#Moving to Tel Aviv
Clearly, this decision twenty years ago was life-changing. Inside, I knew that I would live here one day. Just no idea when. I spent every summer holiday in Israel with my parents and friends. Sometimes in Eilat, mostly in Tel Aviv. Back then, the city was still untouched. No residential towers, street cafés and food temples. There was hot corn on the cob, sweet lemonade and Jesus sandals. The legendary Penguin, a smoky punk club, was the only place with good music.
#Campfire and tustus rides
We would make campfires on the beach and go from one rooftop party to the next at night. It was a time without cell phones and sunscreen, with sand between the toes and tustus (vespa) rides. When I got off the plane in Frankfurt after three weeks in Tel Aviv, my friends would tell me I looked totally different. In a positive sense. Every time. Many years passed before I took the step. High school, studies, Paris, Frankfurt again. But then one day, I just packed my records and books and moved.
The most important decision. Three times, sheer happiness. Nothing changed my life as much as Ben, Lou and Ron. Every mother, every father among you, can vouch for that. Today, the little ones are grown up. Ben has a shoe size of 44 and has outgrown me. And although Lou’s already a teenager, she’ll always be my little girl. Ron is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah. That’s why he sings his weekly Torah piece in the bath. In May it will get serious, when he sings the piece from the Torah in the synagogue.
There’s nothing more fulfilling for me than spending time with my children. I learn so much: about myself, life and the meaning of life.
I admit, now and then I go astray. I’m 95% vegan. The expression plant-based is more appropriate. I got rid of the meat on my plate a long time ago. Not because of animal welfare, but because meat disgusted me. I couldn’t stomach it. Fish neither. I was a vegetarian until I fell pregnant with Ben and suddenly had a ravenous appetite for schnitzel. Like an addict, I devoured them almost every day. After the birth, the cravings evaporated.
Until studying naturopathy, I had nothing to do with vegan food. My nutritional lecturer put us students on a two-week vegan diet as a group experiment. And lo and behold, it was as if I was high. A friend and I extended the endeavor, which quickly became a way of life. I devoured books and YouTube videos on the subject. After the activist Gary Yourovsky’s live talk, milk, eggs and cheese were over for me. Nowadays I see it in a more relaxed and discerning way. Vegan is often animal-free junk; I rarely, if ever, eat substitute products. I stick to plant-based, gluten-free clean-eating: vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, pulses, quinoa, buckwheat, coconut oil. I’m not a dogmatist who asks about the egg in a cake when I’m invited somewhere. I had lapses in the cheese store in Paris. That’s ok with me, no guilty conscience.
Even as a child, I had a weakness for dogs. Only my parents thought differently. As a substitute, I brought home guinea pigs, budgies, goldfish and a white mouse, which I painted with blue dots. The latter encountered little familial compassion and flew out the apartment in a broad sweep. As a Parisian student, I fell in love with a black puppy in front of the Les Halles metro station and took him home.
The runt quickly grew into a giant and Samba allowed no one near me. He bit a friend’s calf, bared his teeth at the train conductor. When I visited my aunt in Paris, she wore boots to protect herself from Samba. Only her cheesecake appeased him. After two years, we went our separate ways and Samba found a better home than I could give him.
Symbiotic Ridgeback love
I adopted my next dog from the SOS-Animal Organization in Tel Aviv. Three months old, Ridgeback mix. Beautiful, a blue and a brown eye. David Bowie style. Garpi (after John Irving’s novel Garp), grew to be a graceful, beautiful female dog and followed me like a shadow throughout the day. Seven years full of happiness. Until she died on an operating table from an overdose of anesthetics. Doctor’s botch-up. I had to pick up Garpi, lifeless, from a routine cruciate ligament op. I tell you, my eyes were swollen for a month from sobbing. My heart still aches when I write about it.
Three months later we adopted Joya, our cheerful Labrador-Great Dane (or similar). Joya is pure joy, like her name. Constantly wagging her tail, never aggressive, a cuddly dog in XXL. She’s the angel of our house, sensible, alert and greedy. She sleeps at my feet during the night and kicks like a cow when she’s dreaming. A life without a dog? Unimaginable to me.
#Studying integrative medicine
Years after studying political science in Paris, I was overcome with the urge to go back to university again. To quench my thirst for knowledge in affairs of nutrition and alternative medicine with reading, was no longer enough for me. I wanted more. Shortly before the kids’ summer holidays, I visited an info-day at Reidman College for Complementary Medicine and spontaneously enrolled.
Diabetes course as a lifesaver
The studies were intensive, I attended evening classes and seldom got home before 10pm. And then the tests in Hebrew. Yet my passion for the subject helped me clear all the hurdles. For two years, I absorbed knowledge. Anatomy, physiology, internal medicine, reflexology, chemistry, nutrition, medicinal herbs, the basics of Chinese medicine and more. I’ve written about it many times (like here), but thanks to the training, I diagnosed my daughter with type 1 diabetes at an early stage without consequential damage. In retrospect, I firmly believe that that was the reason for my education. Without the diabetes course, I wouldn’t have noticed the symptoms.
Writing is my thing. Always has been. Since I’m no longer employed as a journalist for a daily newspaper, the urge to write has sought another outlet. The idea came overnight. To finally write about what is dearest to my heart. As if in a trance, I self-taught myself the skills required to launch an online blog. Our growing community fulfills me every day. Thank you, you’re the best. I tell you, when there’s a burning in your soul, be courageous, make a decision and see it through.
featured image: Scampi, streetartist from New Zealand
Now, out with it: what are your best decisions? Write them in the comments section WITHOUT FAIL!!
Translations by Catherine Bradshaw