Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ramblings Of A Mum At Her Last 29+

This evening, when I was putting my son to bed (and it took me more than half an hour, because of his resistance like every other toddler hating to sleep and endlessly asking for water, for toilet and etc), and suddenly started thinking about my childhood friends, relatives, places that I have been and loved. Then I really felt that I miss all that so much.
That authenticity. Authenticity of youth years, of friendship, of relationships that form your character and future too.
I started to miss visiting my friends, whose families I was close with and I would always stay with them for dinner.
I can't remember single friend of mine, whom I have visited and left without dinner.
That is all about my tiny lovely country Georgia. Yes, the incredible Georgian hospitality is not a myth. It is true from the beginning to the end. People will open up for you, they will feed you, will give you to drink, they will sacrifice their last piece of bread, but will never upset a guest.

This tradition is given from G-d to my people (I am so lucky having TWO nations). The first and the most hospitable man was Abraham, who would sit out of his tent and wait for anyone to appear, so he could feed the traveler, let him rest and talk to him about One Creator.

That is Georgia.
Hospitality, being friendly, open, HUMANE.

I have never seen anything like that in other countries. And believe me, I have visited not few.
Staying for dinner?

Once I was invited to a friend's house in Europe, who threw a big party. I came with my other friend, because I couldn't leave her alone, plus I thought it wouldn't make much difference, since the friend who was throwing a party, was a really rich one. Well, it did :-( she told me right away that she didn't expect me to bring a friend too and I should've told her before.
I was so disappointed, I could cry.

Because I come from Georgia and bringing your uninvited friend to a party is not a problem at all. Hosts will welcome everyone same. The poorer man is, the kinder heart he has.

So why am I writing this anyway?
I just wish I had friends here too that I could visit spontaneously, just dropping by for some tea and staying for dinner, then coming over and making pajama party just like that. I miss that.
I realise, times change, like we all do and you can't always be carefree and wild.
I am almost 30 and so are most of my childhood friends obviously. We try to catch up online, but it doesn't really work. We still lose the closeness, we lose the important moments even though we share them via social media.

I think I wish I were as hospitable as Abraham. I wish I were as kind as Rebeccah who gave Eliezer and his camels to drink, I wish I were as selfless as Rachel Imeinu, who didn't think twice to save her sister's dignity and gave up her love for it... I wish I were as humble as Moses, as peaceful as Aaron... and I could go on without ending, because all our forefathers- and mothers were special.
So when hard times come up and I feel like I cannot take anymore, because some things are just too hard for my post feminist and socialist self, then I remember all those people, their good deeds, their efforts so we could still live and remember who is ABOVE us, it gets easier. Not very much, but little easier than before.

I am this 29,5 year old mama who never got away from her Salinger-y self. Don't think I ever will ;-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Selfie" Question-Answer Post

The other day I was thinking if I am modest enough. I mean, do I behave nicely? Am I a good example for other girls and women of my social and religious level? Am I always dressed properly? Do I perhaps laugh little louder than I should?

And after I got all the answers to my above asked questions, I realised what a crazy world we live in.
Modesty? How can anyone be modest (including myself) having Instagram and sharing its "selfies", which I find so very selfish (the word says it itself) and stupid, although I've done more than couple of selfies myself too.

Dressing properly is another important thing for an Orthodox Jewish wife and mum. There are some dress codes, we all follow. It has never been too hard for me because I come from Georgia, where girls dress (at least used to) modestly, not bearing too much skin.

The other day I overheard a Muslim girl actually, who had her beautiful hair all covered saying, that it was not all about hiding from men, but making it clear, that there is more than physicality in women that you should think about. Nice point, right? I actually loved how she saw her traditions and once again made me feel better about really faithful people. I am glad to know that there are Muslim women and men, who truly believe in G-d, good morals and kindness.

So once you are open-minded, always ask questions, try finding questions and believe that G-d is One and Only, you are on a right path.

Now to the laughing part. Yeah, that is something I still have to work on. I love to laugh a lot. If not a laughter, I would have not managed this life. Really.

Tuesday thoughts, here they are.

Have a lovely week!!!

Enjoying beautiful Autumn (resisted well not to post a selfie ;-) )

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Me Against The World?

I haven't been much out lately to interact with people, do talks and smart discussions like I used to in my "youth". Let me say last three years.
Plus I always blame pregnancy and postpartum brain that doesn't really go away soon, at least mine, to bring the old Sophie back, who could read tons of books and then discuss about them. This is probably why I feel like I have been out of this world for good and have become sort of introvert too.

Nowadays I am this laid back, old fat mama of two little boys, who is not as laid back as she might seem to be ;-)
I am a worrier. Sometimes I just can't sleep because I worry about anything and anyone I have ever known. Really. I may have met someone just for once, but I worry how is that person doing now, is he/she happy, is he/she satisfied with life, is he/she healthy and etc. I have always been that way. I remember I was about 5 years old when one of my friend's mum got seriously sick and my friend could not come out to play (yes, I grew up in THE time when children used to go out in the yard/streets and play together). At night when my mum wished me good night, I burst into tears, because my friend's mum was sick in hospital and nobody could kiss her goodnight that night. I remember asking G-d to never make any child's mum sick so children could go out and play with friends freely, then go to sleep happy because their mums kissed them and wished them good night.

Yes, that's what kind of a girl I have always been. It doesn't matter that I'll be 30 this year, that character of mine has never changed.

Ireland - my spiritual homeland

So honestly, I logged on to write about something else and look where my typing hands got me.
I meant to write about a guest we had, who studies anthropology and humanity history, I hope I say it right. That guest was saying that today's culture, world culture and probably mostly the 1st world one,  is so depressive and even aggressive, because it almost demands from everyone to be "unique", "creative", "original", "cool" and etc. If you are just a regular nice guy, you have already lost my friend. You have to be something more, something that nobody has been before. Yeah, right. Now who believes in that?
Almost whole western world, I answer.

So when once some other guest came over and told me I should be a real minimalist, I knew it was meant to say, my home is simple and I have no sense of "creativity". Well, that is true actually. And I have my reasons (as usual).
First off, I don't like spending money on things that I don't know how to use and why to use. I don't and can't do beautiful things out of nothing like many people do and good for them. Plus, I really like having more space to BREATHE and to dance with my boys. Plus we always have space for guests and are never afraid something might break, because we don't own "cool" stuff.

Second, I am really the most non-creative person of non-creatives. I see beauty and appreciate things when other people do, but I have no desire to do that myself. For example I am so fond of Talia's (and her husband's too) photos, videos and beautiful things she makes, quilts, paints; that artistic talent absolutely becomes and defines her. Because she has it naturally.
I know people can learn all that if they want to, but I think I don't really, because I'd rather read Salinger for 100000000th time and then write letters to Ezra and Aaron telling them how hard it is to be a woman and how they should respect and appreciate me and then their wives, when they have ones on their time :-) or how they should be asking (right) questions all the time and never let system get them down.

Now to resume, I am against superficial creativity as well as against superficial hipsters and coffee drinkers, who don't even like coffee, but still drink just because they heard that would make them "hipper", and don't let me start on their nerdy spectacles, please :-D
I am also against this world and popular culture that is destroying our souls and raising terrible egos.
So I should go to sleep now. See you later, World! Beware.

P.S. Ok. After all this stuff, I went (not literally) and installed Instagram on my old Samsung Galaxy S 3 Mini, which takes horrible pictures, but it's not the point. Aaron is teething (he's already got one and another coming) terribly, only sleeps on me, which is very nice, warm and all, but mama needs to entertain herself when she has time (depends on Ezra naturally), doesn't she? So what can be more entertaining than looking at the beautiful instafiltered lives of others :lol: nothing. So you can follow me if you want to and share your life :-D it's "sunnysof".
Am I really against this world? Go figure*.

*I've never used this phrase in my life before and let me play with my English phraseology, will you please, Mister Paul Auster? :-D Now hold that thought, because I should write about Paul Auster some time soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Raising A Child - Love And Other Things

 חֲנֹךְ לַנַּעַר, עַל-פִּי דַרְכּוֹ

My mum stayed with us for more than a month and when she left last Sunday, I felt like a child, who needed comfort so much, that did not know what to do. I was putting Ezra to sleep while I felt like a child myself who needed his mum right away to soothe him to sleep.

Once my old friend said that she was panicked when realised now she was a mother herself and had to take care of her newborn baby - not just physically, but mentally. 
Honestly, changing diapers and nursing are not that hard (well, they ARE, but not exclusively), giving your child right direction, right education, that is called Chinuch in Hebrew, are indeed.

Every once in a while I also get terrified of being parent and the great responsibility I hold towards my children. 
Will I be able to provide each of them exact things that they need? Will I be able to bring the each one up according to its character as Great King Solomon says, you should train/raise your child according to its own way.
Rabbiner Shimshon Raphael Hirsch brings example of Esav and Yakov, twin brothers whom the Same mother had born. They were brought up in a Same environment and got Similar chances to become what they had to become. Yet, Esav was a wicked man, who could fool his father easily and pretend he was righteous too asking very smart questions, while Yakov became the Patriarch of not only Jewish people, but anyone, who recognises the Bible (let alone Jacob is one of the popular names) by being good man and working on his traits. My personal favourite achievement of his is defeating an Angel or himself, shall I say his Ego, because I am of that opinion, which believes Yakov fought himself at that very night. He had to fight his fears, shortcomings and only afterwards could he win over Esav and his mighty powers, which would later become Rome. I got little carried away, sorry; what I meant to say was, that Rabbi Hirsch talks about those two brothers and suggests, that if they were brought up not Similarly, but in a way that would be suitable for each of them, Esav's story might have been different. He doesn't criticise Yitschak and Rivka's chinuch directly, but only suggests his view on it.

Every child has its own way definitely; he has his very own temperament, character and mission as well.
But now let me look at all this from the point of parents, who also have their own way of upbringing, which is subconsciously caused by the way they were brought up. Some people try to oppose their upbringing while some admire their own parents' methods and keep educating the generation "traditionally". I am not to judge any of them.
I believe one should find its own way (again!) of parenting. From what I've gathered last 2,5 years of parenting, this is a BIGGEST challenge one may have in life, because it is about your most closest person, the one you brought into this world and now are about to make it comfortable in it, right? So, you absolutely want to make the best of it. Everyone wants to be the parent of a leader, winner, genius, and so on... but only very few are.
Do I too? Surely, but as Isaiah put beautifully, I created you and I shall bear you. My children will always be the best to me ananyway.
As for children, they don't need nervous and uptight parents, who make them anxious too. They want to see self-confident, strong-willed and intelligent ones, who can make rules and sometimes even break them. It will take years for children to honestly love and really appreciate their parents, I can tell from my personal experience, but they will if they were brought up with love. As one very wise woman told me once, you can never go wrong with love! First, love yourself, she said, otherwise you can't love your fellow people. 

So this is when I sort of calmed down and let myself relax a bit :-)
Yes, I am a big girl now, although it doesn't bother me to miss my mum and want her to pet my head and massage my tired mama back. 
I am mum myself of two clever and sunny boys, who I want to give my best, make them feel secure and happy, but I also realise that I cannot do everything. I cannot be the best mum in the world, because they will have issues in life, they will get hurt, they will be upset and I might be the one who will contradict, criticise and preach them too.
We are all human and it is fine.
Fine as long as there's love and we know about it - parents and children alike.

Yes to raising a child on its own way, as you say - and do it with love, I say :-)

(Have I been finishing my posts with rhyming lately? So funny!)

Friday, September 5, 2014

The World from Above

This is Maria Sharapova, one of my favourite tennis players.
I really wish I knew how it feels to be so tall and have such beautiful long legs. Really. Does the world seem different or it's the same as for us, 165 cm not-slim-long-legged mamas? I guess I will never know.

Listening to Mindy while writing about Masha's legs.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Eternal War

I've been having hate-hate-hate thing about blogging and internet in general lately. I know it is all about me, but I feel like I don't want to open up and write, while there are so many unsaid issues that really bother and eat me from the inside.

Summer of 2014 has been quite tough. First, we had terrible weather, no sun almost all summer long, temperature never went above 25°C, and I felt like I was sitting in a sort of the bell jar. Not literally, but in a way.

Second, people continue disappointing me and I, once again, take it very close to my heart, which I should not, because I am almost 30, mum of two and all that, that qualify (should?) me as a responsible and intelligent adult. I know this is the longest sentence that is advised not for a blog, but do I seem to care about such details? Exactly.

Third, Israel has been in war. Imagine, or just check Israel on a map and then think of the media blast that was going on through whole summer. It was like some BIG country was terrorising another big one, ok, smaller one. Gaza, people, Gaza, is like a little tumour in Israel's brain and still, it took so many lives and so much weapon to demilitarise that small region, wipe out some terrorists (not sure about that) and lose soldiers, who left young widows and small children, who need their dads so badly.

So, that is why I hated internet last Summer, and probably hated people too. It is us, people, doing wrong, killing, abusing, hurting each other, because we have lost our morality, we have lost our humane spirit and the so-called image of G-d is something that is doubtable, really.
All right, not really of course, how could I deny anything that Torah says, but in reality, at least last Summer proved otherwise.

I wish I could write here that I hope everything will get better and there will be peace, we shall all live in a friendly and warm environment, but sorry, I cannot say that because it is impossible. We probably never will.
If you look through world history, there have been nothing but wars and wars, blood shedding, pogroms, revolutions, more blood shedding, more wars, more tears, more pogroms...

Life is so temporary, like us humans, only war is eternal - be it either internal or external :-(

Monday, August 25, 2014

Shalom Aleichem - Peace Be With You

I've had couple of "Answer Me This" posts in my drafts, which I never got to publish because of different reasons, but today is the day that I should.

I've been homesick of a kind, and now I realise I have quoted Ezra Pound for that who is the least favourite poet of mine because of his political attitude. What can you do if he has the best name though.

I had baby Aaron 6 months ago and only now I feel to have little postpartum depression thing. Not that big depression kind that Western world loves so much, I come from the East after all. I mean little depression that would suit a stay at home Hausfrau mum of two little children.

Blogging should heal me, I pray.

I like Kendra Tierney very much. I like the way she writes. I respect her for being a lady, good example of a modern religious woman, who is intelligent, modest and funny at the same time.
I feel very grateful to know plenty of nice people with whom I don't share my religious belief at all, but still learn a lot because kindness, morality and G-d are universal.
This mother of 7 lovely children is one of my online miracles.
In Judaism we say that it is "Kiddush Hashem", when one does an act of kindness, that praises G-d's name and recognises His almightiness. So I think Kendra's the one doing it with her honesty in faith, which absolutely inspires others to be like her.

Here are the answers to this week's questions:

1. What is your favorite picture book?

I never liked picture books before I had children. I am a "Franny and Zooey" post-feminist Jewish-Irish girl, you know ;-) Now my firstborn Ezra loves picture books, so I have to like them too. He used to love the "Was fährt da in der Stadt?" book, which must be an equivalent of English "Things that move", I suppose.

He especially loves this picture of a man repairing the street lamp, probably because we unscrew the lamp in the kitchen before every Shabbat, so Ezra wouldn't turn it on, and this picture, funnily, must be reminding him of that. He's still too young to understand some/most of the Shabbat laws, but as my dearest Rebetzin Roberg says, it is all about what one learns from its family. When a child sees how parents love and respect their faith, traditions, how happy they are living in this particular way, he will love and enjoy it too.

But his/mine all time favourite is this one, the children version of old Georgian book "Wisdom of Fancy" by extraordinary Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani. Ezra's got to like this preach book for it is based on Talmud, some say.

2. Are you a boycotter?

I think I am.
(Sophie, of course you are!)
I have always been.
I used to boycott all the big capitalist companies like Coca Cola, Pepsi, McDonalds, Apple and many more for my University years.
Now I mostly boycott those companies/factories that support Nationalist Party of Germany, who are Nazis deep inside.

3. How do you feel about cheese?

Funny to answer this, because my uncle is a great cheese maker :-D he was a school principal (we call it the school director over here; principal - I must've heard in American movies), who quit his intellectual job because he's that funny kind of guy and went farming.
Back to cheese though.
My husband and I used to make kosher cheese actually, but then got bored, because it was too expensive and not worth of our time and effort. It's easier to buy, plus we don't want to boycott Kosher stores, that are so few in Germany :-D
What's that Kosher Cheese? To make a kosher cheese you need vegetable rennet, enzyme that is not of the animal origin. We don't eat "normal" cheese, because of the law from Torah: it is forbidden to mix milk with meat.
Usually, cheese is made from the rennet, which would be from the animal stomach skin (pardon my English and just Google, if you are not a boycotter like some people).

4. How many pairs of sunglasses do you own?

One or two, but don't even know where I keep them. I hardly ever use sunglasses because it's never too sunny in Germany.

5. How long has it been since you went to the dentist?

I had an appointment last year and ironically, I decided to take a pregnancy test on that very morning, which came out positive. I canceled it obviously.
So thanks for reminding now. I shall schedule an appointment soon.

6. If you could visit any religious site in the world, where would you go?

It should definitely be Eretz Israel or Holy Land, as everyone calls it. There is no land that can be holier and it must be only statement everyone agrees with.
I also hope and pray my children will be able not only visit Yerushalayim/Jerusalem, but live there in peace with other people (despite of their faith), who REALLY love and care about the land. It sounds so not realistic right now, I know, but we do believe, don't we?

I also wish I could visit Rachel's tomb in Ramah near Bethlehem. She is one of my favourite Biblical foremothers, if not the most, because of her kindness, patience and love towards her sister Leah.

Thanks Kendra for hosting.

(And thank you, my readers, who keep e-mailing and supporting me even though you can't really call this a blog anymore.)

Shalom Aleichem to you all!!!
Peace be with you! - remember this?
It is a Hebrew way of greeting, but let it be my goodbye this time.

Shalom means peace in Hebrew and it also has other meaning, wholeness. Nothing can be complete and none of us can be happy if there is no peace with our fellow people.

So may there be Peace in this old crazy world!