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Danita and Michel Aziza

Danita Aziza: There isn’t Always A Tomorrow

by Danita Aziza, August 15, 2013

My husband Michel is a realist yet, at the same time, a dreamer who without fanfare goes about setting both long-term objectives and short-terms goals for himself.  As for me, well not so much.  I tend to be a procrastinator putting off things that I find to be a stretch  whether it be pushing myself to do an extra five sit-ups after my stomach muscles have started to  burn or sitting my fanny down to write this, my closing Life Lesson living in the Land of Israel.  The fact that it is now approaching  the one year mark since we returned to Winnipeg,  speaks volumes of my capacity to put off to tomorrow what should be have been done today, or yesterday or the day before that.


While Michel was always fairly intent on finding a way to live in Israel, I conveniently filed the dream in the bottom drawer quelling Michel’s desire with the proverbial;  of course dear, I think it is a fabulous thing to do when the kids are out of the house living on their own or when we retire, or when….  It wasn’t until the notion smacked me on the head that Michel’s fragile arteries would be better served in the Land flowing with milk and honey than in the high stress environment of the bus manufacturing plant where he worked, that the fire suddenly got lit underneath me and I sprang into action.


In Israel, tomorrow is a long time away.  For example, shortly after our arrival back in 2008, an acquaintance from Winnipeg insisted I contact her Israeli relative who she swore would be a perfect person to befriend.  True to form, I was shy about calling and kept putting it off when finally a pang of loneliness compelled me to dial her number.   ‘”Perfect friend” was totally unimpressed with the fact that I was about two months late in calling and even more ticked when I suggested a coffee date of two weeks from Friday. Her snarly response of call me at eight in the morning of the day you want to meet and we’ll see, left me bedazzled and feeling utterly foolish and while we never met, my buddy taught me that in Israel appointment books are best left for scheduling  visits with relatives and friends from overseas.  I was slow to catch on that, in the Land of Today, even hair appointments and travel arrangements can be made within hours of their occurrence.


As a procrastinator, I habitually struggled with the immediateness of Israeli culture.  Oftentimes I lost sight of the virtue in having to cram so much into a day that you would crawl into bed at night utterly exhausted without being able to recall the phone calls you made, highways you travelled and people you ran into on the busy streets of whatever three cities you ran errands in that day.  Living in Israel reminded me of when I was a kid and would watch Bugs Bunny cartoons with my Dad on Saturday evenings.  When the Road Runner would come into view on the TV screen and send up a cloud of dust in his wake, I’d rest my head on Dad’s lap and fall into a deep sleep overwhelmed by a mere glimpse of  the fleeing varmint.

I grew up grounded in the belief that the only unpredictable about tomorrow is the weather.  I enjoyed an upbringing steeped in routine and slow motion where family vacations were planned months if not years in advance and making decisions in an instant were deemed to be unwise and irresponsible.  The tomorrow centered rhythm of my life created a sense of stability and serenity that some may have called dull, but then, actually suited me just fine. 


While I liked to stay clear of the fast lane, somewhere between Massachusetts’ Interstate 90 and Ontario’s 401 Highway, I shed some of my propensity for dillydally and picked up a smidgen of that oh so Israeli fixation with the moment.  I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but if I correlate my embrace of the idea of living for the day to my own episodes of challenge, loss and unmet expectation, then Israel’s tendency to squeeze every ounce out of the here and now is something I finally understand. 


I never planned to go to Israel and I never planned to leave and yet, I did both.  The actual act of going was precipitated by the revelation that there isn’t always a tomorrow and the leaving part was, well that was due to much of the same with a smattering of longing for the security of believing, however foolhardy, that there will always be one.  Israel has gifted me with both an appreciation for the intricate value of today as well as a greater sense of myself that I could only have gained by living within her complexity, splendor and intensity.


I would like to believe that just as Israel impacted me and my family in immeasurable ways throughout our time there, we in turn, contributed things of value to the young and continuously developing Country.  If a few more drivers can be spotted on the streets waving their arms in thanks to someone who slowed down and allowed them to change lanes, well then that alone would be evidence enough.


These days I live my life differently from what it knew before I embarked on a journey of life lessons in the Land of Israel.  For that I am grateful.  As for today and every day after that, whether I be living here or living there, I will continue to pray for Israel to be blessed with a tomorrow as settled and serene as a Saskatchewan wheat field when the sun begins to set on one of those perfect summer days.

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