Well, three and a half weeks have simultaneously swept by and crept by, and now I’m on a plane out of Israel and onto the rest of my journey. I’ve written about London, the Peace Corps, and staging since my visit here but not about Israel itself… And already it’s time for goodbyes! The past 24 hours involved heart-wrenching farewells with my parents, my older brother, and my little, little brother (the coolest toddler a sister could ask for). And I could focus on these, the sad part of this trip, the twinging of my heart already missing them, but I’d rather reminisce about the highlights, so… in no particular order:
- Spending time with my two-year-old brother! I don’t know if it’s the pureness of his adoration and love for someone (okay, me), or the thoughtfulness and kindness obvious in such a young heart, but I love this kid, so, so much. I read somewhere recently that you don’t know what love is until you love a child (written by someone who recently became an uncle) and I think there is much truth in the phrase.
We went with my mother and a friend of hers to listen to an Elton John concert in the park, and my little, little brother was beyond amazing… he loved the music, and at the end of each song asked “mo’?”, his mouth forming a perfect ‘O’ with the sweetest squeak of innocence. He danced around for an hour before he wiped himself out and he loved clapping at the end of every song, even half asleep in his stroller hours later. He also knew, to my surprise, the sound of a piano, and when Elton was on a solo mission, Tal put his little fingers out and air-pianoed along with the greatest.I also brought him “big boy underpants” as a gift from my London family… he loved them so much he put 5 pairs on at once!
- Seeing my best friend of SIXTEEEN years… it’s amazing to me that despite not living on the same continent in over a decade, we still go together like cheese and wine which, of course, we did indulge in that evening.
- Surprising my mother for her birthday with my older, little brother visiting (he’s 22, not 2) from Germany, and the times spent with all my three brothers together… doesn’t happen very often!
- Drinking many cups of tea, playing several games of Yatzhee, and the wonderful mini adventures that a day out with my mother entails.
- Running father-daughter errands that are really just excuses to spend time together (something we’ve been doing my whole life). I also tagged along at my dad’s weekly bike ride, where he and other volunteers ride tandem bikes with youth that have muscular difficulties. As volunteers outnumbered youths this week, I rode tandem with my dad through beautiful fields of olive trees, avocados, and chick peas (yum!).
- Eating lots of ice cream, homemade popsicles, cheese, cheesecakes, cakes, pastries, extravagant salads, walnuts, dates by the kilo, and enjoying every moment of my indulgences.
Note: there were a lot more tears and less literary skills put into this post. Visiting family is hard, saying goodbye to family is even harder. Not knowing when you’re going to see each other next makes things harder still. There are many beautiful things to consider when visiting Israel but for me, it is a place to see family. I am not a local, and not a tourist, but this is Israel to me: a home for my family, and in that sense, it will always be a place of “home” to me.
Next post: Germany, the land of good cheap wine, chocolate, and cheese. Did I say Germany? I meant Heaven.