An incredibly quick re-cap for those who feel a bit out of the loop
I made Aliyah to Israel, landing as an immigrant on December 27, 2007 and found myself on Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael milking cows in the north while studying on their Ulpan for six months. I then took a month long break in the United States before returning to Israel and enlisting in the IDF on August 20, 2008 – I spent three months at Mehve Alon where I completed basic training and a Hebrew course. I was then transferred to the Foreign Relations Branch at the IDF Ground Forces Command where I was the assistant to the Head of the Foreign Relations Branch. During this time, to keep myself occupied, I setup the first Ground Forces wide ESL Program. After a year and a half in this position I was sent on the NCO course for Foreign Relations, which I passed. I was then transferred back to the Foreign Relations Branch at the Ground Forces Command and was moved to the Overseas Office. After being transferred to the Overseas Office I was sent on the NCO course for Information Security, which I passed, and was then sent back to the Foreign Relations Branch at the IDF Ground Forces Command.
In my position in the Overseas Office I was responsible for mission management – sending delegations around the world on behalf of the Ground Forces Command. With two weeks left to complete my service, I was then offered a contract by the Overseas Training Division to be the Instruction NCO on the Battalion Commanders Course, where I served as one of eight commanders, with ten cadets underneath us collectively. I was responsible for translating the course and creating all of the instructional material to mold our cadets into battalion commanders. We were incredibly successful in our mission and today our cadets are serving as Battalion Commanders in their own countries, applying the lessons we taught them in the field.
Towards the end of my service, I was once again offered contracts – though I was incredibly touched to have even been asked to continue my service, I declined them with thanks.
Having survived for 37 months on army service at the grace of Israeli welfare, I decided to complete my M.A. at my parents house on Long Island so I could once again rebuild my nest egg, work, and study without having to worry about constantly foraging for, or stealing, food.
Having been accepted to the Open University of Israel I began my studies at the Open University through their online system – but I wasn’t happy, and I didn’t feel that running after these two initials after my name was going to lead me to any further answers of where I wanted to live, what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do with myself – whatever that was I knew it wasn’t this endless, and mind-numbing mental masturbation with people who think that they can represent the very depths of their soul or imagination by discussing someone else’s two dimensional black and white work as if it were their own unique production, and not an argument that has been rehashed and milked dry year after year – something was lacking, something was out of balance.
I wanted something more, I was looking for something a little more “××××ª×” (Amiti – personal, genuine, something that moves the soul)…I was looking for something real.
When I was 16 I considered going to massage school instead of university, but opted to follow the advice (or conventional wisdom if you will of “get a real degree”) – and I’m glad I did.
If I didn’t, I would have never began studying languages, I would have never met some of my closest friends, I would have never posted in a language blog where I would have never met Itai (nir1), and if I didn’t meet Itai, I probably would have never made that first trip to Israel, and then I would have never moved to Israel and received Israeli citizenship, and I would have never spent 37 months in the IDF or six months milking cows – never, ever, play with the time line – and never have any regrets.
After withdrawing from the Open University – happily and as far from disappointment as you can get before someone locks you up for being a little too happy, I applied – and was accepted – to the New York College of Health Professions and their school of Massage Therapy.
I begin my studies to become a massage therapist in May and – providing all goes according to plan – I will be graduating in April 2014, and licensed by August 2014. My first tri-mester is filled with Anatomy & Physiology I, Myology I, Fundamentals of Holistic & Public Health, Introduction to the Physical Arts and Swedish Technique I.
After licensing it’s my goal to pass the national boards and certification exam and to then travel to India, Thailand, Tibet and Israel to study different techniques in these countries before opening up my wellness center in 2015.
I look forward to a meaningful career, and lots of travel.
All things flow into each other
Part of this journey has also been the requirement to look within myself and to change the things that I don’t think are healthy – spiritually or physically. To that end I joined Weight Watchers seven weeks ago to get a handle on something that I’ve struggled with my entire life.
I’m down 16.4lbs since joining and It’s the first time in years that I’m not starving all the time, and it marks a period in my life where I’m eating the healthiest I have ever eaten.
One of the requirements of the New York College of Health Professions is that students takes a Physical Art – either Yoga, Tai Chi or Qigong which means that for the next two years I get to work out with my peers and tone up – it is both healthy for me (as a person) and as someone who wants to go on to open a wellness center and attain a Master’s of Public Health, critical to walk the walk of health and wellness.
The past few weeks I’ve also noticed that I was having some fatigue issues. While sitting down for lunch with a friend today, I realized that having lived in the south of Israel for the past four years that what I was lacking under Long Island’s grey skies was sunlight and therefore good old Vitamin D.
I took one supplement this evening and I’m already feeling better. It’s clearly something I’m going to have to add to my daily regimen of vitamins until the summer comes around.
Getting Ready For School
I’ve ordered my first massage table and my room is currently in the process of being transformed into a massage studio – while I’m forbidden from advertising my services, referring to myself as a massage therapist, or from accepting money or tips I am expected to practice (and practice regularly) the techniques I learn at school, which means that my friends and family get to become some very, very relaxed guinea pigs.
I’ve also spent a small fortune on text books. Fortunately, since classes don’t start for another 86 days, 8 hours, 12 minutes and 15 seconds I’ll have time to go through the books, read the ones on public health and practice management, color in the anatomy and physiology books, and work with the flash cards before classes start.
I do feel a little bit bad though…my admissions officer, financial aid officer and future adviser really don’t know what kind of
stalker pro-active student they’re dealing with (though I think that they’re starting to get a clue).
There is approximately 15 days, 8 hours, 9 minutes and 42 seconds standing between me and my vacation in Chicago…I can’t wait.
And now that we’re all caught up, I need to make lunch for work tomorrow (Thursday’s my 12 hour shift) and figure out where I’m going for Friday night services: the synagogue my family doesn’t go to anymore, the gay synagogue, the reform synagogue, the conservative synagogue or the orthodox synagogue…that or maybe I’ll just run in the woods and scream…it worked for a few great rabbis.