Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"You're an Israeli wife"

No, I'm not married, don't worry. I didn't, you know, date, get engaged and married in the past 5 days and manage to keep it all a secret.
I am dating someone, though, whose identity shall remain anonymous right now because I don't know if he is comfortable with blogging. We will call him B, since he is the second guy that I've dated since I made aliyah (and there is a "B" in his name). He is also an oleh, but he's been here for a while, and most of his immediate family made aliyah as well. We met a few months ago, but we only started dating about a month ago-- and, yes, I have been in the States for 3 of those weeks. We saw each other...well, when we started dating, and haven't seen each other since. Why? Because B is in the army, and the army didn't let him out the Shabbat before I left.
I told my adopted sister (for those of you who are just coming in now, my adopted family is awesome. My dad grew up with the mom, and our families have always been close-- they have always been like an aunt and uncle and the kids were like cousins) that I was dating someone and he's in the army. And she responded with the subject line.
Not quite a wife-- we're dating, not married, but this is a big part of Israeli culture. Army and the army life. I'm learning a lot about the army and the stupidity and the good that happens there. The 7-hour time difference is actually working because he's up at random hours coming off of shmira, or when I'm going to sleep he's just getting up, and when I get up he's sometimes waiting around for something or to go somewhere. So we make it work. But I'm learning that the army has a time schedule of its own. Just because you're supposed to go on shmira at 9 pm doesn't mean it's always going to happen; you might get switched, something might come up, they might call you to do something else. But the army is also respectful of religion (he is not in a Hesder unit (type of service that combines studying in a Yeshiva with army service))-- after one of the fast days there was a masa (yes, stupid and not so respectful there...). Normally all the soldiers would go, but the soldiers who fasted were excused-- they did shmira, I think. Or something else. And after the fast, the army served a huge meal with meat and chicken and...lots of stuff. And on the other fast day, he was excused from his patrols.
It's so strange and wonderful to me that even though he is in the army and we don't get to see each other much and won't get to see each other as often as we would like even when I'm back, right now he gets out every other weekend for 3 days-- Thursday, Friday, and Shabbat, aka "chamshu"sh (chamishi-shishi-shabbat)," and I know that those are times I can count on to see him (unless something comes up). If I was dating someone in the American army, I could easily not see him in-person for months at a time. I'm learning. Slowly, but I'm learning.

The non-army long-distance stuff-- it's annoying because we don't get to see each other much-- and when we do it's using Oovoo (like Skype, only better because you can have more people video conferencing in and you can send video messages). But it's something. Three years ago it wouldn't have been this easy. I also just got this service called Spikko, which gave me an Israeli number than B can call me on. Our phone bills are going to be huge, but this should make it a bit less, at least from his end. It's also different than a "regular" relationship because you're not physically with each other and you aren't going out on dates or spending time doing things together. We talk. A lot. And we play games over the phone-- Jotto, Battleship, Ghost (any other suggestions, please let me know! But not chess, because we already know about that). It's definitely harder than a normal relationship, and his army schedule in some ways makes it easier to talk, and in some ways makes it harder. But it's good.

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