I'm writing this from Israel. Once again, Israel has totally knocked my socks off, but in an entirely different way. When I was here before I was primarily struck by all the religious sites. This time, I'm struck more with the people. Israelis generally have the reputation of being loud and pushy people. Yes, that's true.
While David and I were in Tel Aviv I pointed out that not only is everyone in exceedingly good shape, the majority of the poopulation moves with a natural grace and vitality that I've never seen before in a whole country. Everyone has incredible posture and moves with athletic ease. I asked him if he thought it was the compulsory military training that did it. His theory is that first of all, it is largely an outdoor-loving people. They are active and appreciate what life has to offer. Secondly, Israeli children are not born with the same restrictions placed on them as American children. Even the teenagers run a little wild - but not wild in a malicious and loud way, but in a "do as you please" sort of way. They are treated as adults - with more than a few lectures, I'm sure - and are not controlled.
Also, most of David's colleagues that we've met here are incredibly interesting people. We met one colleague that makes his own wine in his basement. He showed us his set up in the basement where wine is pressed and stored in barrels for a year at a time. He bottles his own beer. He took us hiking in the desert. We met one of David's colleagues here in Tel Aviv. She talked about how she goes bicycling along the Mediterranean. She's taking salsa classes. None of these people seem bogged down by life or by a daily grind at all.
Last night I had vivid dreams about it all. I was at a writer's conference at one point, and I was my usual self - reserved about showing my work and letting other people take the spotlight. At one point, an instructor came up to me and said "There are no consequences here. Be bold." - which by that he meant no bad consequences. So put yourself out there!
So I've made up my mind: when I get back to the states, I'm taking a class in photographic lighting (to continue by photography hobby), I'm starting swimming again, I'm sending off Betsy Stevens to publishers, I'm writing - I'm done being bogged down with limitations and exceptions.