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A Land Filled With Lessons To Be Learned Lesson #10

By Danita Aziza, July 6, 2010

I have a problem, a baaya, as they say in Hebrew.  Whenever I travel to another time zone I never reset my watch.  It may be genetic as I always remember my late grandfather wearing two watches whenever we went away on vacation together.  My Granddad always wanted to know the local time in Moose Jaw for whatever reason.  I have undoubtedly inherited the trait, but have never resorted to donning two watches.

The problem with being in Canada is that, depending on my local - Toronto, Winnipeg or Vancouver -I’m either seven, eight or 10 hours behind the time showing on my watch.  As math was never my strong suit, I find myself constantly staring at my fingers trying to figure out what time it is and when I have to be at my next appointment, get- together with friends or pick-up Benji, my son, from his job.  Plainly put, I’m femisched because I simply refuse to adjust my watch to the current time zone.

Like with many things, there is some benefit to my nonsense.  Tali, my daughter is still in Israel writing the last of her exams at IDC in Herzlya, and I always know when it most appropriate to send her a text message or what time she should be going to sleep or walking to the library to study.  I can advise any of my friends in Winnipeg who have children spending time in Israel this summer what the time is there and I’m right on when I need to decide to send an e-mail to a work or home address of my friends in Israel.  But my stubbornness has a dual purpose now that I think of it.

Last time I wrote I spoke about my fear, or maybe I didn’t refer to it as that, of sliding into old shoes.  That returning to Canada and an old life with family, old friends and familiar places would cause me to question the new life that we have chosen to pursue in Israel.  Oh I wish I could say that the shoes don’t feel quite as comfortable and that things had changed here and that we had in fact changed as well.  But that is not really the case. 

Our time in Toronto with Michel’s family was a wonderful visit.  Because we can’t see each other so frequently we really make the most of being together.  I also cherished time spent with my cousin and her adopted daughter and it was so very difficult to say goodbye to everyone there.  

We arrived in Winnipeg in a rainstorm and were greeted in Gimli by thousands of fish flies and mosquitoes, but also by our fabulously warm family of friends that we made during our six years spent here.  The city is still the same as we left it with everything in its usual place.  The streets clean and the grass and trees a beautifully rich green.  It is so easy to maneuver the bank, grocery store even the passport office and everyone here is so friendly and helpful.

Last Shabbat I went to shul at Camp Massad.  The shul was celebrating it’s 60th anniversary and had just put on a new addition.  It was so warm and haimish and I sat there feeling   totally at home even though most of the congregants were strangers to me.  There was a true sense of community represented in the small, stuffy yet filled to capacity shul that has provided cottage goers with a link to their Judaism for six decades.   Here I was in my jeans, void of my traditional shul- going attire, unfamiliar with the venue or most of the people listening to the same Torah reading that was recited eight  hours earlier in Israel and yes, a piece of me jealous that I have yet to find such a spiritual haven in Israel.

On Tuesday Tali called me at 2:00 p.m. Israel time.  Her voice was full of emotion and I was sure that she was calling to say that her exam was a bust.  Quite the contrary.  She was a bit breathless as she recounted the sight that she had just witnessed on campus.  “Mom you can’t believe! There were 12,000 people all dressed in yellow shirts with yellow balloons filling the air all in support of Gilad Shalit.  It made me realize the smallness of everything else in comparison.”  It was 8:00 a.m. in Winnipeg and I felt worlds away from her and the vastness of our separation was abundantly clear.  I was jealous not to be there.

In site of everything that I love and appreciate about being in Canada, there is now a part of me I believe, that belongs in Israel.  Yes daily life is much easier and comfortable here in Canada, without doubt, and even after being away for almost two years I still feel we are apart of a community both here and surprisingly so still in Toronto to some extent as well.  That feeling has yet to be found for me in Israel, but that added dimension to life, the purpose and passion that fills the day, the necessity of just being there can not so easily be erased from my psyche.

Next week we travel to see my mom, her partner Boris, and my brother and his family in Vancouver, aunts and uncles as well.  The difficulty of living so far away will be further reinforced.  Tali will be with us, G-d willing, for a week, so I won’t have to consult my watch quite as much to know where she is and what she is doing, but I wouldn’t dare think of adjusting my watch to the local time.   Just as my Granddad had the need to know the time in Moose Jaw while away from his home, I now have the need and perhaps even more significant, the desire to know the local time in my home.

L’hitraot  and hopefully another lesson learned in a week or two.


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