So tonight driving to Dinner, Mom and I were discussing “what’s next” and I have the plan firmly set for what I want to do, where I want to do it, how I’m going to do it, and what I demand out of life and what I’m going to get out of it.
And while getting to the point I want to be at scares the shit out of me (because it’s the unknown, the unplanned, the unexpected) I’ve never backed down from a challenge (I have the scars to prove it) and this time is no different. This shouldn’t be seen, however, as any doubt in myself. I have complete faith in myself, and I know for an absolute fact, that I’m going to make it…the journey is just exciting, and scary, and a tough road…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Frederick Douglas had a powerful saying:
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
So as we were talking, my Mother referenced my investment account, which has a nice portion of cash in it; but which I haven’t wanted to touch because the money was not put there by me and so even though the account was in my name, I didn’t feel comfortable touching it, having not been the one to fund it.
She said that her and my father discussed it; and that even though they put the money in their originally to pay for my college education, which was since paid for by another account, that even though it was transferred to my name (in NYS, all accounts that are held for minors revert to them when they turn 21) and the cash is theirs and not mine, and even though it was originally intended to pay for my school, that I could use it to send myself to Israel.
I’m doing so.
I’m calling my broker tomorrow and having him wipe the account and wire me the money, and then I’m booking myself a round trip ticket to Tel Aviv and I’m flying out the first week in June and coming back the last week in July, and I’m doing my first Israel experience my way; not on tour busses, not with a tour guide (though I’m sure a native or oleh or two would be more than happy to show me some of the sites for a couple of days over the two month period).
I’m handling things the way that I want to, and on my terms (which is important to me). I know that I could go for free, I’d really rather travel alone and meet new people when I feel like being social, and be by myself when I’m feeling spiritual, when I want to pray, and if I’m moved, cry freely; and I really want to dance. If I see a site and it bores me, I can just move on, if I see a site and it enthrals me, I can stay for days.
So then we got to the Diner, and my Father (who’s currently in the proverbial dog house – another story, for another time – it’s a doozy) asked me “so what’s next?” and I asked him to qualify what he meant by that (since that could mean so many things with him), and he said “hmm, okay, tell me what’s happening for one year, give me the layout” and I said:
“Well let’s see, I finish this semester – coming home once a month for more shots because I’m getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A, B & E – then I’m lecturing in Toronto again for three-ish days. Then in June I’m flying to Israel where I’ll be for two months, staying in Hostels, Couch Surfing and maybe on a Donkey Farm, getting lost so I can learn the streets by foot, taking pictures, hanging out in Cafe’s, dancing in clubs, going to the sites, connecting with my people’s history, praying and crying at the wailing wall, going to office’s of programs of study that I want to participate in and getting brochoures and leaving my card, meeting with Nefesh B’Nefesh in Israel just to “say hi”, writing poetry, smoking Hookah and playing Shesh Besh like a pro (thank you Eli, for teaching me). Then I come back and will have two weeks off before classes, then in the Fall Semester I take my final four classes, I head down to Washington to sit for a professional exam, then I sit for two licensing exams in the state of New York, then in December I Graduate with a B.A., CPhT, CIPP, P.I., after my name. I’m not walking through graduation since they don’t have one in December and I don’t want to sit through graduation ceremonies myself, why on earth would I make anyone else do that on my behalf. However, we’re going to have a dinner with the grandparents and friends as a sort of graduation/going away dinner, then I put on a backpack – and I get on a plane, and I land in Tel Aviv and I begin an adventure. Then, after I finish learning the two languages to completion – however long that takes, I sit for the ATA Exams, then I enter a masters program, complete that, then I enter the masters program to get my MBA, then I get my Ph.D. because that’s important to me.”
It was a non-confrontationl, totally factual, totally calm explanation of what was going to happen; and then the unexpected happened…my Father said he’d like to fly out with Mom sometime while I’m in Israel this summer and visit me and show me the Kibbutz he used to live on, see some of the sites with me, and maybe hop a plane to Egypt or Greece; and I told him he was more than welcome to join me – but I’m booking my trip on my own. If he wants to book a trip and let me know when he and mom are going to be there I’ll meet up with them; I don’t do five star hotels, I don’t even do motels, why spend money on a nice place to sleep if you aren’t going to be sleeping all that much, and that kind of fru-fru trip isn’t the kind I want.
So now he sort of understands reality and I also explained to him what I’ll be studying in Israel, where I want to do my graduate work, when I’ll be doing my graduate work, what graduate degrees I want, and just why it’s so important for me to go to Israel and become fluent in two more languages before I even think about graduate school; and I think he really understands. The basic order of things is: Fluency in Israel (Arabic and Hebrew, Arabic in an Intensive Study and Hebrew in an Ulpan), ATA Arabic Exam in the U.S. (you have to sit for it there) (Credentials), IPA Transcription Exam in London, Masters in Translation Studies (a few university options), MBA (Baruch College in NYC), Ph.D. (in Linguistics, a few options).
Reasonably, I can finish all of this by the time I’m 30 (while of course working in between). I’m okay with that…you can chase men and you can win or you can loose, or you can chase academic dreams and the only option is to soar. It’s going to take me across a few continents, in quite a few countries, with very few comforts of home…but the benefits after all of the work, the sweat, the blood, the tears…will be worth every investment of money and time. And the stories that I want to hear, the local flavor that I want to record, all no doubt will write themselves into one awesome adventure.
The picture, while not totally in focus, is no longer nearly as fuzzy as it once was.
And I’m taking that first step.
My Mom Got me a new shiny, aluminum iPod Shuffle!! So Happy!! Music Again, without being called old school for carrying a CD Player! It’s so tiny! And so powerful…awesome sound, and no screen to suck battery power (I hate the screens, I know what order I put my songs in…the same way I do on my CD player which didn’t have a screen, I’d rather have more hours of listening time).
The Mac is in for Repair
I love Apple. My Mac got a little crack on the top part next to where the touch pad is, and I had the service plan “No problem, no charge…give us three days for an in-store repair” so I’ll be without the computer for a few days, but Mom will overnight it to me when it comes in and of course they’ll do the cleaning on the exterior and stuff, not that it’s all that dirty, but it’s had hard use this semester and can use a good wipe down. I picked up a USB charger for the aformentioned shuffle while I was there, since it charges via USB port and I didn’t want to be out of music for a few days.
Also a plus is – and I wasn’t aware of this previously – that apple sells an “international kit” so all you have to do is pull off one part of the charger, snap in a different end, and you can use your laptop safely in all major countries! How cool is that! This means that I will be blogging from Israel, providing I can find some wifi hotspots…I’m going to pick up the wifi finder keychain that lets you know when a wifi spot is near as well when I purchase the transformer kit.
Heading Back to Buffalo
I’m heading back to Buffalo Tonight, which means I’ll talk to all of you beautiful people when I get back there! See you soon!
- Tunes: :The Sticker Song – HaDag NaChash