Flying out

October 28, 2013

So in about 3 hours I will be in the airport or on the way to it in order to pick up the first leg of my journey.  Heading out to Chicago to pick up a flight to Istanbul then to T*A.

I am sad that I was not given the traveler’s blessing in front of my congregation (the third rabbi didn’t have it on her calendar, Rabbi R was doing a service off-site, Rabbi B was in the other service).  I could go on about how disappointed I am but really that isn’t going to be very productive.  At least after services, I was given it by Rabbi B.  I am quite worried about the flight although I hear Turkish Air has good food and free wine.

I am doing all of this out of a backpack so people wanted to know my list.  Here is the list.

HAVE PACKED

Clothing

Bathing Suit / Shorts – NEED TO DO TRAVEL REVIEW on Scottevest Travel boxers

Pajamas

nice khakis (men) (for Shabbat/going out)

(1) nice shirt (for Shabbat)

(1) shirt for “going out” as if I will go out but this is short sleeve and falling apart

(3) packages of Onederwear – 15 – Youtube review

(2) pair of socks

(2) short-sleeved shirts (1 tye-dye tee, 1 wool base layer NEED TO DO TRAVEL REVIEW)

(1) long-sleeved shirts

1 pair of nicer shoes (for Shabbat)

Belt (for Shabbat)

Toiletries

nail clippers – can double as scissors

travel toothbrush – comes with cap

travel toothpaste

mini travel hairbrush/mirror combo

mini deodorant

set of earplugs

two individual packages of shampoo

hand soap sheets – NEED TO DO TRAVEL REVIEW

Interdental toothpicks/floss

Razors + shaving gel

Tissues

Hair ties

Listerine

Bobby pins

Sunscreen

Face wash

Chapstick

Medications – Klonopin, Keppra, Testosterone.

Books

Israel book plus Map of Jerusalem

Spiritual pilgrims guide

Mishkan T’fila for travelers

Jewish stuff

Tallit

Tefillin

Kippot

Laundry bag

Hat

Mini penlight

Emergency hooded poncho

Travel Towel – doubles as washcloth, light blanket, or pillow – NEED TO DO TRAVEL REVIEW

Travel umbrella – doubles as sunshade

Journal

Water bottle – NEED TO DO TRAVEL REVIEW

Plug Adapter for electrical appliances

Passport + atm cards in holder

Shequels and USD

Pen

Sunglasses

Ipod

Camera, batteries, charger, USB wire

Sweater – SeV hoody NEED TO DO TRAVEL REVIEW

(7) Contact lens containers to use as Testosterone holders (13) plus 1 pill case

BORROWING from someone if needed

Multivoltage converter

TO WEAR ON PLANE

Medical ID

(2) long sleeved shirts – one wool base layer, one Scottevest shirt – NEED TO DO TRAVEL REVIEW ON BOTH

(1) tallit katan – wear on plane, doubles as undershirt, can wash it halfway through.

(1) Diva cup – can wear on plane just in case

(1) set of sandals – doubles as water shoes / sturdy shoes for hiking / walking

(1) Cargo pants

(1) Scottevest travel vest – NEED TO DO TRAVEL REVIEW

REMAINING

Laptop + charger

Cell phone + cord + ear piece

I also learned that there is going to be a solar eclipse so I am bringing supplies to make a diy solar filter just in case: electrical tape, two cups, and an emergency blanket.

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Israel Trip

October 13, 2013

So back to updating.

Sorry it has been so long but my camera died so no more photo a day although I did eventually get a new one which still sucks so I am going to be making those blog entries private.

The past year has been fraught with cleaning, shul joining, helping people, getting a passport, bar mitzvah preparations, and financial and health issues including paralysis of my right arm due to an assault when I was doing a mitzvah.  It sucked.

I figured I would reboot the blog because of some  pretty awesome news I got about a month ago.  In about two weeks, I will be going to ISRAEL!  I’ve never been before and it was a big shock to me when this opportunity popped up.

I was on Facebook and saw one of my other trans JBC friends post to his husband’s wall (another trans JBC) about the A Wider Bridge trip to Israel in 2013.  They said it’s a shame the deadline for scholarships passed.  I contacted the organization, saying I knew the scholarship deadline passed but was curious about it… maybe I could apply next year?  Turns out the deadline had been extended and I was sent an application right before Rosh Hashanah.  I read it over, talked to two rabbis about what I could do for the project.  (Scholarship recipients have to do a project.)  I wrote it up, sent to Rabbi B to look over, he liked it, I sent it off the next day.  Day after that (we are still in the days of Awe) I said to HaShem, either write me in for the best year ever or strike me out!  I can’t handle another bad year. Next evening, I was sent an email saying I won the full scholarship for the land part of the trip!   Then I started looking for plane tickets.  I asked the senior rabbi, Rabbi R (my rosh beit din) for advice on getting a cheap flight, he offered to contribute to the plane fare, then Rabbi B did the same.   It ended up being about half my plane fare!  I guess HaShem made His decision before Yom Kippur. Then two friends donated another ~$200 towards it.

So the person who has  never traveled more than a few hours from home alone and never has been on an international flight is going to a country where they don’t speak English BUT it’s technically one of my homelands although you could argue that it is my only homeland since I converted.  I will be gone for 15 days, 10 are paid for, and a few are travel days.

And what makes all of this scarier is that I am doing all of this out of a carry-on that can only weigh 8 kg so I will be doing things such as packing ultra-light and wearing things like a Scottevest packed to the gills and using other specially designed travel clothing, etc.  There is the possibility of travel reviews.

One funny thing about this trip is that I got my passport in March. When they asked where I was going, I said Israel.  When they asked when, I said Oct/Nov.  This trip was not known by me at the time.  And it was so hard to get my passport because they literally forced me to produce my conversion certificate because I needed to put my Hebrew name on the passport application under alias so that my female names would be bumped to another sheet so that they would not be processed and have my application bounce back.