Tuesday, March 27, 2007

dear eva,

I would generally start off this email with apologies and facts with why I have not yet responded to you. I would say I was sick, I was busy, I couldn’t think, I wanted my thoughts to marinate, I am cleaning for Passover, etc. My dad would call these excuses. I maintain a great dislike towards that word. It’s probably because he said I made a lot of excuses. I call them facts. I mean, that is what they are. But I still would give you this list in order to console the feeling of guilt in the pit of my stomach. I was discussing this- the “guilt in the pit of the stomach”- with a friend and I asked if such a place exists. The pit of the stomach. He said that the pit exists, but the guilt does not. I think it is the opposite. I am Jewish, after all. However, out of respect for my friend, I have decided not to start off this email with apologies. Plus, we are doing the same thing here so you understand whatever it is that prevented me from responding.

I do apologize, however, for making you read that horribly boring introductory comment.

I just completed a light preparatory cleaning of my room for Passover. I would have finished except it is past one, my roommates are asleep and the walls are thin, and I am waking up at 8:30. We’re cleaning the kitchen after Shabbat. Wish you could be here. I haven’t been to class at all this week. It is a pretty nice feeling. The cold is almost gone. Almost meaning my ears are clogged and my nose is just a bit runny. Hopefully I’ll be good for when I go to Poland. (ah, ps, I am going to Budapest and Poland for ten days over Passover. Please give me some insights. Did you go in march/april?) I think I’ll go to Tel Aviv Thursday- the first day of vacation- and sit on the beach in the sun and do some readings. My travels are not nearly as exciting as yours. I mean, I’ve done a little hitchhiking (in Israel it is called tremping) but I have yet to throw up on a bus or go for a morning run in the light rain or go to an exotic foods festival or go hiking where lord of the rings was filmed. But, stam, I’m in Israel. For me that is a bit more important.

So my friend I realize that you are so busy working on those three term papers you have due for next week that by this point in the email you’ve even stopped reading it, so I’ll continue along as though I am talking to myself (which is what I do when I type anyways).

Nu Eva please do something for Passover. Don’t go to Egypt like everyone else on my program. A seder or two shall suffice. Chabad is a great thing.

(ok, so I know, hopefully, that you probably will want to do something for Passover even without me telling you to, but I will one day be a Jewish mother.)

I am doing a horrible job of replying to your emails.

Todd is getting married next November. That is really frightening. Could you imagine Matthew getting married???? Absolute insanity. For now I’ll try to ignore the fact that he [it is ok with me if you don’t eat breakfast at your computer. Do you have yogurt and granola every day?] is actually getting married [I just put on “goodbye My lover” in your honor] because that is something which is impossible to comprehend and instead focus on the fact that his wedding (in which I shall be a bridesmaid. Or hold the chupa. I get a dress, at least) is over Thanksgiving weekend. I am afraid it will impede on the Van Wagner family Thanksgiving traditions. Also now we won’t be able to share your iPod on the bus ride home. Did you bring the scarf I knit for you to NZ? I enjoy thinking of all the places my stuff has traveled. Like my nalgene, it’s been through high school and Pittsburgh and Israel three times.

Also eva everyone is getting married. Leor, my roommate summer after freshman year, my friend alexis from the caravan for democracy trip, todd, all the people listed in the exponent…I had a realization that the next part of my life will be spent in wild exclamations over who has gotten engaged, what to wear to the wedding, and looking at pictures online. I am really frightened by this. Nu like weddings are good, etc, but my Canadian roommates here have given me an impression of what it will be like. It seems a bit repetitive and defeating.

I don’t expect you to respond to all of this. But this –yes. What I just realized is that I don’t really get a great satisfaction out of talking to people from home. Maybe it is not what I expected it would be. Probs. So I talk to my parents two or three times a week, they give me an update on their lives, I say I am still alive, etc, but like they don’t really ask me much beyond that. Like what I do with my time or what I think or who I am friends with or my relationships with people. I suppose it is really selfish of me to expect all this, like that they should have so much time in their day to ask me so much, but nu I’m abroad and I just always thought that these were the things you discussed with family while abroad. Thoughts?

When I was cleaning my room before I was listening to streaming xpn. J

I just worked out all of my course registrations for fall term. Even though I pre-registered, a few of the courses I actually wanted to take were filled. Are you taking any history or PS seminars? I’m doing the PS W spring term in the American field. My schedule is pretty decent. Long weekends, time to do the work, and Lawn time. What neighborhood are you living in? Eva we are getting so old. Anyways. I’m taking Intro to Bio-Psychology (did Jodie take this?), Environmental Geology, a History seminar with Muller (on Pittsburgh), Modern Britain (White), and Political Theory and Analysis with Goodhart. I only need three more classes to complete a Sociology major. That might be a bit extreme though. What are you taking? I still need to find an apartment.

My old laptop was retired and now I have a sleep IBM thinkpad. It is very beautiful and comes with a keyboard light. You will be very impressed when you see it.

Ok so on to you.

I don’t really think that people who do study abroad are searching for something. Maybe a few. But most (unlike you) are just looking for a break from home, a new experience, a break. Why did you choose to study abroad? I wanted some breathing room (all that Jewish stuff too). How do you feel knowing that you will be there for a long time? What do you mean when you NZ has the best quality of life you have seen? [I like having a friend like you I can ask these questions with][I miss reading the pitt news with you.] I’m really glad that you are able to challenge yourself by being in a completely new place. It is amazing what we can do if only we do it.

I don’t do this nearly enough myself.

Studying abroad in Israel, for a Jew, is a completely different experience than going anywhere else. This is my home. Even if I do not know the language, or know any people, I am immediately at home. It isn’t so foreign as China.

But also another point on study abroad is the language barrier with the natives (natives? I am tired). Like here I don’t actually know that many Israelis my age because my classes are in English and I would not feel comfortable going up to a random person and striking up a conversation in Hebrew. My friend Kate told me a story where she was going through a friend of hers pictures on facebook who is England and she was like, whoa, all these people have such British names. And then she realized that they were probably all British.

What has your interaction with the residents been?

What are your thoughts of the moment on camp? I am bad at giving advice on these things. Go where you love it. I’m not sure what I am doing. I want to live at home. I miss my parents. I applied for a publishing internship with JPS in Philly but haven’t heard back. I should email them. Probably will get a low-pay retail job. It is hard to plan these things from Israel.

(I just finished responding to your email from earlier in march and have moved on to the one you sent yesterday.)

Well I am honored that you thought of me J I look forward to our birthday dinner. I am planning on keeping kosher (in/out) when I get home. It is one of the many religious issues things I have to work out for myself. Religion, eva, is not an easy thing. My fingers are freezing cold right now. I think I am tired.

Queenstown sounds like fun. Sorry you threw up. When I go to Poland I am taking lots of Dramamine. In Canada they call Dramamine “graval.” Madness. Last night I told my one of my roommates what hoagies were.

I’m glad you are doing a lot of hiking. It is a good way to know the country. I don’t do enough. I feel like you looking at your sorority pictures online (super-cute, btw) is like us supporting Pitt’s basketball team and then realizing when they win that they are us- this is where we go to school. Maybe. Possible. A bit like that.

Remember when you lived with Sheila? Madness.

Ok I am really uber-tired and waking up in 6 hours. Stam it is my doing.

Also, to help you focus, try being in a setting where other people are working. Don’t listen to music with lyrics. Clear your desk. Organize yourself.


I love you


Monday, March 26, 2007

old friends (like bookends)

And I'm on my way/ I don't know where I'm going/ I'm on my way/ I'm taking my time/
But I don't know where/ Goodbye to Rosie the queen of Corona/ See you, me and Julio/
Down by the schoolyard/ These are the days of miracle and wonder/ This is the long
distance call/ The way the camera follows us in slo-mo/ The way we look to us all, oh
yeah/ The way we look to a distant constellation/ That's dying in a corner of the sky/
These are the days of miracle and wonder/ And don't cry baby, don't cry, don't cry,
don't cry/ Well, the sun gets bloody/ And the sun goes down/ Ever since the watermelon/
And the lights come up/ On the black pit town/ Somebody says what's a better thing to
do/Well, it's not just me/ And it's not just you/ This is all around the world/ I get
the news I need on the weather report/ Oh, I can gather all the news I need on the
weather report/ Hey, I've got nothing to do today but smile Da-n-do-da-n-do-da-n-da-da
and here I am/ The only living boy in New York/ Half of the time we're gone but we
don't know where/ And we don't know where/ "Kathy," I said as we boarded a Greyhound
in Pittsburgh "Michigan seems like a dream to me now"/ It took me four days to
hitchhike from Saginaw/ I've come to look for America/ Celia, you're breaking my
heart/ You're shaking my confidence daily/ Oh Cecilia, I'm down on my knees/ I'm
begging you please, to come home/ Come on home/ A winter's day/ In a deep and dark
December/ I am alone/ Gazing from my window/ To the streets below/ On a freshly
fallen silent shroud of snow/ I am a rock/ I am an island/ Can you imagine us/ Years
from today Sharing a park bench quietly?/ How terribly strange/ To be seventy/ Slow
down, you move too fast/ You got to make the morning last/ Just kicking down the
cobblestones/ Looking for fun and feeling groovy/ Ba da da da da da da, feeling
groovy/ Hello lamppost, what'cha knowing/ I've come to watch your flowers growin'/
Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?/ Doo-it in doo doo, feeling groovy/ Ba da da da
da da da, feeling groovy/ I got no deeds to do/ No promises to keep/ I'm dappled and
drowsy and ready to sleep/ Let the morning time drop all its petals on me/
Life I love you, all is groovy

(just because i love you)

Sunday, March 25, 2007


i have a cold. i am not, however, cold(1). my nose shall cease to exist soon. or at least that is what one would think, having demolished a whole bag of tissues in an eight-hour period. i have been liquefying. but, daddy, israel does not have cranberry juice. i bought instead some orange juice and pineapple juice. i do not know what good the pineapple juice is for besides that it was attached to the orange juice.

mummy, don't be upset at me for still being online and not in bed, but i shall be off to bed in a minute.

please, enjoy some dreary pictures from my haifa friday morning:

"they tell you what you want to hear"

"someone lived here once"

i feel like the lost soccer ball.

i was previously cold, but then i turned the heat on and put on a sweater. now my nostrils are burning (from lack of skin), my cheeks are a bit warm, and my fingers are toes remain chilled.

Monday, March 19, 2007



Wednesday, March 14, 2007

cloudy with a chance of meatballs.

it is raining so hard i am afraid that soon we shall all be washed away.

Monday, March 12, 2007

today, at this time.

it is afternoon. i have two hours before class starts. i think i shall use them drifting around the apartment. maybe have a cup of tea or think about doing my hebrew homework or lie in bed for a few minutes and contemplate taking a nap or think about emailing eva or calling bubby or pick out my outfit for school. starting to do many things but not really doing much of anything. this is not horrible, nor is it bad. well, maybe it is a bit despicable, but hardly commendable. it is just a drifting afternoon. i would much prefer to be doing something rather than all these little bits of nothing but my desires and thoughts, as of late*, have been doing little good in terms of motivating towards action. i want to fix this and i plan to fix this and i write out lists and formulate thoughts and develop plans of actions but then the problem again overcomes all efforts to fix it. i think too much and do not enough.

today, this morning, i slept through hebrew class. not all of it. i woke up an hour into class, woke up immediately, as one who realizes she is late for something or forgot to do something has the ability to rouse herself immediately, and then contemplated for ten minutes if i should go back to sleep (my next class being at 4:30 pm) or if i should rush to school and catch the teacher at the end of class to apologize for missing her class.

i, of course, chose to rush to school and apologize to the teacher and get the homework (which i likely won't do) and beat my guilty conscience. i am jewish, after all. my friends have all laughed at me for this.

what will she care? they say. everybody misses class. you mean you went to school, without going to class, for ten minutes, just so you could apologize to your teacher? lame.

but! i say. my teacher! she is so nice. she let me take home and re-do the test because i did badly on it during class. she likes me! i don't want her to get a bad opinion of me.

so i went to school. i took the 49. the windows were bulletproof. i could not see out of them. i apologized to my teacher, saying i slept in, and i know it was disrespectful of me not to come. she gave me a sweet hug and said i need not have come. she said we all sleep in. even her!

then i came home.

i think i shall email iris or eva. i try to only email people with names that begin with vowels. if you don't get an email from me, don't take it personally. i just have moral standards i try to abide by. then i shall pack up my bags and leave this drifting apartment and go to drift in a more productive location^.

*late being a few months. despicable, i know.
^on a side note, i am a spoiled blogger. therefore, i get :( when people do not comment on my posts. hint. hint.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

but this as well אבל גם את זה

(tel aviv, neve tzedek)

only this רק את זה

He flows through his ocean of ideas into a microphone and around the mic into the room of ears and glued eyes. What comes out his mouth is a voice speed-reading the scared texts of depth, only getting a few of the words out while all million others pour past our ears undetected, (he spouts them inaudibly.)

-Phil Elvrum, “What Wonder?”

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

sit on the floor: it's adar!

made a lot of food, took all of our friends furniture and got rid of ours, hung up scarves, had a few people over, and drank a bit.

in jerusalem, we are special, so we celebrate purim a day later than the rest of the world (except for the former city of bam, iran).

tamara and i made a purim feast- "מהדו ועד כוש" "From Hodo until Coosh" "From India until Ethiopia" - chosen after the line from the megillah. we made lots of Ethiopian and Indian food.

our menu:
Naan Indian bread
Sweet Potato Salad
Malai Mixed Vegetables
Ethiopian Spicy Tomato Lentil Soup
Vegetable Skewers
Veggie Burgers
fruit platters
(fabulous, indeed.)

avi and i spent sunday night decorating the apartment. we hung up scarfs on the ceiling (all but two of which are mine), laid out rugs and cushions on the floor, and wrote on the windows. that part was mainly avi, actually. i was making the naan. thirty wanderers showed up and sat on the floor and had some shots and some torah and lots of food. twas spectacular.

(and, well, these are some pictures to show how spectacular it was.)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

paint your fingernails: it's adar!

none of my friends have ever heard of the irish potatoes candy form. i shall attribute this to the fact that none of them are irish (as i am) and therefore know nothing about the world. this*, however, is it a situation that shall be remedied.

purim is beginning. guess who i am:

soup-making tonight. get pumped.

*their lack of experience in regards to irish potatoes, not their lack of irish ancestry.

Friday, March 02, 2007

well i had a dream

an irish potatoes1 recipe for "this elderly geezer2":


  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


  1. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth. Using your hands if necessary, mix in the coconut. Roll into balls or potato shapes, and roll in the cinnamon. Place onto a cookie sheet and chill to set. If desired, roll potatoes in cinnamon again for darker color.

in other worlds, paul simon ("how can you live in the northeast") is playing, shabbos starts in 15 minutes, and preparation for tamara's and rebecca's sushan purim celebration is underway.

1 not swedish meatballs, as my father mistakenly called them
2 my father, as he referred to himself in an email.