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.

Anyways

I love you

r

1 comment:

Panthers for said...

I am glad I get to find out about what is happening in your life through a letter to Eva:p