Saturday, March 26, 2005

Why I Moved to Israel – Part Four: Departure Countdown

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Several months before: a psychological checkup

I have a few therapy sessions with B, to make sure I'm not running away from psychological problems, which I knew from previous experience inevitably boomerangs. The problem I present to B: "I want to move to Israel, but my daughter thinks she is a lesbian." His brilliant answer: "You want to move to Israel. In what ways will moving to Israel affect your daughter's lesbianism?" He answers a question with a question! And he isn’t even Jewish!

Several weeks before: leaving the job

I didn't want to explain all the personal stuff I described here, here, and here, to my work colleagues, whom I didn't like, so I made up a "cover story" for them, which went like this: my father has died, and left me with many family affairs to clean up, including a business to run.

On the metaphoric level, this was completely true. I just took a little poetic license with the fact that my father had died over 25 years earlier. My boss's secretary sent me a condolence gift from the office: a beautiful potted tree, in a beautiful brass pot. I gave it to B, who had just moved to a new home.

The day before: a thwarted crime

I take the train to NYC for a haircut and a farewell luncheon with some friends. Then I get on the commuter train back to Princeton for the last time. The train is very full, it being a matinee day. I'm walking down the aisle, looking for a seat, lots of people doing the same in front of and behind me. I feel someone jostles me and then gets in front of me. I notice my wallet is missing, when it was not a few minutes earlier. I grab hold of the jostler's jacket and very intensely but quietly say to him, "Give me back my wallet." He ignores me, which convinces me that he has my wallet. I hold on to his jacket a little more firmly, and repeat in a slightly louder and more intense tone, "Give me back my wallet." We walk the length of the aisle of that crowded train car, me holding on to his jacket, him ignoring me, the seated passengers ignoring us both. The train hasn't started yet, but nobody can run, because there are so many passengers walking through in line in front of and behind us. When we get to the end of the car, me still holding onto his jacket, the pickpocket looks quickly at someone behind me, then he looks at me and nods to the floor. My wallet! I grab it, let go of his jacket and step aside. The pickpocket and his accomplice quickly jump off the train, the accomplice carrying a bulging shopping bag, no doubt full of wallets from people not bound for Israel the next day.

I feel too small for mere pickpockets: bring me giants! (My wallet still has my five dollars cash in it.)

August 28, 1988: a JFK Airport farewell

elswhere, Prowesslessness, Googleman, SIL, and friends gather in the El Al departure lounge to say goodbye. They supply a farewell feast of corned beef and pastrami sandwiches on rye bread. I am too excited to eat more than one sandwich (and a few pickles).


Third Street said...

Hey you left for Israel on my birthday.

Hmmmm 8/28/88 what was I doing on that birthday...

Third Street said...

It was my 30th birthday come to think of it.

The Lioness said...

You gutsy Savta! Yey!

Sandra said...

Thank you for your are identifying a lot of issues I have about needing to be part of some kind of community,about going home and about being happy.I lived in Israel with my parents as a teen in 1982-85,and have been trying to return ever since. Now,with husband and three kids, I still feel anonymous in North America,still want to go home,but is it too late for Aliyah at 38,as my parents failed aliyah terrifies me. You are strong and brave,thanks for the link to Ben-Shahar,you are helping me overcome the fear of just doing what I feel is right.But I am so afraid to pay the ultimate price of losing a child.It is my dream,not theirs.
Thanks for your story.