Thursday, January 8, 2009

Letter from Emmi

Emmi is a student in Achva College, studying to be a teacher of English as a Foreign Language.  The lecturers sent assignments to do so as not to lose the semester and perhaps, to keep some of the students busy.

Here is her letter:


This gives you a good picture of one aspect of what's going on here...

----- Original Message -----

 Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2009 11:49 PM

Subject: A letter from Emmi


Dear Lecturers

I hope this letter finds you all well and safe. I'm writing to you all, to tell you a little bit about how I'm feeling, hoping you can be more flexible with the many assignments you have sent.

As I was leaving the "ETAI" conference (which I decided to attend in spite of my many fears of leaving Gilbar, my 2 year old son at home without me, in this disturbing reality we woke up in that Sunday morning 2 weeks ago) I got a message from my son's kindergarden that all Ashkelon kindergardens and schools are closing until further notice. That message marked the beginning of a new very stressful, scary and uncertain reality for me and my family in Ashkelon. Since then I have stayed home with my son, afraid that something bad will happen if we go out as the alarms cannot be anticipated in any way, even though  and my husband and I sat every night trying to figure out if it's o.k to take him the following day to the park or not, because even though the alarms were heard yesterday only in the evening, today we heard them also in the morning and maybe tomorrow they will be heard also in the afternoon.

 This script repeated itself over and over again every night and we decided not to leave the house with him until things calm down. But unfortunately they didn't. Can you imagine how  it is like to spend the whole day with a toddler at home, in an apartment without going out for a week? It's hard. And he keeps asking every morning when I dress him  if it's time to go to kindergarden and when I say no, he asks why and he starts crying he wants to go...It breaks my heart...and also I was exhausted  keeping him busy the whole day at home. So we decided to visit my parents who also live in Ashkelon and also were afraid to leave their house.Things started  not that bad and then the alarm caught us in the middle of the way, in the car, and Gilbar's seat belt was stuck and I can't tell you how awful these moments were, until we finally got out of the car and lie on the ground with him crying...and then the"boom", driving home again and again the siren went on....Oh, G'd, what an awful outing it was! 

My practicum in my psychology B.A. dealt with Sderot's children population. During 2005 I drove to Sderot every week to interview families and test children that underwent the scud attacks  for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The main conclusion of my research was that children of calm mothers showed less symptoms of PTSD compared to children of more stressed mothers, so I understand how important it is in these stressful situations to keep as calm as possible around children to reduce their stress, but I was getting more tense and nervous every day and it started affecting my son. So as we noticed that noises started scaring him we couldn't take it anymore and accepted the invitation of my sister to stay at her house in Jerusalem until things calm down. After the 7 missiles last Friday morning we decided to leave Ashkelon and here we are since then. Even though I love my sister and her family very much, of course it's not easy to leave home (and our dear cat) behind, especially when my son says he wants to go home. So even though I'm not in Ashkelon, I am very stressed still. My parents and grandfather who are neither young nor healthy stayed in Ashkelon and refuse to leave and of course every day I still worry. I  am also very stressed because of our economic situation: it's the second week neither I nor my husband work. We have both independent businesses which we enjoy very much and ran successfully until  weeks ago.Since last Saturday we also have dear people in Gaza fighting which makes us skip a  heartbeat every time the phone rings....

Why am I telling you all this? Well, some of it may be just to share with you what I'm going through, and also to ask if you can be more flexible with the deadlines of the work I have to submit. Even though I'm staying at home (not mine, my sister's) most of the day I barely have time to get to the studies. I'm  having a hard time concentrating late at night when I can finally do something, but I'm pretty exhausted and to tell you the truth also a bit depressed so I'm hardly managing to do something...

I'm really sorry to bother you with this, but I want you to know that studies are still very important to me, I just don't have possibility to do all these assignments you sent and I'm going to need your help and understanding in these difficult times. I'll try to do my best when I can but please allow me to submit the work later,don't know when, I really can't deal with so much pressure at once.

I really appreciate your phone calls and warm words, they're a real comfort.

I hope this letter finds you all also well and safe.

Unfortunately, not as energetic these days as you know me, and much more scared,


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