Even though there was (and still is - this was written weeks ago) the primal uncertainty of not having a home, for the most part there has been more good than bad. There has also been quite a bit of “What the hell am I doing here?”, but let’s be honest, we’ve all had one of those waiting for the tube at Belsize Park after a few expensive drinks in some charmless bar.
By definition, growing up with most of one’s cousins abroad creates a certain distance, but we’ve been getting on like friends, not family, and I mean that as a compliment. I could bang on about them individually but I don’t want them to get big heads (especially L whose fluffy barnet threatens to engulf any room she graces with her presence). My guitar lessons went down a treat, I now know that rock is in my genes, nature not nurture perhaps. Although learning rock on a classical guitar is not the way forward. It goes against the whole essence of the beast, and I’m sure Dio would agree. There’s always time to learn theory later, but the most important thing is to follow one’s calling. Do you want to solo like Petrucci? Do you want to riff along to Megadeth’s Holy Wars? As Dave Mustaine screeched, “Don’t look now to Israel, it might be your homeland.” But then he was probably strung out on smack at the time, so who knows what he really meant.
Special mention to V, who even though she runs a family home and works, still managed to find time to make sure I partook of her excellent food and that I had clean pants. I’m not sure what is more important, moussaka that you actually want to eat more of, or that clean, fresh, snug and supportive feeling. Then again, pants appear to be somewhat optional in this part of the world (the country, not their flat). I might experiment with that when I’ve worn out my current batch. Not a lot of people would ask around their neighbours to find non-biological detergent for me. In fact I can’t think of anyone who has ever done that. There are no words to describe the warm hospitality and welcome that these guys provided, and that made the landing somewhat soft. They can all cook too - I even had some hot dogs with my ketchup.
Whilst in Ra’anana, I managed to get back onto my marathon training schedule. I have a place to run this April, and I’m trying to stick to the plan. It turns out that emigration-time is probably not the best moment to take on one of the greatest physical challenges known to man. I’ll probably know by mid-March whether I have a chance of going the distance. Ra’anana, being a Model Town has various road-running routes mapped out by the council, so the inhabitants may be Model Citizens and keep fit after a day working in high-tech and driving home in a white mid-range saloon with the company name emblazoned on the rear wing. I was there for a couple of weeks, and eventually a 10km circle of the town felt like a walk in the park. One fine afternoon I ran through the park, listening to Iron Maiden’s brilliant Somewhere In Time.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Spandex, big hair, and mullets. Or “I’ve never heard any of their music but I’ve got the t-shirt.” Er, anyway, so it was impossible not to be lifted as The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner faded out, to be followed by Stranger In A Strange Land. Just how did they know? Did Steve Harris sit there in the eighties, throw back his curly mane, slag off Millwall, and then declare that in a quarter of a century, some bloke would be running quite far in a foreign country? It’s always nice when music touches you in a unique way. Not like when all the ladies thought that James Blunt was calling them beautiful. After years of faithful service and much repair, the iRiver H340 may be on its way out. I don’t think it likes being shaken as I run, but if I can find a replacement hard disk, it will live again.
The annoying thing is that hand on heart, I don’t really want to go back for the marathon, and that is going to make training hard. It’s always difficult to do something you don’t really want to do. I want to raise the money and I want to run twenty-six miles without walking, but I don’t want to jump on a plane just as I’m starting to feel vaguely comfortable here. The human brain is a weird beast, and despite thirty-two years in the old country and, no years here, I feel that it would be weird to go back now, even for a few days. I mean, the yellow signs at Heathrow Airport? What’s with that shit? Or as S might say, ? מה זה, השיט הזה . I love that sentence, it sounds so right. I mean, it’s all very well prowling twenty square miles for most of one’s life. But have you been to Shadwell lately? Walworth? Dagenham? Stoke? Aston? Bridgend? Who, after all, is the Stranger in the Strange Land?
(Header image: Park Ra’anana.)