I’m home for the weekend, hanging out with dad right now. I’m slightly hung over from my birthday party last night. We are munching on chocolate covered raisins, watching American Idol on his computer and giving a brief update on the bee project. 

Tomorrow I’m picking up the bees. I’ll borrow the car, and make a detour to get them. We have already named the families, and now my little sister suggested I should name all the bees. That would be quite a challenge, right?

As I sit here, I can’t help but remember the surreal experience I had earlier in the week. I was in Petah Tikva, where I was brought up by my biological father. I had to go to my old school, to get a piece of paper that I needed for university. Clean shaven with a fashionable haircut, wearing a long sleeve green tee and jeans, I felt like everyone was staring at me. And they were. 

The security guard at the school didn’t want to let me in. When I finally got in and made it to the office, I was made to wait over an hour. The school administrator was only speeking to me in Yiddish. He chastised me for my immodest clothing. If he only knew I had put on my kipah less than 5 minutes before entering the school! I couldn’t wait to be out of there. 

I left just as some of the classes got out. I was trying to get back to the bus stop as fast as I could, when I heard someone shout my old name. It was my little brother. We hadn’t seen each other for three years. He is now 13 and I wasn’t even sure he remembered me. Obviously he did. He has grown up so much. Of course he is now an adult in the Jewish world. As I expected he never saw the card I sent him for his birthday. He didn’t have a lot of time, but he gave me a hug and his email address. I was surprised he had an email, but it turns out that he has a dumb phone where GPRS wasn’t disabled, and he set up an email. I even got a happy birthday wish from him yesterday! I am a little torn over keeping in touch with him, because his parents expressly forbid it. I have missed him for the past three years, and he is still 5 years away from turning 18. At the same time our father is so big on Jewish law, which says C is already an adult. I don’t know. It’s just difficult. 

It was strange to be called Yonaton over and over and over again during that afternoon in Petah Tikva. It was strange to walk the streets that I walked growing up. It was strange to stick out like a sore thumb in that neighbourhood. People were whispering behind my back, whether they knew me or not. 

I’m really happy that I can be home today. 


2 responses »

  1. Ciska says:

    Happy Birthday!
    It must indeed have been a bit of a surreal experience to walk those streets and go into your old school. I hope you will be able to keep in contact with your brother, either now or in five years. *Hug*

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