Monday, March 30, 2009

Healing Words

When I heard the news it was as if a black sticky cloud began to invade my insides. Paralyzing me and throwing me to the ground. The very moment the news entered my ears and continued to the very insides of my soul I fell to my knees. I clawed my way into the carpet of the hallway of the Bangkok hotel where I was attending a conference. I then crawled back into my hotel room like a wounded animal- finding solace underneath the porcelain sink of my bathroom. I wrapped my arms around my knees and began to rock myself. I was raw and I became animal. The Peace Corps doctor came into my room, feeding me mashed up medication to calm myself enough to bath myself and prepare myself for the lonely journey to Israel -a journey that still continues four years later with a ring on my finger. At that moment I became a widow- except I was never married.

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Let me introduce myself. My name is Susi Doring. Excuse me- Susi Doring Preston. I am the glowing wife of a charming Englishman who bakes muffins and helps me with the laundry. I am the daughter of the late Fred S. Doring, a man who lived the American Dream with an Oldsmobile and cowboy boots. Forget the German accent he managed to keep even after 45 years in America, I am the proud daughter of a man who had herring for breakfast and who would fall asleep watching black and white westerns from his lazy boy. A man who remembered his past by playing the accordion in the dimly lit living room of our suburban Oklahoma home, who would sip on brandy while a tear fell when he remembered the old country.

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In 2005 my body and soul experienced the sudden and unexpected deaths of my father and my love Tsiki Eyal. Four years later I sit in my Jerusalem apartment staring at the green foliage outside- and I remember. Because how could you forget a time like this only four years earlier.

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I write this because words heal me. I write this because time has jumped forward in so many ways and I am so happy that I can’t help but be so sad. You see, this week marks the remembrances of this time - twins in my heart of painful memories that my fathers memorial kicked off just yesterday. I am reminded of paralyzing fear four years ago that consumes your body when you realize that for the first time in your life G-d took something away instead of giving it to you.

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I hold my breath and I let myself remember.

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I remember how my group of fellow volunteers lined the Bangkok hallway sitting with their backs against the wall as I packed my one bag to get on a plane to Israel. Israel- I knew it. How could I fall in love with a boy from such a degenerate place? The wild wild middle east- people carry guns- a place that hasn’t seen peace for thousands of years. I get on the plane- my soul is freshly bruised from my father’s death only a month earlier. It was only two months earlier I was visiting Israel with love in my heart and standing under skies so blue that you could tell G-d painted them himself. I came back to the same blue skies but my eyes changed and so did my heart. I was walking and talking but I no longer could breath, I no longer lived in my body.

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The following months I received cards and little trinkets that padded my pain and made me feel loved. I wrote often and I cried often. I ate food but I no longer tasted it. I went out and let whiskey burn my throat but it did not heal me. I retreated in so many ways and this is when I began to grow. I began to see birds sitting on window sills and leaves quiver in the wind. I noticed how the fisherman’s lights on the Mediterranean Sea would dip in and out of the waves and it felt like something more than what I was seeing. Music moved me in ways I never knew possible. I read a lot during this time. I read every book on grief and healing- I acknowledged my newly found sexual desire as a Freudian reaction to intense grief. I welcomed the waves of happiness in between my tears.

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I became inspired. I ate falafel and studied Hebrew. I would listen to the lectures of Aviva Zorneberg at the Pardes institute and I would place myself in the history of the first testament and understand my fortunate of having a warm roof over my head and people who truly cared. I played basketball and let my body become stronger against the boys I was in Hebrew school with -guys from Italy and France, South America, and London. I would lock myself in my bathroom- applying Dead Sea mud to my body and making faces in the mirror- hoping that the healing agents in the mud would speed up my recovery time.

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Tsiki came into my dreams often. He told me secrets about how the world worked and I would update him on what he was missing out on. Sometimes in my dreams he wouldn’t speak he would just have this sadness in his eyes and I would wake up holding on to his dog tags, placing the cold metal on top my heavily beating heart. At that time his clothes still had his smell on them- at that time I still had his cell phone number in my phone.

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My father- he is on a farm somewhere wearing a flannel shirt. He is farming a piece of land and sitting on a rocking chair. When he comes to be in my dreams, I am a seven year old sitting on his lap and steering the big white oldsmobile he drove. He told me four years ago in my dreams that everything would be ok. And it is. Everything is ok I am here and they are with me.

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These days I am rich- not because I have forgotten the pain or taken for granted the life I had before with Tsiki and my father. I am rich because without them there is no possible way I could have become the woman I am today. You know- that nutty girl with the Cabby hat. The one who blatantly admits she should have been a rockstar, a doctor- and a chef. The woman who gains more freckles instead of them fading away. The girl who can’t pass a math class for the life of her but can come up with words like online trepidation and overanalyze the words to Meatloaf lyrics.

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I suppose what I am trying to say is: this is who I am. I am a sentimental girl with a weathered soul. I write because it heals me and for now- I feel healed.

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Thank you for taking the time to let me share this with you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Tuesday and St. Patty's Day

There are some days when you wake up with just enough sleep to pop right out of bed. To take enough time in the morning and not rush yourself, to stand in the shower a few minutes longer and let the hot water redden you skin so when you step out of your world map shower curtain, the steam is flowing off your body and into Ireland. The mini radio is on- playing the morning 80s music, I am never sure if the morning segment is supposed to be 80s music, or the DJ is just uninformed that since then, the billboard music has had numerous Top 100’s and Michael Jackson is not IN but coming BACK.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sleep Me

The ever- present reality of balancing a full-time job, freelance and language classes with a splash of boxing each week has punched me in the eye and sucked the energy out of my nostrils. .
Take that and sprinkle in last weeks Purim celebrations on the streets of Jerusalem and go ahead and place a miniature plunge on each of my ears and pull quickly and unexpectadly. I have set reminders of people to call because I am finding it hard to run to the bathroom to sit on the pot and play my favourite cell phone game- Quadra Pop.
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Although our quaint Shabbat meal of 5 has turned into one with 12 attendees, and although it's four hours before Shabbat and I am still at my desk at work. I can't help but be pleased that even if it makes you really really really tired, you can pretty much attain anything you ask for.

Monday, March 02, 2009

top 11 reasons why i could have a split personality

The server in my office is down. Outlook isn't reponding to my requests so I thought I would put down some of my own requests in this blog.
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P Bonez and I have booked our flight to the U.S. The thought of a home visit gets me agitated with excitement. During this stage I usually idealize the fun and re-bonding I will experience with all my old friends. Such idealization usually wears off after 72 hours in Tulsa when I realize just because they upkeep their status updates regularly on facebook and throw comments to me in various forms- it doesn't mean your friends anymore.
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What I get excited about the most is the fact that the life I led in the U.S is so different than the life I lead in Israel so the feeling of indulging and spoling ourselves silly for insanely cheap are usually associated with our U.S visit.

Top 11 reasons why i've grown out of the midwest-southern stamp on my head:
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1. I buy oats wholesale out of burlap sacks instead of Quaker Oats packaging.
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2. I also buy popcorn wholesale and make sure I don't purchase chicken feed.
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3. I only buy new clothes when I leave the country. Which can be about once a year. Needless to say - P Bonez and I have had basically the same wardrobe for approx 3 years. this makes me sad.
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4. I ride my bike everywhere. It keeps your butt perky. In Tulsa I drove my car, even if it was only a 5 minute drive.
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5. Market fresh vegtables and minimal packaging here vs processed foods there.
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6. Recyclying.
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7. Feasting around large tables with many friends vs restaurants and fast food.
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8. All of my friends speak two languages and most of them speak 3
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9. Most of my friends in both places know how to shoot guns.
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10. Live music in the U.S- 2nd hand albums from someone else's iTunes in Israel.
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11. Happy Hour there. Heavy middle eastern crisis and religious conflict here.