2. The second Connection:
Venice – Tel Aviv –
I still remember the moment Tamar and I met for the first time:
I had come to Venice to study abroad for one semester. We had been told that we would all have roommates but after one week of had passed I found myself sitting in my room getting my hopes up – maybe I was the lucky one on campus getting privacy and her very own bathroom?
I had just changed into my pajamas and was cursing the fact that I had some allergic reaction to the provided sheets wich caused me to violently sneeze every minute when there was the sound of somebody trying to use the key card and failing several times. When she finally managed to open the door, her stuff exploded into the room out of a bag approximately the size of the small woman with ginger hair herself, filled with scarfs, dresses, and jewelry, carelessly thrown into the bag and resembling my way of packing very much. Oh, how disappointed I was about sharing my room – and boy was I wrong!
In the following month, we founded a friendship based on the love of coffee, hatred of early classes, and a shared passion for dry wit in disastrous moments.
Our bathroom was turned into a mini-kitchen for half of our building – thanks to one hot plate and two pots. In between the pasta and the shampoo, there was just enough space for oil paintings to dry and jokes to be made and soon the tiny shared room in Venice felt like home to me. And I would discover that this would apply to almost any place I would be with Tamar. Because, as one of our classmates predicted, we would be friends forever (well, live is still happening, but you know ;))
We kept visiting each other in Israel and Germany, kept writing and calling, kept growing up and sometimes apart: The Drama-Student and the Social-Studies-Major turned into a Journalist and an Empowerment Self Defense Instructor, the girls living on caffeine and cookies started ordering salads once in a while, and the worst morning person ever turned into a content early riser. Our friendship was the first that revealed to me the painful downside of being someone who lives in many places and travels a lot:
That I would just never be able to piece this puzzle of people I cared about together in one frame.
No matter where I would end up, I would always be missing someone. There is no version of my life that I could share with everyone I really wanted to on an everyday basis. This might sound mundane, but to me, it still is one of the sad facts of this kind of living.
But of course, since the other option would be simply not knowing each other, I’m still quite happy with what I chose. Also because no matter where we stand in life, Tamar and I still somehow always meet in that magical spot of honesty when we saw each other again after long times.
So obviously I had to ask Tamar if she wanted me to meet any of her many friends living out there in the world.
And she did. “You have to meet Temimah and Shiva”, she said, “Temimah is a force of nature. And Shiva, well, he is a different kind of force.” Temimah and Shiva run a Yoga center in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Tamar had just spent some intense weeks living with them while realizing an amazing project of hers: Culturally adapted Self-Defense-Classes, in which she first researched sexual abuse in this culture, then taught women self-defense according to their fears and problems and even taught some of them how to teach these classes to make sure the programme could continue after she was gone.
Temimah and Shiva intrigued me immediately: Two spiritual Yogini from Israel living in the capital of the Dominican Republic, opening up their house to female self-defense classes, baking their own bread and making cheese, teaching not only Yoga but also Karate and practicing Shiatsu – how could I not want to go? Which is why I am writing this blog post on a sunny rooftop terrace, with blisters on my feet from my first Karate session and a cat sitting on my notes making it impossible to take this any further…
Once more my life would have turned out completely different if it had not been for winning that lottery ticket that was becoming roommates with Tamar. And once more I am so glad it didn’t!