It's raining in Jerusalem.
This is not the powerful storms that I grew accustomed to in Bangladesh. Rain that pounds the earth, overwhelms the land, floods homes while suffocating and washing away desperately needed crops. This is not rain that yells furiously as it pounds, causes the roads to swell with knee deep muddy water that bone thin rickshaw wallahs peddle through, plastic bags on their heads, desperately pushing and looking for riders. This is not the rain that seems to come both from the sky and the earth as the rivers overflow their banks, accenting the tenuous life of delta living. This is not rain that pushes you inside, searching for cover...
... this is rain to dance in.
The soft, slow drops plop on leaves and drip down into the parched Jerusalem soil. The touch of rain and soil gives raise to the most refreshing and blessed smell- a freshness that could never be captured- It enters into a soul and refreshes the many voices that have been desperately praying for rain, to relieve a parched land. It is tranquility, comfort and joy.
This is Jerusalem rain.
For all the joy that the rain brings, maybe the sky is crying- today is a day of remembrance in Israel for the Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. Today during class time the students put on a small assembly in his honor and his memory. Such a light and hope of peace, shattered.
But rain in this land must always bring joy- regardless of political alliances and religious beliefs. Rain is life. The soft comforting sounds of drops dancing and bouncing on leaves and branches combined the pleasures of the sweet smell of rain on wanting soil must bring out that childlike glee- which for me is accompanied by my mother's voice telling me, "Rain is liquid sunshine."
I too want to join the rain, to seep deep into the soil, to be soaked into the reaching roots and brought up through the tree trunks and reach upward, while simultaneously growing into the land.
As of three months from my aliyah date I am able to apply for a temporary Israeli passport. The date came, and went. I didn't even think about it. I'm not going anywhere. I'm quite content to wait for the one-year mark when I will receive my official Israeli passport.
After a lifetime of flitting from one place to another- a childhood where ever move had a defined start and end date- that matured into personal lifestyle defend by the same bookends of time- my mind argues that is should feel at least a tad bit strange to not have an exit date, a moment from which I'll move onto the next adventure and leave the life I have built for another- But nothing about my choice to commit myself to Israel feels odd to me. It's exciting as well as comforting.
Next week I start the government funded year-long course to become a certified English teacher. Also, as we roll into November, I'll be searching for roommates and an apartment. I'm excited to move out of the bubble of the absorption center and closer to integrating more fully into Israeli society.
Throughout my process I feel such gratitude- mostly towards Israelis who have welcomed me into their country and their homes. Just today I spoke for half an hour on the telephone with a woman I've never met. She explained the various options of for English teachers, offered to make a few phone calls on my behalf and then invited me to come spend Shabbat with her family.
My friends here are equally amazing. One Israeli friend, a few weeks after I immigrated said, "Just let me know when you want me to speak to you only in Hebrew." She's constantly helping me learn. Another friend presented me with Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes in English and Hebrew and sat with me for close to two tedious hours as I tried to read out-loud and understand the poems presented. Next week, another friend will sit down with me and our computers and guide me through the Hebrew language Craig's List like sites as I hunt for a place to live.
Up and moving to another country is not the easiest task in the world- although I'm getting surprisingly good at it. But it's never before been this pleasurable.