I wake up writhing in the kind of pain only intense tummy cramps can give you. Hot sweats and cold shivers, and turn my head to throw up in the bin that I put next to my bed just in case when I went to sleep feeling icky.
Any second now my mom is going to walk in with her weird Spidey sense mothers seem to have when their children are deathly ill. Then she’s going to hold a wet towel to my fevered head and feed me all the medication and love I need until I finally give in to the relief of sleep.
Except I’m not in my childhood bed, I’m not in my room back at home, and mom’s Spidey senses just don’t work from over 500 miles away. So I drag my head off my pillow in Katamon, Jerusalem, and clean myself up.
Oh boy…here comes another soppy post about the ebbs and flows of Aliyah…. classic Yaffa.
This blog is about the kindness of human beings.
Didn’t see that one coming did you.
It was the winter break of 2015, and I was sitting, a little intoxicated, on the floor of a holiday house with one of my best friends, mascara running down our cheeks while we cried of laughter. Until the cries turned real, as it clicked for both of us that in a week I would be leaving the country indefinitely and all our crazy crew antics would become events of nostalgic value.
“’Now you listen to me!” she demanded, grabbing both my cheeks and staring me straight in the eyes, desperate to be taken seriously through her tipsy hiccups. “If you ever, even for a second, feel like you cannot manage alone, and you need me there, you give me one phone call and say the word. One phone call and I WILL be there, no matter if I have to beg borrow or steal a plane ticket.”
And I knew, she meant every word.
Just like that, the first thread of kindness was woven into the patchwork quilt I’d bring along on this difficult adventure on which I was about to embark. Something that would strengthen through time and cover me when I got a bit too cold.
A second thread was woven after the first six weeks of ulpan, when my religious lecturer simply stated, in the same tone in which she corrected my Hebrew grammar, that I would be coming to her family for Shabbat because she wanted me to have a warm, Israeli experience.
Another thread took shape when I left my bag containing every single one of my important possessions on a bus. Only to come to the Egged station a day later, already accepting a fate of cancelling credit cards and filing for a new I.D, to find my bag put aside in a locked room, money kept in a safe down to every last agurah, and the entire office breaking into applause when they heard me laughing ecstatically upon my emotional reunion with my bags.
Thread by thread — The boy who knew I had a school-girl crush on him, making sure to see me on my birthday, the mom and dad of the kids I babysat constantly asking if I needed anything (including shidduch dates, furniture, and a place to eat — they are the best!), a roommate buying me extra milk because she knew I was out and needed my morning coffee, and friend after friend proving to me over and over again that I may technically have moved alone, go to sleep alone and wake up alone (okay, it does sound pretty sad), but in fact, I am surrounded constantly.
So I wash my face, wash my hair and wash out the façade of isolation and helplessness which stupid tummy bugs try to convince me that I’m feeling. I look through moggy eyes at the five unopened messages of concern on my phone and I know that there are people out there.
People and their outstretched hands, people and their kindness, who have woven a blanket of good deeds so thick and warm that all I need to do is pull it over me, and snuggle deep into the warmth and appreciation I have for humanity at its finest, and I will realize I have never been less alone in my life.