Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Birthday

Today is my fifth day of being 40. I'm feeling pretty good, peaceful with myself and with the world. It's very satisfying to say that, and I make sure that I'm not smug about it because, well, arrogance is anathema to feeling peaceful and I don't always feel peaceful. But! My classes are going well, I'm very pleased with my marks from last semester (including 2 As), and I'm coming across some more fantastic ideas and material for my thesis. I'm very excited about the future: the rest of my time in Israel will be balanced between classes and homework/essays, visiting and roadtripping with: Alain (my pal from Paris), Richard and Tzippy, hopefully Jason, and Annette Metzuyenet who returns to Jerusalem for the Ulpan on 22 June. And, of course, I'm looking forward to my homecoming in July. I've already started re-arranging my apartment in my head.

Tuesday evening before my birthday, Joseph made a four-course fantastic dinner as a kick-off for bday celebrations. In attendance: me, Pieter, Jacob, Staz and Stephen. On the menu: chicken matzaball-type soup; salad with avocadoes, roasted red peppers, romaine, blue cheese, bocconcini, and something else; bruschetta with fresh basil, tomatoes and garlic; ravioli stuffed with cheese; and multiple mushroom risotto. We had Israeli Pinot Noir and another lovely red whose grape/name escapes me.

Thursday morning at 11am I got a phone call from Richard's Florists saying they had a delivery for me. For me? From whom? How exciting! The roomies and I had been wracking our brains: Mom? Dad? My girls? Adrienne? A boy? (A huge whatever for 'the boy' guess!) At around 4pm, this huge, beautiful orange tree arrives for me! From Julie, Julie, Daniele and Erika! Yes, I cried and Lily was there to witness my ultimate girlish reaction. THEN I checked my mailbox: I got two things. First, the card from my Grandmother - just in time! (The cards from my parents had arrived a few weeks ago.) The second thing: a slip saying I had a package waiting for me at the post office. For me? From whom? How exciting! So, I raced down to the post office, there was no line (total shocker - usually you're in there for at least 45 minutes waiting) and it was from Daniele! I raced home, ripped it open, and promptly made myself a cup of Tim's! Thank you, Dan, for this fantastic anticipation of home!

Thursday evening, Lily, Kyle and I went for dinner at Qadosh, one of my favourite restaurants here. I promise to start taking photos there, especially of their desserts. I had my favourite dessert, Napoleon, and the girls gave me a gorgeous journal that Kyle had picked up for me at the Victoria and Albert Museum in Paris.

My birthday itself was relaxed and great fun.I was up early and Pieter and I walked down to the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum. It was fantastic! All of the artefacts were numbered, but there were no plaques or written guides in the North or South rooms telling you what the artefacts are. So, I went to the front desk and inquired and the guard gave me three notebooks, circa 1961, softcover and bound with string, which provided the details we were looking for:
One isn't supposed to take photos in the museum itself, but one is allowed to snap in the courtyard. Pieter and I, however, were naughty: I'd look casual, keeping my eyes peeled for the guard while he pulled out his camera-phone and took some stealth photos. Yup, I'm gettin' old: my naughtiness is relegated to an obscure realm, just as my studies are.

After the museum visit, Pieter and I went for birthday schwarma on Salah Ed-Din, a street in East Jerusalem just outside the Old City walls. Then we decided, spontaneously, to visit the Garden Tomb after walking through the Albright Institute. This was the only photo I got of Pieter smiling, and being silly/funny Pieter:
We then hopped an Arab sherut, got out just before we ended up in Beit Hanina, and I was back in time for mid-afternoon (in Israel) / early morning (in Barrie) birthday chats with my parents. I also spoke with Adrienne and that led up to birthday dinner.

Alex, Jessica (my HBO Rome pals), Joseph, Pieter, Gavin (my movie pal) and I went to the Armenian Tavern, just inside the Jaffa Gate. It was yummy food, and great conversation in an amazing atmosphere of old Jerusalem stone and Armenian artefacts everywhere. Afterwards, Gavin and I went for ice-cream on Jaffa Road, then down to Cinemateque to see "The Divine Weapon," a Korean film. Um, yeah, bad movie but it was fun. I loved how all the male characters punctuated each sentence with a masculine guffaw, and the female characters were either fueled by their tempers or were very demure. The fight scenes were cool but too short; the slow scenes were weapon-making montages in lush mountainous scenery set to a patriotic score.

Yes, I had a lovely birthday. This is my second birthday abroad - I celebrated 32 with my Mom in the Boyne Valley in Ireland. I feel very grown up but don't look so grown up; Adrienne and I joke that people think we're younger than we are because we're immature for our age. If a sincere joie de vivre is equal to immaturity, then I'll take immaturity any day. But, I don't think that's it. I'm still trying to figure out what 'it' is. I hope it takes a lifetime. As my Dad says, "Any age is a good age." As my Mom says, "You're a free spirit." A birthday is a good time to reflect on the journey so far, and the journey to come. Like I said, I'm figuring it out, and am happy that I have so many people to help me and travel with along the way.

1 comment:

annette clouteau said...

Thank you Tanya! I have seen my name on you blog today!!!!
I am very happy to see you on june!!!I kiss you!!!!annette metzuyanet!!!