It felt very far away. The morning radio broadcast made mention that it was 5 years since 9/11 and the Jerusalem Post Magazine section last Friday covered the topic with a few different related stories. I wondered if it would have felt far away even in Bklyn. That is, 5 years is not insignificant and we all move on in our ways. You look at the horizon and are reminded of the hole, the emptiness, the lack but the memories of that day seemed to have settled down, along with the dust, the smoke and the smell.
Then, I went to Ulpan. We were listening to the news and the teacher asked for comments and thoughts about 9/11. I looked around at the class - a bunch of young, Arab students, a young religous Belgian woman, a young South African couple, a young Aussie woman (notice everyone is YOUNG), a Korean woman (not so young but not so old) and a 21 year old young woman from Poughkeepsie (sp?), who reminds me of Liat Olenick. So, I dove in. I said that we lived nearby and that Ira worked very close to the buildings. The teacher wondered if he was there that day. I told of Ira's adventures and related some of the experiences of that day and that period. My stomach hurt. So, I guess 5 years isn't that much time. Ira also told some of his story in his class. I wondered if 9/11 helped us ultimately make this decision to come here. It's hard to say. Certainly, I didn't have fear about continuing to live in NY. Maybe, life is short and being closer to those here is good at this moment.
There's no easy answer about how it feels to be so far away from all that is familiar. I am lucky that I know this town as well as I do. I can get around with ease and that helps. I can maneuver is public settings from a language perspective and that helps. (I will say, that at the most unexpected times, one's language skills disapear without warning and that's annoying). I went to open school night and coped with language although it was amazing to realize that perhaps 1/2 of Natan's class have at least one English speaking parent. There are moments where I can't believe I'm not walking on my familiar streets. I miss the subway and rue the fact that I will have to participate in carpools. While the local bus system is good, some of the places that the kids have to go are not that easy to access except by car. I hate that. What helps now is the thrill of the new - shopping in the marketplace, discovering new foods and new tastes, learning a new city, learning a new language. being present at family birthdays and celebrations. How I'll feel when the thrill wears off? I'll let you know.
25 minutes ago