Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lessons Learned, part I

This week-- no, these past few weeks, almost month, have been very, very hard for me.

Between difficulties with paperwork at my schools (literally making me sick from the stress-- keeping me up at night/waking me up in the middle of the night; nauseous; feeling sick), people I care about very much being sick and/or in the hospital, questions about how I want my life and envision it coming up and people I love(d)'s been tough lately.

I called one of my friends tonight to find out how her husband's tekes went (her husband just finished about finished basic training in the army and had a tekes this past week). We talked about how Shabbat was, and I said that I was having a kind of difficult time with the reports I had to write and how I have a whole life waiting for me in America-- including no chumus at all-- and's really hard, I have a container half-full (half-empty) of chumus (for those of you who are coming in now, chumus = no job and no relationship; the goal is to empty the chumus container-- aka, have a job and a relationship) and she said that maybe I have a 2/3 empty container; I asked her how, because I have a job but not relationship. She said that I'm in Israel.

It kind of make sense-- definitely makes sense-- if Israel is such a big thing that I was willing to leave my family, my job, and a lot of important and easier things in America, maybe it does deserve a place in the chumus container. Granted, chumus as a metaphor came about because one roommate said that she didn't have a job and didn't have a relationship, but had a chumus...Israel was no where in that. So it can either be that Israel is a given, it's granted, and therefore does not need to be in the chumus container, or that it's something that should be in the container because it's important enough to give up other things for. I'm not sure...thoughts anyone?

I've brought this up before and it gets me every time but it still...doesn't make it any easier. In the Gemara there is a part about one spouse wanting to make aliyah [move to Israel] and the other not. And it's valid grounds for divorce (not poskining anything here, but just making a statement). Which to me means that Israel is pretty damn important. Important enough to give up a marriage, the other half of your soul.
It also confuses me, which is something I haven't brought up but have been thinking about for the past year and a half (wow, has it only been a year and a half...? Feels like so much longer and shorter at the same time). How can two parts of one soul be so conflicted about such a major issue? It seems like that's saying, "Something isn't right." Maybe it means that it's not right, because how can one whole have such a conflict? It's not possible, or at least from my limited perspective as a human and seeing things from that perspective, that something so in conflict can be unified and right. It can't.

I said it then and I'm saying it again, maybe to try to convince myself. It's not fair to start a marriage like that and it's not fair to have a marriage like that.

Two stories about two women who are close to me:
I: One wanted to make aliyah a number of years ago, but wanted to make aliyah already married. She got married when she was in her mid-30's to someone who was not planning on making aliyah the same way she was-- then. She got married, had a child, and made her life with her family in her home country. Her child graduated high school and went to learn in Israel for a year; the child did and also made aliyah. She is planning on making aliyah with her husband, joining their child here, within 7-10 years.
II: The other woman was seriously dating someone, and she, too, wanted to make aliyah. The person she was dating wanted to finish his degree and then maybe or when he retired or something make aliyah. Something happened in Israel (for a shock...things never happen here...) and she decided that she wanted to be here. And so she moved here, alone, and met her husband, and raised a family here.

Both woman are successful. Both women are happy. Both have at least one child in another country. But how to reconcile the need to live in Israel with the feeling that someone is right for you, even though they're not going to live where you want...I haven't worked that out yet.

More on this another time; I have to get to sleep for my half-empty chumus container (aka, work) tomorrow.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Learning more lessons

Despite working in all misrad hachinuch schools, documentation is different in each one.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

OT = OverTime? Off-Topic? Over-Taxed? OTher?

I'm working in misrad hachinuch (the equivalent of the Department of Education in Israel). I'm working in 3 schools/ganim.

At first I was in 2 schools/ganim, wasn't so happy in one of them, so I switched to a third school/gan for 2 days/week. I was really happy in the second school/gan. Now it's reversed. I'm not so happy...ok, very the second place (sorry for the confusion; I'm trying to be not so specific about where I work because, after all, this is the internet).

It's reports time in one of the places. So I tried to write a report. It was a disaster. The principal actually said to me that it would be better to write it from scratch...not, "The information was good but it's not organized and doesn't really give a picture of the child as a child and who he/she is," which is what it sounded like she intended (after discussions and emails) but, "It would be better to re-write it." She told me that she spent an hour working on it and still hadn't finished. We had a meeting where she intended on helping me rewrite the report, but it turned into a meeting about me in the school...there were hurt feelings on both sides.

When my madricha (a senior therapist who gives me supervision, but not a supervisor) found out that I had to write all these reports, she offered to look over the reports and help me with them. But then the principal said that she would look them over so I didn't send them to my madricha. It took her a couple of weeks to get the first one back to me (the one she said would be better to rewrite from the beginning)...meanwhile, the teacher is asking me for the reports and I keep telling her that I'm waiting for a response from the principal.

I'm very frustrated because I feel like things need to get to a breaking point, or a point where they can't be ignored, for many things to be done there-- at least for me to get help. It's partly my nature-- I will wait and wait for things for me. But for other people-- I'm very on top of things. I was asking the principal every day that I was at the school what was going on. I also think that it's a matter of priority-- looking over my reports is not high on her priority list (until someone else makes it a priority). It's not personal, but...I'm not happy. This principal is not necessarily the easiest to work with, but I did what she said-- I looked at other reports, tried to come up with something that worked.

The principal asked my madricha to come in and that the three of us would sit down and talk and that my madricha would help me with the reports. I sent my madricha the report I did that the principal rewrote. The madricha sent it back to me-- she had some questions and edits, but...there is such a difference in the amount of comments and questions that she has vs. the response from the principal. I feel like crying. Again. Except this time it's because I feel justified. Not that my reports are amazing-- far from it. But because it doesn't seem like I sent a piece of crap report. I feel like she expects 100% perfection, in her style. I don't have that. I have maybe 40% in my style. Not that our styles are anywhere alike, which is another issue.

What the principal changed was, first of all, a lot of the language. She completely elevated the level to something that someone who has been working for years and is completely comfortable with the language wrote. Which is her experience. My experience is 6 months in the OT world here, and a grand total of 2 years in the OT world. I wonder what her first reports as a new therapist and as a new therapist in Israel looked like. Just food for thought for her...not that she's going to see this, but anyway.

On the upside (maybe kind of?), I found out a couple weeks ago that I am replacing a therapist who went on sabbatical. So I might not even be at this school next year, which would solve the problem of her telling me she doesn't want me to come back next year or me telling her I don't want to come back next year. I guess it might be good-- I wanted a dati school from the beginning, so I guess around Pesach I'll see if there are any dati schools, preferably for the deaf/hard-of-hearing, or mental retardation. There is one that I know of, but they didn't have any openings for OTs. Oh, well, maybe next year.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Heart is Hurting

Thank you to everyone who asked-- I'm ok. My heart is hurting a bit (ok, a lot), and it's going to take time to get over that.

It's not a matter of ideal or principle-- "The Torah commands us to to live in Israel, therefore I'm supposed to live in Israel." Or, "Israel is the Jewish homeland; I am a Jew, therefore I should live there." Not that those aren't true, but for me it's a matter of feeling wrong and out of place anywhere else and a sense of rightness and feeling...more whole when I'm in Israel.
I used to say, "If something had happened before I went to Israel 3 years ago then I would have had a different outlook and a different mindset and wouldn't have been so open to everything here." But...if it's a feeling or rightness and wholeness, would it have really been any different? Don't know. But I guess that's life.

It really hurts. I don't mean to sound like a martyr or like I've given up so much more than anyone else, but anyone who moves here, who makes aliyah, makes sacrifices. Out of the sacrifices I've made, this was one of the hardest. I will always be connected to my family, and I miss giving them an actual hug and kiss, or being able to just go over, or helping my Bubby and Zaidy, or being able to talk to Lis as we fall asleep. But this one is different...this feels like a part of me is being ripped off, or was ripped off, and I won't be whole until there's another piece there to fill or replace it.

I'm going to be ok-- I made up my mind. I made up my mind a year and a half ago when this came up first...I will always regret it if I don't live in Israel; I don't know if I will always regret not being with this person. I've since learned that I CAN love someone else, but there will always be an unanswered question. And I will be ok with that; I have to, I have no other choice if I want to make it here and make the life that I want here.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Choices We Make

The past 13 months has been a time of big choices for me:

-The choice to actually make aliyah-- to pack up my life, get on the plane, and move to Israel.
-The choice to date someone who was a friend (not only my friend, but someone in my one chevra at the time).
-The choice to go to ulpan.
-The choice to stay in ulpan, despite being offered a part-time job that would have helped me ease into OT here a little more instead of going in full-force.
-The choice to stay in my practice area or switch.
-To work in private schools or misrad hachinuch.
-Where to live.
-Who to live with.

I made a choice in July 2009 that I'm still not at ease with. I wrote a little about it in August through December 2009 here ("An aliyah engagement," "Not feeling very happy," "What would it take?," and, "Into the single digits"), and recently in the past couple of posts. It's not fair.

Nobody ever said life was fair, but this feels extra unfair, if that makes sense. It's like G-d playing a game with my life. G-d said, "Go live in Israel." It just hit me now. G-d said, "Go live in Israel." No one said anything about it being easy. It says in the Gemara (Masechet Brachot, maybe?"), "אין ארץ ישראל ניקנת אלא על ידי יסורים." It's just...why does it have to be so darn hard?

Question: How do you choose between someone who is so right and somewhere you can't not be?
Answer: You hurt.

We all have choices to make in life. Some we're sure about, others...not so much. There are ones we can explain and others that just have no good answer, and some hurt more than others. There are some that make us feel so good and we know are right, we just know. G-d gives us the choices and the options, and it's up to us to do the best we can with them.

Some choices are ones we put ourselves in. Many of the choices that we have are the result of other choices that we've made and...we have to work with those and make the best of it. There are some non-negotiables and those can make things a lot harder and a lot easier at the same time.

To quote Pippin again, "...And if I'm never tied to anything I'll never be free."
"I'm not a river or a giant bird
That soars to the sea
And if I'm never tied to anything
I'll never be free

I wanted magic shows and miracles
Mirages to touch
I wanted such a little thing from life
I wanted so much
I never came close, my love
We never came near
It never was there
I think it was here

They showed me crimson, gold and lavender
A shining parade
But there's no color I can have on earth
That won't finally fade
When I wanted worlds to paint
And costumes to wear
I think it was here
'Cause it never was there

I wanted magic shows and miracles
Mirages to touch
I wanted such a little thing from life
I wanted so much"

I wanted him, he wants me, and-- there could be an us-- IF. But I made my choice and he made his, and they are not compatible with each other. So...there can't be an us. I made the choice to accept it and move on. I dated other people, loved one. And then...he will always be the one I could have married. But I put him into a corner of my heart and closed that part because I had to. A choice that wasn't so much of a choice. And I will thrive here. I will live, set down my roots and make my life and make my way here. That is my choice, and my choice to be happy. Here. In Israel. Even without him.

"Rivers belong where they can ramble; eagles belong where they can fly. I've got to be where my spirit can run free/got to find my corner of the sky." My spirit is free here, in Israel, at home. And it's tied to Israel, so it can be free and soar and all those metaphorical thing that sound cheesy.

I wish I had a more eloquent way of putting this, but this is me and how I think and I write how I think and right now everything is just spilling out because I don't know how to stop it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A breaking heart

There are just some things that you can't put into words. This is one of them.