Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2/7/12: The Joys Of One Home And The Pains Of Missing The Other

There is nothing quite like being home in the place where you spent your childhood and much of pre-adult life growing up. The minute I got off the plane and saw my mother waiting for me with tears in her eyes (fairly standard for my mommy!) I knew I was home! A wave of both excitement and comfort overcame me as I got in the car with my mom and drove off towards my beloved desert home town. Despite the fact that I was severely jet lagged and suffering from one of the worst bouts with asthma that I have ever had, I could not contain my excitement at finally getting home after more than 7 months abroad. It wasn't until we passed our windmills on the 10 freeway that I really felt like I had made it; that is and has always been my landmark for "home". Once we hit the windmills and started seeing the gorgeous desert mountains in the background I knew it was only a matter of minutes before I would be walking into my mother's house where my dog was patiently awaiting my return!

Windmills mean I'm almost home!  
Beautiful desert mountains 

The view as we enter our complex 

Once we drove through the gate to our complex and pulled into our driveway I couldn't contain myself. As soon as it was safe I jumped out of the car, marveled at the GORGEOUS, sunny, warm weather, and ran into the house to see my dog. To be honest I think I missed the canine companionship of my little brother (as my mother likes to call him) more than anything while I have been away. After a few minutes of milking my dogs excitement before he realized that mom was coming inside which usually means he would probably be getting food I got my stuff and settled in.

My Ari Simon! 
After being in cold and rainy Tel Aviv for the past however many months I could do little else than capitalize on the warm and sunny weather outside. I immediately put on appropriate sun bathing clothes and went straight out into the back yard to work on this skin color situation of mine. Ari didn't want to miss out on the excitement so he decided to join me for a little while. It was a perfect first afternoon home.

That night I had to think long and hard about what I wanted my first dinner out to be. I tried to think of the one thing I missed the most in Israel and, of course, Ranch Dressing was the first thing to come to mind... Well that and virtually all pig products (I know, not the best Jew). Thinking of how I could combine the two (since I have not had pork products of any kind, or ranch since leaving the United States) I decided that my favorite pizza place, CPK, would be the perfect place to go. I ordered a very large pepperoni pizza and made sure the waitress knew to bring out a BIG think of their ranch dressing... I practically drank it it was that good. Anyways, after dinner I made sure my American phone was back in working order, talked to most of my friends, and then jet lag got the best of me and by 9pm I was fast asleep.

The obligatory bowl of ranch :-) 
The next day I took care of business and went straight to see my wonderful grandparents. I have missed them so much and was so happy I could spend a few hours spending time out at their place. Firstly, I was not going to pass up an opportunity to have some of the amazing food I am lucky to get whenever I go to my Bubby and Zayde's house (the best tuna salad and BLT's in the world), and it was so nice to finally see them in person and not on skype. 

It was a wonderful reunion between me and bacon!

After I spend a few hours with my grandparents it was home to rest up and get ready to see my best friends from home. I have missed these girls more than anything and I was so excited to finally see them. The first night two of them came to my house and then the next day we all met at a local pub to get some drinks and spend the night catching up. All great things come in 4's and the 4 of us girls always have the greatest time with one another. I was so excited to hear all of their stories and I think they were very excited to hear all that I have been doing overseas. Needless to say it will be a great month with a great deal of time spent with these girls. 

Pure love and fun  
Love and Bubble 

Chris and me :-) 

After a great weekend with my mom, grandparents, and friends, it was time to start the week at my daddy's gorgeous, newly remodeled house. I am so lucky to have parents who live close to one another so I can enjoy spending all the time I can with both of them :-). When I got to my dad's house I was blown away by all the changes that were made. My dad and step mom definitely took full advantage of empty nesting! The outside of the house was newly painted, the rooms were all remodeled, and the ambiance was just magical. If you know me you know that I love barricading in my room and just hanging out doing my own thing and now my room is fully equipped so that I really never have to leave :-). It's pretty perfect! There is also the little fact that both my dad and step mom work all day so I have the whole place all to myself, and after living in a crazy apartment with 4 other people, the alone time is really really appreciated! 

Newly painted house 

Welcome home :-) 

It only took 14 odd years but I finally have a desk! 

It's small but sooo comfortable 

My safe haven! 

Aside from the lovely homecomings, time with friends, a superbowl spent with my football obsessed mom and good friend Dustin, I have been resting, taking care of my asthma (my doctor decided to overprescribe me so that my cough would FINALLY  be taken care of), and will be seeing my Chabad rabbi tomorrow to go over all of my papers for my Aliyah to Israel! Thursday I take one of the final steps in the process of getting Israeli citizenship when I travel to the Jewish Agency in LA to have my final interview and Aliyah decision! I have never been so excited for anything in my life. As much as I love being home my heart is pining for Israel more than I can possibly express in words. I miss my life there so much and can't wait to get back healthy and recharged. 

Stay tuned for A Tu Beshvat blog followed by news on my Aliyah :-),
Jordana Simone

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