Friday July 8, 2011
Day 12 of Freedom
By Rebecca Witonsky
Today is day 12 of freedom. I had trouble sleeping last night because I was hungry in the middle of the night, and so I came down and ate some cheese. I am so happy that my appetite is returning, and this makes me feel so good. Last night I went food shopping with C and knowing that I was getting hungry for more substantial food and that I felt well enough to begin cooking, I bought myself my first set of eggs in freedom. I also bought aluminum foil for the household, and I bought laundry detergent and stain remover for the first time also in freedom. I decided to buy a Publix brand of laundry detergent to save money - it cost me around $3.50, as opposed to nearly $16 for Tide. I chose to buy shout because I need that particular brand of stain remover with my laundry.
I bought instant macaroni and cheese so I could have something to eat when I am too tired to cook. It was expensive at $4.19 for six packs, but I ate one late last night, so it came in handy. I also bought some processed cheese and didn’t find it filling at all, so I won’t be buying that cheese again. I will buy more substantial cheese next time I go shopping. Since I have no idea when the car will be fixed so I can go to Boca to pick up my stuff, I decided to buy myself some liquid soap. I chose to save money on the liquid soap too and didn’t bother with the fancy Dove brand.
Since the Internet was down last night, I also bought myself a newspaper and read the Miami Herald for the first time in a very long time. I enjoyed immersing myself in the news. I was reading about the famine in East Africa which has left some 10 million people hungry, including 3.5 million people in war-torn Somalia. I first saw this news about the famine in East Africa while looking at a very comprehensive Internet news site on Africa called http://allafrica.com a few nights ago - and I was glad to see this catastrophic situation had reached the mainstream U.S. press
The Miami Herald had some great articles on Venezuela and Cuba which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The article on the black market in Cuba was particularly interesting and reminded me of conditions in the former Soviet Union under glasnost in the late 1980’s. The Miami Herald is closely watching the situation in Venezuela. Personally I hate Chavez greatly both for his oppressive policies inside Venezuela and for the fact that he is waging war on the Venezuelan Jews and on Israel. I rarely feel so much anger at someone that I hope they die of cancer, but I think Chavez has brought so much suffering to Venezuela and the Jews alike that I hope he dies soon.
The problem of course is that if Chavez dies before the 2012 Presidential elections, then it could create a very dangerous power vacuum that could end up being filled by very unscrupulous people. At the same time, if Chavez recovers physically from cancer and is able to run for another term as President in 2012, then it seems likely that he will win hands down. I have no reason to believe the election process is free and fair in Venezuela and no reason to think that Chavez and his thugs cannot use coercion in order to stuff the ballot box and remain in power. Moreover, Chavez is unfortunately genuinely popular with the mass of poor Venezuelans who believe he cares deeply about them. Poor Venezuelans identify with Chavez emotionally to
such an extent that they seem willing to overlook the fact that really he has done nothing to improve their economic condition. For instance, he has done nothing about providing housing to poor Venezuelans.
Unfortunately there was no news about Syria where I am following the freedom uprising closely, and without Internet access I cannot know what is happening in Syria. Today is Friday, the day when Syrian Muslims go to the mosque and this is also the day of the largest weekly protests against the regime. It is already around 7 p.m. in Syria, so it is likely that huge protests have already taken place in Syria. But with no Internet access, I have no way of knowing what is going on.
I saw there was an interesting article about a program to introduce black students in Miami to the many fascinating careers which are available in NASA. I think it is very important to expose poor black children to the career opportunities in the sciences, including but not limited to working for NASA. Kids from these kinds of deprived backgrounds, with often sadly uneducated teenage parents, will not be exposed at home to the many career options which are available in American society. For this reason schools have a huge responsibility to let these kids know that they can make something of themselves despite the fact that they come from such harsh and disadvantaged backgrounds.
I slept well last night and woke up at my normal time today: 10:20 a.m. It seems my body has gotten into a rhythm of sleeping at 12:30 to 1 a.m. and waking up at 10:20 a.m. So I am getting around 9-10 hours of sleep per night and waking up feeling refreshed and happy. This morning I woke up and decided to stretch my body for the first time in freedom. I stretched for about 20 minutes and felt much better. Then I went downstairs and made myself eggs for the first time in freedom. I had a wonderful breakfast of eggs and blueberries and water. I felt so good.
I had my first substantial conversation with M's 12 year old daughter I. I feel very sad for M because she is so mentally ill that she is unable to function, and in her case the roles are reversed. I is the mother and M is the child, and in fact in the middle of our conversation I left suddenly to try to calm her mother down. I told me that she was scheduled to fly to Chile next Thursday. But then I found out from Bev that actually I can’t fly to Chile at this point because she is prohibited from having contact with the woman who is supposed to take her to Chile. This woman Ce is the awful person who invited M’s ex-husband, a known sexual predator, to a birthday party for I. So I and M are in limbo at this point. I hope that M can keep herself together enough to find a way to get herself and I to Chile - and that Maria can avoid being Baker-acted, or forcibly confined in a mental institution in the U.S. And at the same time I know I have no control over this situation and so I am keeping my emotional distance from it.
Later update: I felt sad for I, 12, whose mother M was taken away by the police for involuntary mental treatment. I ate lunch with her and also read along with her the book about the ice skating friends in New York City. She said it was not the first time her mom was taken away like this, but I’m sure that doesn’t make it any easier for her.
Unfortunately the Internet is still down in the house, and so I cannot do my research to find out what opportunities might be available for me to work with professors at FIU. I am separating myself from the chaos in this household because I am so happy to be free of my emotionally abusive family of origin that I don’t have the energy to get involved in this nonsense. I have much better things to do with my time anyway.
The bottom line is that I am happy to be here - and I feel safe and comfortable and grateful for the support of Bev, C, Gisel, and Julia - and glad to have met Ibis too. I feel welcome and wanted here - which for me is an unusual and good feeling.
Since Shabbos is coming in four hours, and this will be my second Shabbos in freedom, I want to review my accomplishments this week. First of all, I spoke with my Russian history professor and found out that I can begin applying now for research jobs involving Russian language that pay $25 an hour. Thus I don’t have to wait another 1-2 years until I am ready to translate documents from Russian into English to apply for jobs where I can use my Russian language skills. I got confirmation from my other professor in Russian studies who has helped me learn the language that I should apply for these jobs.
Second, I did some research on the FIU web site and got an idea of the type of institutes where I could apply for virtual research jobs at FIU. As a fluent speaker of Spanish in Miami, I should have plenty of opportunities in this regard. I told Julia I am not ready yet to apply for research jobs at FIU but am working on it.
Third, I have gone food shopping with C on several occasions. I did my laundry in freedom for the first time on Wednesday and also washed my hair on Wednesday too. I washed my sheets and made my bed on Thursday.
I have also been writing a daily diary of my journey to freedom as well which is quite well received with other survivors on face book and also with the wonderful folks at Heaven on Earth Foundation. I have done academic research and written three articles about developments in Syria’s freedom uprising on Wednesday. On face book, I also spoke on I think it was Wednesday with a friend who was telling me about how I could make a career as a writer focusing on Asperger’s. I spoke with my Spanish teacher and told her how well I was doing and she was very happy for me. I am also trying to help my friend Roya with her political asylum application. I have been trying to encourage my friend Freddie, who was recently dumped by his verbally and emotionally abusive boyfriend for the second time in two years, to get his life together.
I have been trying to offer encouragement to the people in this household. I read about Bev’s work in the book she gave me and wrote something about her work on my blog. I have been a friend to C and tried to help her learn to separate herself from some of the issues and conflicts in this household. I have also read with I, 12, today and read with CC, T, and I earlier in the week.
Despite having no Internet access in the past two days, I have tried to be as productive as possible. I have been doing extensive writing on having Asperger’s and on the case of Dr. Maikel Nabil Sanad yesterday and I did a lot of writing about both my personal accomplishments and also the political issues on my mind today.
So when I light the candles for Shabbos in a few hours, I can look back with pride on a very productive and positive week filled with accomplishments. And I can look forward next week to hopefully regaining my Internet access and also traveling to Boca to pick up my stuff sometime later next week. And next week, once I have Internet access and also my computer, then I can begin a more serious job hunt. I also need to figure out about health insurance and to get some mail sent to me in Miami so I can establish Miami-Dade County residency.
Once I am a Miami-Dade County resident, then I need to obtain a library card. I also need to establish my qualification for the personal transportation service for people with disabilities. This way I can arrange to travel anywhere in Miami Dade County - to meetings at FIU or Jewish events or any kind of events that interest me. I also need to do the official paperwork to gain a driver’s license in Miami and to register to vote in Miami. I just remembered my other accomplishment of the week: I wrote about my family of origin in preparation to address the board of Heaven on Earth Foundation about my family of origin.