This is the first day I've had a chance to blog.....last week was EXTREMELY busy and I kept putting off blogging until the end of the week....but by the end of the week, the entire household had come down with the flu.
Don't ask me what kind of flu. We've started calling it the "Jerusalem Crud" because almost everyone we know in Jerusalem has had it or currently has it. Silly us -- we thought because we'd made it to Tu B'Shvat without serious illness, we were going to make it through the winter without catching it. Typical flu stuff -- sneezing, fever, chills, aches and pains, cough. The Rx: sleep, herbal tea, cranberry juice, more tea, diet Coke (okay, that's my poison and not for everyone) more sleep and in the Husband's case, antibiotics since his skipped the flu stage and went straight into bronchitis.
The nicest thing about being sick, though, was the discovery that even as newcomers here in Israel, we have friends. Our neighbors next door, about our age and previously stricken the The Crud, came over with treats and offers to run to the store if we need anything....the women in my ulpan have emailed and called to see how I'm doing. As an olah chadasha in Israel, this is reassuring. One of the hardest things to do, I think, is care for yourself and/or your family when everyone is sick. The "good old days" of extended family, where sisters and brothers and parents and in-laws all lived near-by and could scoot over and help out, isn't the norm any more. Those folks who do have family near by should count their blessings. In this day and age of extreme mobility and people moving all over the globe, having your aunt, sister, mother-in-law next door isn't always an option.
I've often felt that "family is where you find it" and that DNA isn't necessarily a good indication of "family." "Family" and "blood" were these semi-tribal words that are invoked more out of habit than out of reality. IF your family are also your friends, then you're rich on both counts, but all too often there are adversarial relationships in families that make them toxic. If I were (bli ayn hara) stricken with serious illness, I would call a number of very close girl friends for advice and support. One is a college roommate friend, one is a friend from my law days, one is a "parent"-friend (you know--we became friends because our kids were friends), a couple are neighbors past and present, and two especially are DNA-family: my sister-in-law and my cousins, who are the best relatives-by-DNA that I have. And my best friend, now and for many years, is my husband.
We were a shidduch of sorts. Our matchmaker was a young Italian Catholic police officer who I had known through work for a number of years. The Husband was divorced and after three years of dating, was seeking a Jewish wife. Rob, the Italian-Catholic happily-married father of two, pointed me out to the Husband and said, "Why don't you ask her? She's single."
So he did--after 9 months of dating which followed a month of overcoming strong resistance on my part. You see, he wasn't "my type." Of course, I now realize that the reason our marriage works so well is because of the qualities he brings to it, and had I continued to date "my type" I wouldn't be happy today. He is straightforward, honest, has a fabulous sense of humor, is a great cook and helps me in every way around the house.
I often wonder if we were meant to meet earlier. I almost dropped out of college to come to Israel and instead opted to apply for the Year Abroad Program. My parents nixed that plan because "there's going to be a war!" Sure. Right. But they wouldn't sign the consent form, so, in the fall of 1973, I didn't get to go to Israel. But in 1974, my husband and his first wife made aliyah with Yona. My next step was to apply to law school after a few years of working and saving for tuition, but I hesitated--I wanted to spend some time in Israel and looked into the kibbutz volunteer program. "Ah," I thought, not too intelligently, "I can always go AFTER law school." That was in 1979, when one of the kibbutzim I looked at was Yotvata, where my now-husband was working in the dairy.
I went to law school instead. No one goes anywhere after law school except to work unless (1) you've won the lottery or (2) you're independently wealthy. Those loans have to be repaid immediately.
The Husband returned to California at the behest of the first wife, who hated kibbutz, hated Yotvata, hated living in Israel and announced, "If you don't take me home, I'll divorce you." So he reluctantly uprooted the girls and himself and returned to California with her, where she promptly divorced him.
There isn't a big demand for dairy farmers in the San Francisco area, so he went back into police work and ended up in the same county I was working in as a prosecutor.
H"S works in mysterious ways. Everywhere I wanted to go, the Husband was there waiting for me....and finally we came together, thanks to our Italian-American matchmaker. And thankfully, we're here now in Israel where we've always wanted to be, and together.