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Friday, April 11, 2008

Just some random thoughts

It truly is amazing how quickly life flies by. I remember a conversation I had with Batya about 16 months ago as we were beginning to think about how life would be in Israel with a small child. Granted, Carlie is a pretty calm kid, but she was still a baby, and we knew life would be hard, especially for Batya. Thank God we found the kindergarten at the YMCA, and Batya has been able to do things she wanted to do this year! And, it's been so good for Carlie. Her Hebrew is progressing so well. She even speaks more Hebrew than English. Just the other day when Batya asked her to put her bowl on the table, Carlie said, "not table, Mommy, Shulchan (Hebrew for Table)." Back to the conversation Batya and I were having...we were so excited and scared out of our minds at the same time. How would we get everything done we needed to do before we went? How would we figure out how to pay bills in Israel? How would we be able to take care of our financial and other responsibilities in the US while we were abroad?

I have always believed God held us in God's hands, and would help us along the way. Batya has always been more of a realist. She believes in God, for sure, and is deeply engaged Jewishly - I've actually been quite surprised at her interests in my studies this year - but she has always kept more of a "realist" belief toward life. While I am talking about things like b'sheret (fate), Batya is talking about coincidence. But, somehow, we come together and are able to get things done. Truth be told, I would be nowhere without Batya. Her deep understanding of who I am (which is quite difficult at times) and where I want to be in life keeps me in check. She is the first person to stick her neck out for me, and she never is anything but supportive. Even when we have arguments, she is coming from a place of support - something I sometimes have difficulty realizing until after the fact.

Here we are, 6 weeks before our return to the States, and these same conversations are beginning. How are we going to reenter our "normal" lives in the States - a place where we are comfortable, where we understand completely the language and culture? How will we get all of our loose ends tied up before we return? Somehow, our love and deep sense of family has and will continue to help us even through our most confused times.

I am going to Belarus - to Plotzk and Vitebzk - to help with Pesach programming for a week. We (myself and some of my classmates) leave on Thursday. While this is going to be an amazing experience, and I am incredibly excited, I am also weary of the fact that when I return we have 4 weeks to "get things done." This doesn't only apply to packing and school. We want to cherish every day we have in Israel, as we aren't sure of when we'll be back. Sure, I might be able to staff a Birthright trip in the future, but who knows when we'll come back as a family? Although this year has been difficult in some ways, it has been more rewarding than we could ever have imagined. We have grown as a family, and I have grown individually more in this year than in my whole life - spiritually, Jewishly, and personally.

We are excited to enjoy these last 6 weeks and take advantage of everything we are able to!

Shabbat Shalom!

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