As I shared before I’m now on my own for the first time in 34 years. It’s been about a month and so far it’s been freeing. Also about a month ago I started speaking with someone and made plans to meet up since we live in different cities. He is Jewish as well and also converted he is much younger than me, but he seemed to be more put together than most 34 year olds, and was very mature and knew what he wanted. Things started getting hot and heavy over Video chat, and I started getting feelings for him. I opened up and told him about things I usually don’t so early on, I felt a connection with him even just over text, we had a lot in common and I could see things going further with him, but alas he didn’t feel the same towards me. It also all went down while I was flying and on a very long day with little rest the night before and I took it harder than I thought or even expected. I haven’t dated anyone for a very long time and I very rarely open up to people but again I was enamored with all our things in common and went for it. I will recover and hopefully find somebody who really is my beshert. He did get me thinking about many things that I hadn’t given a second thought about, some are huge life changing things and some aren’t per se just topics that I didn’t think needed to be changed just because I’m Jewish now and that maybe I do need to change or think about not doing them anymore. And now that I have finished my conversion I ready to get back into the dating scene. Hopefully within the next few months it’ll happen, only Hashem knows. I’ve been working on the weekends this month and so Shabbat has been observed either traveling or on another day. Now before I get lambasted for not properly observing the sabbath on Friday to Saturday, this month my work schedule has not allowed me much flexibility, unkess I pay a hearty sum to another flight attendant to change trips, and well I just can’t afford it. It has been different and not in a good way, although I love my job and wouldn’t or couldn’t do anything else working on Shabbat has not been fun. I understand clearly why Jews have shabbos.
Some of the things that “the guy” got me thinking about is keeping kosher. While my kitchen is a shoe box, literally, I’ve been slowly separating everything. I have 2 sets of silverware, cooking utensils, and sponges. I don’t have any dishes yet but soon I will and there will be 2 different sets. It hasn’t been easy let me tell you. I’ve mixed sponges by accident and used a fork that is for dairy with a meat dish but hey I still new at it and we all make mistakes. For any of you that have a Trader Joe’s nearby they have an amazing selection of kosher products. Like amazing selection, they’ve become my new favorite store.
I’ve also taken a break from my side business JetSet Organics while I moved and got settled into my new place. But I’m gearing back up and taking again. If you haven’t checked it out yet please do, visit Facebook.com/JetSetorganics. I use every product I make and I’ve seen huge changes in my skin. Also you may have noticed that I added a tab at the top for my business. While there aren’t any posts yet on that tab there will be as soon as I start taking photos of products as they’re being made.
A few days ago I met with my rabbi and had the chat to get the ball rolling on finishing my conversion. Well the ball feels like a fast ball pitch, the meeting was on Friday, today it’s Tuesday and my Hatafat dam Brit was done today and my Beit Din and Mikvah are tomorrow. I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone and how emotional I’ve been today. The “circumscision” didn’t hurt that badly, and there was hardly any blood. The mohel had to circle the drop on the gauze so my rabbi could see it. He also gave the gauze to my rabbi and he was a little freaked out he then gave it to me when we left the dr.’s office. After that it was off to the nail salon for a pedicure and wine because your nails are supposed to be cleaned and trimmed for mikvah. It was also a time to just relax and be pampered that massage chair did wonders. When I got home it’s really when my emotions kicked into overdrive when I was watching the final 2 episodes of Revenge, it’s been the only show recently, that I’ve watched every Sunday for the past 4 years. The tears started in first scene of the series finale, I got that ugly cry too the one where you just can’t stop it, no matter what and you just look like a blubbering mess. Thank G-d I was alone at home so no one got it on video. Hopefully tomorrow I can keep it together for the Beit Din, but if not oh well.
I don’t know what to expect tomorrow at the Beit Din, but if it’s been like everything else in this process it will be easy, because this is what Hashem wants.
Again I’ve fallen behind on blogging, it’s been crazy around here, my business has been picking up see me on mkt.com/JetSet-Organics and Facebook at Facebook.com/Jetsetorganics. And now that I’m based in Denver it takes 2 days out of every week that I’m flying back and forth to Atlanta. I’m getting down to theend of my classes for my conversion, I’ve submitted my “auto-biography” to my rabbi which he’s already read and responded that it was a great piece. I will share it in a few days I need to sort some stuff out with my family to keep them informed about my choices. I’ve chosen my Hebrew names, yep plural, cause I’m non committal and like 2 names. Which I will also reveal in a few days as well.
I went to 2 different Purim parties this year, one sponsored by an orthodox young professional group and the other by the LGBT group here in Atlanta. The orthodox sponsored one was interesting, we all know you’re supposed to here Megillah Esther twice once at night once the next morning. Well the rabbi in charge said the Megillah, which is quite lengthy, in 21 minutes, that included booing Haman’s name, it was also held in a brand new brewery that is making some interesting brews, but isn’t kosher, it’s cool though. But it was surprisingly packed probably around 60 people. The second party was held the Saturday after Purim so no Megillah reading but it was also a fundraiser for the group and had almost 400 people attend. Open bar and everyone is gay or lesbian with acrobats and clowns, holy Moses. The clown was kinda freaky and I’m not gonna lie I dint really get “her” show. Yes she was a drag queen I think. Any way I met someone during the party and we hung out after the partying we went to a club to dance and when I suggested going somewhere quieter he grabbed my hand and we left and went to his house. We talked for a while and then I went home, we both liked each other at least that’s what I thought until he said, the next day, I’m dating someone but he’s in Israel and I’m leaving next Monday to go figure things out with him and I’ll be back in a month. Really!!!!!! All I could say was ok well take care of that and when you get back call me and we’ll see where things go. I mean really we kissed and messed around a little and it didn’t cross his mind to tell me then. Honestly this is why I’ve stayed single for so long, men don’t know how to be honest or forthcoming with information, but I can’t stop thinking about him either.
Since I’ve been wearing a kippah all the time, since September or October, I get some great questions from passengers, coworkers, airport employees, but by far the best questions I get are from my more Torah observant passengers. For example; so you get shabbos off right? NO, I don’t it’s up to me to change my schedule. Or “How do you eat when your working because it’s hard enough for me and I only fly twice a week?” I get the most questions about food and eating. Ya know Jews love to eat and so my answer is usually simple and concise ” I can bring food through security as a crew member” but I had one guy just last week on a flight between 2 cities in California that didn’t like my answer, while he was getting off and I was tidying the cabin he stopped me in the aisle and handed me his business card and told me if I ever needed anything while I was in the LA area or northern Cali area to give him a call and he’ll have someone bring me whatever I need including shabbat meals or while I’m on a sit in the airport. I’ve never had a passenger be so direct to offer anything. Usually when I get spotted by a Torah Observant person I get a stare maybe a smile.
I know I haven’t written in quiet some time, I have been lazy and busy. You’re probably thinking how can he be both but its true, for 2 weeks I was busy and didn’t have time to do anything, and the other week I was just lazy. See the week after I got the epidural I did absolutely nothing, I was just worn out from my back/leg pain. The next week I went to visit a friend for a few days in the midwest and from there I went directly to Orlando for my birthday and a beach party for the regatta team from my airline. I came home from Orlando and rested a little bit then got ready for my 6 days of actual work for this month. I am on vacation again this month and like I said earlier if I bid right I only have to work a few days. This month I had to work 6 days total, so I spent 2 nights in Las Vegas and then a night in Minneapolis and one in Kansas City. Now I am off until July 15th. My 2 nights in Las Vegas were not spent on the strip or old town, but at the hotel pool with my crew and drinks. We all kept this trip for that reason, and what we thought was an easy trip was made even easier when our first flight got cancelled. When this happens we fly just like regular passengers, and normally its done on my airline, but we’re going through a merger so it was on the other airline. Since we weren’t “working” we can do what we please during the flight, I just read and tried to get some sleep. I am reading two books by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, “Davening: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer” and “Jewish with Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice.” Both interesting to read but not the easiest. When I started reading, my crew member wanted to know what I was reading and once she saw the title it started the whole Why are you reading about that you’re not Jewish and you drink alcohol. So I had to explain I’m converting and the reason why I’m converting, and I then explain that Jews can drink alcohol, in fact on Shabbat we start the meal with wine and the ceremony of Havdalah we end Shabbat with wine, and even on Purim we’re commanded to get drunk, her response was “Wow sound like my kind of religion, but I’m a Christian.” I just said I know and that kind of ended the conversation about it until the next day when we got our crew meals and I of course gave mine away because, a. it was a Ham sandwich and b. they all had cheese on them and as I’ve said before I don’t keep kosher but I do follow Kashrut. My trip to Minneapolis was spent getting a pedicure at the Mall of America. It’s a big mall and for someone who hates to shop or be around huge crowds it’s not a place that I really enjoy. Hopefully I going to travel during my vacation if I can get my butt in gear, although I do have to be back in town next Sunday for a Habitat for Humanity build with my shul. Now that I am off for the rest of the month of June until July 15th I have to find something to do other than sit at home and do nothing.
Last weekend I wrote about having hurt my back, during the week I visited my doctors and got a chiropractic adjustment, and was scheduled to get an Epidural injection and that was today. When I get an epidural the rest of the day is just relaxing in bed and icing my back and normally I am still loopy from the anesthesia that I get, because these shots are no joke pain wise. Well today was different in a sort of long way, the nurse who put my IV in didn’t really know what she was doing, I have very good veins and anyone can get a IV started quickly, not her. It’s normally an hour procedure from triage to recovery, not today. I normally am really loopy and tired and worn out afterwards, not today. I waited an hour from triage to procedure, the IV had to be re done while I was laying on the table, but in like 3 seconds flat the new nurse had it in, flushed, and anesthesia halfway in, no bruise, no pain, no fuss. The injection in my lower back was painful and normally when I say it hurts they pump more drugs in my IV, not today. I had a 30 second “good” feeling which only covered getting the numbing agent in, it didn’t even help with the steroid that’s injected and that always the part that hurts the most. This was also the first time that as an almost convert, I had the chance to pray the Shm’a before a procedure. Since one never knows what can happen and I was getting general anesthesia, and I was nervous I did what any Jew should/would do. Pray to Hashem. The Shm’a, is known as the calling card of the Jewish faith, Why? Because it declares and affirms our faith in One God. As I was saying it I could instantly feel Hashem calm me down, and I felt re-assured that everything would be ok. I still had to wait a bit longer before the procedure after I prayed the first time, so I as I was entering the procedure room I prayed it again, and I again felt peaceful. I’ve only felt this way when I was at the Kotel; peaceful, at ease, reassured. Everything ended up going fine, I got home was a little bit in pain but I’ve been resting and taking my prescriptions, hopefully I won’t have another shabbat spent laying in bed. I actually miss going to the synagogue on Friday night.
Every shabbat is usually the same, I try to clean the house and get ready for a Saturday of resting, well I had plans this weekend to go away for the long holiday weekend, so I didn’t prepare anything for shabbat. When those plans changed I was planning on just going to service and then coming home and relaxing for the weekend with out a single thing planned. Well that all went down the “crapper” when I hurt my back. I couldn’t sit, so going to shul was out of the question, I couldn’t stand, so all I was left to do was lay down. Well things got worse Saturday morning when I couldn’t do anything, literally NOTHING. I couldn’t even get out of bed, I tried and fell right to my knees, in tears. I have had a back injury for the past year and I have dealt with pain for that long but this was different pain. Like my body just locked up. I finally made it back into bed and fell back to sleep for a few hours, when I woke up again and could barely crawl I knew something was really wrong so I had to call 911. My bedroom is upstairs so I had to figure out how I could get down without being in excruciating pain and not have to have the EMT’s or Firemen have to carry me down. Granted some of them were cute and they were really friendly but I had already made it down halfway when they got there and the stairway isn’t big enough for 2 let alone 3 or 4. As I crawled down my two cats were at the top looking down and one of the firemen said “your cats look like they’re judging you”. I said yeah they’re judging but they’re judging you guys. My cats were distraught because I was crying and screaming out in pain. Now all they do is lay next to me and try to comfort me.
My baby comforting me
I was taken to the ER and given some (actually a lot of) pain killers and muscle relaxers. I was there for about 7 hours and not even an X-Ray was taken, the Dr. just forgot about me. My friends have been so great this weekend with picking me up from the hospital to getting my prescriptions filled, especially, Kourtney, the girl in my conversion class, we’ve only known each other for 5 months and she came to the hospital and drove me home, we have become close during our time in class and outside of class. And Sandra, a woman I work with. They both drove from the other side of town to help me. I am forever grateful to them.
Since I’ve been bed ridden for 3 days now I’ve had time to read my siddur and pray, a lot. Now before anyone gets uptight about not having a minyan, or not facing, Jerusalem, I know that Hashem won’t mind, and exceptions are made for hose that aren’t physically able to. I’m finding that some of the prayers resonate with my inner being, my “neshama.” I am so glad that Hashem has put me on this path.
I am now half way into the class for converting, our last class for the semester was yesterday and because some of the people in my class are at the end of their year we talked about where we were in our journey’s and it got me thinking. I have been doing “Jewish” since November of 2013, I like to think I started out little by little but as I look back I just dove in head first. I started off by not eating pork and shellfish and doing shabbat, going to synagogue every week, not eating meat and dairy together, praying before I eat and saying the Shm’a only before going to bed, I also make challah for the most part each week and light the candles.
Now I say the bedtime Shm’a from the ArtScroll orthodox Siddur, I try to say the Modeh Ani when I wake up and the other morning prayers, I wear a kippah on most days and some days I don’t even remember I have it on. I still don’t keep kosher and I have not laid T’fillin although I have been looking at buying them, I have also tried the ritual hand washing in the morning, I do feel a connection there and I may start doing it more.
This time of reflection has given me an opportunity to really think about everything. It’s also forced me to think about how I will continue to do “Jewish” in my daily life once the class is over. I’m still glad I started this journey, I am ecstatic about being and becoming Jewish and cannot wait for the day that my conversion is complete and I dunk in the mikvah. I can’t picture myself being anything other than Jewish.