Origins : United Kingdom

I want to share with you a photo of me from my childhood days in London, but all I can find is this torn passport page. Incredibly, I remember being in that passport office—excited and at the same time apprehensive about my future. Moving from Israel to England was tough for me but I never showed it. I did love the adventure, but adjusting to a new culture was challenging. I enjoyed the buzz of London. The swans in Hyde Park were glorious. London was much colder than Tel Aviv and I got to wear sweaters and knitted hats with puffy pom-poms. I liked the school uniform which required me to wear a tie as the boys did. Apparently, I spoke English with some kind of accent and my teachers didn’t like that so they would hit me on my hand with a ruler whenever I mispronounced the Queen’s English. I found solace in the class pet, a rat. 🐁One day, I discovered the rat had offspring. I was thrilled with the tiny pinky squirming little cuties. I ran to the teacher with joyful excitement. She looked at the brood in horror, picked up the cage, and marched to the bathroom. While I cried, begged, and pleaded for her to stop, she flushed the newborn rats down the toilet. I’ll never forget that. Every morning, we had to sing “God Save The Queen”. I remember there were Christian references in the song and I felt uncomfortable singing them, but I had to do it. My favorite class was Dance led by a free-spirited dance teacher. She taught us to use all parts of our bodies when we danced. Our heads, arms, hands, torsos, legs, and feet all provided unique opportunities for expression. We were encouraged to improvise. One day, we gave a special performance for our parents in the very same auditorium where every morning we pledged our allegiance to the Queen. My mother attended. On that stage, I was free to be wild and fly like a bird. 🦄 And I did in a solo performance celebrating freedom. Afterward, I overheard the teacher telling my mother how unusually creative I was and that one day I would create something extraordinary.