This time will be different

“This time Israel will be different.” I tell everyone who will listen to me, not really for them, but to remind myself how much I have changed.

“This time, I’m going for different reasons.”

“This time, I won’t be miserable. I won’t cry into my too expensive glass of wine each night, wishing away my time here. I won’t sit on the beach and close my eyes and feel like I am sinking, sinking, sinking into the soft sand. I won’t wander the holiest city in the world and only see it in one dimension. This time …”

A sidewalk in Tel Aviv

It’s been eight months. That’s it. Eight months since I last landed in Israel. Eight months since I last wandered Ben Yehuda in Tel Aviv, hopped on a motorbike and checked out the flourishing street art scene in Tel Aviv. Got so drunk, I cried myself to sleep. For three nights.

30 Life Crisis Blog Israel Middle East

The lure of Prague

There is a history in Prague — and the rest of Europe — which suspends these places in time. Freezes them in moments only my brain can whisk me to.

The view from the airplane of Prague

Old communists blocks in Eastern Europe, bombed out buildings in the former Yugoslavia which wear their pock marks like badges of honor, of a reminder of the dirty past, hopeful future and the cruelty and beastly tendencies of man.

Here, in Prague, the former capital of Bohemia (it even sounds so whimsical), the winding Vlatava River etches its vein through the city. Graffiti sprinkles crumbling brick; old apartments with grand chandeliers hang in the entry ways to apartments where people who have their own stories and will never meet live; the contrast between what goes on under the veil of darkness and the light of day is apparent and beautiful.

Blog Czech Republic Europe

I feel the earth move: the earthquake in Chiang Mai

“I want you to take over control … take over control … take over control …”

My feet pedal furiously to the beat as I try to sweat the fever out of my body.

Six more songs. Only six more until I’m done and can go home, shower and take medicine, then pass out.

Except, sometime during the chorus, I feel my body begin to sway on my spin bike. Rocking, slowly, steadily, back and forth.

Holy shit. I’m super sick. I need to stop pedaling immediately.

Asia Blog Thailand

The Europe seduction

There are times I find myself staring at a map, just lost in the possibilities of the world and all of its wonders.

Then, the wanderlust begins to bubble up … to slowly seduce me into a world where backpacks, trains, hostels, waking up in a new city are the norm. Are romantic. These little tendrils of travel creep into my mind and plant their roots. They whisper to me at night, “Diana … book a flight … Diana … come to me.”

Like a hangover, I shake these thoughts away because, let’s face it, the beginning of 2014 saw me barely making it to Chiang Mai Gate, let alone across town … how in the world am I going to leave the country?

Asia Blog Europe Thailand The Comfort Zone Project

Celebrating Passover in Chiang Mai

Rabbis clad in the Orthodox suits stand upon chairs, clapping their hands with smiles on their faces as our makeshift congregation of travelers and expats clap along.

Celebrating Passover in Chiang Mai

 

“Day-day-enu, day-day-enu, day-day-enu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu,” we all sing together, accents melting into the chorus of the Passover song.

It’s the first night of Passover, the first seder, and instead of being with family or friends or out reveling in Songkran, which takes place simultaneously this year, I am sitting in a ballroom of the Centara Hotel in Chiang Mai’s red light district. I’m surrounded largely by Israelis who have come together on this special night to bring in Passover together.

Asia Blog Expat Life Thailand Travel Tips

The blessing of Chiang Mai

Living in Chiang Mai, I am constantly treated to spectacular visual beauty, thanks to the hundreds of temples and religious activities which regularly occur here. Any given morning, en route to work, I get to see people praying to monks and offering alms to them to bring back to their respective temples.

The beauty of Buddhism is constantly on display in the city I call “home.”

Today is no exception.

Chiang Mai monks making pilgrimage

The first of 500 Dhutanga monks enters the shot.

Asia Blog Expat Life Thailand