Instead of making new year resolutions I thought it would make a nice change if I'll write about the defunct year, 2011, in retrospective. About the things we loved in 2011, about things we did, all in all about what deserves to be mentioned, about memories that pay to be cherished and put away for safe keeping.
First things that pops into my mind are the movies we enjoyed in 2011 (even if it wasn't the year they were produced).
I have to start with the last Harry Potter movie, I loved it and in a sense it closed a circle for me, giving me the feeling of content. It was an end worth of all the other movies and books and the feelings I invested in them. But I don't think I have to tell you about this movie, I think it met everbody's expectations and it signified, in a sense, the end of an era.
There is another movie - a documentary, to be exact, that leads in our preferences (mine and Maya's). I watched it first, it was a late night broadcast, and I remember with clarity. I was feeling very poorly at that moment, and having a panic attack when I came upon the documentary and it literally pulled me out from my of desperation and pain. Then, the next morning (as I recorded it) we watched it with Maya and she loved it so much it became part of our household. We are still watching it at least once a week (sometimes several times) and we haven't grown bored yet. It is, of course, "Babies", the documentary that follows one year in the life of four babies in Namibia, Japan, Mongolia and the United States of America. If you haven't seen it yet, I strongly recommend it, it is sweet and interesting, fascinating and exciting like films about babies usually are.
We also discovered 3D movies. I must say that even I, as an adult, enjoyed the experience and I am always looking forward to see another one. Up until now we watched "Kung- Fu Panda 2" and "Puss in Boots".
For me, personally, it was the year of TV series. I discovered I didn't have the patience for full lenght movies, so I went for the shorter ones. There were many TV series, old and new, that kept me awake at night. I am talking about "Teenage Wolf", "Being Human" (the British original series), "Falling Skies" - waiting patiently for the second series, "Terra Nova" and of course, "The Walking Dead" - loved it.
I also loved watching for the millionth time British sitcoms, like "Keeping Up Appearances" - my favourite, "Hi-de-Hi" - another great one, "My Family " and such.
It is past ten o'clock in the evening, Maya is asleep, my husband too, even Dasha the cat is napping somewhere in the house...No television, because there is some technical malfunction and the cable TV stopped working in our building...so only some soft lullabies on the CD player...
I leave the comfort and softness of my bed (and Cassandra Clare's "The Clockwork Prince") to work on my book...the house is quiet and I began my tedious work of editing...but...wait...what the heck is that? Only my (deaf) neighbour listening to the radio FULL volume. I mean full - full because I hear with clarity the broadcast.
I absolutely hate my neighbours, I am sorry to say that. I mean the ones that live above us...They are a middle-aged posh know it all type that don't give a fart about others...Sometimes they go out at night and live the radio blasting till the wee hours of the morning, sometimes they have guests and move around their furniture all night long...all king of annoying stuff...
And it put me off any intellectual activity because I am not able to concentrate as I am hearing the blah-blah-blah from the blasted radio.
So, it this another lesson I need to learn? Maybe, buy some earplugs and get the work done?
Believe me, I would've liked to be in bed, snug and warm, but I can write only at night...well, cannot, obviously, not today...
OK, I think I have my MP3 player somewhere...and it has earphones...I could try...but I don't like not being able to listen to Maya's sleeping noises...I am so annoyed now I will stop writing this post because I don't want to say something I'll regret later (and maybe I'll go and have a word with my neighbour)...
When we're young we dream about moving mountains, about changing the world...But as we grew older, we understand that not each and every one of us has the tenacity to do it, to finish what one started...to be strong enough to overcome whatever life put in your way of fulfiling your dreams.
I ask myself if I am young enough to be alowed to continue dreaming...or am I too old for it?
When do you stop and aknowledge defeat?
While I was writing this I was also making myself a cup of coffee - espresso machine. Of course I was so deep in thoughts I forgot about it and when I ran to the kitchen the coffee was spilling from the cup...so...my cup runneth over...is it a sign? Is the Universe trying to tell me something?
I am very tired today...last night I didn't sleep much...Maya fell and cut her upper lip pretty badly and at some point during the night when I checked on her she had blood around her mouth. I think at some point her wound opened while she was asleep. I was so scared when I saw her...I cleaned her up and she opened up her eyes for a second only to fell asleep in the blink onfg an eye....but afterwards I was so wired up I couldn't sleep myself. I kept checking on her, she slept soundlessly and she was fine. But you know me, I panicked...Anyhow, here in Israel the New Year is not celebrated like in christian countries and tomorow is a working day, so I am looking forward to an early night, maybe some television , a good book and a cup of tea. We had a celebratory lunch instead of the usual dinner and I thought about my family, they are gathered at my brother's house in Romania and having a blast. I miss them so much it hurts!
So, for a million reasons and some, I am not going for New Year resolutions this year. I never follow through anyway and I end up felling a failure...
But, there are certain things that come to my mind when I think about the upcoming year... I definitely need to laugh more and even when I don't have reasons, I have to make them...you know, like create my own private jokes, to last me through good and bad.
I also need to be a better person, definitely. A better mother, a better wife, a better friend, sister, daughter...well, it is dificult when your family is half a world away, but I will try.
And of course, I need to finish my book. This is essential for me. Don't ask me way...that's the way I feel.
In the end, I think I have to simply LIVE, to enjoy each moment that I was granted, to be thankful for every morning I open my eyes to (sunny or not), for the good things I have in life, for the people that I call my family, for my friends (close or far away).
So, a Happy New Year my dear friends, the best year ever, filled with happines, joy, laughter and good deeds!
If you've been reading my blog for, lets say, more than one year, you'd know by now that I get very-very depressed around major holidays, as I miss my family and my home country.
It is very hard to let go of thinks you are familiar with and memories and traditions you love and cherish, so Chirstmas here in Israel it has been a struggle, especially in the past years.
So, this year it came as a HUGE, and I mean IMENSE surprise, as my husband took me to a trip to Nazareth, for the Christmas Eve. It was an organised trip, so it has a guide and that way was easier to find the attractions and not get lost in the old city.
To my surprise, Nazareth was dressed for Christmas all right. It was actually the first time since I've been living here that I saw Christmas decorations in an israeli city, complete with a huge decorated fir tree, street lights, decorated shops and people and kids sporting red Santa hats.
We visited the beautiful Basilica of the Announciation (the Roman catholic one), I was there before , some 14 years ago when I was traveling the country and writing my book about Israel. I loved thae Basilica then and I admired once again the different renditions of the Virgin Mary. My favourite is the Japanese one...it is so refreshing to see that for them, the Virgin Mary was...well...very similar to a Japanese woman, as for baby Jesus...Japanese as well. But the piece of art was really exquisite, as well as other ones, like the Black Polish Mary, or the Indian one...
I cannot tell you how happy I was to be there, soaking up the festive atmosphere...We watched the Christmas parade and the fireworks and listened to carols in Arabic...
The only drawback was that the trip was a no-kids one, so Maya had to stay at home...But she was pretty happy, as her brother and his girlfriend babysat her - and she adores both of them, and she ate ice-cream and chocolates and God knows what else, because when we finally returned home, somewhere around 9 o'clock in the evening, we found her as high as a kite, on sweets and sisterly love...But I promised myself as I hugged her and kissed her sweaty curls that next year we'll go together...
(The pictures that accompany this post aren't mine, for some reason I cannot upload my own from my computer to the blog, they all come up garbled...if anyone has any idea how to fix this, I would be happy to know it...)
Today I am going to tell you about a very special person...I am calling her my guardian angel, and you know what, I really believe she is one...People like her are oh, so rare, and I consider myself blessed for meeting her.
I met Agy more than 15 years ago, back in Romania. I was a young career woman and single mother, struggling with life in a new , post-communist Romania. She was my cleaning lady...Well, that was in the beginning...because, in time, she became my friend, my confessor, she took care of me, cooked meals for my son and waited for me when I came from work exhausted, with a cup of coffee and an understanding ear. Only one year my senior she was like a mother to me because she has wisdom beyond her age. She was my sister because she has a true, tender and loving heart and she knows how to listen. Truly listen. She was my best friend because she wasn't afraid to tell me the truth even if she knew it would hurt and then it was there to wipe my tears.
After I left Romania and come to live in Israel she stayed there and took care of my "affairs" (I have an apartment that I rent) and then she "adopted" my mother-in-law and became her friend and helper and guardian angel until the her last days...When my mother in law passed away, Agy was there and not her son, and she made the funeral arangements and now she is the one that goes to the cemetery and lights a candle on her grave...
Twice a year, on Easter and Christmas she sends us presents, each summer when we travel to Romania, she is there and takes care of everything for me, gives me one of her mobile phones, brings me flyers for take-aways and does my washing, take us fishing and spends hours entertaining Maya, which adores her.
And she is like this with everyone around her...
She is a simple woman, no higher education, no fancy life...just a simple, hard-working woman, and believe me, she works hard...but every person that knows her loves and respects her. Because she is honest, above all, and has a heart the size of a continent.
I consider myself lucky and I thank God for the day when our paths crossed because I know that He sent Agy to watch over me. She is an angel. And I love her.
The words are too poor to describe the depth of my thankfulness, to tell you more about the woman that touched our lives and made them better.
I am just telling this: Thank you Agy, from the bottom of my heart. I love you.
And this song is for you:
We had a quiet Saturday at home, with Friday's alarm and rockets and me still feeling green around the gills. And so I had a daughter to entertain. And because last week we had a trip to Eilat - I know, I didn't say, I wanted to, but with the food poisoning and stuff I wasn't in the mood but I'll put some pictures, I promise - as I was saying, because of Eilat we did a "Red Sea in a
box" kind of craft, from playdough. It came out surprisingly nice and Maya
took it today to the kindy to show it to the kids...
No, no, no...I am just kidding...Don't try this...In fact, don't ever do what I did...
never- ever, promise?
But I made you curious, didn't I? What kind of wonder diet would it allow you
to lose this amount of weight in two days? Well...to end the suspense,let me tell
Yep, that what I've got...
It was was I deserved, really, as I went on Wednesday to the weekly open market
and bought some snacks to munch on...Rule number one: Never buy food that is
presented on open stalls in markets...In Israeli markets they have this tables
where they put huge quantities of different varieties of roasted and salted nuts,
and everybody comes and takes a handfull and shove them into their months...
only God know hows many germns are there lurking on the snacks...So I was
stupid and I fell into the sin of glutony and I paid the price...Believe me, I paid
it dearly...I was so sick I thought (honestly) that I would die. I couldn't eat or
drink anything (only sips of mint tea and my daughter's rehydration solution) because I couldn't keep anything in...After the trips to the toilet ended, on Thursday night, I think, I was feeling so weak I barely could stand...but I managed to sleep a bit and on Friday morning I began to fell better. Now it is Saturday morning and I am still shaky and my bum is awfully sore (don't laught, it is the truth!). I am grateful to God that it ended and I am still alive but my goodness, I thought I would die. Apart from the obvious digestive problems my body hurt, all my muscles and bones and I thought my head wouls explode...
So, rest assured, from now on I will think twice about where to buy and what to buy...I don't usually do what I did last Wednesday...but, as you can see...you don't pay attention once and you pay the price thousandfold...
So now you know the story behind the 6 pounds that I lost in two days...and don't do like me...
And yes, everything looks colorful and nice...but I say, be aware of taking chances when you buy...
When we were kids in poor, communist Romania, on Saint Nicholas Eve we used to put our boots on the windowsill and wait for presents. They were usually sweets and oranges, a book or some crayons...but the joy was unmeasurable. It meant so much for us...
Now, here, in Israel, I try to put together a holiday, to built a tradition for my daughter. We don't have a windowsill as windows are different in our apartment and only rubber boots for the rainy season but my daughter's smile was worth more than I invested. Her joy was my joy as a mother and the child in my soul was happy with and for her.
As I said before, it is not easy to be different in Israel, but this is what I know, what I grew up with, this is what my souls resonates to...I do my best to offer my daughter my heritage and also to let her learn the ways of this country, and let her be to one to choose for herself. I just hope I'll have the strenght to stand for her whatever she chooses...
Dear reader, Please don't forget that English is not my native language. I was born in Romania and I'm currently living in Israel. I am sure I make a lot of mistakes when writing, so your feedback is precious to me. Please, help me improve my blog and my written English. Thank you! Also, if you want to comment in other language than English (Romanian , Hebrew) you are more than welcome to do it.