Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why I Am Here? - about dreams, dreamers and being naive

I mean, here, in the Holy Land, Alone...
I am sure you've asked yourselves this question (and were too polite to ask me), like, what am I doing here if I don't like it? I am forever complainig about my life here, about the fact that I have no friends and that my family isn't here. You've read my posts where I long for my homeland...So, yes, really, why I am here? The truth is...I did it for love's sake, of course. Love and a strange preocupation of mine with Israel and Judaism.
This story, of why and because, have started a long time ago...I wasn't always a staying at home mum, you know. I was a professional journalist and I was so driven, so determined to make myself a career I used to work like a woman possesed. I was also raising by myself my son, Darie. And I was enjoying life, in general.
But of couse, things are not always that simple.
I fell in love with a guy that happened to be a jerk (well, of course I found that after many years and a lot of heartbreak). The good thing was that him, being Jewish, made me want to know more about Judaism and Israel. Why? I don't know. Maybe, at that time, I wanted to made him proud of me (you know, the shikhsa that knows a lot about Kaballah and Jewish tradition), I wanted a hobby that was...unusual and I felt a strange afinity with the Jewish people since I was in high school and studied the WWII.
Well, things got complicated, because I broke up with the cheating bastard but pursued my journalistic career and my love for all things Jewish. I even decided to write a book about Israel. So, I came to Israel, wrote articles, saw places, met people, feel in love (again, sigh), wrote a book, got married and decided Israel is the place for me...That I was horribly mistaken it is very clear for me now. But I was so caught up in this whirlwind of feelings and events that I forgot to think with my head and did it with my heart...Big mistake, I know now...
There are a lot of things that I did in the past ten years that I don't regret. For one, I don't regret getting married to my husband and I certainly don't regret having Maya. I would be lost, totally lost without them.
But there is a huge difference between dreaming of a life in the Holy Land and actually living it. I don't know if it would be different if we would be living in...I don't know, America, Australia maybe...I am not sure I wouldn't be homesick, no matter where I was. I miss my homeland, I miss it so fiercely that sometimes only thinking about Romania brings back memories so powerful I can smell them.
I am sure it is also a question of being different. Back in Romania I was like everybody else, here...I am different. I am a Christian (and oh, did the Interior Ministry workers make me feel that, or what) and I know now I am not so welcomed here. I can understand this up to a point and I try to cope with it the best I can. I know that extremists are everywhere and each religion has them, so I try to focus on the normal people that make the majority of the Israelis.
The truth is, Israel is a difficult country and it is not easy to live here, no matter what religion or colour you are. Being surrounded by enemy countries, it gives the life here an edge that you won't find anywhere else...
I was naive when I imagined life will be always "pretty" and was even more childish when I thought I could pursue my carrer as a journalist here. And was an absolute idiot when I thought I could live without writing...
But this is enough for one post...I am already overwhelmed by memories, good and bad...Let's leave the rest of the story for another time...Maybe next time I'll tell you about my (failed) attempt at being an English teacher. It will be quite entertaining.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

And Now, About the Books - a very long post, 'cause I read an awful lot lately

'CoverCover of Still Life with Elephant: A Novel
As I've told you in my previous post, I've read a lot, and I mean A LOT of books lately. Most of the were absolutely brilliant and I am going to mention them here, maybe you'll want to give them a try.
First, the ones in the paranormal genre (my favourite, as you know by now) were: Cassandra Clare's "Mortal Instruments Trilogy" (City of Bones, Ashes and Glass). Didn't take my breath away but made a nice lecture. I think there is one more book in the series, but I am not sure I want to read it. Lauren Kate's "Fallen" and Becca Fitzpatrick's "Hush, Hush" are, by far, my favourites. Very nice YA fiction. I know that "Torment" - Lauren Kate's second book is out, and I cannot wait to read it!
If you want to know more about the books I recomend you the goodreads site, you can find some good reviews there.
I also read Charlaine Harris's "Harper Connely" series - "Grave Sight", "Grave Surprise" and "An Ice Cold Grave". I liked them a lot. I almost liked Harper better than I did Sookie Stakehouse.
Looking forward to the fourth book.
Speaking of nice books...I also read Alan Bradley The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag - a Flavia de Luce mystery. Actually, the first Flavia de Luce book is "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie".
This is what goodreads says about the two books:
"In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Debut Dagger Award winner Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction: eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. It is the summer of 1950—and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia’s family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

To Flavia the investigation is the stuff of science: full of possibilities, contradictions, and connections. Soon her father, a man raising his three daughters alone, is seized, accused of murder. And in a police cell, during a violent thunderstorm, Colonel de Luce tells his daughter an astounding story—of a schoolboy friendship turned ugly, of a priceless object that vanished in a bizarre and brazen act of thievery, of a Latin teacher who flung himself to his death from the school’s tower thirty years before. Now Flavia is armed with more than enough knowledge to tie two distant deaths together, to examine new suspects, and begin a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself. Of this much the girl is sure: her father is innocent of murder—but protecting her and her sisters from something even worse….

An enthralling mystery, a piercing depiction of class and society, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a masterfully told tale of deceptions—and a rich literary delight.

From Dagger Award–winning and internationally bestselling author Alan Bradley comes this utterly beguiling mystery starring one of fiction’s most remarkable sleuths: Flavia de Luce, a dangerously brilliant eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders. This time, Flavia finds herself untangling two deaths—separated by time but linked by the unlikeliest of threads.

Flavia thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacy are over—and then Rupert Porson has an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. The beloved puppeteer has had his own strings sizzled, but who’d do such a thing and why? For Flavia, the questions are intriguing enough to make her put aside her chemistry experiments and schemes of vengeance against her insufferable big sisters. Astride Gladys, her trusty bicycle, Flavia sets out from the de Luces’ crumbling family mansion in search of Bishop’s Lacey’s deadliest secrets.

Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she’s letting on? What of the vicar’s odd ministrations to the catatonic woman in the dovecote? Then there’s a German pilot obsessed with the Brontë sisters, a reproachful spinster aunt, and even a box of poisoned chocolates. Most troubling of all is Porson’s assistant, the charming but erratic Nialla. All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can’t solve—without Flavia’s help. But in getting so close to who’s secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head ?"
Moving on, folks, to chick lit. A bunch of goodies here, also: Carmen Reid - "Celebrity Shopper". If you like Mrs. Read, you'll enjoy this one, too. Jane Costello - "My Single Friend", good read. A bit expectable but still, worthy the effort. Jill Mansell - "Take a Chance on Me". I love Jill and I wasn't dissapointed by this book..."Friends, Lovers and Indiscretions" by Fiona Neill was a nice read, also. But, the books I loved most were:
Milly Johnson "A Summer Fling" was an absolutely delight. Here is what goodreads says:

"When dynamic, power-dressing Christie blows in like a warm wind to take over their department, five very different women find themselves thrown together at work. But none of them could have predicted the fierce bond of friendship that her leadership would inspire...Anna, 39, is reeling from the loss of her fiance, who ran off with a much younger woman. Her pride in tatters, these days Anna finds it difficult to leave the house. So when a handsome, mysterious stranger takes an interest in her, she's not sure whether she can learn to trust again? Then there's Grace, in her fifties, trapped in a loveless marriage with a man she married because, unable to have children of her own, she fell in love with his motherless brood. Grace worries that Dawn is about to make the same mistake: orphaned as a child, engaged to love-rat Calum, is Dawn more interested in the security that comes with his tight-knit, boisterous family? When a sexy, footloose rock singer catches her eye, will Dawn have the courage to follow her heart? At 28, Raychel is the youngest member of their little gang. And with a loving husband, Ben, and a cosy little nest for two, she would seem to be the happiest. But what dark secrets are lurking behind this perfect facade, that make sweet, pretty Raychel so guarded and unwilling to open up? Under Christie's warm hand, the girls soon realise they have some difficult choices to make. Indeed, none of them quite realised how much they needed the sense of fun, laughter, and loyalty that abounds when five women become friends. It's one for all, and all for one!"
I must look for her other books, I am sure they are great too.
Another good one was Amy Huberman "Hello Heartbreak."
But, the best of the best was "Still Life with Elephant" by Judy Reene Singer. It took my breath away...I cried while reading it, and all I can say is please, please go and buy the book and read it! You won't be dissapointed, I guarantee it! Cross my heart...And if you don't believe me, read the goodreads review...

"Can a badly abused elephant halfway across the world help a woman win back her cheating husband? In this funny, heartwarming story, the author of the beloved novel Horseplay presents another smart, memorable heroine and the animals—and men—she loves.

Neelie Sterling never did listen well to the conversation around her. Always preoccupied with an inner monologue, she sometimes missed things. She was happy when Matt, her veterinarian husband, told her he was getting a collie; she liked dogs. He had said colleague, to help with his busy practice. The problems start when the pretty blonde “collie” calls Neelie to say that she is pregnant with Matt’s child. Sent into a tailspin, Neelie throws herself into her horse training business until she discovers that Matt is part of a group planning to leave for Zimbabwe to rescue a badly injured elephant. Thinking she could win Matt’s heart again, Neelie manages to get included.

The trip is dangerous, exhilarating, and revealing. Neelie learns about herself as a wife and a woman. Back at home, she discovers secrets everywhere—with her parents, with Matt, even in training an elephant. Fighting to keep her life from unraveling as she struggles to gain the elephant’s trust, she ultimately learns that healing can be mutual ".
Well, I hope I convinced you. Gotta go now! Loads of good books to read...

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Yeah, I know, my life pretty much sucks at the moment, and so do my blog posts. I apologise, but I am going through a very rough patch right now and so I don't feel very optimistic, nor hopeful. I usually am rulled by my emotions and I tend to think and make decisions with my heart and not my head.
I don't think I will be able to write any inspirational or funny or nice posts in the near future, so I am thinking very seriously to stop writing this blog altogether. It is not that I am guru or something and I don't think anybody awaits for my posts the way I wait for the next episode of Hell's Kitchen or True Blood. And, by the way, I am watching now Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the first season as I have it on DVD. I forgot how much fun these episodes are! I also heard there is a new paranormal TV series - Lost Girl, did anybody see it? I like the title, it matches the way I fell...I also read an awful lot of good books lately.
But about the books, in another post...if there will be one. This post is about boringness - is there such a word in the English language? I am too lazy to check and I like the way is sounds, so I'll keep it...
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Dante's Gates of HellImage by Stuck in Customs via Flickr Mainly, sick. Me and Maya as well. And watching a lot of Hell's Kitchen, also. I got a bit addicted, actually. I like Gordon Ramsay, I really do and I also like the drama of the reality/cooking show. I also watched Ramsay's "F Word" that is a bit different (less swearing, for example).
Since Maya has started kindergarten she was on and off an annoying cough that got worse the last 4 or five days. Because the poor baby was coughing a lot at night I spent my nights caring for her and I am now so sleep deprived I resemble a zombie. I look forward to a coughless night because my body is simply screaming for some time off. And the more tired I am, my body craves more sugary, sweet foods, and I eat them and then I feel bad about eating them. I also woke up two mornings ago with a very swollen knee (I had knee surgery when in high school) and I had no idea why. Too much sugar, maybe?
So, not a lot good stuff going on lately. Also, the weather is still so hot as if we're in July, for crying out loud! The earth is parched and every plant, big or small is dying because of the drought. Another type of Hell, and not that entertaining...
I hope things will get better and I will be able to get back to my routine (once I will sleep for at least 12 hours) and also to return to my writing, as I didn't write in more than a week.
Wish me luck...

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I've Lost It, Ladies and Gents!

eu era assimImage by brutapesquisa via Flickr I've lost my drive, totally and completely. Don't want to write anymore, not the book, not the blog. Don't really want to do anything, maybe stay in front of the TV watching "Hell's Kitchen". In the morning I take Maya to the kindergarten and then I just spend my time by waiting for the time to pass and to go take Maya from the kindergarten...
What is happening to me? I wake up in the morning and I am already tired. At night, I cannot sleep and I just lay awake staring at the ceiling and counting Maya's breaths. And worrying, and trying not to think about the bleack present and the more not-so-appealing future.
I've reached a point in life where, I think, I have to make a decision. Do I accept being a house wife, staying at home mother that does nothing in particular, isolates herself and pities herself? Or I try to regain some of my energy, motivation and such? Hmmm, tough decision.
I remember, back in my youth I finished University being a single parent and working full time as a journalist. And now, look at me! I mean, I have to take a long, hard look at myself in the mirror and maybe slap myself in the face. Wake up, or go to sleep forever...
Is this a major existential crisis that I am going through? Is this the beginning of middle age? This is the way an unhappy, unsatisfied person looks like?
What is happening to me? Menopause? Hormones? Too little excitement in my life? Too much honey cake?
I really don't know what is happening to me...all I know it is that I have to snap out of it or everything is going to the dogs...
Any ideas?

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Problem? Not Consistent Enough

Birthday CandlesImage by Dalboz17 via Flickr Yeap, I think one of my major drawbacks, the one think that holds me back is that I am not consistent enough in what I am doing. It is not enough to want to do or achieve something..You also have to actually sweat to get it done!
Me? Lazy, inconsistent, tend to lose my courage and motivation pretty quickly. Sometimes, getting something done can be a struggle.So, I have to work on my birthday resolutions. Explanation: I don't do New Year resolutions, but birthday ones. For me, everything started the day I was born, so why the first of January? So each year I do a sort of list of things I want to work on the next year of my life, as well a a list of things that happened in the current year, projects I finished, stuff like that...I am not young any more, I am running out of time, so I have to think and act quickly. Because, oh boy, I want to do so many more before I die!
I won't say I will achieve 100% of what I would like to, but on my priority list I have my writing and my girl. To finish my first fiction novel and to get Maya evaluated for ADHD. Because I have a hunch she may have got it. So, no easy way out for me and these ones. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

The Irony of Life's Everyday Small Events

A mosquito feeding on a marigold flower, India.Image via Wikipedia The latest "developments" in our family life left me drained, weary and tired. This battle against the windmills of beaurocracy and of the system in general are more dificult, I think, than the real ones, because at least in the battlefield you can see your enemy. Here, you have to struggle against an invisible, miriapodic nightmarish "creature" that doesn't have a body but breathes dissaster on the nape of your neck.
Two nights ago when we had a parents' meeting at one of their houses I got bitten by some mosquitos and I discovered that I've become alergic to mosquito bites! I had to go to the ER because one of my leg and arm were so swollen and red and ichy and painful I got scared...Ironic, really. I always dreamed myself exploring India or Africa, roaming free in the wilderness...and now, alergic to mosquitos' bites as I am...I have to keep close to mosquito-free zones. And air-conditioned places and pharmacies where you can find antihistamines and clinics and...the f***ing civilization. Oh, well, another dream bites the dust...if my acupuncturist won't find a way to cure it, the way he cured my asthma and the other allergies I had.
So, reality really bites, doesn't it?

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

What is a Mother Supposed To Do???

Danger PlacardImage via Wikipedia I never did this before. I never asked for help so openly, never demanded attention. I am the quiet/shy type. But not today, Not anymore. And you'll understand why. But first of all, please understand that now, when I am writing this, I am feeling over-emotional. I will write, maybe, inflamable words. Well, I hope to be able to write at all, so many feeling are playing the hora in my gut that it is difficult for me to swallow, let alone think. I am asking beforehand for forgiveness if I'll offend somebody with this post. This is NOT my intention and I speak from the bottom of a mother's heart.
So, the story goes like this: yesterday evening I was summoned by one of the mothers to an urgent meeting c0ncerning the welfare of our kids. In the beginning I thought it will be about the kindergarten's teacher, there are some issues going on with her and the parents want her out. But that's another story, for another time...The shocking news we were presented with say that the kids will have a new teacher's helper on Fridays. Nothing spectacular, you'll say...The problem is that this particular person was all over the media a few months ago because she had TUBERCULOSIS and she infected eight or nine kids from the kindergartens she worked in!!!!! Four kids, I think, are still hospitalized and are being treated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And before you say anything, please google the disease and read about it. I did it last night and wasn't able to take it out from my head since...
It still seems surrealistic, I mean, no sane person from the City Council or Ministry of Education could send her back to work with kids! And I don't care if somebody says that she's been treated ot things like this, I am not ready to take any chances. I now I am subjective but I don't think it is fair. A child is so vulnerable, they don't even now how to protect themselves. They will hug and kiss her and cuddle her because this is what kids do...And she had tuberculosis, for God's sake! I don't say, throw her to the lions, no way, I'm just saying the persons responsible for her must find her another workplace. I don't even know if she is supposed to work with kids...God, I think I am going mad...
Of course we wrote a letter to the City Council and said in it that no kids will pass the kindergarten's gate on Friday and they promised us they "will take into consideration our request", you know the drill. But what bothers me, really-really bothers me is the fact that we are faced with such a situation. I mean, O.K., I could take Maya to another kindergarten, but what about the principle? The fact that we didn't have an official version of the story, that we had to hear from somedoby that told somebody that the teacher's helper had such a disease. I think it would be our right to know, for our children's sake and decide what to do accordingly. What worries me is the fact that the City Councildid this behind our back, and only God know what other things are lurking there! Are they allowed to do such a thing? Forget about the fact that Maya's new theacher's gives the impression of an alien from outer space. By the way, Maya doesn'r even now who her teacher is, because she didn't present herself in front of the kids. Tho other Israeli born parents say also tha her Hebrew is gramatically incorrect. Come on, I said , give the lady a chance! At least stupidity and ignorance are not contagious, are they?
So, what would you do, as a parent, would you be in my place? Please, I need your opinions and support!
I want to believe that I am not alone. That my words have power, that I am listened to. My daughter Maya and I need your advice and strenght, we need you by our side.
What would you do in this situation?
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