Friday, March 22, 2013

A Letter to my Parents: No. 2

Dear Mommy and Abba,

It has been a tough, emotional week. Since most of the day I just sit at home alone while everyone I know is at work or school, I have lots of time to think. To start with, Monday would have been your birthday Abba. To be honest, I have been so bored, and have had nothing to do, so I rarely look at a calender and am more often than not unaware of the exact date. The day almost slipped by without me noticing that it was in fact March 18th. However, since I had to switch the billing notifications that used  your email to my email, I received a number of "Happy Birthday Ari Horowitz" emails. When I saw these emails, my first reacting was to feel sad and to miss you, which was soon followed by guilt for not realizing up to that point that it was your birthday. Sorry.

Since that day, there has been lots of talk about Pesach (Passover). Everyone is being very sweet and concerned for me. I have been invited to spend the seder (Passover holiday meal) with many different people. While I do appreciate everyone's invitations, I have decided to stay home and skip the seder this year. While I am sure this is not what you would have wanted, I really don't see another option.

Up until this year, I have spent every single seder with you both. Even when I was in the army, I always managed to arrange vacation for the holiday and you flew into Israel so we could spend the holiday together. The idea of sitting at a seder without hearing the songs sung by people other then the two of you is something I really don't think I could handle. I cannot imagine a seder without your Zionist interpretations of the story Abba. And Mommy, who else will whisper back and forth with me about how things are taking too long and we have to speed up?

I remember last year's seder when it was just the three of us at a hotel by the Dead Sea. We discussed that since I was planning to move to Vietnam in December of 2012, that I would have to fly back to Israel for Pesach, 2013so that the whole family could be together for the holiday. It was just so obvious that we would spend the holiday together. I never could have imagined that that would be our last Pesach together.

So, while I know that you would prefer that I would agree to join a different seder this year, I would much rather simply ignore the holiday as best as I can. If I were to go to another seder, I imagine that I would just be sad the entire time and that would not be nice for me or my hosts.

I really miss the both of you very much. Now that I am back in Israel, I still find myself every Friday (including today) anticipating a phone call at 2pm, just like you had done almost every Friday over the last 10 years. I miss talking to you and seeing you. It will never feel normal that you are not around anymore. You will always be missing.

I am about to take a big step in my life when I move to Vietnam in 19 days from now. I know that this was a dream of mine that made you both very apprehensive, but at the same time you supported me because you knew that it was important to me. It is going to be very hard not being able to share this with you.

All I can say is that no matter what happens in my future, I will always be thinking of you both. And I guess that in some twisted, psychological way that will be my way of continuing to share my life with you even though you are gone. It will have to do.

I will love you both forever,


My Parents

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sharp Turn Ahead

I used to have very specific long term dreams. When I was a young teenager, my dream was to move to Israel, join the army and become a career officer. In the end, I moved to Israel, joined the army, realized that I hated every second of being in the army, and dumped the idea of becoming an officer.  My next dream was to go study at a university, get into a graduate program as quickly as possible, and start a career in academia. And of course, the idea of being a successful academic was part of a larger dream of building a life for myself in Israel. In the end, I started my studies as soon as I possibly could, signed up for a joint BA/MA program, learned that I did not enjoy the world of academia and dropped the idea of becoming an academic.And the longer I lived in Israel, the more I realized, I really do not like living in Israel.

Is anyone else noticing a pattern here? Some might say that I am a quitter. I would disagree with them because while I moved on from ideas that no longer made me happy, I never quit. I finished my army service, I finished my schooling and I've lived in Israel for 10 years.

When I used to hear about people that were "trying to find themselves", I would feel very superior. I used to be so sure that I knew who I was and where I wanted to go. What were these "flakes" doing traveling to India or some other seemingly random exotic country to find selves? I always knew who I was, how could someone not know who they are? What did it mean to "find one's self"?

It turns out that I was not superior. Nor did I know myself. Anyone that knows me, or has read this blog knows how true that is. I once thought I was a heterosexual, religious guy. I have since "realized" (grown?) that I am a homosexual, secular guy. I used to be someone who's identity was deeply rooted in Jewish nationalism and I have since realized that I am an intense individualist. I used to be someone with very specific long term dreams. I am now a person that has no idea what I want to do, or where I want to be in the long run.

In 23 days, my 10 and a half years of living in Israel will be coming to an end and I will be moving across Asia to Vietnam. Why? Because I want to (that is the easiest answer). And because I am on a journey to find myself. (I know, I am such a flake!) I am starting a new chapter with the hope that this change will make me happier and that maybe I will learn some more about myself and where where I want to go.

When I started this blog, the main idea was to write about my leaving religion, and my coming out as gay. I chose the name "Off the Path and onto the Road" because it symbolized the orthodox Jewish view of me going astray from the "religious path" and my view of starting to proceed on my own road. Those chapters in my life are over for now and my road is leading to other new adventures.

 While I am sure I will continue to write about religion on occasion, I assume there will be less motivation once I am in Vietnam. I assume that the main focus of my writing will be about being a stranger in a strange land (extra points to those that get the Bible reference) and my continues search for happiness and love. I do hope that my readers that have followed me along my road thus far will continue to follow me as the road takes a drastically different shape. And as always, I am deeply touched by each and every one of you that reads what I have to share. Thank you.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Last Month

It has been about a month since I left America to come back to Israel, and since I last wrote here in my blog. I would like to apologize for not writing as often as I had in the past. But the truth is I have not had much to write about and have had a major lack of inspiration. Simply put, my life has been pretty uneventful lately. But this will all change soon...

Now that I am back in Israel, I am slowly closing up my life here. I am finishing up my degree and dealing with banking issues and Israeli bureaucracy. These are hardly the types of events that lead to great blog posts.

While I originally thought that I would go back to work when I got back to Israel, I returned to find out that there was no room for me at my old job, nor could I find a new job for the  2 months that I had left in Israel. So most of the time, I am simply bored.

However, in exactly one month from today, I will be taking the next major step in my life's journey. On April 9th I will board a plane and will be moving to Viet Nam. While this move was planned over two years ago, it has gained considerable significance over the last half year. Six months ago my life was forever changed when my parents were killed and I was badly injured in a freak car accident. For those that have been following my blog, they know that over the last few months I have struggled with coming to grips with the loss my parents, facing my own mortality, and trying to find a positive out look on my future.

From Israel to Viet Nam

This move to Viet Nam offers me a new beginning. Of course a real new beginning is not possible. I will always be who I am and I will always have experienced what I have experienced. But now I am going to a completely new country, with a different culture, different challenges and different possibilities. I will be looking for a new job and meeting new people. And anyone that knows me, knows that I have not been happy with life in Israel for some time now.I am hoping that this drastic change of setting will help me find the happiness for which I am so intensely looking.

Hanoi, Viet Nam - Where I will be moving to

Life in Hanoit should prove to be very different then life in Tel Aviv or New Jersey

Now begins my last month in Israel. I hope that it will present me with more interesting and inspiring experiences so that I can update this blog more often. But if it does not, I am sure that my move across the globe on April 9th with lead to some interesting posts. So stay tuned!