3.25.2007

Me Myself and I

Some of my favorite moments have been alone. Not that I'd like to be by myself always, but I think we all spend too much time trying to be surrounded by others and don't really take the time to see beauty in solitude. A few of my recent favorite alone moments:

June 2006
6AM on the beach in Tel Aviv, as I wait for some of my friends to wake up and let me into the hotel. After getting kicked out of the hotel lobby for napping, I head over to the water. The beach is usually packed, but at 6 AM it's just me and a couple crazy people walking along the water. I was dead tired, but my senses had to open up to the smell of the salt water, 6AM ocean breeze, and the sound of waves and frenzied Hebrew nearby. I felt like I had lived in that spot my whole life. I had just finished grad school, I was just about to move to DC, and my life in the last several months had not been pleasant. I remember thinking that after a morning like that, things could only get better.

October 2006
Three weeks into my new job and it's Friday night. I am feeling a little anxious, because Mayan just returned to Israel and it's my first weekend by myself in DC. The only other building I really know at this point, aside from work and my apartment, is the Historic Synagogue on 6th and I, which is where I went for Yom Kippur with Mayan. I am hesitant to go to services by myself. Like Paula Abdul, I take a few steps forward, a few steps back, and then I climb the stairs into the synagogue. MesorahDC, who sponsors these Shabbat services, is Orthodox. I'm not sure I'd ever attended an Ashkenazi Orthodox service, and certainly not by myself. But as I sat down, all the women nearby smiled and Shabbat Shalomed me. The hazzan began singing a niggun, Shlomo Carlebach style. I've been moved by Jewish melodies before, but this time was different. I really can't describe this moment except to say that when in a new place, thousands of miles away from anyone who loves you, there is nothing more comforting than sitting in a room full of Jews, listening to a familiar melody.

Last week
After happy hour with a few friends from work, my belly full of tapas and with a nice sangria buzz, I decided to walk home. I took H street (definitely not a shortcut) which at some point, turns into New York Avenue if you're not paying attention, and if you're still not paying attention, it will become Pennsylvania Avenue and will drop you off at the back door of the White House. It is a pretty amazing thing to just happen upon the White House on your way home from work. Most tourists visit the White House during the day, but it is a very different experience at night. You can hear the fountain going, the few tourists around are snapping their photographs, and you can really look into the White House. You see which lights are on you begin to wonder who is in there at that moment, sitting at what desk and reading which memo or report. Who is briefing whom? Who is in the residence having a nightcap? (Yes yes, I watch too much West Wing). I started thinking about all the outrageous decisions and statements coming out of the building lately. Mid-fume, as I was peering intently into one window that I'd arbitrarily decided is currently holding the president, a cherry blossom caught my eye. I adjust to near-sightedness and I stop fuming. It's spring! It is 9PM and seventy degrees outside (and raining a little- how tropical!). The weather will probably go back and forth over the next few weeks, but irregardless, I survived my first DC winter!

And speaking of spring, I am very excited about the Cherry Blossom Festival. If anyone was planning on visiting DC, April is the ideal month to do so. Not that I have any problem enjoying it by myself ;)

2 Comments:

At April 16, 2007 1:23 PM, Blogger may moon chi said...

Dani, what a lovely and deep post. My absolute favorite thus far...

 
At April 28, 2007 6:53 AM, Blogger itai said...

your synagogue experience reminded me of this silly song.
"wherever you go, there's always someone jewish.."

 

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