Seven people still read my blog!
I’m kind of surprised. But since there really are seven of you who like my blog enough to say so, I guess I’ll give you the long-overdue update.
The short version: we moved.
This, quite simply, has been the best thing ever. It’s hard to even put it into words. We spent two years living in an old, dingy, run-down apartment that was built as a dorm, built by people who knew for an absolute fact that they, themselves would never have to live in the apartments they were building. We did not have a kitchen to speak of. We had only one toilet, there was no washing machine (we bought one but it died and we didn’t replace it, for a variety of reasons), no bathtub, no kids for our kids to play with, far from everything, no local schools, not a neighborhood we ever would have chosen. It did have some advantages, the biggest one being that the apartment was, well, free, and there were some very nice people, but it just wasn’t a place to set down roots. We knew all of this, more or less, in advance. So when we came to Israel, knowing that we’d be in this furnished apartment for two years, instead of sending a lift (=shipping container full of our stuff), we put it all into storage, packed up 18 49.5-lb bags, and got on a plane with just that.
In a lot of ways, the last two years, we were camping. We didn’t have our own stuff, we didn’t have our own home, everything was temporary.
In August, we moved, not to another apartment, but to an actual house, in a yishuv about an hour north of Jerusalem. It really is more than I ever dreamed of, certainly more than I thought it was realistic to hope for. Three bedrooms and a full bathroom upstairs, a big living/dining room, enormous kitchen, office, and second full bath downstairs. Big backyard, huge playground a couple of blocks away; I can walk to all of the kids’ schools in about seven minutes if I need to and not even arrive out of breath.
I now have a real kitchen. Gas stove, oven, big freezer, washing machine, dryer. The house is finally organized, the last box emptied and put away, the linen sorted, the pictures hung, the outgrown clothes in the storage closet in the right-sized bins. The house was really, really dirty when we moved in, and the last three months has been spent cleaning it, bit by bit; the switchplates, the doorframes, the windows. It looks beautiful now. It looks like home.
And it’s hard to put in words exactly what that means. We have our own stuff back, all of our own stuff: the baby pictures, the bookshelves, my grandmother’s crocheted bedspreads, my wedding china, my mug collection. My husband has his seforim back. The kids have all their old toys, and now Barak and Iyyar have a bunk bed and Avtalyon has the train bed that I bought for Barak when he was three. Marika has Barak’s old toddler bed, with the pretty pink quilt that Sarah made; Mordechai sleeps under the sock-yarn blankie that Cecilia made. I have my spinning wheel, and all my yarn, and lots of new things that I bought for the lift: new beds for us, new comforter covers, a new set of Corelle for weekday dishes. I can cook again. Not only do I have an amazing, incredible kitchen, but I have all of the equipment I need to cook. I have a blender, a big stand mixer, immersion blenders, all the little gadgets and pans and so on that make cooking a pleasure. And cookbooks! Let’s not forget cookbooks. I made pad thai last week and have been experimenting with different kinds of pesto. We eat much, much better now.And the kids are better, and happier. They are happier because they have friends whose houses they can go to and who come here to play. And they have a backyard with a swingset and a tree swing and lots of dirt to dig in. And they are happier because, well, I am happier. You’ve seen that poster, right, from the 80s? If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. It’s true.
But when mama is happy, things are pretty good. And she is. So they are.