Well, the time has come. Time to wrap things up neatly, tie them with a bow, and stick all of this on the shelf of my memory. I’ve been home for over two weeks now, and enough is enough. <sigh> My mother even used the term “dragging on” with regard to my blog this past week, which is basically the kiss of death. So, friends: it’s time to say goodbye.
With Oscar season upon us, I’m sure all the stars are busy writing their thank-you speeches, so I decided to join them and end this blog (for the time being, at least) with an expression of gratitude toward some invaluable people in my life. Here goes.
Many thanks to…
First, to my family – one more time. My parents supported my decision to do some long-term traveling from the very start, and my siblings were kind enough to do so, as well – even my engaged sister, busy with wedding preparation. The constant flow of email, snail-mail, and Skype chats was enough to make me feel, sometimes, as though I had never left home. The two packages filled with the perfect reminders of Charlotte and Squicciarini were much appreciated, and I actually couldn’t have done without them. To be honest, the list for my family would never end, so I’m going to stop there and move on.
To my dad (Joseph Squicciarini), Mr. Rick Spurlock, and Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel, who all kept me company in the Shoebox time and again as I was knitting, convalescing, or when it was just too wet or cold to go outside. I listened to their respective recorded audio teachings/lessons/podcasts online, and learned SO MUCH. My father’s recordings (available at http://www.menoftorah.wordpress.com) were also filled with the voices and questions of the other men in our congregation, which brought home close enough to touch. Mr. Spurlock’s classes (available at http://www.bereansonline.org) have been a part of my life for a while now, but I particularly enjoyed getting to hear his newest study on tradition. I think I finished it in record time – three days. <wink> It wasn’t until I actually got to Israel that I heard about Rabbi Gimpel’s series on Joshua (available at http://www.thelandofisrael.com), and I *highly* recommend it, if you want to hear some completely new and very interesting things/perspectives on Moses’ successor and the book of the Bible that bears his name. I was fascinated. Anyway, I got a lot done while listening to all of this, and I’m grateful to these men for putting themselves out there for the benefit of others.
To Gloria Alexander and Shirby Whalen, both of whom sent me “care packages”, so to speak. Both were completely unexpected, and I was deeply touched. The contents of their packages were put to good use, I assure you, and it meant so much to me that both of these dear women invested their time and effort – not to mention money – in my life, blessing me while I was away. Words really can’t express that.
To Rachel Allison, Rick Hergenreter, Alyssa Goch, the Martin family, and Adriah Bartos, who each sent me real, paper letters to hold in my hand and savor. Countless people kept in touch with me via email – and I’m grateful for them, as well – but these friends took the time to sit down and write something, which, we’ll all admit, takes a lot longer and is just plain harder to do. I kept them all.
To Joshua Spurlock, who was my go-to guy from the very beginning of the planning of this trip. Joshua, having lived for a while in Israel, had all the answers to all my questions, as well as the answers to all the questions I should have asked and didn’t. Not everybody has someone who has gone before and can direct their steps so accurately. It was a blessing being able to put all my doubts, uncertainties, and challenges to rest before leaving, thanks to Joshua’s gracious generosity with all of his prior knowledge.
To the Upham family (Jonathan in particular), the Gordon family (Noah in particular), and my Aunt Lynn & her friends, who collectively started my visit in The Land with warmth and fellowship, instead of hunger and thirst. Because of them, I had a soft landing and a smooth transition – and having Noah & Jonathan with us for the first month-and-a-half was fantastic. The Uphams also provided Lori and I with food for our first few days (when it would have been hard to figure out where to go to buy things), and gave us the contents of their refrigerator when they left – wow.
To my new friends Daniel, Mary Norris, and Isaac Zauber, who all amicably opened their homes to me. Without Daniel’s continued hospitality, many more of the Sabbaths in Israel would have been solitary. Toward the end of my visit, I also appreciated any companionship on any day of any week, so it was great having friends who were there for me.
To my two favorite rabbis and their families, who I will refrain from naming. My stay in Israel would have had a very different flavor and tone without their gracious extension of favor toward me – Shabbat meals, daytrips, and visits to some of the coolest spots in Israel…all of these were made possible by the generosity of these two men. I am truly blessed, and don’t understand why they treated me so well.
To Phyllis Teague and Susan Lindsey, for their cute and useful gifts before my departure. I wasn’t expecting any “bon voyage” items, so these caught me unawares. Mrs. Lindsey’s thoughtfulness allowed me to acquire my beloved teapot, which, for the record, made it home intact.
To the frequent – or not-so-frequent – commenters on my blog, who took the time to openly display their interest by sharing their thoughts. To my readers, as well, who may not have commented, but avidly read almost every post (and I know I post ridiculously often).
Oh, I know there are all sorts of people I haven’t mentioned. G-d has used many, many people to touch my life, influence my heart, and generally support me. It’s hard to think of all of them at once without feeling positively overwhelmed. Just know that I am so very grateful for all of you. You know, having a blog really isn’t that great unless you have people reading it. I’m so happy – you’ve given me my memories! I only wrote them down because of you!
Thanks for listening. Until next time…