A lot has been written about RivkA bat Yeshaya. Everything important about her has been said. She was vivacious. She always had a smile, even when she was in pain. She had incredible strength. She loved her family. Her favorite color was purple. She loved pistachio milkshakes (ok, maybe no one else mentioned that). Each of us says one thing we remember, and it gives the rest of us one more thing to hold on to.
But I didn't know her that well. I spent the day with her twice. I kept meaning to spend another day with her, but time got away from me, and then the time was up. If I could have had another day, just another hour, I would have wanted to give her one more thing.
I don't have much to give. I would have made her a milkshake again, if she was up for it, brought a bagel again, if she thought she could eat it. But what I really wanted to do was bring her my memories of my trip to Finland.
RivkA had been to the juggling convention in Israel last year, and when I told her that I was going to Finland for the juggling convention, she was one of those who lamented being too large to fit into our luggage. I said I'd tell her all about it, and I never got to.
I wrote down what I wanted to tell her. I wrote about the trip, and about the things we did. I wanted to give her as much of the experience as I possibly could, because that was the only gift RivkA wanted - more time - to be with her family more and to experience more. I couldn't give her more time with her family, but I wanted to give her one more experience.
So here's what I wrote for her.
I still haven't had a chance to tell you about EJC (European Juggling Convention) 2010 - Joensuu, Finland.
It wasn't at all what I expected. First, I expected cold, or at least cool. Ha! That's a laugh. It was hot almost every day. One day, it got up to 40 C, breaking records. We only used the heat in our cabin one night.
The shows were interesting. I only saw a few, because - well toddler attention spans. A lot of it was this super-European art juggling which is kind of boring.
The action in the gym was more interesting. There were neat passing patterns everywhere and all kinds of cool tricks to watch.
We spent a lot of time talking to a German guy named York (Jork?) who heads a church-based juggling group in his home town. He'd come with his two teenage children and another five kids who weren't his. His daughter played accordion for our kids and he played guitar. He and Yaakov did a lot of passing. I started to learn rings. I expected it to go well, but it just didn't, so I'm still working on it. It's slow going.
We're also working on building a duo act so we can take shows. Again, slow going, but we wing it.
The campsite where we stayed was on a lake, so we went into the lake a few times. The water was SO COLD! But it was really amazing on the hot days. Ephraim was terrified of the water, but Kinneret really loved it.
I think I really enjoyed the white nights more than I would have expected to. The experience of it being midnight and still light out was just so different. The first week, I went to the campsite's office for a beer, internet, and to watch the lack of sunset. I never enjoyed beer so much.
Helsinki was filled with walking and blueberries and finding places for the kids to play. Again we were on the beach, and we enjoyed the water.
Russia, well, we got some great photos and souvenirs, and I just read a book in which the characters traveled to St. Petersburg, and it was really amazing to be able to picture the scene.
So that was our trip. And then we came home and there's no place like home.
I'm sorry I never got to say this. I'm sorrier that RivkA never got to go to a European Juggling Convention, that she won't be at the next Israeli juggling convention, that no matter how much I want to, I can't give her any more experiences or any more time.
Goodbye RivkA. I miss you.