Filed under: Cultural Differences, Feelings, Identity, Just Sayin' | Tags: aliyah, holidays, oleh
So, it’s Hanukkah right now, but the thing is – this ain’t my first time at the rodeo Hanukkah in Israel. When I arrived here (ironically on Xmas) last year it was the 6th night of Hanukkah. So, as the giant menorahs – or as they’re called here, Hannukiot – go up in the public places and powdered jelly donuts (a tradition for Hanukkah, here in Israel) are sold every place else, this is not new for me; it is something I have seen before. And this is a very new and very odd feeling for me.
You see, up until now, everything has been new: first Purim, first Pesach, first Lag B’Omer, first White Night, first Tisha B’Av, first Sukkot, etc. And every new cultural aspect that came with the holiday – from giant Hannukiot and all the donuts everywhere for Hanukkah, to the bread products in supermarkets covered up for Pesach like a crime scene, to drunk Frumies wearing Fred Flintstone grand poobah costumes falling down on Purim, to people dining outside in cafés underneath sukkahs – was a novelty. This year, none of it will be.
Now, that’s not exactly true. My first trip to Israel ended January 9, and I didn’t make Aliyah until March 1, so….I’ve never been here for February at all. And, I was home in America for the biggies Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, so I’ll get to experience those in Israel for the first time in 2010.
But the majority of rites of passage (like how in America, the Valentine’s stuff goes up the day after New Years, then St. Patty’s, then Easter, then baseball season starts, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day-July 4th-Labor Day, Back-to-School, Halloween, NFL season, etc…) I’ll have been through once before here already. And without novelty, you have…..reality?
Not that any of this is bad. I didn’t have Liron and Danny and Felicia and Anna and Eric and Leah and PETEY!!! and iGoogledIsrael and my apartment and MY LIFE here. The marking of rituals and comparison with one year ago provides a wonderful opportunity for me to see growth and changes in my life since moving here and reflect on them.
But it’s not as simple as novelty anymore; I won’t have that to coast on – for lack of a better way to articulate it. To continue to be meaningful, my life here must continue to evolve and deepen and take root. And it is! There’s on-camera talent work for GayMiddleEast.com coming up in 2010, hopefully more creative and marketing writing work, a lot of firsts for Petey, hopefully a boyfriend and who knows what else? It is just a bit of an odd sensation to watch the yearly rituals and changes happen around me, and them not being completely new anymore. I can’t say it any better than that, it’s like Aliyah vertigo or something.