Drew T. Noll © 2023, all rights reserved

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Surfs up!

Surfs up!

Well, it was anyways. We had a few days of really fun little waves at Kibbutz Nachsholim (web cam at http://www.nahsholim.org.il/Site/Templates/homePage.asp ) and Moshav Dor but for a week now it has been quiet and flat. I found a site to check the wave report from a surf shop in Haifa ( http://www.point-break.org/waves.php ) and it keeps lying that there will be waves and when the time comes… nothing. We went to buy Josh a board at the surf shop because he rode mine one day and loved it. We actually went to buy a Morey Doyle (big soft surf board) but ended up getting what my friend Shelly from Nachsholim called a fish. I think it will be a good learning board for Josh and since he wants to learn, so be it. (Stories of Josh learning to snow board are now spinning out of control in my head! – you know, crying, temper tantrums, anything he can do to get the attention of some pretty girl that thinks he is hurt on the side of the run, running away in the parking lot on a perfect powder day, lots of fun stuff like that!)

When I learned how to surf, it took me about a year to figure out how to stand up on the friggin thing. I don’t remember too many Josh sized temper tantrums, but maybe I just blocked them out or something. I remember fighting with the waves in the Pacific Ocean to try to get out, and when I finally did get out past all the white water I had to fight with all the surf punks for the few waves that did come in. speaking of punks… I was out after work towards the end of the little swell last week (only maybe half a meter waves were left) and all these little kids from Caesarea (web cam at http://surfplanet.co.il/ ) paddled out. There was about seven of us, all under the age of 15 (accept for me of course) with nothing to surf.

That is a strange thing about Israelis. They love to stick together. We had a wacky experience one day on the beach. We got to the beach around 1:00 or 2:00 and there was a few scattered groups of people around with tents and shade structures to keep out the harsh Middle Eastern sunshine. We sat down in front of a little surf break which happened to be right next to one of these structures. As we enjoyed the beach I had a chance to really check out what the guy had built. It was great, with big logs to hold up the tent material and a really comfy looking hammock too. From the guy’s looks, he wasn’t too happy with us setting up so close to him. It wasn’t like we were that close to him or anything and anyways, he put his deal up right in front of the break! When we got there, there was also another couple that had set up their chairs in front of his structure and ‘cool shade structure guy’ kept glaring at them too. I just ignored him. Anyways, I couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t bothering with the guys that set up right behind him. They were a bunch of young guys with four wheel drive trucks and as we watched all this going on more came. And then these big banner like flags went up surrounding a pretty big area. And then, yes, more people came with more trucks and more stuff. When they pulled out some giant speakers and the DJ started to do his thing I thought that was going to be the last straw for ‘cool shade structure guy’. There was plenty of room on the beach and all of us were right on top of each other! Since the waves were nothing to write about, I was having a great time listening to all the Arabic undertone Trance music and watching all the people do there thing when ‘cool shade structure guy’s’ wife came up to me and asked if I could go with her to ask the party people to turn down the music. You see, she was a sound therapist and was having a hard time with their particular choice of music. “OK”, I said, “Why not?”

On the way over, she said to me, “now this is the walk, you know, like we mean business and are in charge.” Evidently she picked me because I had chosen to wear this hat that looks a lot like a Ranger hat here in Israel and since we were in a nature reserve area, she thought it might help. It did for about 30 seconds when the music went down a bit and then I just chuckled (to my self of course) when we got back and it seemed to go up even louder then before. I tried to help her understand that all these things are put here for us to learn and to grow from. She seemed to get it and maybe she was able to help her husband cope with it, but maybe not. When we left the beach, he was just emerging from his tent after trying to get some sleep. Poor guy.

Anyways, we are off to the beach again today. Nope, there aren’t any waves… but I am sure there will be some unforeseen form of entertainment to be had.

Lahetraote, ve Shavua Tov!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lost in Translation

This piece, I believe, is destined for the ‘back pocket philosophy’ section of the Blog. Sorry if it is a bit boring, I just needed to write something about it to get my thoughts out and actually, I wrote it quite a while ago, but was waiting for… I don’t know what… maybe just a cool little intro like this one, ha ha…

I have been thinking a lot about communication. I work and live in an environment in which it is a constant struggle to do this. I find myself on a daily basis wondering when we communicate if the meanings and the understandings are the same. At work when everyone is speaking in German, I just stand there, trying to get the gist of it all. Sometimes I catch myself feeling like I do understand. I wonder if this is because we humans are social creatures and deep down we all want to be included in our surroundings, or do I really understand a little from things like voice intonation, and body or sign language. Maybe it is a combination of things or I just hear what I want to hear. Isn’t that what we all do? When we speak of impassioned things such as politics or faith, we all speak like we know. We all try to get the person we are speaking with to, not only listen, but to understand. What does that mean anyways… to understand? Is that to agree?

A friend at work told me a little story recently. It goes like this;

At a Small (but important) Collage in North America, a group of kids were all in a circle chanting and dancing in great joyousness. They must have looked like a group of Rainbow kids or maybe, since they are chanting about G-D, Carlibach’ers. The chant goes like this;

“G-D is so great; he took us out of bondage in Mitsraim (Egypt) and gave us our freedom. He parted the seas and let us pass, unharmed! He closed the sea on the enemy as it chased us. We are free, we are free.”

Nearby, a young professor was walking by and heard what they were saying. He approached them and at a convenient moment, broke in and said, “don’t you students know that the, so called, parting of the Red Sea was most likely just a sand spit and the Israelites just walked out onto it and back before the tide came in?”

The group of kids stopped for a second and listened to what the professor said. After all, he was in a position of authority and should be respected. The professor noticed the silence and presumed it to be a ‘stunned silence’ and began to walk away, feeling vindicated and proud of himself. He got a few steps away and heard the kids, again start with a chant. It went like this;

“G-D is so great; he took us out of bondage in Mitsraim and gave us our freedom. He created a sand spit for us to walk on through the Sea, unharmed! He brought in the tide and drowned the enemy as it chased us. We are free, we are free.”

Chances are, that depending on which way the belief system of whoever reads this leans, the thing that was understood from this story was one of two things. Either that religion and faith really create an amazing awareness of G-D and the world, or that religion and faith really create a complete blindness to the real world.

Maybe the title of this piece should really have been called - found in translation. Before I had gotten used to the cultural differences at the factory, I would hear over the intercom, instead of the German sentence of - someone’s name followed by the word please, I would hear in my head things like – ‘someone’s brow beating’. Also, for about a week, some crates with woodworking jigs in them were sitting outside next to the stairs leading to the nagaria (woodworking shop). My boss Yochonan had written in German on the sides of the boxes what was in them and every time I went up the stairs next to them I would read words like – gaderoben, badhocker, leichtstuhl, thomystuhl, and gondel, which would float around in my subconscious and sometimes cause me to snicker a bit. They do have a funny sound to them. Since I had no idea what they meant, in my mind, I would create quick little stories for them. Not stories that I could write or place from anything, just narratives or even lyrics to a fable or a song that only existed in my head. But all they really were meant to mean were the names of assorted chair parts. Another example of this phenomenon of translation happens all the time in conversation. Before I began to understand some of what the Israelis were saying I would just make up in my mind what I thought they were saying. Sometimes I would even respond with something completely unrelated because I thought I understood but really just got lost in my own translation.

It would appear that meanings are really just a vessel to help in understanding. When the Russians, the Germans, the Arabs and the Sephardim, when the Ashkenazim and the Yemenites, the Canadians and Americans, the British and Danish, South Americans and East Indians, the Pilipino and Tie workers, The French and Italian, when all the amazing and varied groups of people in Israel speak in the modernized ancient language of Hebrew to each other, instead of their own tongue, the translation always seems to be more interesting then the real meanings. I guess it is really in the translation of the words that we know, and the words that we don’t, and the translation of all the varied forms of communication that we engage in that we get lost, and then can find our own reality to point us in, what we hope and yes, believe, are the right directions.

It feels to me like the exact opposite of the concept of the Tower of Babel. That was a case in which, the people were forced to disperse because of the inability to understand language. The building of Israel feels to me like the bringing together of all humankind to speak a language that is both ancient and modern and to come to a common understanding, regardless of faith or background, looks or traditions. It seems like the process of learning to live together, not necessarily in peace, but in a common bond and a common goal, to really feel and to really live. The wild things in the world are there for us to grow from, to heal ourselves from the inability to communicate. It gives us both, commonality, and adversity. It lays out a tapestry of existence that can be lived or ignored. I think that what this piece is about is that I choose to live, whatever that really means. That is what I truly want… maybe that is what we all want.

Thanks for the savlanute (patience)
Kol Tov, ve Lahetraote.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Settling in

Not much to report today. Had a great couple of runs on the skate ramp after work last night, cleaned the house this morning for Shabbat, did some work on the adventure/sci-fi book i am writing (teaser text below), and today will meet some friends for afternoon tea and crumpets, go to Shule, maybe go surfing tommorow, and that is about it.

Shabbat Shalom kulam, and enjoy the text...

"The room went silent which, when the loud crash from behind Dudoo occurred, made everyone jump and look towards the direction of the noise. Fran was there, in the room, and had heard and seen everything. She was creeping towards the group when she knocked over a pile of bow-staffs and some other martial arts equipment that had been leaning against the wall in the dark of the entrance. She stepped into the room, with eyes gleaming red, and began to smile… no, more like grin and as this grin spread across her pointed face, it seemed to continue into a gaping sharp toothed grimace as her face began to stretch and to change. She was growing in height and in size. Her jaws began to extend and shake violently. Her yellow teeth exposed themselves, as her lips retracted over them, and began to elongate into sharp little knives. Her eyes bulged and then sunk within her skull, which was sprouting thick, matted hair. As her blouse ripped open, her exposed chest and stomach also became covered with hair. She stood on her hind legs, still shaking and shivering and then, with her claws dangling relaxed at her sides, and with the same gleaming, toothy grin that her face had grown, she drooled onto the stone floor, studying us all through black beady eyes."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tu'B'Av or to be Guroodle

Tu’B’Av or to be Guroodle, that is another question altogether!

Tu’B’Av is a day in Israel that is a lot like Valentines Day in the States. A few years ago, Adele and I decided not to celebrate Saint Valentines Day because we are Jewish. This was great for me! I didn’t have to worry any more about hearts or flowers, about candy or jewelry! I could just treat it like any other day and just ignore the massive onslaught of guilt and marketing coming from every public source imaginable. Life was a little easier, a little simpler. Then, about a year or two before we moved to Ha Aretz, I learned of the existence of a Jewish holiday that is about celebrating love. Oy Va Voy, I guess I don’t get off that easy, do I? So, in typical male fashion, I ignored it. I ignored it in the States, and then when I moved to Israel, I ignored it some more. I had lots of good reasons like the Milchemet Lebenon Shniah, (The Second Lebanon War) that we landed right in the middle of. I was busy with Ulpan (Language School) and could easily fain being overwhelmed or just plain ignorant. Well, not any more. This year I had big plans to at least acknowledge the day in some small way. Maybe chocolate or jewelry, candy or flowers…

Oyy, I forgot. I just looked it up on the internet and it was on Monday this week. Bummer. Well, all is not lost. Maybe I can write something special about my dear wonderful wife on the Blog! OK, now I am excited! The story goes like this; oh…actually, I don’t know the story of Tu’B’Av… I guess I can start learning that one with my friend Moshe this Shabbat. (He is the same one from the ramp building escapades and asked to get together with me to learn) anyways, back to the story;

I think I will just write a little about the amazing woman that I married. This is no regular woman; this is a woman that I fell in love with the moment I saw her face. I was doomed to live a life with the most amazing variety of interest, energy, beauty, playfulness, ingenuity, adventure, wisdom, intuition, intelligence, and spirituality. Most of all I was doomed to live life with the utmost of truth, and not least of all, I was doomed to live life with the most amazing variety of love’ the kind of love that fills every pore, every blink, every footstep with all of the highs and lows, with all of the complexities and… hey, wait a second! (She just gave me an earful for sitting around on the computer and not taking the dog to the Vet with her, seriously, she just did!) I guess that’s the doom part.

Anyways, you get the idea. Adele has a quality about her that is just indescribable. The picture above just starts to depict this. I took this picture when Zach and I were messing around while she was talking with a friend on the phone (she loves the phone!) and helping with some life council (Guru) stuff. It captures the look that Adele can have that has so much depth, so much meaning. Yeah, she probably was just completely engaged with the guru thing and was annoyed at our shenanigans, but I think that there is more too. I think she may actually know how deep the rabbit hole goes, and maybe decided not to care. I think she can see far beyond the now. I think she knows the way, but just chooses to play, all the while knowing that there is enough time… and that life is really about the journey, not its end.

I love you Oodle or should I say Guroodle,
Ani Ohev otach, ve simchas al Tu’B’Av; ulay shavua habaa yeheyah chocolat...
Shabbat Shalom kulam.