, not flake out, and last minute changes create chaos. My take away from the thrilling fun? I need to find some outlet of fun-normal for me, especially while working so hard in language class. I want to do it all, of course, and before opting out of this production (there will be others) I’ll visit another rehearsal or 2 to see how I do in class the morning after.
Were the production in Hebrew, the rehearsals would be the immersion I so need – a learning opportunity – and I’d be right on board. But then they’d probably not want me because of not being able to follow directions, since my Hebrew is not good enough to function at that level! L Isn’t that the way things too often go?!?!?! Regardless, I know I need to find some outlet for myFUN, whether singing/dancing or other. If I decide to pass on the Hello Dolly project, I’ll commit to exploring more feasible opportunities around town.
It took several weeks to work this one out: walking to class every morning, I pass workers of all sorts. Initially, they all seemed angry, whether shouting over the traffic noise or not. Now that I’m catching snippets of what they’re saying, they don’t sound so angry. Hmmmm, note to self: when we don’t understand others, they may only seem angry. As understanding comes, we realize that’s not necessarily the case.
Laugh at yourself!
That lesson originally came to me for the first time not too many years ago, while watching the best singers in Denver’s Skyline chorus make mistakes and laugh at themselves. I realized I had a huge missing piece, because mistakes or failure at that time were not a laughing matter. I’d never judge you that way, and it’s terribly egocentric to expect more of myself than others. CRAZY.
I also see my classmates laugh at themselves. In this quest to speak Hebrew, I appreciate all I’ve learned and count it a great success, but still visit the fear-pit of failure or “they’ll find out I’m hopeless and kick me out”. At this point of life, I no longer set up camp in that pit. Now I put down the shovel and look UP.
The lead teacher thought to encourage us with our expectations, “Be nice to yourself. Let us torture you!”
sitting beside me this past week of class. Take a moment to find English and Swedish!! in columns 1 & 3, and Hebrew in columns 2 & 4. I watch her produce Hebrew sentences, and can “see” her process from one language to the other. She speaks bits of several other languages as well, but as a new immigrant with her young-adult children, her current goal is mastery of Hebrew. Amazing! Her great but not perfect English notes include confusion of where and were and the like, and it hurts to think of this process for her. It’s amazing, and makes my job look so much easier.
I savor the order of this new language of mine. I know only some of you will relate to this, but it reminds me of what I enjoyed about algebra – complex, logical, and yet finite. Please remind me I said this when drowning in the 30,000+ Hebrew word roots.
Who do you love? Have you told them? Please do. It’s important.
What do I miss? (after #1, there’s no way to rank order)
- Deeply-knowing-and-being-known friendships, that take time to build (to me, this translates as being loved)
- Having Denver girlfriends over for monthly evenings of talking about who we are and how we live and love and God and men and food and travel and friendship and and and
- Performing – bringing joy to my audience
- Having comparatively easy solutions to problems: replacing lightbulbs, having hot water without remembering to turn on the hot water heater 20 minutes ago, the ability to read bills and documents and menus, not feeling like an outsider simply because I don’t know what people are saying
New joys? (no order implied)
- Amazing fresh produce and great restaurant selections
- The welcoming I receive from many Israelis I’ve met – both those born here as well as immigrants
- The music and lifestyle and history and even many of the challenges surrounding the culture
- The friends I’ve made thus far
- Concerts at the Jerusalem Theater
- Torah and other Jewish history classes
- Learning to speak Hebrew and looking forward to getting involved in volunteer projects my heart loves