Monday, May 31, 2010

It has been a peaceful couple months here... but that never lasts for long. Todays incident has brought a lot of fear and anger back into Israelis... it was for something a lot less serious than this that the last intifada was started.

I struggle with the Israel conflict. I see so many people (facebook friends, blogs I read, the news...) discussing 'Israel the aggressor' and 'the bloodbaths in Gaza'. I dont have the strength to fight everyones opinions, but I cant believe some of the blanket statements I hear. I never know if I should stand up for my new home or just let it pass. In college, Hillel used to tell students that there were three types of people when it came to any argument- the 'saints', the 'sinners' and the 'salvageables'.... basically that it was pointless to argue with anyone who was already blatantly anti-israel, because they would never listen, and instead to focus on the last group because they could still be 'converted'. That may sound horribly biased, but its true with all arguments that one believes strongly in.

It pains me when events like this happen, because then I realize how many people hate me just for being here... and I wonder why I would ever have brought my daughter into this situation. My husband on the other hand believes this is exactly why we are here... to show people that Israel has a right to defend itself and its citizens... including us. we will see what happens over the next couple days and weeks. heres hoping that it remains relatively peaceful...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

mothers day

Israelis dont celebrate Mothers Day, and its something that really bothers me. I get the idea of the Israeli "family day", but in reality no one celebrates it. And even though Mothers Day has turned into a serious Hallmark holiday in the states, I appreciate the importance of the day more every year.

My mother and I are too much alike in many ways, and VERY different in others. Growing up I never really appreciated what she did for us. My mom worked very hard in her career and her job, and I often complained that we were second place. I never took the time to notice that we ate dinner as a family together almost every night, or that until I was in High School most of our meals were home made.

Thats not to say, of course, that I NEVER appreciated my mother... I just didnt really understand her. How can a child ever truly understand what a parent goes through? I have been a mother less than a year, but I have already made some revelations in the parent-child bond. I am still the person i was before I became a mother... I have my own dreams and goals in my future career, and they are now mixed with the desire to offer my child(ren) the best that I can, included family meals and school events and everything else that may come. This is not an easy task, and I struggle with the conflict between who I was and who I am as a mother.

Being out on my own, in a foreign country, has really made me think about my childhood. I am sad sometimes that my child(ren) will not experience the same things I did... The fall decorations in school, learning the alphabet... and I worry that I will not be able to connect with the things they do learn in school, or the experiences they have growing up. Everyday I become more thankful for the opportunities my parents offered me, and I can only hope to offer them to my children.

So, for my mother who I worry sometimes thinks that I have forgotten her.... I love you so very much, and I am thankful for everything you have done. Happy Mothers Day.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What is the cost of education? And where does in rank in importance to everything else in life? My co-latin teacher and I were discussing Israeli education today, and the issues and benefits that come with it. I, thankfully, have a couple years before I need to start making decisions about education for my child, but it always sits at the top of my mind.

My husband and I both got very good educations. From the time I started grade school I knew that college was not an option... it was a fact. I went to private school for middle and high school, and got one of the best educations in the area. I am thankful everyday for the opportunities it provided. I have since gotten both my bachelors and my masters degree. Where I went to school this was the norm. My husband grew up in a very different area, but his parents decided to send him to an elite religious boarding school. He is the only one of his siblings to get a 4-year college degree (so far...).

We talk often about our options. Here in KG education is not paramount. Like many areas in the US, it is possible to get a good education here, but only if the parents (and the student of course) are very focused on finding the best options, and enforcing and encouraging education at home. This is something that seems natural to me, but it isnt to most families here. This area is much more blue collar, and most residents dont have a college degree. There is also the defining factor of the army... most people who do attend college only do so after the army... at the age of 22 or 23. This simple, but significant, factor encourages many to simply go straight to work after.

Luckily we have some time before making these decisions... but as teachers this is something that we talk about everyday. Every discussion makes me more and more thankful for my own upbringing and my parents insistence on a good education