Rachel Balik

Rachel is a freelance writer and arts critic covering books, theater and live concerts. Her writing has appeared on PopMatters, The Brooklyn Rail, and other web sites. She helped to launch the online publisher findingDulcinea, where she worked as a writer, researcher and social media marketer. Prior to that, she dabbled in artistic direction and production on and off Broadway. Rachel holds degrees in English and Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania and is a student and teacher of yoga. She brings her many interests together as often as possible on her blog.

Buy Vantin no prescription, Kate was the trouble-maker among us. I was one year younger, and didn’t have any friends at school. At age 9 I was already awkward and insecure, Buying Vantin online over the counter, and even though Kate wasn’t particularly nice to me, or anyone, she included me, which seemed at the time tremendously kind.

Her parents and my parents were childhood friends, canada, mexico, india. Our families, and Kate’s aunts and their children, all reunited every year in August on Cape Cod. Days were filled with overly competitive games of paddleball and hours of wave riding on over-priced boogey boards, buy Vantin no prescription. Order Vantin online overnight delivery no prescription, We were competitive about those, too. There were trips to the local dairy barn for soft serve once if not twice a day. We went square dancing every Wednesday. A big annual adventure was whale watching in Provincetown, buy Vantin no prescription, after which we’d beeline for Portuguese donuts and fudge while the Kate and her siblings gawked at the drag queens and I failed to notice them. Buy Vantin no prescription, Our parents tried to make nights exciting. The famed drive-in was appealing in theory, but not worth more than one trip per summer due to poor sound quality. Australia, uk, us, usa, Bonfires on the beach were a hassle but we usually got in two or three; my mother told the same story about how she almost got arrested as a teenager because “everyone else” was drunk and high and the kids played manhunt. Dinners were important. We went out a fair amount, traveling a circuit of the five or so worth fine dining institutions interspersed with frequent trips to the local clam shack. On other nights, one family or another would host the others for a Barbeque, clambake or pasta, buy Vantin no prescription.

Life was excruciatingly simple, kjøpe Vantin på nett, köpa Vantin online. True, there was the usual anxiety about getting to the beach in time for a parking space. There were fights with our parents about whether we would make or buy lunch, Where to buy Vantin, how much candy we could have at the penny shop and why we refused to wipe the sand off our feet before we got in the car. I remember being very happy during those summers. Buy Vantin no prescription, And I remember being very bored.

I’m sure that I spent most of my childhood enjoying the safety afforded me. But that summer when I was nine and Kate was 10, I began to wonder about distance, buy Vantin without prescription. I tentatively craved adventure. I fed off Kate’s antsy-ness. The dullness of our nights were a subtle itch, and an invitation, buy Vantin no prescription. We decided to start taking walks in the woods, Order Vantin from United States pharmacy, and when the walks in the woods failed to be thrilling, Kate started telling us we were lost when we weren’t. All the roads in the neighborhood looked the same, but even so, from where we were in the “woods” I could recognize landmarks, buy Vantin online cod. I remember the moment I decided to ignore them, and to let myself believe. I loved being lost. Buy Vantin no prescription, Then one night we traveled to a popular sunset point on the bay. Order Vantin online c.o.d, This was another of our repeated traditions, but I think pre-puberty is just the time when things like sunsets become useless. (Then for maybe fifteen years, they are only useful as means to a member of the opposite sex.) Kate and I were at the age when we didn’t see the point of watching. As was our new tradition, purchase Vantin, we took her two little cousins on a walk. We walked off the beach, up the dune and into the woods that crowned it. We walked for about 20 minutes away from our parents, parallel to the bay, buy Vantin no prescription. Vantin trusted pharmacy reviews, We were tired and our bare feet were cut and bruised. The sun had set, casting a purply, grayish glow. Somehow, Vantin for sale, through unspoken scheming and perhaps a real, if avoidable, fear, Where can i order Vantin without prescription, Kate and I announced that we were lost. I don’t know if I suggested going back the way we came. Buy Vantin no prescription, I do know that I knew that was the answer. But we put the little girls on our back and kept walking forward. They cried. We cried, buy generic Vantin. Eventually silence took over, until we found ourselves at the top of an inordinately tall tune, with a steep and perilous path down to the beach. We, Kate and I, thought maybe we’d get our bearings if we walked down it, buy Vantin no prescription. Buy cheap Vantin no rx, The truth was that in our regular lives, parents, lifeguards and erosion control signs would have prevented us from going down a dune like this one. So we went down. We looked back down the beach to where we had come from, purchase Vantin online no prescription, and concluded that our best bet was to turn around.

erosion sign

We climbed back up the dune. Buy Vantin no prescription, As my thighs burned, I vacillated between fury that we had taken things too far—the incline was absurd—and thrill that I was doing something so rigorous. Somewhere along the way on our journey back, Vantin samples, Kate’s uncle found us. I remember a lot of yelling and the word “fuck” linked to Kate’s name. We had endangered her cousins; it was her family, thus she took the blame. My mother was too overwhelmed to yell much, fast shipping Vantin, but swallowed me in her arms with a sigh of exhausted, broken relief. I sat stunned in the backseat on the way home, listening to her blame Kate, too and tell me how hard we must scrub my feet before I put them in my bed, buy Vantin no prescription. I would not be made to bathe if I didn’t want, Online buying Vantin hcl, but look at how black my toes were. I was safe now, and cleanliness was our main priority.

Back at school in the fall, I wrote a poem about our “adventure” that everyone said was very good, where to buy Vantin, for a fourth grader. I began to build the event up in my memory as a pinnacle of emotion and triumph over adversity. Buy Vantin no prescription, I managed to block out the knowledge that we had lost ourselves on purpose. For years, Real brand Vantin online, I thought of myself as a survivor, if not a hero. Gradually, I became to crave the feeling again. I wanted to be back in the car, where can i find Vantin online, safe and exhausted, with destroyed and dirty feet, awaiting absolution. Vantin price, coupon, It is the old story of the prodigal son: if you have been lost, you reenter the world wearing a shield of guiltlessness.

Thus, when adolescence came, I became one of those of people who is perpetually lost, or more specifically, in crisis, buy Vantin no prescription. Every test, paper, swim meet, buy Vantin from mexico, friendship was a potential for calamity. And I would not rest until the sense of angst had been created, then resolved. Buy no prescription Vantin online, When you are this sort of person and you are a teenager, your friends call you the melodramatic one. If you stay this way in college, your friends call you the intense one. Buy Vantin no prescription, If you stay “intense” after college, you get multiple unnecessary graduate degrees or a job in finance. And if you don’t, where can i buy cheapest Vantin online, you advance from “intense” to “self-destructive.” And for the first time, you are really, seriously lost. Buy cheap Vantin, stay on path

I lived on the cusp of this distinction for most of my post-graduate years. There was always some possibility of a graduate degree looming; acceptances, deferrals, applications, rejections, japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, acceptances, deferrals, applications, Where can i buy Vantin online, rinse, repeat. While I was mulling over these decisions, I was trying and failing to become an actress, moping over office jobs, Vantin over the counter, randomly joining then abandoning the crews of independent films and seeking guidance over fancy, inappropriate lunches with powerful, older men. Finally, I got a steady job, buy Vantin no prescription. Buy Vantin without a prescription, I went steady with a boy. But I still didn’t feel steady. So I created more crises, wherever and whenever I could.

There is a poem by Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov called “Sail.” The last two lines, order Vantin from mexican pharmacy, roughly translated, are: “Rebellious, it seeks out a storm/As if in storms it could find peace!” In the context of these verses, Vantin gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, the problem becomes obvious: it’s not that I like the excitement of being lost. Buy Vantin no prescription, It’s that I like the feeling of being found. I want to climb back in the car with dirty feet, awaiting a bath. My whole life, the drama I’ve created has come with a pavlovian reward: resolution. I viewed everything I had as wrong, but I always had the power to make things right when I was ready.

And then, I got laid off. Suddenly, I was lost in the middle of the middle of the woods, with no obvious coastline ready to guide me home when I done playing, buy Vantin no prescription. So I did the only rational thing I could think of: I gave up the hope of being found. Surprisingly, giving up that hope has offered great relief. I don’t feel so lost. Rather, I’ve come to terms with a life that is simply in motion. Buy Vantin no prescription, I have no idea what I’m looking at, or why I’m climbing up the hill, but at least I’m not standing still. The wanderlust I’m predisposed to feel is real, but the idea that it will eventually lead me “home” is not.

Not surprisingly, Kate got the point long before I did. Like me, she’s been called melodramatic, intense and self-destructive. She also has a dual masters in education and math, has been a high school teacher, worked for a hedge fund, moved in and out with a boyfriend, and ended up at business school down South. Kate doesn’t seem phased by the whole thing, buy Vantin no prescription. I remember months ago, back when I was still really worried, she was painstakingly explaining “Life”, as if I was nine again, and still completely missing the point. She sighed, “People like us like to keep busy, Rachel. We like to keep moving. It may not be the best way to live, but it’s who we are.”

sunset.

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Order Atenolol over the counter, All you have to do to get a free trip to Israel from the Birthright organization is be a Jew. The innocent claim of the organization is that all young Jews (18-26) who haven’t seen Israel should see Israel. You don’t have to be religious. You don’t even have to be practicing. Japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, They don’t care if you discovered philosophy as a junior in college, and soon after discovered that all the cute boys were atheists and became one yourself. They don’t care if you called your parents up one day to say, “I’m forsaking Judaism.” They just care if one of those parents is Jewish, order Atenolol over the counter. Or so they say.

Both of my parents are Jewish. They were relatively unimpressed by my rejection of our faith; I remember my junior year when I received a voicemail from my father, buy Atenolol from canada, half chirping, half chiding: Hi Rachie, it’s your Daddy…I know you’ve forsaken Judaism, Comprar en línea Atenolol, comprar Atenolol baratos, but I just wanted to call and wish you a Happy Hannukah, anyway, Sweetheart.”

I was aggravated by this, but a year later, I was willing to do whatever it took to get a free vacation, online buy Atenolol without a prescription, including pretending that I might still believe in God if I heard the right argument. In my first interview with Birthright staff, I got the vibe that this was what they wanted to hear.

[caption id="attachment_409" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Approaching Masada."]Israel Mount Order Atenolol over the counter, [/caption]

I sensed they wanted more than a Jewish ancestor. Atenolol from canadian pharmacy, They wanted me. In the interview with the Birthright people, they asked, “What’s the reason you want to go to Israel?” Rather than admit it was to compensate for graduating Penn without marrying a doctor, I looked at the woman with wide eyes and said, rx free Atenolol, “Well, when I was in college, I gave up Judaism. Where can i buy cheapest Atenolol online, But now that I’m graduating, I want to make sure I didn’t make a mistake.” I should have just worn a shirt that said: “Yes, I’d love a glass of punch. And a refill.”

But the truth was, I sort of believed my own story, buy Atenolol without prescription. After all, I didn’t have a job lined up for the fall, order Atenolol over the counter. Maybe there was a God, and he was punishing me for dating a Catholic for the first two years of college and spending the second two hopelessly in love with an atheist, lapsed Jew. Order Atenolol no prescription, Maybe if I apologized to God for denying his existence, he’d send me a life plan. Maybe the answer to all my questions was Israel.

[caption id="attachment_435" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Me and my new friends, dancing the Hora."]Me and my new friends, <b>where can i order Atenolol without prescription</b>, dancing the Hora.[/caption]

The Birthright organization bent over backwards to convince me that my suspicion was true. Order Atenolol over the counter, Once we got off the plane, our trip leaders told us we were home, and taught us Hebrew words. They gave us all the wine we wanted at dinner and led us in trust games to prove that all Jews shared a bond.

Never mind that I hate trust games—I liked looking at the Mosque in Jerusalem. Fast shipping Atenolol, I wanted to sneak into the Arab quarter. I was the only member of the trip not to cry at the Holocaust memorial. I befriended the two most cynical boys on the trip and fiercely noted every instance of apparent brainwashing attempts, order Atenolol over the counter.

I was determined to resist, but the fates, and the Birthright organization, kjøpe Atenolol på nett, köpa Atenolol online, were equally determined to break me. It started with some persuasive speakers—leaders, writers. Purchase Atenolol online, They didn’t just talk about Israel. They talked about love. Order Atenolol over the counter, They focused on a love of Israel and Judaism. They talked about what a challenging relationship it was: one filled with deep sacrifices and rich rewards. Although I had forsaken Judaism in college, I had embraced challenging relationships rife with sacrifice, buy Atenolol from mexico. Against my better judgment, I was intrigued. I started to look around for something to love.

[caption id="attachment_410" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Noah's Ark, rendered as a candle, in a shop in Safed."]Sefad[/caption]

At 26, Sam was the oldest guy on our trip, and I immediately perceived that he was going to be the perfect Jewish husband to some very lucky, very manicured young woman some day, order Atenolol over the counter. Buy Atenolol without a prescription, I gave him a try. I walked around Jerusalem with him and helped him choose gifts for his family. I complained while he haggled prices, and openly resented his cheesy sense of humor. I thought, order Atenolol online overnight delivery no prescription, “this could be your life, married to the perfect Jewish MBA, embarrassing in public and mediocre in bed.” I started to get uneasy thinking about a passionless marriage with Sam. Order Atenolol over the counter, I soothed myself by arguing that marriage was just an entertaining convenience, like cable. Atenolol price, coupon, I remembered I didn’t watch TV. My heart was suddenly pounding, and not in that way.

I was on the verge of hyperventilating when the trip leaders introduced the Israeli soldiers that would travel with us, ostensibly to teach us about life in Israel, order Atenolol from mexican pharmacy. However, I suspected it was more of an attempt to infuse Birthrighters with subliminal positive feelings about the State. “Sure, order Atenolol over the counter. Bomb all the Palestinians you want. Atenolol samples, With biceps like those, who needs peace in the Middle East?”

Soon after they joined us, I found myself bored at the Western Wall after placing my note: a love letter to Indiana Jones. My wandering eyes (don’t let them see you looking at the Mosque!) landed on a green-eyed, tanned, Atenolol for sale, skinny and serious-seeming soldier, who was, in my opinion, Atenolol over the counter, begging for a batty extrovert like me to help him come out his shell. It took a lot of long meaningful stares, but eventually I got his attention. Order Atenolol over the counter, By the time our caravan had migrated to a Bedouin tent in the desert, we had started to talk.

He was quiet and thoughtful, but sometimes hilarious, buy no prescription Atenolol online. He invited me to ride a camel with him and I pretended that I was being shipped away for an arranged marriage, which would ideally be more exciting than the one I envisioned with Sam. He loved music, Buy Atenolol online no prescription, he knew how to be silly and was willing to learn yoga. Unfortunately for the Birthright crew, I discovered that he was also desperately depressed about being in the army and wanted to get out of Israel. He gave me his e-mail address, order Atenolol over the counter. I threw it away.

But Birthright had a back-up plan: instilling a love of the land, buy generic Atenolol, and I found the desert compelling. They took us to a tree farm and gave each of us a sprout. When we planted them, Order Atenolol online c.o.d, I crouched in the dirt and sang mine songs and told it stories. Order Atenolol over the counter, I told it everything I wanted to hear: that it should strive for happiness before perfection, and that the future was nothing to fear. I found myself wanting to stay. I had discovered a love of dirt.

[caption id="attachment_411" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="The Western Wall. Don't let them catch you looking at the mosque!"]Western Wall[/caption]

A few days later, where to buy Atenolol, we visited an onion farm owned by Europe’s wealthiest patent lawyer who donated all the food to charity. After an hour of farming, I was hooked, order Atenolol over the counter. I announced that I was ready to move. Little did I know, Purchase Atenolol online no prescription, it wouldn’t be hard to do. The Lawyer-Farmer needed no convincing before offering me a job where I’d spend half the day as a paralegal and half the day farming. He handed me his card. Order Atenolol over the counter, I was effusive. I was wanted - by Israel, by the Jews, ordering Atenolol online. For the first time in a long time, I belonged.

I was skipping as his office assistant walked us out. Purchase Atenolol, Her head was covered and she wore a long skirt in the sweltering heat. “I came here after college,” she told me, “to work on the farm and in the office, order Atenolol over the counter. I was totally secular. First I met my husband, an Israeli. Then I became Orthodox.” I stopped skipping, buy Atenolol no prescription. When they want you, I realized, they really want all of you. Order Atenolol over the counter, But it was two nights later when I realized what they really wanted, and two nights later when I vowed it was something they would never get. Real brand Atenolol online, On the last night of the trip, they threw a colossal concert at a stadium on a plateau for all the thousands of young Jews traveling through Israel on a Birthright trip. By that point, I was fully on board. I led my trip-mates and a random group of soldiers through in a Hora, canada, mexico, india. Our leaders beamed at me. “You are perfect,” they said, order Atenolol over the counter. I forgot the advice I had given my little sprout. I loved hearing it. Australia, uk, us, usa, Then the man who funded much of the organization started talking. Over a loudspeaker, he explained to us what they really wanted: “Seven Jewish children,” he calculated, “is how many you all need to have to compensate for the loss of the Holocaust.”

Now, Atenolol trusted pharmacy reviews, unlike some other Jewish women, I do not have birthing hips. Order Atenolol over the counter, Nor do I like to think of myself as a baby farm. But they were courting me for my eggs. Buying Atenolol online over the counter, And not just one or two eggs like the personal ads for childless couples seeking women over 5’10” with high SAT scores. They wanted seven of them. And when my eggs became little people, they probably wanted me to spend all my time scaring them with stories about the Holocaust and teaching them to hate Arabs.

For a few minutes, I was crushed, order Atenolol over the counter. All the people who claimed to like me actually just liked my potential offspring. And they wanted to be able to tell my children what to think, just like they’d been telling me for the past 10 days. Although I had been nearly convinced to change my own life, I was inflexible when it came to how I wanted my eggs.

I liked the autonomy of onion farming, but not as much as I like having autonomous rule over my own womb. So I decided not to make the big move. I left Israel with a great tan, the ability to say the word threesome in Hebrew, and a mezzuzah for my dad. And although I cannot offer up my body as a vessel for the line of Abraham, I am very grateful for the free vacation.

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