ezmy runs

I love running. Always have. As a child, I loved running around in circles until I fell over with exhaustion. I loved running down hills, collapsing in a heap at the bottom. Running was the only thing I was ever good at in P.E.; indeed, I was picked last every time, unless it was a race. Running gave me confidence as a child, as well as an immense sense of freedom. No one or thing could catch me – I was invincible as long as I as moving.

I sort of forgot about running when I was in highschool, and I really forgot about it in my twenties. I had other things to do at that time. Like make poor life choices. Every so often I’d remember that I could do it, but then something would come up, and I’d forget again.

Around the time that A. went to K-town, I decided to run again. I felt out of control at that time. I didn’t know what was going to happen to A., I wasn’t sure I was in the right professional field, and I was beginning to rely on other sources of depression management (read: alcohol) to numb the chaos. So one day I ran. And it was just as awesome as it had been when I was a child. I ran some more. I ran my face off all around Ottawa and loved it. And now I run my face off all around Herzliya. And it is the fucking best. Even on bad days, even on days when I feel like I’m never going to make it up Keren HaYesod at the end of a long haul, even when it’s hot as hell and my face feels like it is actually going to melt off, running rocks my socks.

Why am I rambling on about running? Because today, I read this. And while I have always been a huge believer in living your life your own way, loving the crap out of every second, and telling all negative forces to kindly eff off, this HuffPost blog post really drove the point home. This woman was my age. She had kids that are my kids’ age. And she just died. So tonight I ran. Because I love it and I should do what I love as much as possible. I ran because I am lucky enough to still be able to. I ran because one day I won’t be able to run. I ran my ass off tonight, pacing and training be damned, and loved every glorious second of it. Then I came home, drank the biggest glass of fresh, cold water I could find, kissed my sleeping kids, and winked at my husband. Because life is too short, as trite as that may sound. It was really too short for Charlie, and I don’t know how short it will be for me.

Do what you love, I say, and do it now.

one year and a catch up

Right so it’s been awhile. And here’s why:

1) The situation in Israel deteriorated RAPIDLY after my last post. It was bad enough to send all Canadian diplomatic spouses and children off to Canada. I would have been part of this voluntary evacuation too, had it not been for the fact that….

2)…A.’s uncle passed away. So we went back to Canada just before everybody else for what ended up being 5 pretty emotional weeks. Uncle R. was young and the illness was fast and horrible. I just…well, it was just awful.

and 3) whilst doing the Ottawa portion of the trip, I was alone. A. had to return to the madness here and so I had little time for writing.

Anyway, I’m back now and things are starting to return to normal, whatever that is here. Ewan started school a couple of weeks ago and seems to be enjoying it. “The work is boring, Mummy, but I like circle time (!!) and they do a good chicken schnitzel.” High praise indeed. And Evelyn is talking and climbing absolutely everything. It’s freaking terrifying.

I realized today that I didn’t mark our one year Israel anniversary. So here goes: IT’S BEEN A YEAR! YAYA! (insert ringing bells and flying banners).

In honour of our first year anniversary, I’ve compiled a list of things that I previously never thought I’d do, but that somehow I have done now and everything is fine:

1) I will never drive on the highway in Israel. This one I actually managed to get away with until just recently. And you know what? It was ok. I mean it sucked, I nearly died twice, and I used some pretty spunky language the whole time, but it was ok.

2) I’ll never be able to keep my cool during a siren. And this was somewhat true for the first one, although to be fair I was really just upset that I wasn’t near the kids. But after that, I got pretty used to them (sad to say) and managed to maintain my composure. Calmly collecting the children and heading down to the trouble room to continue whatever conversation we were in the middle of. The key is to act fast, but outwardly present a relaxed face. Tricky business.

3) I’ll never be able to run here. And yet here I am, trying to work my way up to a nicely paced 10km for an October night race, and 21k for the Tel Aviv race day in February. Running here is hard. VERY hard. Humidity, bumpy roads, not the best air quality all the time, the crazy summer heat. Nothing about this is good for a fair skinned lady with bad knees. BUT. I run at night, I go slowly and I try to embrace the weather and soak up any little wisp of a breeze off the sea when I can. And I am getting used to it. Sort of.

4) I’ll never run outside during rocket attack time. Yeah, I decided that a bunch of looney bins hell bent on blowing up me and the people around me DO NOT get to dictate my running schedule. Jerks. I kept the earphones quiet, ran near the public shelters or friends houses and powered through.

5) I’ll never get used to the grocery stores here. Especially the dairy aisle. This one has taken a long time, and arguably I have a long way to go. But I’m getting used to returning rotten food, the inconsistent availability of certain items, the organization of the stores, the brand names that suck/are great, and so on. The dairy aisle is still hard, but honestly I’ve just started buying random containers of things and seeing what they are. Found some tasty yogurt this way. Win!

So there you go. Never say never, I suppose. We’re one year in and if there is one thing that I’ve confirmed for myself over this time, it’s that one must be flexible, one must take risks, and one must remain positive. We have wonderful friends, the kids are settling in nicely, and everything is going swimmingly – the only reason these things have happened is because of the previous three.

Anyway, I have more to write but I really must sleep. Tata for now!

 

 

Sides

I don’t say much about the political situation where I live right now. Even before moving to Israel, I had little to say on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, largely because I didn’t understand the day to day lived realities of the assorted people involved well enough to comment. I’m not religious, I’ve never felt strong ties to a place or group, I’ve never had to fight for the right to live in a certain area or be a certain way, and I’ve never suffered genuine hardship at the hands of another person/group of persons. I had thoughts on the subject, certainly, but nothing of real value to add to the debate, and I had no idea of what side (if any) really occupied the moral high ground.

I’ve heard it said by others that once you live in Israel for some time, even as an expat, you find yourself unconsciously taking sides. Indeed, I know many people this has happened to, people who find themselves becoming more sympathetic to one group or the other. And it occurred to me today that after almost a year of living here, I am no closer to supporting any one “side”.

The recent kidnapping and subsequent murder of three teens in the West Bank perfectly outlines why. Upon hearing of this awfulness, my first instinct was to feel horrible for those children. Then I was angry at the people who kidnapped these kids, who treated innocent children as enemy combatants. Who does such a thing, I thought? But then I remembered who did such a thing – kids themselves. And then I remembered that there are parents involved here – parents on both sides who convince their children that others hate them, parents on both sides who move their children to what are at best controversial areas to live in, all in the name of principle.

There’s much more to it than this, of course, but therein lies one (of the many) problems I have with picking a “side” in this conflict: when children on all sides are being targeted, manipulated and trained to think a certain way, no one can claim to occupy the moral high ground, can they? And while I may not understand the lived realities of those in my now immediate area, while I can’t possibly understand the historical significance, the religious ties, the fear, the hatred, the determination to live in a place because you know you are meant to be there, I do understand that no one group here is blameless. And that in spite of this, no one is willing to accept any blame. I therefore remain equally frustrated and sympathetic to all sides, a position that is unlikely to change.

The only thing that has changed since living here? I’m sadder than I was. So many wasted lives.

 

Family

The number of people I consider to be “family” has more than doubled in the last four (but really eight) years. And this more than doubled family is enormous. Not surprising, really, when you consider that A.’s father is one of eight, his mother one of four, and that there are a million first cousins, second cousins, and third cousins twice removed scattered throughout Nova Scotia. I also come from a sizeable family – my dad is one of seven, my mum one of three, and my step-dad one of five. Heaps of cousins, plus I have siblings and step-siblings. More partners, more kids.

All told, between the two of us, there are a billion relatives. Give or take.

The thing is, I knew all of this when I married A. Indeed, I had met most of the relatives long before we got married. They were all perfectly friendly folk. But at the time I met them, I was really just focused on A. and his awesomeness (because let’s face it, he’s pretty fucking awesome), and so I didn’t really consider what including the H./C. crowd would mean to me.

Turns out, it means a whole frigging lot.

I love my in-laws like extra parents. I love A.’s extended family as if I’ve known them my whole life. And this is interesting to me because, when you think about it, you don’t get to choose these people. You choose the person you marry, and then just hope for the best. Sometimes you get a pack of lunatics. Sometimes you get hateful people who refuse to accept you as part of their family. Most of the time you get a mixed bag.

I am one of the few people who managed to more than double her family size with the warmest, kindest and most fun-loving bunch of wonderfuls you can imagine. They have welcomed me into their lives, and included me in their celebrations, and their sorrows, as if I’ve always been there. And I miss them all the time. Today, I miss them even more.

 

my mother’s day

There are plenty of things to love about Mother’s Day. Particularly if you happen to be a mum. Particularly if you happen to be a mum and your birthday isn’t until August, which is an everlastingly long time from Christmas and so Mother’s Day sort of breaks things up a bit. A bit of a sleep in, a nice little gift, a dinner out. It’s all good. This year was the first year I received a handmade card from Ewan so my Mother’s Day was extra special. I sat in bed eating pumpkin loaf, admiring my handmade card, and drinking coffee until 9am (gasp!). Then I purchased some shoes, had a coffee with a friend, enjoyed an audience-free shower, and went out for dinner.

Yes, very little time was actually spent being a mum, but that’s kind of how I like my Mother’s Days. Judge away.

The primary reason I like to be away from the children on Mother’s Day is that I always find Mother’s Day a little hard. Until four years ago, Mother’s Day was an unwanted reminder of the child that never was. A child who was due in May, who would have been 12 this year. And whatever those whacky anti-choicers tell you, choosing to terminate a pregnancy, even when it’s 100% the right choice, is never easy and stays with you until the end of days. Even when you have children later on. So I was a little blue today, without really meaning to be.

But after dinner out with A. I came home and went to check on the children. And they are just so freaking beautiful. And happy and healthy and wanting for nothing (except maybe more rocks – there can always be more rocks). And so I find myself for the very first Mother’s Day in 12 years, letting go of that first pregnancy that never came to be. I’m a happy mum of two, not a resentful mother of one, which I most certainly would have been. Baby T.O. will never leave my thoughts, but maybe I don’t have to be sad about this – maybe I just need to remember the choices made, however difficult, that got me to the happy place I am in today.

And be grateful that these were my choices, not someone else’s.

Easter in Jordan?

Sometimes I just don’t know how I got here. 

I am standing outside, taking in a completely crazy view. The Dead Sea is sprawled out before me, giant hills of sand are to my left and right, and unfamiliar music is floating through the air. Air that is thick with tobacco and flowers and salt. 

Yesterday, after a billion passport checks, we passed over the Allenby Bridge into Jordan and whamo! we were in the Middle East. I know Herzliya Pituach is technically also in the Middle East, but it’s really not. Living in HP is kind of like living in a quirky European country. Jordan is most definitely the Middle East. I counted two women on the twenty minute village drive to the resort and I have never, ever been more aware of my skin exposure (I was wearing a T-shirt and shorts). Camels, small and slightly sketchy “markets”, ridiculously bad driving, a men sitting around everywhere. And holy hell the heat. The wretched, wretched heat. 

During the day, I do not enjoy it here. I mean the people are lovely, the food is decent, and the scenery is pretty fantastic. But I hate the heat, so much so that it changes my mood and I turn into a giant grump who longs for her Canada, with the winter and sweaters and feeling real cold, not air conditioning cold. I find myself wondering about the people who CHOOSE to live here all the time – why on Earth would you want to live here? With this weather? This god awful, rage-inducing weather? 

But oh the nights. I freaking LOVE the nights here. The sun disappears and the heat changes into a cozy toasty feeling and all of a sudden I can’t picture why I enjoy living anywhere else. It feels like the air is actually hugging you. And the smell – dear me but it smells good here. Indeed, were it not for the bugs (THE CURSED MOZZIES) I would stay outside all night (and sleep all the live long wretched day). 

Anyway, I can’t believe I’m here. How did I, a small-town BC girl, end up living in such a crazy and fantastic and terrible and lovely region of the world? I just….well I just don’t know what to think about it. Surreal is the only word to describe my Easter this year. 

 

2014 so far

I honestly didn’t mean to sign off on such a wretched note and then not return for months on end. But things got worse before they got better. No point in getting into details. Needless to say, I’m in good spirits now.

So what’s new? Well, Budsie is in preschool and loving it…now. He loathed it with the passion of 1000 burning suns for the first few weeks and that was Not Fun. Oh the screaming, oh the crying. And of course he couldn’t just cry like a regular three year old. No, he had to speak his articulate little mind and say things like “I DON’T FEEL READY TO HANDLE THIS PRESCHOOL BUSINESS AND I HATE ALL OF THE TEACHERS!!” Fantastic. Anyway, he likes it now. In other Budsie news, he reads! I had seen this coming for awhile but I thought he was just memorizing everything. Until one day over lunch he read the title of one of my books. And the headlines in a magazine. This was a few weeks ago and now he’s in full swing. He reads and spells and everything. It’s absolutely amazing to watch. Words seem to just jump out at him wherever we go and he’s so excited. On the downside, A. and I have officially been reduced to speaking in pig latin in order to hide things from our son. And it turns out that a) we have a lot of stuff we don’t want him hearing and b) I’m actually not that great at pig latin. Hmpf.

Gingerbean is also doing well. She’s walking (!!!) and chatting away happily. I’m starting to love our three mornings a week together. I’d forgotten how nice small kids can be. Gingerbean never tells me that I’m terrible for not letting her eat chocolate for breakfast and she never shouts at me that she’s bored with “all of the things in Israel.” I mean, I know she will do these things, but right now she’s just the best during the day. Now, at night she sucks. I love her but she sucks. She’s been weaned off daytime boob for the last couple of months, but she’s up every hour or two wanting to chew on me in the evening. It’s positively exhausting. Ah well, we’ll sort things out soon enough.

Anyway, so the kids are doing great. And I’m getting better too, due in no small part to my membership in a bookclub of dip. spouses, and my friendship with a certain Canadian dip. spouse (CW!). I’ve been meeting some perfectly lovely people, setting up playdates and coffee dates, and generally just settling in better than before. Phew!

Right, so the kids outside have woken up Gingerbean so I have to go. Boo. But more posts soon!

2013

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(picture credit: hyperbole and a half)

So I had a really great year! I had a baby, A BABY, and I traveled a lot, and I moved to a new and beautiful country and I met new and beautiful people. I managed to see both of my siblings in the same year at the same time. I read some pretty amazing books. I learned how to knit, well enough that I made presents for people that didn’t fall apart. I started up yoga again. I watched my son develop terrifyingly sharp language skills. My daughter stands. My husband is the coolest dude I know. Yep, everything fucking rocks.

Oh except it doesn’t.

Because Depression.

I wouldn’t call what’s going on post-partum depression, although certainly it all started going south post-partum. It’s more a strange combination of events (baby, big move, a serious case of the toddler crazies) that has led to me feel nothing, all the time. Except frustration at other people’s ability to be happy.

I’ve always had this problem, but in my 33 years, I have never had it this bad, for this long. I could always see a light at the end of what was usually two weeks of bullshit, no-feelings nonsense. Maintaining perspective, vegetables, getting sleep, and just relaxing always did the trick. After a couple of weeks, the fog would clear and I would get on with my awesome, rocking life.

But there has been so little sleep, so little relaxing and thus this has been my year. Minus the wanting to just not exist part. I’ve never not wanted to exist, I’ve just wanted to walk away. Though god knows where away is. A magical land filled with beds and wine and cancer-free cigarettes and no children and the perfect job and a sense of meaning and fulfillment in my life? A place where I can talk to my husband for more than a minute without someone screaming at us? A place where I can just breathe? Blerg.

Anyway, I’ll smarten up soon I’m sure. I’m still with it enough to know what I need to do to get out of the fog. It’s the thickest fog to date, but surely there’s a way out. Three cheers for 2014 though. I’m quite finished with this year, thank you very much.

conversations post-Long Day With Kids part 1

(A. and I have had one of those mornings with the children. Home finally, and preparing for Christmas Eve, A. is in the kitchen sampling the Santa cookies while the children nap…)

A.: “Oh yeah, tasty cookie.”

Ezmy: “Which one?”

A.: “The wingy-bang schroterplatz-y one. I don’t know! It’s just tasty.”

Ezmy: “Well I must have one.”

A.: *tosses wee xmas cookie in the air*

Ezmy: *tries to catch, misses, is hit in eye with cookie* “Oi! You threw a cookie at my eye.”

A.: “No, I threw a cookie two feet above you. You deftly deflected it into your own eye.”

Ezmy: “Pfft.” *eats tasty cookie*

I haven’t posted for a while and now we’re away for the hols. But the New Year will bring new posts. I promises.

conversations with a preschooler yogi part 1

(Scene: Budsie and I have been doing some yoga together. I’ve been showing him some downward facing dog, etc., and he in turn has been showing me his poses, such as ‘downward facing mouse’ and ‘upward Superman’…)

Me: *trying to relax into crow pose and failing miserably* “I still can’t do this crow pose, Budsie. I guess I’ll just have to keep trying, eh?”

Budsie: “If you want to do crow pose, Mummy, first you need wings.”

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