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my sandal smells like Arak, I dreamed a dream in Hebrew, and I’m on my last pair of underwear!.

April 22, 2010

The world sometimes seems upside down doesnt it?  I mean, imagine you’re a volunteer living in Israel. You’re prancing along. You get thirsty. You spot a little brook. You put your little volunteer lips down to the cool, clear water – BAM.  The world goes upside down!  grad school opportunities, remembrance day ceremonies, just when you think the beer is free, someone drops Arak on your sandal.  I just spent an entire weekend with new immigrants to israel, young guys and girls prancing and dancing around a fire in someones back yard and before ya know it, you’re caught up in a conversation about joining the army… but wait- in a moment of meta cognition I realize that this conversation is not in english but its in hebrew.  and breaaaaaaath!  Isnt that what they teach you… to just breaaaaaaaaath!

Good luck exploring the infinite abyss!  I’ll send a postcard.

It’s been a while since my last post.  I apologize for that.  But I have received big news which I have been struggling with a little bit.  Let me explain.  When I left, I had a carefully thought out plan which concluded in August and involved going to grad school in September.  So far everything has been going according to plan!  I am learning hebrew very well, I am enjoying my volunteer placement, the other volunteers are amazing, and in case your wondering (mom and dad :)) i dont have a girlfriend yet!!! 😛  I mean, the most variable part of the plan, acceptance into grad school, even came true.  I GOT IN!!!!!   Laurier University has officially offered me a place for their 2010 2 year master’s of social work program (MSW).  but what I have not factored in was that I would L.O.V.E. kibbutz life, travelling, talking to israelis, real hummous, and even the foor here.  So, i am caught at a cross roads and it has been mostly my indulgence in confusion and soul searching that been responsible for my recent absence or hibernation from the Western World.  What to do?  What to do?  I will attempt to explain my thoughts in the hope that it provides a catharsis for me and/or sheds light on the answer.  I also hope that it’s an entertaining read!

In the movie Garden State, one of the characters explains that, “sidecars are for bitches.”  Robert Frost phrased it a little more elegantly, “and I… I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference!”

So what, you ask?  Though I cannot deny my main stream traits, I have always prided myself by doing some things that are a little off beat, going to Israel being one of them and general quirkiness another.  Exploring the world, living away from home for an extended period of time, especially in a rural community is, to my knowledge, an uncommon itinerary these days.  Now, dont get me wrong, I’m NOT living my life solely to spite ‘the man’ or ‘mainstream’ but i cannot deny that riding of the beaten path is something that I enjoy.

On the other hand, graduate school is an important element of my life.  I know that as a fact.  But what I never really thought about was when I should complete (or start for that matter) grad school.  Some suggest that it is important to do it now and ‘get it over with’ so that one day I can incorporate my values of education and social assistance with travel and adventure?  I am cautious of this argument only because so many people get bitten with the ‘travel bug’ but never really get back for one reason or another.

On the other hand, there is a ginormous (think: giant+enormous) world out there and it is very cool.  North America definitely go the short end of the stick in terms of proximity to some of the earth’s grandest locations.  I had hoped that my previous post could shed some light on that fact.  With this in mind, will I ever get a chance to do this if I go to grad school in September?  I mean, I will have a master’s degree.  wtf???  what are those implications?

but then, I have been given an opportunity to work in a sort of halfway house for young offenders.  Thats a pretty cool placement and I would stay in israel and live on this magnificent kibbutz.

Now to the real meaty issues that I have been working through in my mind.  The rock in which I am based on, where I derive my strength and courage.  The people who praise my general quirkiness, applaud my achievement and support me through the trenches.  All of you are back home.  Truthfully, I miss you all!  Without getting all teary eyed, I will illustrate tell you all a small story born of Indian Mythology.  There were two gods Ganesha, the god of story telling and his brother, Kartikeya, the god of sport.  One day they decided to have a race, so Kartikeya ran around the world 3 times in record speed.  he flew around the continents, mountains, and oceans.  Saw, the whole world!  Ganesha rose from his chair, walked around his house where his parents lived three times and claimed to be the winner.  The brother looked at him and said that he cheated.  Ganesha explained that Kartikeya ran around the world.  He walked around his world!  this picture illustrates my point (ps.  this is the intro to a video I recently saw.  for those interested, i can provide the link).

So in the end, what happens?  How does this story end?  I don’t know yet.  I have until May 5th to officially decide.  Stay tuned.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Miriam Sharpe (aka mOm) permalink
    April 22, 2010 8:24 pm

    Justin…. ONLY because you so abused that spectacular quote from ‘My Cousin Vinny’, I will, until I view the, say only….
    Beware of the ruby slippers!

  2. Noa Gurvis permalink
    April 23, 2010 8:56 pm


    You’re based on a rock????? I have a question for you. Well, ok, I lied. Two questions.
    Question 1) WHY and HOW are you based on a rock????
    Question 2) Are you going to be able to make it to my Bat Mitzvah?? It’s in October… 🙂
    Back to my comments! (I know formally welcome you back to my comments). CONGRATULATIONS on making it into grad school! I have to go now… I’ll stay tuned!!! 🙂


    • April 25, 2010 4:21 pm

      hey Noa,

      By ‘rock’, im not talking about a literal rock… more of a metaphor. When you stand on a big rock (think Earth as a big rock) you feel physically grounded and sturdy. Well, I feel grounded and most comfortable when I’m with family and friends. They are my ‘rock’ per say. but sometimes straying out of your comfort zone is good for you, right? It forces you to try new things!

      as for your bat mitzvah, if I stay, maybe I can send your own personal camel from israel as a bat mitzvah present? how does that sound? If I come back, I will for surely be at your bat mitzvah. We’ll worry about that in a little while!

      Thanks for commenting, Noa! Keep them coming 🙂

      Love y’all!

  3. Miriam Sharpe (aka mOm) permalink
    April 24, 2010 9:33 pm

    Justin, please forward the link.
    I’m curious!
    Hope you had a great Shabbat.
    Love you and miss you!

  4. Bubby Ann permalink
    April 27, 2010 11:35 pm

    Hi Justin,
    Sooooo much to think about!!!! WHAT IS “ARAK” AND HOW DID IT GET ON YOUR SANDAL???
    Dreaming in Hebrew sounds amazing, I wish I could speak it, let alone dream in it. It’s on my to-do list to keep trying to learn it.
    Is it hot enough yet to go without underwear???
    Sooo many decisions to make and so much to learn, unfortunately, we only have one lifetime, so give it your best shot.
    What is the link for the video? Would love to see it.
    Cousin Pat is very impressed with your blogs, as am I. Keep them coming when you have a chance.
    How long does it take for a banana tree to grow and produce fruit?
    It’s incredible how much you are learning and thank you for sharing your experiences with us .
    GO, JUSTIN, GO!!! Meet the World in your own way.
    Lots of love and hugs, Bubby Ann

  5. Cally permalink
    May 2, 2010 1:46 am

    Hey Just!
    Great post!!

    You seem really happy where you are and are having really amazing experiences 🙂
    I’m glad that your looking at all the different options that you have about grad school/extending your time in Israel. I know that you will make the best decision for yourself!!
    Just remember your biological clock is …. …. …. ticking!
    oh and we do, ahem… ya know, miss ya!
    Can’t wait to hear more fun stories from you 🙂
    all my best,

    • May 5, 2010 6:48 pm

      Are you calling me old because you Missy are muchos older then me, granny Cally 🙂

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