Psst! Do you like music?

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted–first I got sidetracked when I was told my thesis was due earlier than anticipated (by a month! but don’t worry, I finished it–and passed my defense), and then I had to catch up on homework, and then I’ve been attending a YOGA for Youth teacher training and it’s been busy (forty hours? two weekends? check!).

Excuses, excuses, of course, but it’s my way of saying if I could have been here, sharing ideas and experiences with all of you, I would have been. =)

I’m still in a frenzied state, of course, attempting to stay on top of everything as graduation and Teach for America barrel toward me, but I want to take a quick moment to share something with you–call it my three-day-early throwback Thursday.

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Pokemon Wednesday: This is the Best Clickbait-Inspired Title I Could Think of, and Here’s Why

I have a confession to make: I didn’t study for my algebraic topology midterm because I couldn’t stop playing Pokemon.

The truth is, for the last eighteen years (and I’m turning 27, so that’s two-thirds of my life), Pokemon has been one of the few constants from year to year: Pokemon was there when I played with my friends in Hebrew school; Pokemon was there when my parents my separated and I went back and forth between my parents houses while my mom was at school; and Pokemon was there when I began college myself and needed something, or anything, to pass the time when I wasn’t studying.

And Pokemon was also there when I should’ve been studying last week. In fact, Pokemon–in its many iterations–has been keeping me from homework for a long time.

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A Shot of Stress

As part of my Year of Re-creation, I’m embarking on a journey to reclaim stress and change how I respond to it at a physiological level. This sounds like a daunting task–I mean, seriously, changing physiology?–but it’s actually an application of the age-old adage “mind over matter”: By adopting a new stress mindset, my body will learn to react to stress in a new, more empowering manner.

So if this isn’t alchemy, I don’t know what is.

But magic or not, the first step begins now.

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Dreams and Broken Promises

A year ago I mailed our application for a fiance visa to the U.S. government. I had thought by now my fiance would be my husband, that we would we living together, figuring out how to live together, while I finished my master’s degree.

I was wrong.

We were sitting in the bus last August, shuttling from terminal one to terminal two, and we promised it would never again be a full six months apart from each other.

We were wrong.

I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to spend sixty percent of your relationship just trying to be able to live together in the same country, in the same house. But “difficult” isn’t even the right word–the paperwork is overwhelming, but after a few dozen hours of reading, it’s more time-consuming than anything else. The bulk of the process has been given to waiting, which is annoying, but you get used to it.

For a long time I was burdened by generalized anxiety disorder without diagnosis. It took three different prescription medications to make me realize what it’s like not to constantly be under high levels of physical distress. I was used to the tightness, the racing thoughts, numb to the unmanageable excess of stress I experienced.

Numb like I’ve become numb to the distance between us. Sometimes two weeks pass and we don’t say a word to each other beyond liking statuses on Facebook. We’re so accustomed to thin lines of communication that when life demands homework and research papers and teaching hours and travel times, there isn’t time left for each other.

At least if we lived in the same house, hell, even just the same timezone, the overlap in our schedules would be easier to manage. I don’t even know what it’ll feel like waking up next to him, saying goodbye before we part ways to go to work and school or whatever, without that counter in my mind ticking down and telling me I need to hold on, I can’t let him go, because there’s only a handful of days before we’re apart again.

There was a time when I thought Harel would be moving up here last August rather than me flying back from visiting him. There was a time when I thought he’d be here for New Years, or at least before classes began. There was a time I thought he’d be here by spring break, but now I’m not even sure if he’ll be here before summer begins.

But who knows, maybe I’ll be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.

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Harel and I are fundraising to help cover some of the costs of his coming to the US. With my being in graduate school and the moving costs to join Teach for America later this year, the financial demands of this journey have been no small burden, and we are grateful for any support you’re able to offer.

Please make a donation and share our GoFundMe page or these TBT posts to help.

Picture Perfect

My phone is Harel’s when we’re together: He has an eye for angles and alignment more than I ever will. He snapped this picture in a plaza in Queretaro, and it’s still one of my favorite photos of all times–the color balance, the simplicity, its subtle complexity.

He also has a fondness for statuary. We once went to a natural history museum and he wandered off while I tried to read a lengthy description of Greek and Roman deities (it was in Spanish, but my familiarity with Greco-Roman mythology allowed me to piece together its meaning). By the time we drifted back together, he had taken pictures of literally every statue in the exhibition hall. Seriously. Each and every one of them.

I have a bad habit of taking too many pictures to remember something and then realizing later, as I look at my pictures, that they don’t really, can’t ever capture the moment like I had wanted them too, and instead of living it more fully, I had lost myself in the momentum of trying to catch it in pixels.

When Harel takes my camera, it’s hard to get lost in something I can’t have–somehow it frees me to be more present in the moment. And when I finally look back through my camera roll, I get to glimpse the experience through his eyes–what were the things that caught his attention, that drew his gaze, that made it memorable for him?

Even now, looking at the pictures he took for me, for us, it makes me feel closer to him.

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TBT: Sacred Space

They say that home is where the heart is, but it’s an empty saying without articulating what we mean when we say the heart. Is it the space where our bodies physically rest, or the space we feel most embraced, or is it something less tangible, more spiritual?

The synagogue pictured above is the oldest in Mexico, literally known as the Historic Synagogue. We went to visit it our first day together, but it was closed, so we went back the next day. We went upstairs and ogled at a temporary exhibit from the Palafoxiana Library (the oldest library in North America), and we were amazed by the stunning architecture, how small and perhaps insignificant I felt inside this place.

But also how expansive, how endless, how holy.

Outside these doors, after signing the guest book, we walked away wondering what we’d write if we were married, one last name, or two? Hyphenated, his first, or mine?

It was inside these doors, five months later, when we exchanged engagement rings.

I don’t always know where home is–or if there’s only one. Home is with my family, and in Raleigh, and in Hoonah and Punta Gorda and San Francisco and in Mexico, in the guest house where we spent our first night together, in Queretaro where we bought our rings, in Puebla where we kissed inside a volcano, in Mexico City where we met and embraced and kissed for the first time.

Home is in each of these places, because in each of them, my heart grew.

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TBT: Sweater Weather

Sometimes I laugh when friends of mine, who live with their partners, remark how annoying it is and then tell me to “Just wait till you live together.”

As if I haven’t been waiting for over two years, right?

The longest continuous period of time Harel and I had together was three weeks in December 2015. It was my third visit to Mexico City, and it was the first visit we didn’t fill with adventures around the city, to museums and churches and any place.

Instead we lived together. We woke up next to each other, we went grocery shopping, we cooked for each other, we visited friends, we drank, ate, were merry. The way he puts his computer on the kitchen table and plays music while he cooks. The way he doesn’t walk around the house without anything on his feet.

Little things. The things that annoy other people. The things I cherish.

One day it was colder than expected, and we needed to dress up a bit, and the only sweater I had was a purple hoodie–I love it, but it didn’t suit the occasion. So Harel pulled all his sweaters out of the closet and had me try on each of them.

I remember saying the cardigan looked particularly feminine on my figure.

Then yesterday a couple new sweaters I ordered online arrived (I’m not naturally a sweater person, mind you, but being that I’ll be teaching in Milwaukee, where it’s much colder than it is in NC, and being that sweaters can be worn casually and professionally, it seems a fashion sense I should acquire), and as I buttoned up the smokey grey cardigan, I couldn’t help but feel the moment was incomplete without Harel with me.

Most days I scramble out of bed and get dressed in such a hurry, I’m lucky if I put my foot through the right pant leg on my first try. Getting dressed is routine, the necessary machinery to prepare myself for a professional day.

But with Harel, even getting dressed was something special.

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(To give some context to our expressions in the picture–in which I’m wearing Harel’s sweater–it was taken right after we found out his parents were visiting. That is, when we found out we were all meeting for the first time.)

TBT: Subway Robbery

 

All times aren’t good times.

Heading into the subway at the start of our day, I was pickpocketed and we lost all the money we had on us, with barely enough to get back home.

All our plans were ruined, and I had to worry about ID theft the day before Christmas.

We were angry, frustrated, stressed, and pissed off. But we were together. So we allowed ourselves time to vent, to let it out of us, and then we walked around the city, stopping at places where we could explore without paying–like walking through an antique bookstore, a Judaica shop, and an art gallery.

Shitty things happened, and they always will, but we made it through.

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Throwback Thursday

The year began with promise: We’d have our visa interview and then my fiance would fly up to the US and we’d be married.

Instead we found a clerical error on his passport, and the whole process came to a grinding (albeit temporary) halt.

So in the mean time, it’s my goal to dedicate every Thursday of this year until we have our visa interview to looking back at some of the moments he and I have shared.

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Monsters in My Pocket

Sometimes we’ve got a weight on our shoulders, keeping us down and preventing us from moving forward, and sometimes it’s more of a weight in our pockets–we feel it, and it’s not going anywhere, but we’ve got to carry it forward until we’re able to let it go.

Letting go isn’t always an option in our control. Right now the monstrous weight in my pocket is the wait to marry the man I love, just to see him again: we’re a binational couple going through the immigration process, and even though this burden grows heavier every day, we can do nothing to set it down any sooner–it’s in the hands of someone else.

So we do what we can to pass the time. This is how I’ve carried these pocket monsters.

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