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Danita and Michel Aziza


By Danita Aziza, August 12, 2010


It is hard to believe that our trip to Canada is coming to a close after almost eight memorable weeks.  Much has transpired during our time away from Israel and as I described to a friend on the phone today, the trip has been like a painting filled with eight glorious colors with each color somehow blending into the next.

Time with parents, siblings and friends has not been taken for granted and when you live so far away you try to make the most of every date for coffee, phone conversation, walk along the Gimli boardwalk or Shabbat meal and savor the discussions, scenery and joy of just being together with people you love being with and enjoying the moment.

We ended up selling our Winnipeg home when we arrived which was symbolic in many ways.  I’ve lived in many apartments and homes, in fact, Michel commented that he can’t even remember all of the kitchens that we’ve cooked in throughout our almost 24 years of marriage.  As we’ve had to move multiple times, I’ve learned to never become too attached to dwellings.  However, when I sat on the stairs of our Winnipeg home for the last time a few weeks back I recalled so many moments of joy and challenge that occurred there that I couldn’t help but feel a range of emotion.  Selling the house has provided a sense of closure to a particular chapter of our lives.

As we still feel strongly attached to Winnipeg and the community that we have been blessed to be a part of , it was important to us to maintain a footing here and so we decided to find a small bungalow in Gimli to store many of our belongings and allow us to return in summers to come to reconnect with remarkable friends and spend quality time with our family.  This has made the thought of leaving so much easier.

I spent quality time with my Mom and her partner, Boris, in Vancouver last week and I loved every moment of being spoiled in a way that only your mother can spoil you.  I ate all of my favorite foods reminiscent of my youth, looked at old photo albums, caught up on all of the latest family gossip and watched video footage from my parent’s wedding, my brother, Peter’s bar mitzvah as well as my own Moroccan wedding festivities. Rachel, our youngest daughter, was with me in Vancouver and sat beside me during the viewing.  She was totally blown away with the revelation that her father once had a full head of hair and a thick French accent.  I was personally most struck by the fact that time goes by so quickly and we simply blink and the moment vanishes.  Saying good-bye to my Mom at the airport knowing that we would again be separated by so many miles with months in between our next meeting reaffirmed that living in Israel has given me an additional gift of truly appreciating our time together in all it’s intensity.  The reality is that I will miss her terribly.

On the Shabbat before our departure to Canada I confessed to Daniel, a lone soldier from Winnipeg who spends many Shabbatot with us, that I was worried that I wouldn’t want to return to Israel after spending so much time in Canada.  He said I shouldn’t be concerned and that I would be ready to come back when the time came.  How insightful were his comments, for one morning this week I awoke with a sense that I needed to return to” real” life.  As wonderful as these weeks have been, and they have been wonderful, I began to crave normal life with mundane routine where you know what you are doing tomorrow and you think about what you’re going to cook for dinner and you prepare a list of things to do for the day.  I started to long for my dogs and visualize my daily drive on the highway and the various people I encounter throughout the day.  I thought about my morning routine of waking at 6:30 and being concerned about how much water I consume during my shower and then opening my front door overlooking a large overgrown field to retrieve The Jerusalem Post that has been tossed in the between the bushes.  Does this mean that I truly feel it is time to return?

This coming week I travel to Calgary to see my eldest brother after a period of three years.  I’m going to have breakfast with my friend Trish who I spent hours playing house and school with as a youngster and drive past the home I grew up in.  I’ll visit the cemetery and then return to Winnipeg to spend our last Shabbat here ironically observing the sixth anniversary of my Dad’s passing and recite kaddish in his memory at the synagogue that I miss so much. 

I just blinked and now it is almost gone.  If it wasn’t for living in Israel we would have never had the opportunity of experiencing all of the magnificence, intensity, emotion and blessings that the last two months have offered nor valued it as much.  Oh I am so lucky and as hard as it is to leave I am ready to return to daily life.  I am ready to return home, to Israel.


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