03 September 2007

Ma hamatzav

Six years ago I left Israel, after having spent 2 months on the kibbutz with Uzi, after leaving Eilat for good. I should have left on the 2nd but JIP decided to stay outside all night and morning and made me miss my flight. She sauntered in the moment we returned from the airport (had to book new flight, needed to be done in person blabla - Israeliness at its best), of course, and was most displeased at the forced seclusion that ensued.

There was no particular reason for me to have chosen the 2nd of September as my departure date, at the time I chose it it still seemed very, very far away, which was what I needed. Uzi drove me to the airport and we sat on the trolley, on the bags, and played with the cats, JIP and a then-still-a-baby Hum-Hum, and took loads of pics I have yet to develop. It used to be, if I develop them I will truly not be there anymore. Now the challenge is even more difficult. What if they turned out horribly? Worse, what if they are gorgeous? Then what? I'll want to ring him regardless but then I always do, though I haven't since that one time his machine actually picked up. I couldn't risk it again.

When it was time to actually go I burst into tears. I had no doubt in my mind that that one vacancy for vet school for People Who Already Have A Degree was going to be mine [It was. There were 47 applicants. I will forever be grateful, even if I hardly ever sound it.]. As it turned out, that was the last year I could have applied. After Grade 9 we were forced to define our future, at the ripe ages of 14 or 15, bcs you had to choose from 5 areas. I eventually chose the Humanistic Studies one, meaning I had no Maths, no Biology, no Physics, no Chemistry for the next 3 years. In Portugal you can apply to university the normal way, after Grade 12, or you can apply under Special Status: transferring from another degree; coming from a former Portuguese colony; being a federated Athlete; already having got a degree. It is up to the Universities which criteria they use to choose these students. Some require that the people applying, even if they fall under Special Status, have had subjects relevant to what they will study. In my case, that would have been Maths, Biology, Chemistry, and that would have been the end of me as well. I would have been forced to learn everything pertaining to those 3 years I missed and then take the admission exams and I could not possibly have done it. I don't have the sort of brain. That year the only criterium was the final average of your prior degree; the year after that they started requiring the subjects I mentioned. I do believe it was fate, I truly do.

As I said, I knew I was Doing The Right Thing. I couldn't study Veterinary Medicine in Israel so I needed to go home. But in order to do that I needed to leave home. And Israel, Israel is harsh, difficult, at times pissy, often infuriating, occasionally frightening but above all Israel is where too I belong and not one day has gone by in the past 6 years that when I have not thought abt it, not one day has gone by when I have not thought in - admittedly - incipient Hebrew and, apart from the Uzi-related phases, not one day has gone by when I have not longed to be back. Maybe not even for living, but not for visiting either. Just to be back. Back home, where it too makes sense.

Even the language - and more than I thought. I surprised myself recently. I received an email from Koolanoo, all in Hebrew. At first my brain froze, I was convinced I wouldn't understand a word. I mean, all in Hebrew? No nekudot/vocalisations? I understood everything. EVERYTHING. And my heart became big and airy and filled with pride and the simplest, purest form of joy. I haven't lost my Hebrew, it is not that incipient, and it absolutely still is the sound that you hear when you put your ear to my breast.

Uzi hugged me tight, wiped my tears, kissed me and said Pip don't cry, we'll see each other very very soon.

We never did see each other again.

But Israel is mine, and always will be. And Israel is him, and always will be. And therefore Israel is home, always and forever, and now more than ever bcs I will remember and live it for him, even while away.

Israel will always be waiting, I will always be willing, and nothing could ever, ever change that.

7 furballs:

Savtadotty said...

When the time is right and you're ready, you'll come home.

Anonymous said...

Yes.

Resoundingly.

xxoo
V.

Diana said...

You never do lose the things that truly matter.

And now you keep it in the very essence of your being for yourself and for Uzi.

liquicat said...

wow, this made me cry.

D said...

What a beautiful post J. Your prose sometimes outdoes even itself.

But I don't think Israel will always be waiting. Israel is not an abstract construct, it consists of people. And the majority of its citizens seem to no longer realize what Israel really is, where it came from, what caused it to be.

Most of its citizens these days inhabit Israel as Dutchmen inhabit Holland. They think they are ordinary people in an ordinary country. Or maybe they just WISH they were. When there is no chance in hell they will ever be ordinary, or lead ordinary lives.

And so the ostriches are selling out, and giving up. They are no longer defending themselves and their children the way their parents, grandparents swore they would after the Shoah. They vote for leaders who run to the UN when Arab massmurderers launch rockets at them, and who do what their told like good little boys by corrupt and jewhating EU leaders.

I put it to you that Israel is a lost cause. The jews there have regressed to the Shtetl mentality. No one can defeat Israel, except when no jews are left willing to defend it. And that's the point we're rapidly approaching.

So back to the Diaspora. Maybe we need a messiah after all.

brooksba said...

Wow. This seriously made my heart swell in pain and sweetness.

I also felt, reading your words, that Israel is more than a place on a map. It is a place in your heart. Your memories, your thoughts, and your longing keep it near you always.

CarpeDM said...

I loved reading this. Every time you post about Uzi, it just makes my heart swell. I'm so glad to know him through you. Thanks, sweetie. Love you.