In fall of 1996, instead of heading off to college like most high school graduates, i headed off to Jerusalem, to spend a year abroad drinking a lot “finding myself”. This, surprisingly, was not uncommon amongst my friends. An all expenses paid year off (not to mention the ENTIRE YEAR OF COLLEGE CREDIT i got)…who would say no to that? I mean, truth be told, many of my friends went for much more enviable reasons; they actually did WANT to learn or they actually did want to find themselves.
apparently, all i wanted to find was the food.
to give you a little perspective…um, here’s moi, circa this morning, let’s say, 109 pounds.
now, imagine me, boarding an airplane to Israel at, let’s say, 5 pounds LESS than this. and then let’s say that there was this little bakery called Marzipan. and let’s just say that they made the most amazing cinnamon buns and chocolate rugalach, um, ever. and let’s just say that my school was a mere hop, skip, and a jump from said bakery.
and let’s just say for the sake of saying that i wasn’t really interested in learning about how for two weeks out of every month i was going to have to NOT touch my husband and that i was going to have to wear certain colored underwear and there *might* be a time that i might have to give my underwear to a RABBI so he can have a look at it…um, hello? seriously? GET ME TO THE BAKERY!!
now. what you are going to see is going to disturb you*.
it’s something i’ve never SHOWN to anyone. This is me, the very heaviest i’ve ever been. this is me in January of 1997. this is me with 29 pounds of baked goods packed on to my small frame. this is me, having put on 29 pounds in FOUR MONTHS!! (*the reason it’s so disturbing. four months.) this is me, having gained more weight that i had carrying any of my three children.
take that, Oprah! You aren’t the only one who yo-yos!
this is me, planting a tree. awesome. in an elastic waist skirt and a giant tshirt and a giant hoodie (also must be commented on…the hair! the nikes! the watch! THE HAIR!). you see, when you wear elastic waists, you have no idea just how big you are actually getting. because in addition to all the eating and drinking i did while i was in Israel, i did a whole lot of nothing but being a kid…i took advantage of having a year to live with my best friend and just ENJOY THE HECK OUT OF LIFE before we had to go back to REAL LIFE and actually go to a real school (and one that didn’t teach me about giving my rabbis my underwear)(and don’t even get me started on the rabbi in israel who more than likely WANTED to see my underwear…that’s a story for a different day) where our grades actually, you know, mattered. So, we did a lot of acting like a bunch of single girls living in a dorm….and it was GREAT.
and it ALWAYS came back to the food. see? we even took pictures of ourselves in front of the food.
(holy denim shirts. that’s really all i’m going to say about that)
and then i developed that photo of me planting the tree. (remember when you had to actually take a ROLL OF FILM in to get developed? well, in Israel is was about $20 a roll and maybe half of the pictures were usable. viva la digital!)
and then i died.
and then i avoided the bakery. and i stopped eating at burger king. and KFC. and pizza hut. i bought myself a little electric burner and a pot and ate steamed vegetables and NO RUGELACH OR CINNAMON BUNS and stopped taking the bus and stopped drinking on Ben Yehudah Street and lost it all, plus an extra five pounds.
and i vowed to never, ever eat a Marzipan cinnamon bun ever again.
(until the next time i visit Israel, of course)
(old habits die hard, i guess)