Friday, April 29, 2011

trashy novels.

"when you were mine".
sounds like the name of a really bad novel right? it is. not bad, just brainless. bought at JFK for way more than it's worth.
true vacation book. the kind that allows you to just get lost in the story and loose track of regular life things. perfect vacation book. the kind where you have to bed the book so no one reads the title of it and sees the cover for fear of what they'll think of you if they see!
problem? hooked. hooked, and not finished with the book yet, and vacation is over.
so i keep reading. trying to hold on to the only traces left of spring vacation.
in those pages lies relaxation and an escape from life.
reading, reading, reading.
holding on to break.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

the end.

i walk into my apartment in NYC after a 12 hour flight, direct from Israel.

it was a great flight. no one sat in the seat between me and the person occupying the window seat. love when that happens. free seat to stretch out in. slept probably 9 of those 12 hours. was completely asleep, only briefly did i get up to shove something that resembled pasta down my throat and then catch the tail end of "little Fockers" - or whatever it's called.

point is. i arrive in NYC. walk into my apartment and there FIRST to greet me (after some lovely spring flowers and a welcome home note from my roommate) is a thick envelope, enclosing the news that our rent will go up, if we renew our lease. which, clearly, anyone living in NYC knows - we will. who wants to/can afford to move each year in this City?

welcome home.

go to my room. the familiar scent of my anthropologie vanilla candle soothes me. forget about the increase in rent. take in the calm of being home.

go to use the bathroom. toilet clogged. clogged.

thus completes spring break 2011.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Seven years ago I left this place. This place that was home to me for three years. Three years that I will guard and cherish in my memories forever. It was in these three years that I created bonds of friendship that still remain unchanged; I strengthened my Faith; I realized my own potential. In these three years I drew closer to my Creator through prayer and through service. I learned that these two things, when done in unison, could be the means of the survival of my soul.

I was touched by the people I met. I was humbled by the opportunities I was given. I was made grateful for the experiences I had had.

Seven years ago I left this place. And leave it again tomorrow knowing I will not be returning for some time. I watch my parents, who have now lived here for five years, begin to process their own departure. The same good-byes, finalities, moments attempted to be captured by film, are all the same. Knowing you are leaving makes you appreciate every little thing even more. I watch them do their "lasts", watch them laugh with their new friends, the way I had with mine.

This time the farewell is so hard. Almost, although not quite as teary as, my own. There is a deep, deep sadness inside me that feels the loss my parents feel. That knows this is the last time for a while that my feet will touch these red and white tiles. It will be the last time for a while that I will touch the marble walls, rest my forehead on the ornate carpets adorning the floors, breath the jasmine in the air while looking out onto the Mediterranean. There is nothing, NOTHING like this in the world. My heart aches for the knowledge of it's next visit. Longs, yearns, and hopes that that day will come soon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

getting ready

"Do you want to try this mango smoothie?"
He breaks my concentration on reading. I look up and he has a tray full of small shot glass sized cups filled with samples of mango smoothie.
I sit up, let my bare feet touch the hot wooden planks of the porch, and I take one. I sip it. Cool, refreshing, and a happily invited treat in the blazing hot sun.
I look up and it's the Mediterranean Sea before me. Stretched out for miles and miles. Across the terrain and box shaped cream colored houses of Israel, you see it sparkle.
This cafe, it's a cafe that wasn't here when I used to live here myself but has since become a frequent favorite. I make a solitary trip here at least once during my visits. They are best known to me, at least, for their fresh almond croissants and their steaming hot lattes.
Something about this place, sitting on the porch, drinking coffee, watching people, reading, thinking - something about all that makes me ready for the real purpose of my trip. It's my welcome. It adjusts my mind and softens my soul from the experiences leading up to this moment. The experiences that took place outside of this safe and protective bubble. It's here that I get myself ready...

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Today I was asked to speak with high school students in the City at their career fair about the work I do. The school brought in about 40 different professionals so that the kids had a plethora of individuals with different work experience for them to talk to and learn about. All was well until I realized that me, the DJ/Graduate Student, the landscape architect, and the tattoo artist were all in the same room. Well, there is NO denying the fact that no 15-18 year old wants to talk about community development when you could instead be chatting about how to build a career imprinting on others bodies. She sat in the middle of the room and she looked so cool - I seriously wished I could go sit and talk to her about how to pursue this newly developed dream.

It was 5 minutes into the morning before the rest of us realized this was going to be a tattoo-centric day, clearly. I craned my neck to establish eye contact with the landscape architect. He sent me a half-smile as we both looked at the empty seats in front of us. As we did, a sophomore walked in and grabbed the ONE seat remaining in front of me and asked, "OK if I borrow this?" He dragged it over to join the small group gathered at my tattooing friends table.

We were defeated. What followed was simply a small handful of interactions with some pretty savvy kiddos. These left over students were the ones that thought developing community is more exciting than body art. Either that or they needed to fill their quota of individuals they were required to talk to today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I've recently become obsessed with chocolate. Not just any chocolate - dark chocolate. Throw in some sea salt and I'm sold.

Some will think I'm crazy, for I know it is the packaging that I am paying for, but I think the chocolate actually tastes better the prettier the wrap. Colorful, carefully placed designs. Type face that speaks straight to the heart. Something about the process of peeling off that gift wrapping reminds you of being a kid again. You know full well what is hidden under that paper and yet the anticipation of it excites you! It just tastes better, I tell you.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hope Excitement and Anticipation

When there is one Spring-like day in New York City, all the days that came before it and all the days that will come after it seem to disappear from the memory. Bright, long floral dresses emerge into the light. Sunglasses accompany smiles. Pants are rolled up with nothing left between it and the shoes supporting your feet.

No one remembers that yesterday it rained. No one wants to consult the iPhone for the forecast of tomorrows change. We live in that moment, taking advantage of every thing that can be done. Holding on for dear life to the traces of happiness that have shone their heads this day.

And with that Spring-like day comes unexpected hope, excitement, and anticipation. Something inside tells you things are on the up and up. You never know what will realize that all things in life, like the unexpected sun, will come when you least expect them to. One moment gray, and the next, you are filled with the knowledge that things could change at the drop of a hat. You trust and become confident that the status quo only exists because you let it. You have allowed things to stay a certain way. But only you have the capacity to then change that. Whirlwind of colors and possibilities.

These days are natures way of telling us that beautiful things are coming our way. I guess we needed the darkness of winter to appreciate the slice of the sun and get from it everything it has to offer.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Where They Really Were

So I'm walking down my street today - got a slice of Luigi's pizza, which I have to say is the BEST dirty slice of Brooklyn pizza around. Walking, enjoying the fact that it's 7:15pm and still light out. Also thankful that this was not the case when I was fasting.

And then I see it. A real cherry blossom. Right there. On my street.

Who knew that instead of traveling for 5 hours down to DC, and another 3 hours to "see" the festival, that they were here all along. Right next to the gas station on Myrtle.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The 3 Hour Search for Cherry Blossoms

"I really want to go and see the cherry blossom festival. It's all I ever wanted. All these years visiting DC and living so close to DC - I've always wanted to go to the festival."

"Ya, totally, we should go - shouldn't be a problem!"

25 minute car ride turns into one hour on the freeway. It's OK - it'll all be worth it. Cross the bridge into DC - bumper to bumper traffic. You can see for miles and miles the traffic ahead of you.

"Don't worry, I know a secret way."
Turns out a lot of folks also know that same secret. Another 30 minutes later, the thought of seeing cherry blossoms seems far less exciting.

"Pull over, I'll just hop out and look and get back in before the car gets to another light."

Done. Mission accomplished. Head back out onto the freeway. Awesome, good thing I got a shot of it. Feeling relieved and proud.

Until I realize what I took photo of wasn't even a cherry blossom.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Brunch One Winter Morning

I guess there was something about this that didn't need words.


Something whimsical and magical about it.
Mixing colors, swirling. All quiet at the table - hard at work.
Summers on the lawn, swings on the porch, iced tea or lemonade.
Hot sun, cool breeze. Colors melting together. Sugar high, scoops of icing straight into the mouth - not even a need for the cookie base to accompany it.
Teeny tiny sprinkles that fall and pitter patter all the way to the wooden floor, only to be found days later by the vacuum or a sniffing dog.
Creamy and smooth.
Eyes so focused it brings you deep, deep into the design.
Brings swirls of thoughts and memories.

Monday, April 4, 2011

simply love.

Today my uncle informed me that he wanted to visit his homeland again. That he wanted to see Iran - a country where he had helped raise his siblings, where he had laid his fathers remains to rest, where he had married and started a life - a country that he had not, since the passing of 32 years, been allowed to return to.

"But I'm scared for you. What if something happens? You can't go back!"

He knows and I know that the political situation in Iran is not one that allows anyone not professing the Islamic faith as their religion to live, or travel for that matter, without harassment.

"I want to see my village. I want to see what it is like, what life is like. It has been so long. I want to see what has changed."

I couldn't imagine. Ripped away from any home he ever knew. Forced to create a new life in a land so foreign. To raise kids somewhere that he, himself, didn't know.

He is a man of faith. You see the faith in his eyes and hear it in the vibrations and intonations of his voice.

"And so what if they take me. They throw me in jail. They kill me. Who cares. So what. Let them." Such tenacity. Such determination. Such love, actually.

He made it seem so simple. And maybe it is. Maybe when it comes down to it, it's about love. About allowing that love to make you fearless. Regardless of what that fear may be.


A small spark of excitement is ignited. Only 2 weeks left until my feet touch ground on the land of my home away from home. The home that carries within it the growth and development of my soul, at each encounter.

I drove in the rain. Pelting down, hard, wipers trying to do their job, but to no avail. The car worked hard to stay focused. Hands gripping the wheel until the knuckles turned white. Breathing seized until the brain reminded it to exhale.

Somewhere in that overwhelming concentration, the thought drifted to the knowledge of my upcoming sojourn. And my heart lifted. I was incredibly thankful. Thankful that soon I would be able to lay my head down, shed my burdens, and cry my tears.