There was a time when people would make each other mixtapes where they would put songs associated with the fondest memories, or moments in their lives. They could be addressed to a beloved one, to a dear friend, or to a place they did not want to leave behind no matter what.
When I reached the age where complex emotions of desired intimacy mingled with deliberate delinquency started hovering around my mind, and memories needed to be conveyed in arts or poetry, mixtapes were no longer a thing. Everything has been replaced with a quick and rather impersonal digital sharing such as Facebook. Whereas Facebook and other similar platforms are perfect for sharing content with communities around the world, they will never be as personal as, say, a handwritten letter or a lovingly signed book or even a printed and framed photograph. It just doesn’t express the same sentiment as it does not say “You mean so much to me, that I want you to have a tangible evidence of my affection and appreciation, something that you can touch and possess, something that you can instantly see without scrolling down hundreds of other messages or pictures”.
During my years in Israel, and a little bit before that, I have experienced the biggest transition in my life; I went from a snarky and seemingly reckless teenager to a young woman, while rebooting and reshaping myself on the way. So I have decided to follow the tradition of older generations, and make a mixtape that would reflect the adventurous and turmoiled time-period when I was still new in the country, and dedicate it to Israel. As I am not talking about sharing it with a specific person, but with many people, the blog is a perfect way to do so. Here we go:
Bob Dylan’s songs; an intimate, soft glimmer of their lyrics, fused with uncomplicated melody that unsparingly strike you right in your heart. However, The Times They Are a-Changin’ has found its place on my improvised mixtape not directly for its lyrical composition, but for its overall revolutionary spirit. I remember it was August 2011 and I did not want to have any grief in my heart. I was ready for good times, I was finishing up college and going to Israel. Looking back, I am still endlessly grateful for my craze, bravery, faith, ignorance….whatever it was that brought that girl to this country.
It was deep early November and the city was preparing to the snow. It was drizzling, but the buildings were already being heated, and, despite the gloomy late-autumnally paysage, the atmosphere seemed pretty cozy. I was walking along the water and The Kings’s Speech soundtrack was playing in my head. My thoughts were not hasty anymore and the piano music, classy a la London or Boston, and charmingly simple at the same time, was a perfect addition to my in-between-commutes solitude. It was quite a magical time when I already knew I was leaving, and the present or the past was not at all burdening anymore. Without any precise plan of what I would do when I get to Israel I felt so free.
Even though, Always On My Mind is not about travels or the whole complexity of switching locations of residence, the chorus line is still stuck in my head as the reminder that I would always be a girl from the North no matter how much time I spend surrounded by palm trees. I am still happy I didn’t leave before snow. When you move to other places, your mind always captures the last what you’ve seen and felt, so my memories of crispy snow and heavy downy snowflakes on my skin and iced-blue sky, and the evening startling lights of the big city are still vivid.
The plane was about to land in Israel. It was windy and the rain was pouring out of bucket. The last turn above Tel Aviv, tiled rooftops, wild tropical wind, sporadic tumbleweed, cars on the Highway One and… finished. The wheels hit the ground. Warm moisturized air caresses the skin ,and I cannot believe that I am in Israel again and this time, possibly for good. The song‘s lyrics resonate with the state of my mind “Pennies in a well, a million dollars in the fountain of a hotel. Fortune teller that says maybe you will go to hell. But I’m not scared at all…the cracks in the crystal ball.”
It was my first night in Jerusalem. It was plus 15 Celsius (59 Fahrenheit). Very cold….This inexplicable lack of correlation between the degrees and the senses. The sky is clear and only a few starts are visible. it is already late and the city is falling in slumber. I feel so damn lonely. I don’t know what to expect and who to talk to. I have everything under control, but how much control can you possibly impose on a situation if your gut is jet-legged and disoriented? I feel so wild and hallow.
That year my birthday was on Purim. Moscato, strawberries and oxytocin. I am pumped with infatuation and euphoria. Donning a costume of Janis Joplin thinking how awesome and unique I would look. After the first day of Purim realize that the majority of young population in this country is inspired by the same type of spiritual insanity. Oh well…next year I would be more creative.
I think, the most difficult part of one’s establishment is when you are old enough to be expected to bear with adult life, and, at the same time, too young to cope with the consequences. My first year in Israel I have been trying hard to grow just a bit older so that I could fearlessly face the reality with all its implications, but for the good portion of the year my tail was in between my legs. It is easy to get sidetracked in the country with such an informal culture as the one of Israel, it is easy to lose your importance and forget the purpose of your staying behind so many foreigners that feel completely lost in Israel and still pretend that their motivation is justified. There have been quite a lot of crumbled dreams, ragged thoughts and heartache, but there is so much hope and strength in overcoming all that.
This post originally appeared on The Land Of Many Countries.