I got an email recently from an old friend and former colleague who said she keeps hearing that I am blissfully happy here in my new life in Israel.
You know, I really am.
Which doesn't mean everything always goes perfectly smoothly. (It doesn't.) But something I can't name opened up in me since I've been here, and I feel happiness/joy/bliss/simcha pretty darn often. Now that I live here, I love people more deeply. Can't explain it. I just do.
We just had a wonderful, amazing, heart-warming visit from my sister's younger son. (I just LOVE him!) He came to Israel with Birthright Israel and stayed a few extra weeks to tour and spend time with us. He had already done a bunch of touristy things with Birthright and on his own. Mostly, we just tried to give him a sense of our normal life here. (Disclaimer: okay, so we don't go out to eat as much when he's not here :-)
We took him out to dinner a bunch of times, to a Jerusalem comedy show at Off the Wall, to the shuk for some famous underbaked Marzipan chocolate rugelach, to Malcha Mall, to the Hemp Shop near Ben Yehuda, Rami Levi, Burgers Bar and to Beit El for the taping of my husband's radio show.
|First cousins at Pera E Mela, our favorite Italian restaurant in Jerusalem|
|See how much fun we had.|
|I made him pose for this. He had already eaten his rugelach.|
|These two were a riot together.|
Later in the evening, we went to the taping of the Season Premiere of Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem with hundreds of other English speaking olim and a few close friends. Tuesday Night Live is a feel-good about Israel show that offers a media alternative to the CNN view of Israel that is always conflict-centered. We have been to other tapings, but always as visitors. Last night, I was proud, proud, proud to (finally) be Israeli.
After the taping, four of us walked to a small pizzeria for a light dinner. The pizza itself was only moderately adequate, but the experience was a hoot. We kept having extended conversations with the people at other tables, all of whom had just come from the taping as well.
My life is not all play. I also think about work. If Hashem blesses my efforts, I may soon have gratifying work that leaves me with enough flexibility to do some volunteering as well. Now that the grueling ulpan schedule is behind me, I have a new chance to build a life for myself. At my age. What a blessing.
Every night, after I say the Shema, I thank Hashem for 10 things that happened during the day that I appreciate. It's rarely hard to come up with 10. Sometimes I hit 20. I have so much for which to express gratitude to Gd.
I am blissfully happy.