Friday, June 1, 2012

Some Days in the Life...

While life in Jerusalem has settled into a sort of routine, there are always bumps in the road to keep it interesting.  In order to fully experience life here, we recently had the opportunity (not intentionally!) to get familiar with the medical system – twice!  About three weeks ago, Yonah fell at the park and hurt his wrist.  A trip to urgent care confirmed a fracture.  So on to the emergency room we went.  After a long, uncomfortable night of waiting and being prodded, Yonah ended up with an impressive looking cast that goes from his finger tips to almost his elbow.  (You may have noticed the sling in pictures from our previous post.)  Fortunately, after a day or two, the pain receded and he’s doing just fine now – albeit with one hand!  He’s counting down the days until the cast comes off – hopefully next week.

Then last Friday night, after a beautiful music and ruah filled Kabbalat Shabbat (when I was just thinking that it was a fabulous way to begin Shabbat followed by Shavuot), Koby jumped off a bench and landed funny.  Upon coming home, we saw how swollen his ankle looked and it was another trip to the urgent care!  At least this time I knew what to expect.  X-ray showed a possible small fracture, so there was no early morning walk to the Kotel for Shavuot after all.  I took Koby to the doctor this week, and apparently it’s just a bad sprain.  Now Koby is in a walking cast and already is able to put pressure on his foot to walk.

But don’t think we are only nursing wounds around here.  We continue to learn, explore and try to make the most of our time.  In no particular order, here are some reflections on unique, wonderful and unexpected things we have experienced, both recently and in past months.

On a hike in the Judean Hills over Pesah, we had a picnic lunch on top of some remote Crusader ruins.  We had wandered off the main path and were sitting in the weeds.  All of a sudden, a couple climbed over the hill. “Can we get to the path?” they asked.  I did a double take. As they made their way over the ruins, I couldn’t help but ask, “Are you Julie?”  Sure enough.  She was a high school classmate from Chicago!

Our kids now know that King Saul came before King David – not because they read it in a book (although that would have been good too) – but because we have stood in places where both Saul and David ruled.

When walking with Amichai to his gan (pre-school) in the days leading up to Yom Ha’atzmaut, an older gentleman walking nearby commented that he too just took his grandchildren to school (because his son – an eye doctor – had to be at the office).  He remembered when this area (The German Colony and Katamon) was nothing but open fields with donkeys.  I contemplated:  “How wonderful it must be for this man, who may have fought for Israel’s independence, to see the neighborhoods and the next generation grow to maturity.”

In Israel, you can get credit from a car rental company for not driving on Shabbat.

Spice and Araq stand at Mahane Yehuda
We shop at the local grocery store a few times a week.  While shopping is fun because everything is kosher, we often have to figure in 30-45 minutes in the checkout line.  That’s because the cashiers seem to do most things except ring you up. They can discuss the quality of the produce (“complain if it doesn’t look good,” she advises), try to sell you items on sale, ask about your health, and on and on.  When we have the time, we make a morning of shopping at Mahane Yehuda – the open air market.  There we can get better quality, enjoy the vibe, taste along the way and smile at the colorful personalities of the vendors.  Even though the schlep home is farther, it is well worth it!

Dried fruit bins at Mahane Yehuda

We can identify a pomegranate tree by the beautiful red flowers currently blooming.  A shesek (loquat) tree grows outside our apartment building.  We’re not in Kansas (or Minneapolis) anymore.

I enjoy my almost daily stroll hand in hand with Amichai to his gan.  While he chats away for about 18½ minutes of the 20 minute walk, I listen and take in morning in Jerusalem.  From our house we pass through the well-tended Rose Garden which always has a variety of beautiful and colorful flowers in bloom.  Then through the open field showing charred remains of numerous Lag B'Omer bonfires.  Down the street under fig, olive, carob and flowering trees until we get to the big hill that Amichai loves to run down.  Finally through the park with the see-saw and merry-go-round.  Cross the street and we have arrived at gan to walk into whatever project the gaggle of other 4-5 year olds are working on.  Most days now, he jumps right in with a smile.

Whether through conversations with strangers, bumping into old friends, or sometimes just getting bumps and bruises, our time here so far has been filled with moments to remember … 

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