Wednesday July 06, 05
Life is list of meaningful occurrences Part III
Back in the USA (1991):
- March, my plane lands in Tampa, Florida. Ah, is it good to be home. Europe is a lovely place to visit, but I realize that I am happy to be an American. America is so new, so clean, and so huge. I love my country.
- I weighed myself that night, for the first time in over three months. I have gained 12 LBS. My mom asks, "Could you be pregnant?" "How could I be?" I ask. I was told that I was sterile. I hadn't used birth control for seven years. I used condoms but to protect against catching a STD -- not pregnancy. I only got my period three or four times a year. Hmmm?
- The next morning, I took a home pregnancy test. It was positive! Oh my God, oh my God! Could I be??? What am I going to do?
- I went to a Christian, free clinic that afternoon. I had a urine test done there. Sure enough, I was pregnant. I was excited and terrified all at once. The clinician gave me a bunch of pro-life pamphlets and counseled me on the pregnancy. She wanted to be assured that I would not have an abortion. I told her that I was going to keep the baby. Though I had no idea if this was true, at that point.
- I went on a job interview that afternoon and got hired on the spot. I started working the very next day.
- I called Izzy's sister in Switzerland and asked her if she knew where Izzy was. She said he was still in Amsterdam but didn't have the name or the number of the hotel that he was staying at. I told her to have him call me as soon as possible. She probed and wanted to know what the emergency was. I finally caved and told her. She said, "Oh you are too young to have a baby. You should have an abortion. I had one. You will be fine." What the hell??? I told her that I didn't want to make any decisions until I talked to her brother. What a bitch she was and probably still is. She was a mother of a one-year old. How could she be so cold and cruel?
- That night I read through all those pamphlets and looked at the pictures of the aborted fetuses. Why oh why did I read that propaganda? How could I ever have an abortion now? I put my hand on my abdomen and realized then that I was going to keep my baby no matter what. It was a miracle -- I was going to be a mother after all.
- It was a week before Izzy called. His sister told him the news. He said he wanted to keep the baby and get married. He wanted me to fly to Amsterdam then we could fly to Israel together and get married there.
- I went to an obstetrician and had a sonogram done. I was eleven weeks pregnant. I must have conceived on or around, January 17. My baby was conceived in the Netherlands. Woo hoo!
- The Persian Gulf War ends.
Back in Europe (1991):
- I fly to Amsterdam. Izzy had sold the Opel. We fly to Tel Aviv, Israel. We stay with his other sister and her husband. We go to the US embassy there to find out how to get married and file papers for Izzy to immigrate to the US. They tell us that we cannot get married in Israel, because I am not Jewish. The Rabbis control marriage laws. A Jew cannot marry a non-Jew. What the hell? This was getting weirder by the week.
- We took a boat to Nicosia, Cyprus and were married by the mayor of the city. No one was at our wedding. I wore white Capri pants and a striped tee-shirt. Izzy wore black jeans and a gray tee-shirt. The mayor's secretary was our witness. We bought wedding rings. But, I did not wear mine, as it felt too tight. Really, I didn't want to wear the ring. I knew this wedding was a big mistake. I could not deny the fact that I would not have married him if I was not pregnant.
- We went back to Tel Aviv and filed the papers with immigration. All we needed was his immigration Visa, then we could fly back to the US and start our life together. A man at the embassy says to me, "Are you going to convert to Judaism? If you don't, your baby will be a bastard." I think my jaw must have dropped to the ground. I told him, "No. We are going to be living in the US. My baby will be better off not being Jewish." For the first time in my life, I felt true discrimination. I thought, that of all people, the Jews in Israel would be extremely tolerant, considering their own experience with discrimination. But, this was not the case. Shocking!
- We took a bus to Tiberias to stay with Izzy's parents until the papers were processed. There were at least a dozen soilders on the bus -- male and female. All were armed with either an M16 or an Uzi. I had never seen armed soldiers sharing a space so intimately with civilians. It was a sight to behold. I was clearly in a military state. It was a little scary. But even more terrifying was the way the crazy bus drivers drove the Mercedes buses -- fast around turns. I thought I was going to be killed in an accident, or that a bump in the road would trigger one of the M16's on a soldier's lap to go off -- shooting me in the stomach, killing my baby.
- It was hot -- 106 degrees Fahrenheit. There was no air conditioning. I was in culture shock already and we hadn't even arrived at the parent's house yet.
- We arrrived at Izzy's parents. They are so happy to see us. They hadn't seen their son in five years. They could not speak a single word of English. They hugged and kissed me. Izzy told them what the man at the embassy said to me. I was crying. They told Izzy to tell me that they love me and it did not matter that I was not Jewish. The mom patted my tummy. She was happy about the baby. She kept saying Madame Yaya. I started freaking out. Who was I? Where was I? Everything was foreign to me. I could not even recognize myself.
- Izzy would talk to his parents in Hebrew, while I sat there completely lost. He would not translate for me. I was becoming isolated and depressed.
- I took long walks by myself to keep sane. And I played soccer with the boys who lived next door. This upset Izzy's parents. They thought that I should not be exercising. I should be sitting down resting all day. I assured them that being active was good for the baby and me. They were so simple minded. They couldn't understand. Israel turned into Mr. Hyde. He was not loving and tender any longer. I felt so alone. I wanted to go back to the US. I needed to be near my family during this fragile time in my life.
- Three months pass. Then finally the immigration Visa is ready.
- We boarded the plane in Tel Aviv. I was almost six months pregnant now.
- I was going home.
Back in the USA (July 1991):
From the beginning