Israel Journal: Day the First

My co-teacher actually triggered this idea for me, by giving me a "going-away" present on my next-to-last day of teaching, before I left for Israel. She gave me a feather-pendant necklace, which (according to its accompanying card) symbolized 'angel's wings or a bird in flight, for good luck. Together with that and a heartfelt personal card, were three thin little booklets to use as a "journal." 

I had thought about writing on this trip, but but it was just a thought-I didn’t think it through. After she gave me the gift, I told her that I had thought about writing, but not in such an antiquated format—my worsening arthritis which has made my thumbs not-so-opposable is making longhand writing a bit difficult.  My writing is now done on the PC, or on my friend’s Netbook (a friend was kind enough to lend me hers), as I don’t own a laptop…yet—it’s on my personal “wish list.”

I had intended to begin writing of this special, emergency trip to help my daughter, while on the flight over here, and I even made a serious attempt: I removed the Netbook from my laptop bag, which in itself was a pain, because I was packed to the gills with no stone unturned, no corner unstuffed, and no space unfilled.  I’m now absolutely certain that I brought too many Shabbat outfits.  But my thinking was, at the time, I’m going to be here for two entire months.  I have to bring my entire closet in only two bags and a carry on—an impossible task.  So after twisting and turning (I hate those narrow airplane seats), my leg muscles and back cramping from the effort, I extricated my Netbook, set up the tray table, and began to write.  And promptly fell asleep (apparently, I bore myself).

My intentions were so good. I had planned to opine about the flight itself, the hours of sitting, strapped in one place with problem legs & the constant need to stretch, and then the part of the journey which planted me in New York at JFK, schlepping a big carry-on bag (big. I do things BIG), a laptop case which in addition to the Netbook, was stuffed with STUFF, including a new NOOK E-reader, a portfolio with notes and numbers on my daughter’s condition, a camera, lots of tissues and high-blood pressure medication.  It was a royal pain to remove that Netbook, and after jerking myself awake several times, I finally gave up, and stuffed it back into the case.  With my extreme fatigue and crowded conditions, taking out that Netbook was just not worth the effort.

And I so wanted to write about the surreal feeling up being in flight, seemingly motionless while traveling at 500+ miles per hour.  Or was that kilometers…the thrill of watching the live map of our route, first circling north over Nova Scotia, and beginning the long traverse over the Atlantic Ocean.  I wanted to express the thrill I felt as we finally saw a land mass (although we flew over several island systems in th Atlantic before reaching Europe).  Flying over Marseilles. The thrill of flying over the boot of Italy knowing that we are over the Mediterranean, and very close. I was counting down the hours: from Marseilles or London, about 4 hours left to this interminable flight—about the same as from my neck of the woods in the Mountain States to New York’s JFK airport. And then, finally, a slightly bumpy landing at Ben Gurion Airport.  In the cabin, everyone applauded the pilots—still and only the only airline as far as I’m aware, where the passengers react this way, just because it’s Israel.

I am writing this motzei Shabbat (Saturday night), after my first Shabbat in Israel in over three years—at my son’s home in a beautiful yishuv south of Jerusalem. It was like old times, when all the kids were home, and the family was together: eating together the Shabbat festive meals, singing zemirot* and harmonizing, as we used to do. It was like a dream.  And my grandchildren? My grandchildren! Unbelievable! Smart, adorable, beautiful, rambunctious.  Why had I never visited since they were born? How could I not have?!

Enough for now, it’s one a.m.  Sunday (today, already) we will have to make some informed and hard decisions about my daughter’s forthcoming treatment.  We have our work ahead of us; the trip has only just begun.


Batya said…
Welcome HOME! We must f2f. I'm sure your entire family feels better now that you're with them.
Shoshana Z. said…
We miss you already! Keep in touch. :)
I wish your daughter a refuah shlemah. May the rest of your trip be enjoyable and productive!

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