Saturday, July 22, 2006

Life Goes On

This week, I had a rather unique, and exciting opportunity to make a difference to someone. And I wasn't really even aware that I was doing it (which makes it all the better, doesn't it?).

I have a virtual acquaintance from Greece whom I met via the internet last winter. Let's call him Alexander, as an illustration of his Greekness. We immediately hit it off, finding all sorts of common subjects of interest - particularly comparative religion, mythology, and (of all things) plants. But what pervaded most of our conversations was his excitement leading up to his move, this summer, to Israel, with his Israeli boyfriend of 5 years - whose name, for the purpose of this narrative, shall be Guy (I have no idea why ... it just sounds right).

As the months rolled on, I became a virtual answerer of questions for Alexander (where can we find a roof-top apartment? Where can I buy lots of nice Israeli natives (of the plant variety, in case any of you need that kind of clarification) for my roof-top balcony garden-to-be? Will they make my life hell at the airport when I arrive? - those sorts of things ...). I was more than happy to help this guy out, as it seemed to me that he was really looking forward to this move, and his enthusiasm to come and be part of this mad country, stirred something possibly long-lost in my own motivations to come here almost 10 years ago.

About a week before he was due to leave Greece, Alexander informed me that he'd sold his computer now, and wouldn't be logging on again until he arrived in Israel, and bought a new computer. I gave him my cell number, and told him to SMS me when he arrived.

And then the war broke out.

On the day the war broke out, he SMS'd me, still full of joy - he hadn't seen any news yet, and by this time he had no internet connection. I wrote back to him saying that I wasn't going to tell him what's going on, because it might all be over before he got here, but that he should probably watch the news.

I didn't hear from him for a few days, and I knew that they were busy packing everything up to get ready, so I hadn't really been expecting to hear anything. Nevertheless, something in me told me that I should write him a message. So I wrote the following:

"Just wanted to tell you that whatever you might be seeing in the news there, life here goes on. The situation is not ideal but don't be afraid. You have to take the good with the bad sometimes. Looking forward to seeing you!"

I left it at that.

Two days ago, I received a phone call from a Greek phone number.

"Hi," the voice said, "It's Guy, Alexander's boyfriend. You don't know me, but I owe you so much."
I said "What did I do?"
He said "Everyone was putting terrible pressure on him not to come to Israel now. He was threatening to cancel, you know. And I told him that I was going back anyway, with or without him. Even though I didn't want to come back without him, but we had been planning this for so long, and I wasn't going to let some war get in the way. We almost broke up over it. And then you sent your sms, and suddenly he said to me 'this was my idea in the first place. This is what I want to do and I want to do it with you'. You saved my relationship, and I have to thank you for that."
"Wait," I said. "Are you in Israel?"
"Yes," he replied. "We arrived yesterday."

So we met on Friday. Alexander is suffering a little from culture shock, but he told me he's not at all concerned about the war. He's more concerned about the fact that Israeli yoghurt is not Greek yoghurt (well, it isn't, he's right). And he's worried that his landlady is going to want to become their best friend (she's already been around with cakes and offers to make them curtains). But he's not concerned about the war.

Because, he said to me, life goes on, and you've got to take the good with the bad ...


Blogger Savtadotty said...

Tell Alexander to let his landlady make him curtains, as long as he gets to design them and buy the fabric. Also be sure to taste her cakes. They might be better than Greek cakes, unlike yoghurt.

22 July, 2006 19:07  
Blogger Noorster said...

The yoghurt complaint should not be trivialised.

23 July, 2006 05:03  
Blogger Nominally Challenged said...

Savta, this is most likely the case.

Noorster, far be it from me to trivialise yoghurt :-)

25 July, 2006 00:33  

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