01.05.2011 25 °C
Well, Passover came and went just like every other year before it.
Last March, I was on the other side of the globe at the Southern Hemisphere with my Argentine family, reading the seder in a mix of Castellano and Hebrew, reciting the prayers on behalf of an entire family of 30 people, excited to be where I was but carrying a broken heart. This year, I was by the French countryside next to the picturesque home of Monet in Giverny, with friends and family surrounding me, reading the seder in French and Hebrew and feeling empowered and capable in so many ways.
But it wasn't a short route and there's still a way to go.
You know, in the Passover story are two of the most important lines in the before one gets to feast: "in every generation, man must regard himself as if he left Egypt...and for this reason we must praise, thank, glorify, bless.. He who brought us from despair to joy...from the dark to light, from slavery to redemption... Hallelujah".
I'm not a religious person but there's something in this holiday beyond time off work, stomach-twisting food and sea-parting legends (which I believe was simply a low-tide phenomenon). Philosophically speaking, Passover gives you a chance to liberate yourself. Doesn't matter where we live, what we believe in, or the realities we lead; we all have some kind of place to move from to higher ground. We all have an 'Egypt' to get out of, if you may. This 'walk out' of Egypt is really an important shift in things - and is actually far from negative. And now Spring is in full bloom, a season of revival, which only strengthens this point of view. And even more, it now also connects to those who celebrate Easter, marking resurrection and coming back to life, something renewed.
Every one has to liberate themselves from something, some kind of situation or reality or circumstance, and bring themselves to a state of freedom and a chance to make a choice. And there is always a choice.
It's been a long time since my last post but I've really come to understand so many things in the past three months alone. So much so, that one day, I looked in the mirror and found my first white hair, tucked deep underneath and between my curls, still hiding itself from coming to sight. My aunt said "eet eez eh sign ov weezdom". So be it. Hello wisdom.
My grandfather passed away last month at the age of 84. I heard the news during a meeting in the lobby of the Shangrila Palace. It was a short, quick battle for him but he was a strong man with a great history, having been refused entry to Israel twice and finally agreeing to recruit and serve in the British Army during the Mandate just to move - somehow, he never quite learned the English language very well except for telling me what the sign "OO" really meant on office doors ("Officers Only", merely bathrooms for 'officers only'). In the end, I think he was ready to go. A couple of nights after I got the news, I dreamt about both him and my dad; they were content. I took that as a sign and let it rest behind me.
To refresh, I took myself to art exhibits across town. I recently visited the Museum of Modern Art to see the "Van Dongen" exhibit, with a collection of paintings so brilliantly beautiful and detailed, I had tears of joy in my eyes. It was incredible to be able to look at an artist with such talent. I also saw an exhibition of the Dufy brothers whose paintings are a sheer marvel to look at and get lost in. I visited some gallery openings in St. Germain and picked up some interesting people along the way.
One of my 26 cousins just got engaged - which means Israel, in August, where the biggest heat waves of the year take place and the sun blazes eternally and the only thing you can eat are ices to keep you from melting or frying like an egg on the pavement. Obviously not my favorite season. Family always comes first to those of us made in the Mediterranean.
I'm still seeing Mr.Milan, my McDreamy I suppose. I have the stomach aches, the fast heartbeats when the phone rings, the excitement of seeing one another soon, but not in fall in love yet. Distance doesn't help but something much stronger is working here. My sense of intuition is breaking records even for me and I'm very careful. My bet is, thanks to life experience. I don't want to nose dive. I want to see the person before me and I want to choose right with the person I'll share my life with one day - someone I can accept and really love, and rely on to be there.
Today was Labor Day in Paris. People sold scented flowers on the corners of the streets to celebrate this day. Families lunched. Friends smoked the afternoon away, sipping on noisettes. Tourists licked kilos of ice cream. The sun shone. The city squares are coming to life, from Place Victor Hugo to Place des Vosges, the French have come back to life and nestle in every cafe in town after work. Exhibits are popping up, museums are open for wine and snacks, the great lawns of Luxembourg are lush and green and inviting. At Bagatelle, peacocks are looking to mate, flaunting their gorgeous feathers to ignorant females who seem to play hard-to-get better than us these days. It's really great to see it all. We ourselves stocked up on foreign papers and magazines, including my favorite New Yorker, and indulged in a long, brunch outdoors with friends and family. It was lovely.
Ironically enough, a four-hour plane ride away, was also the memorial day for the Holocaust in Israel - truly one of the heavy-hearted days after the country's official Memorial Day that is immediately, I mean literally hours later, followed by Independence Day celebrations. All interwined together. I guess people are always fighting for something, commemorating another. You have to be there to understand it. For the first time, in a long time, I found myself standing up to sing Israel's national anthem "HaTikva" (The Hope) with the crowd on television like a little kid (with the one white hair). If I can't be there, it's some sort of respect I can give and acknowledge to the few people I know who did survive and have incredible stories of perseverance and determination, from the pits of the shit to self-salvation.
Am going on a couple of trips in the next month - including Milan - I'm very excited really looking forward to a change of scenery and some fresh twists and can't wait to share. Cheers to a new week and safe travels whereever you go.