This week has been filled with so many ups and downs – it has been quite a roller coaster to say the least.
However it has been wonderful! I am so grateful to have friends, to have jewish friends, to not feel alone and to go on fun adventures (sometimes, late into the night). I have just been happy and joyful in what I have and what I have been able to do. I am thankful for the laughter and rediculousness of these friend gatherings. Whether for PURIM the other day and giggling like little girls with two friends I hadn’t seen in a long time! To feel inspired the following day by having insightful and challenging discussions with two friends who I have been growing with, even if we are all on different pages going in the same direction. Its beautiful and wonderful and my soul feels such joy in this! Then the ridiculousness of going to support a friend in a show at Disneyland. Forgetting the tickets, traffic and all! haha Then late night breakfast shananigans and being too tired to care. To have friends who pay for our adventures and do it out of pure kindness (at least from what I can see). I just feel beyond blessed by these experiences. To let go of the stress and concerns related to school, even if you can’t do that all the time. To go on adventures and have fun and connect with others, is beautiful and wonderful and oh how I have missed it!!!
Here’s to more joy, celebration and good things G-d willing 🙂
I remember way back when I was in middle school and my first few years of high school, on thanksgiving day my dad, my brother and some family friends would all wake before dawn and go fishing and this man made lake. We would just set up some chairs pull out the hot cocoa and begin casting out. I’ve never been good at casting out when we went fishing and it used to frustrate me. Sometimes I still try, others I just let someone else and I’ll hold on to it. One of our family friends is like a second dad to me and I remember this one year when none of us kids were catching fish but just then MM got a tug. Just when he started to realize he caught something he called me over and walked me through how to reel in the fish. It was incredible and terribly gross. I was excited to have caught a fish but was taken a back while seeing it as squirming fish. It did make me feel bad that soon we would be cutting it up and it would be tomorrow dinner. Somehow I got past that and didn’t become a vegan.
Later that morning it came time to gut the fish. MM was trying to get me to gut the fish first since I was the only girl and the rest were boy scouts around my brothers age. Naturally none of the boys wanted to dive in first. So I took the plunge and MM walked me through how to gut the fish. I remember blood, guts and slime. I then proceeded to play with the head and act as if the fish was talking. Weird, silly and goofy memories from my childhood came rushing back this morning. When once again my dad, brother and MM woke early and headed to a different lake, this time with a boat. We didn’t catch anything but being awake to watch the sunrise over the glassy water was worth it. The silly stories and valuable advice I gained out on the water today, attempting to fish reminds of the beauty in traditions even if it changes over the years. Today I’m grateful for fishing and all the fun and relaxed memories that go along with it.
Today I feel especially grateful for my feet. Because I have feet I can walk, run, jump and dance. I can get to and from almost anywhere. I can hike, longboard, ride a bike, and so much more. I am grateful for the freedom which my feet provide me with. Lately I have been pushing myself to walk more and more and today I even ran a bit, which was nice and something I’ve missed.
One of the reasons I have cared so much about getting shoes to those without, is because I know the importance of having a good pair of shoes. As a runner, it was essential to have a shoe that not only fit but was supportive and corrective for your running style or specifc stride. However as runners, your shoes get worn through quick and can cause stress fractures and shin splints so often the shoes are still in usable shape for others or even for just walking. That’s how and why I started holding shoe drives. So many illnesses and injuries could be stopped in not only foreign countries but even within these United States if only people had a pair of shoes.
A dream come true. In January of this year I was blessed with such an opportunity that I had always dreamed of. While out serving the homeless there was this lady Heather who seemed to look pregnant and her shoes were holey and not supportive at all. You could see – easily. I asked her what size shoe she wore. It just so happened that I was wearing a pair of running shoes that exact size. I asked her to try on my shoes. Before she knew it, I untied and slipped them off. I offered them to her. She slid in and said “wow” and how they fit perfect. I told her to keep ’em. She and her husband we like “what, no”, “we can’t take you shoes”. I told them to not worry about it. I was ecstatic as this is an experience I had dreamed of ever since starting shoe drives. It was awesome and incredible! I was barefoot (well in socks) the rest of the evening and again was reminded just how important good shoes are. I felt the rough and cold road and any little rock that was along the way.
Anyway, I am grateful for shoes because they protect my little feet. One more story, I wore brand new white and teal running shoes on the day of the accident. Despite everything else that became a mess that tragic day, my shoes and feet stayed protected and blessed as if nothing had happened. Amazing!
How Engineers Are Changing the Brain Injured World for the BETTER!!
More than three years ago, I was in a fatal motor vehicle accident. By the grace of G-d I lived and am still here to tell the tale despite my wiped mind and no recollections of the craziest incident in my life. Today I am studying Mechanical Engineering and working my way towards a degree that I can use to help others. My Dean of Engineering sent me this link the other day because he knows that I am fascinated with Traumatic Brain Injuries due to my own. This article explains how such a simple and low cost device has been created and is currently being used to help Traumatic Brain Injured Patients to “talk” again. Of course not all TBI patients experience lack of communication, for example, I can talk, write and think. However, some TBI patients are less fortunate. For these, my heart goes out knowing how much of a struggle it must be. Its like they are stuck inside their brain and can’t find the way out. Thank G-d for engineers with purpose and who are creative enough to think of such an awesome technology to use the power of thoughts to communicate. THIS WILL CHANGE THE WORLD!
I know its already February 2014 but I still want to post this. After being exhausted by Israel trip and arriving New Year’s Eve, I think its ok to post this now. So here goes:
I’ve been thinking alot about this year and this trip. I’ve had to say many “see you laters” to friends, co-workers and people I just met. I’ve seen different parts of the world. People living different lives. The diversity but more stern side of life in Germany and the very Jewish, loving and welcoming side of Israel. I’ve seen how much of a bubble my university is and how crazy the world is. I’ve experienced the cut-throat reality in corporate business and the difficulty of studying engineering. Starting a blog was the best way to help me adjust to my constantly changing life and for that I am thankful. I’ve always wanted change but some changes take time and are not easy. Overtime, especially this year I broke out of my comfort zone and its changed my perspective. I’ve opened up more in some ways and closed up in others. I’ve learned from the boys that waltzed into and then walked right out of my life and I’m not bitter about it. I’ve challenged the status quo and made decisions for myself regardless of if there is support or not. In terms of my Judaism, in some ways I’ve done less, but done more with my Jewish friends. The fact that I even have Jewish friends is a first and is change in itself. I’ve listened to conversations in foreign languages I can’t comprehend and yet somehow I can understand whats being discussed. I’ve seen and missed weddings of nearly all my close friends. I’ve tried to eat healthier and loose a few pounds as well as dress cuter and do my hair/makeup. I even dyed a strip of hair blue just because. I’ve done things that are uncertain and scare me; go to Germany and find my way through a crazed labyrinth as well as going zip-lining in Israel. I’ve done things I’ve dreamed of for years like study abroad and go on Birthright and most importantly, go to the Kotel! I have friends and connections who live all over the world, live different lives and yet we can all find things in common. I feel blessed to be alive and this year, I’ve really felt like I’ve started to live. I’m grateful for the memories, the friends, my family, the trips, the experiences and all the learning. I’ve grown and learned so much about myself and who I am. Yet I feel its just the beginning of the rest of my life. This is the starting line and there is no telling the course ahead. One thing I know for certain, everything in life happens for a reason, part of a grand scheme that G-d is orchestrating and it has led me to today with the best ideas and plans in mind.
Went back to the Kotel. It was such a happy experience, the wonderful feeling of being back. I know I’ll see this place again.
Then took different forms of transportation to the main Shuk. I found another skirt and bought flowers for my friends lovely family. We went to the central bus station of Jerusalem, many people were rushing around as Shabbat would start in just a few hours. When we took a train we ran into another girl from the trip who extend so that was cool!
Then prepared for Shabbat. My friend and I walked over to the local Shul, which is like two minutes from her house and there were so many Jews!! I was overwhelmed at how beautiful this was. Back where I’m from it would usually just be me, the rabbi and a young man (whose younger than me) which can just be depressing. This scene and experience nearly made me cry. Then we ate an amazing shabbat dinner. We finished the evening walking to her friends house and talking with her. She was so sweet and reminded me of my friends back in the states.
Everything about this Shabbat was wonderful. Leaving the Kotel earlier in the day was so peaceful and comforting, not even sure why but yet it felt as though my prayers have been or will be answered. Maybe its the fact that I extended my trip. Who knows. It was beautiful.
After a long and tiring day, my Israeli leader, who so kindly let me stay at her house we adventured back into Jerusalem. We went back to Ben Yehuda’s and ate a really good waffle. I found some cute modest skirts. Then we took buses and taxis until we met up with some of the others who also chose to extend. I definitely feel I got out of this trip what I wanted without even realizing it. I din’t expect to love Israel or to make friends or even want to stay…and yet, here I am. I didn’t expect to make amazing friends or find out who I really am. I was and have been able to embrace who I’ve always been without even trying. It hasn’t been such a struggle. It’s been wonderful.