Friday, October 26

Another day

Ok, so this ain't dorky little Mickey Mouse, this is Mighty Mouse! Woke up, sent obedient Adam and Noam to check all the traps, I wrote yesterday how I was giving him the choice of sticky-gooey-gruesome death and the cage trap which would then have him released back into the wild. Well, all the traps were found as they were left, empty. Bar, exactly one. Kitchen cupboard, rhs sink. He went for the Bamba (a lone chip placed right in the middle of the glue), obviously realising he had got semi-caught, stuck in the glue, he then proceeded to EAT half the polystyrene container and glue. This is one hungry dude, If he can do that to a plate, what is he going to do to me? (reason I lock me and mine in my bedroom every night). And now he is just getting more pissed by the day at the constant barrage of traps being placed in his way. Oh, and to celebrate his glue-extraction feat, he also had another nibble at the 'black-cheese-candle', then he went on to Adams room and had another little gnaw at the door.

There you have it, my dilemma deepens, so I took the children to school, went for my daily little routine, newspaper in hand, to Cafe neto for my usual breakfast of Iced Coffee and Bahgdadi Tortilla, (injected myself in the restaurants toilets, what a druggie) then off to the Shuk in Rosh Haayin, bit of retail therapy would do me good. The most amazing massive market which is only open on Fridays, full of attitude-filled, sweaty, smoking Israeli's, all vying to buy the most of everything and at the cheapest prices. So, 'when in Rome' I put on my Israeli attitude, and did my thing, I bargained, I haggled, and I sweated. Didn't smoke. There is quite a bit to learn from this sometimes crass Nation, I really did well! Necklaces, rings, belts, clothes, toys, etc all for the most unbeleivable prices. I am adding this place to my list of "Places to take Foreign Visitors to", this list is not that long yet, but I am working on it. I am really not the most willing of Israeli Citizens, my whole immigration story was hardly one filled with stories of me singing 'Evenu Shalom Aleychem' on landing and then kissing the ground on disembarkation. It is unfortunate that it didn't start like that, but it is up to me to make it end differently. Everyone new I meet will usually end up asking me the same question: "Tov lach poh ba Aretz?" which is a question asking me if life for me is better here in Israel, it is always asked in such a way that the assumption is obviously life is better for me here. I always try to be polite in answering. There are parts of my new life that are better here, and parts not, it will take a long time for the scales to tip in full-favour of being here.

I loved South Africa and I loved Johannesburg. I loved the whole South African vibe, the people, the dancing, the spirit, the jokes, the restaurants, winter weather in Jhb, my life, my home, my friends, absolutely everything. But I didn't love the escalating crime. It was just a cruel (yet statistically inevitable) twist of fate that made us leave sixteen days after our armed robbery. After stories mounting by the minute of another robbery/rape/murder/child-rape/hijacking, after two of our closest friends had armed robberies, and after us releasing within a heartbeat that we are a four-member family we would really like to grow old together, it was time to move on. Thankfully we could. Israel was the obvious choice; Israeli spouse, Jewish family. So we left on the 14 th March 2007, me with a very heavy heart and an unbearable sadness that I don't think will ever go away. Like a wife whose husband has an affair, you feel cheated, you know you have to leave, but you still love him. Same thing, it is just sad, sad, sad.

It is now seven long months later, and like any relationship gone bad, you sometimes draw out the agony, I went back to South Africa twice, to a beautiful Johannesburg Winter. To my unbelievable friends who permanently make me feel so special and needed and wanted, and now missed. To the wonderful food, ahhh, the restaurants, South African beef, and even better, South African lamb! And to everything that made every single beautiful Johannesburg memory from the last few years of my life. I went to Cape Town with Adam and Noam to see my beloved family, bittersweet, as it was the 'last good-bye'. Deep-down sad, but really great.

So the sadness has now begun to be tinged by a sense of bitterness. I am really angry with 'them', the 'baddies'. Not 'our' 'baddies' particularly, but all of them. All the people who wake up every day and choose, by their criminal actions to ruin peoples lives, give children nightmares and to rip families and friends apart. People who have no moral content whatsoever! Morality has disappeared, it is ok to rape women and children, it is okay to mutilate for muti, okay to kill someone for his R500 cell-phone. Perpetrators are not caught, there is no retribution. Police simply advise victims to go out '...and buy a gun' or tell you "You are lucky you weren't raped" What is going on? These people are ruining an entire country. I got on that El Al plane to leave 'screaming and kicking' inside. I didn't want to leave, I just had no choice. I have a family and I have a choice. And it just makes me sad, and bitter, because 'they' ruined my life, 'they' forced me to leave the people and place that I loved. Smokers know they may die, so too do South Africans , it is all about luck or fate, however you look at it. Is it your day today? Will 'they' be waiting for me today when I reverse out my driveway? Will 'they' come for me when I am asleep tonight? Will 'they' follow me home from Pick n' Pay today? Will they pretend to be Telkom technicians?, and when 'they' do get me, will 'they' kill me or just rape me? Will they bite my fingers to get off my rings? Will they irreparably traumatise my children? Or in our case will they just simply bend open our front massive gate and walk straight into our home. We were so lucky, we got real professionals, no sarcasm intended. They fortunately did not want to kill anybody, or G-d forbid rape anyone. They just wanted the 'goods' and that is what they got. We were lucky, we cut our losses and left. Some people just don't have that privilege. So now I find myself changing channels on TV when there is any African dancing/singing, I skip the newspaper articles about anything South African. But I watched the World Cup. What a victory. What a wonderful moment in history. A moment that I would love to believe could change a whole lot of 'baddies' into 'goodies', but that won't be the case. It takes a whole lot more.

So, to say the least, I was a reluctant Olah Chadasha (New Immigrant). Summer here is harsh, and the people are harsh. Here is me - polite South African girl, two young children, trying to carve my way. It is all about fighting, and sometimes about technique. You have to literally fight for everything here and somehow in the process you become indifferent. You fight for your place in line, in traffic, you fight simply for your right to exist. A brief history, Israel has been a part of my life for the past 14 years, I came initially here as a naive and virginal 21 year old, tossed like Daniel into the Lions' Den; I returned to South Africa permanently a few years later, non-virginal, a whole lot wiser and with gorgeous, tall, dark and very handsome boyfriend (now husband) in tow. My love affair with Israel has been on-and-off throughout the years; with my love for my life in South Africa growing, my love for Israel seemed to lessen. So now, back in the Lions Den, everyday is a new lesson for me. I have to be strong, like that song by Desree,"You gotta be strong, you gotta be fast, you gotta be bad, you gotta bold..." that is me (kind of), I still do a double-take when I see people spitting in the street, or stare at a black head of hair with 10cm grey roots, or people wearing slippers to the super-market, or my absolute worst, the obsession with tooth-picking they all have. Toothpicks rule here. You can't go to a restaurant and have a coke without the waitress offering you a toothpick???. They all pick their teeth, the fancier, the not-so-fancy, the Savyon locals and the Bat Yam locals, they all do it.

Also, there are so many things here that at their sheer chutzpah, can just blow you away. The line at the Post Office, it is always long. You enter, join the line, stand in said line for two and a half hours, dehydrated and exhausted just as you are about to get your turn someone will push in front of you and say that it is their turn they were just sitting on the side. What happens, they come into the Post Office, check out the line, see plus/minus who is last in line, then leave, and go have their hair blow dried, do a grocery shop, I don't know or care, and then all of a sudden, miraculously return to take their rightful place. So what do you do, you seethe, you rage, you shout and complain, you do what any other Israeli would do, and then in the end shrug and say "kacha ze ba Aretz" "That's how it is in Israel", and then just laugh and laugh. That is the standard line of response to a lot of things here. This is a country of opposite extremes, on the one hand, fists waving, tempers flaring Mediterranean passions, hooting, shouting, loud talking, loud laughing, teeth-picking crassness and then on the other, total indifference. Indifference and shrugging and acceptance and "kacha ze ba Aretz".

So with my sadness and bitterness of what is behind me, comes hope that I will get back to that place of joy that I had in South Africa. My children are happy, therefore I am happy, my family is safe, therefore I am okay. No more peeking through the curtains at every peep, no more jumping at every sound, no more fear. And with these tooth-pickers comes a real tranquility and a simplifying of my life. I am surrounded by vegetables, fruits and herbs. There is no Sandton City 10 minutes away, I have to drive to the nearby town for petrol, tractors drive up and down the roads, manure permeates the air and mice invade my life. And I am a better mother here, this was a hard realisation for me, but I know it is true. Katherine and Rachel are not standing in the wings, serving on me with every beck and call. If Adam is sick, my arrangements are cancelled and I stay home with my sick child. If I need to go to the super-market at 4pm, Adam and Noam come with me, moaning and groaning. If Adam has Judo, or Noam Ballet, the other child schleps along. I bath both children every night. If I have to collect Adam or Noam from a friend the other child comes along. There is no ready baby-sitter twice a week.

I don't want to say that my life is either better or worse here, it simply is different. And just fine for now! Each new friend is great, each new experience - wonderful. I find myself asking myself "Is this the new Claudia, Mazal, Samantha, Kelly, Adi?" But I won't find them, they aren't here.

So what will happen to me? Will I become a tooth-picker?, Will I spit publicly?. I don't know, but that is long-term. For now I can only try a bit harder each day to accept these sometimes hard and angry; sometimes kind and lovely people. And hopefully grow to love them. I started with one gorgeous, tall, dark and very handsome Israeli, and he hasn't let me down yet.


"Q: In which cases does removal of the fallopian tubes improve the outcome?
A: In recent years, impressive evidence has shown that hydrosalpinx (swollen fallopian tubes, filled with fluid) can reduce chances of implantation. It seems that the reason for this is that the fluid in the fallopian tubes contains inflammatory products that leak into the abdominal cavity and damage the embryo trying to implant itself in the endometrium. In cases of recurrent failure of IVF therapy, the condition of the fallopian tubes should always be assessed using a hysterosalpingogram and ultrasound scan. If the state of the fallopian tubes is very poorly, and might affect the implantation of the embryos, the benefit of their removal should be considered. The removal of oneor both fallopian tubes is performed by laparoscopy, where a laparoscope (a fine telescope) is inserted through an umbilical incision."