So here I am, lying in bed with a cool Judean hills breeze and the sound of Israel outside my window, unable to sleep. 1:17 AM and nothing. I'd love to say it is because of the excitement as I eagerly await Maddie's tekes (graduation type program) in the morning, but that's not really it. How can any civilized country consider itself part of the global community if it puts its darkness on in the middle of the afternoon. My body knows that it is not even 6:30 PM. It should be light out and I should be complaining that I'm tired. Someone should tell the prime minister that the darkness machine is broken and needs to be set back 7 hours. Truth is I should not be expected to have adjusted to the new time zone yet. That should set in about 30 minutes before I return to the U.S.
Did I mention that when we left the Paris airport, the recorded announcement warned us that pickpockets abound? Maybe it would be more efficient to, you know, arrest criminals instead of just warning tourists. Maybe not. What do I know - clearly the French government has more experience dealing with lawless behavior and it knows that acceptance is the best course of action.
So today (yesterday? I don't know. Will this be on the test?) I woke up at about 9. Maybe. I showered, ate food. Caught up on the Internet and then went back to sleep til 1pm. At the time it seemed like the most reasonable course of action but now I realize that I don't know what "at that time" even means anymore.
At 2, Steve and Senja gave us a ride to the big, local mall. Because we have no malls in Bergen County. When I go to the mall in America, I look for products that I can't get locally or online, so I buy nothing. At a mall in Israel, I look for anything I can't get at a mall in Bergen County, so I got pizza. There are 5 kosher, dairy food choices in the mall. I chose Il Fresco or something like that because it was the only one that had regular pizza ready to go. I don't like olives, I don't want onions. Keep your weird veggie slices. I want pizza. So I got two slices and ate in the food court like a normal, obese American.
Julie went to a Judaica store and spent half an hour looking at head scarves. I don't understand how one can agonize over the color or texture of a head scarf thing. Green or black or red. They are all the same. Who is going to notice? Maybe the proprietor of another scarf store? I won't. The same holds true for ritual items. Do I care if my sacramental wine cup is etched or bejeweled or glass or blue? No. As long as it holds the grape juice, whatever. What was nice though, was that Julie kept me in the moment by asking me all sorts of rhetorical questions like, "do you like this one better?" and "does this match the red dress I have at home?" and "please give me the credit card." The mall had stores like Zip, Diesel and Nimrod where they were selling none of those things. Pity. I need a new Nimrod.
S and S picked us up and we returned to Efrat. By now you should have asked the obvious question (and I'll admit - I'm a little peeved that you haven't): "Pizza? You were in a mall with all sorts of kosher food and you had pizza?" A fair question and I'm glad you asked, jerk. First off, I had had a long espresso and needed something to eat fast. Caffeine sometimes makes me crazy like that. Hey, maybe that's why I can't sleep. No. Definitely not - the problem is that the sunlight is broken. Anyway, we were scheduled to arrive on June 6, our 24th anniversary and I had asked the Lauderdales to pick up a cake. They searched and found one that was nut free and dairy so that I could skip the benadryl and the cake would be dairy (Zog say dairy cake good) . But when we came in, not only was it after midnight, but I was still within the 6 hour waiting period after eating what passed for meat on the plane. So the cake was waiting for me today after the mall. I stuck with pizza so I could eat cake, a truly Noble purpose.
It was worth it. Damn fine cake.
We got back, I ate much cake. Others might have had a little but who cares. I ate cake. We had received an invitation to the Oshins' for a cookout and I sorely wanted to take them up on that (the Oshins throw a kick-butt cook out) but, you know, cake. If the Oshins ever invite you and you have a dairy cake option, you will understand how difficult a decision it is. Jeff had suggested cake first, but by the time I stopped eating cake, the idea of having other food seemed ill advised. So shout out and apologies to the Oshins.
Julie and Lauderdale kids made a banner for us to wave at the tekes and then I thought I was tired. Clearly I was wrong. I wonder if the Oshins gave any hot dogs left.
Also, there is a mosquito in this room now and I was promised no mosquitoes. This will not end well.
1:58 in the morning, fake time. Maddie begins her long hike imminently. We are incredibly proud. Thinking of her and counting the moments before I can get up, shower and have more cake.