we spent the weekend at one of Yehi's cousins bar-miztvahs in Ashqelon. It was an interesting experience, and very different from the American conservative bar/bat mitzvahs I grew up with. We went Friday night, and stayed in a small hotel with about 200+ people of Yehi's family. Friday night we had services and a big dinner. Saturday there were services, a big lunch, lots of hanging out with family and the third meal... then we all went home. There was no big party, no dancing, no speech by the bar-mitzvah boy (actually, I think he tried at one point, but no one could hear him over everyone else.).
Sometimes I forget that I am living a world away from my own family, but nothing makes it strike home like hanging out with Yehi's family. For some reason, especially being at the sea in Ashqelon, it strikes me just how far away I really am. Maybe its because I know my family is 'out there' far across the water. Maybe its because I look at Maya and realize that she has no idea what we have done, and the choices that we will have to make as far as visiting family and who she will grow up with. I love that she has cousins her age to play with, and masses of aunts and uncles who will take care of her.... but I HATE that my parents cannot see her learning to roll over, to talk, to sit up.
these are the choices we made. Maybe they will change, but for now we are going day to day. Our daily schedule hasnt changed much, maybe because Maya is so young, which is somewhat of a blessing. I can hold on to the similarities and work my way into the israeli system step by step.
On that note, ulpan starts today... we will see where they put me... heres to hoping a bet class opens up!