Ok, so the semester is over and my Fulbright award is no longer, yet I’m still in Israel. Why? When am I coming back to The States? First one is easier to answer…

I’m still in Israel because I want to finish my video project. My Fulbright award was for teaching AND research (my video project – MOVING PORTRAITS). However instead of splitting my time 50/50, the percentage was more of a 70/30, maybe even 80/20 split, with teaching dominating. Why did so much of my time and energy go towards teaching? Because I taught 3 courses, 2 of which were new curriculum, and I had a total of 70 students. When you have that many papers to read and grades to submit, turns out to be a full time job. New found respect for all my teachers and an added grimace for ever thinking “why haven’t I got that grade back for that assignment I just turned in yesterday!?” Side note: Teachers out there work WAY more hours then what they are paid for AND should be paid way more then they are…it has been said before, but I am feeling closer to this truth than ever.

So the semester ended with a final performance at Warehouse 2 at Jaffa Port. Seeing many of my students perform was a great way to end things and after not seeing them for the week between last classes and the performance, I was surprised by how much I already miss them.

But KADIMA (Hebrew for forward).

Now I am taking time to focus on this video project – MOVING PORTRAITS; a collection of edited film sessions with people I interact with during this adventure. Having always loved portraiture, I am funneling this love into creating an installation of short video portraits, which will manifest as a gallery exhibit.

The people I’ve captured on film make me want to do this work my whole life…it could go on forever as a sort of digital scrapbook full with interesting characters. Thankfully, I have a deadline. My friend Inbar Shalev is Asst. Producer for a new dance festival in the desert outside of Eilat at the end of March. The festival is providing me with a gallery space (an entire room to myself) in which to mount MOVING PORTRAITS and it will be open to the public throughout the three-day festival! Hooray for deadlines.

Alright, now the more challenging question to answer…when am I coming back? Most honest response – I don’t know. I have to extend my visa in order to be here at the end of March and these visa issues are not easily over-come. I’m actually a bit nervous about it…

Besides the end of March opportunity, the Academy (JAMD), is interested in continuing my curriculum. Does that mean me teaching? Not sure yet. I have some meetings over the next two weeks and will let you know. Bottom line, would I stay in Israel to continue teaching? I’m thinking on it. Also don’t want to get ahead of myself. Which for those of you who know me, is a hard HARD task. For the first time in a long time I don’t have a “Michelle’s future” itinerary and admittedly it is making me nuts. But, I’m learning to breathe, and wait…to see.

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