I do not think |I have ever had as much fun with Abba as I did during this trip. He was like a whole different person and to those naysayers who told me to find them a hotel, I say "pfffft" (picture me sticking my tongue out with my thumb on my nose).
Truthfully, I was, to put it mildly, TERRIFIED of how the trip was going to go. It has been a long time since we all had to live under the same roof- and clearly things are not exactly the same in my life now as the were when I was 19. But I really need not have worried. Although I am certain that the accommodations were not quite 5 star quality, I did my best to make sure it would pass health and safety inspections.
They landed on the Friday and being that it was a Friday afternoon there was no way I was going to be able to go get them (remember we do not have a car). We hired a local driver to go get them. Needless to say I bit my nails to the quick worrying about whether they would find each other, if the luggage would fit in the car, if the guy would be even somewhat professional. I should not have worried. He was great and my parents got here quickly, cheaply, and happily.
Obviously There was nothing on the agenda for Friday. They pretty much handed over the scotch (Yay! Thanks!) and became one with my living room furniture. We made it through dinner and all crashed pretty early.
Shabbat morning Abba went ot shul with Jason, and mom came a little later with Channah and I. It was packed! There was a Bar Mitzvah so my parents got to see a full contact kuddush Israel style. Actually, it was cute. The man they went on their first double date with was here visiting his daughter so they had a little reunion at shul.
We had some friends join us for lunch and then slept for a bit before going to the park to meet up with a woman who used to be my baby sitter back when I was 3. She now has 5 kids (I think) and a big dog and lives not far from here. We met at a reasonably local park and shmoozed for a while before we took my mom "park hopping" on our way home for seudat shlishit. After Shabbat we got a sitter and went for a night on the town Beit Shemesh Style. Ok, so we took the bus to get coffee at Aroma- but really, that is a Saturday night out Beit Shemesh style...
Sunday we sort of did nothing and everything. They were still pretty jet lagged, and I needed to stay around Beit shemesh as I teach piano Sunday afternoons, so I just took them on a little excursion to see Ramat Beit Shemesh. We took what is normally a 20 minute walk down to the mercaz (central shopping area) but it sort of turned into a 12 step program for photohaulics. Roughly every 12 steps Abba found flowers that needed to have their pictures taken. Truthfully, they really are beautiful right now, and it was really nice to see Abba having such a nice time and relaxing with something he enjoys.
He has been complaining for a while now that his favourite kippah is getting a little ratty but that he can not find one to replace it. I am proud to say we managed to get him enoguh on this trip that if each lasts as long as the ratty one he will have enough kippahs to live ot be about 230 years old! the only problem was he liked them so much he did not bother wearing a hat.
No hair + kippah only covering the centre section of your head =
looking like you have a really bright idea but the lightbulb just can't get out.
Later that evening they took Channah out to ride her bike and hung out at the park while I had students. We bbq'd Nile fish for dinner and it was amazing!
Monday Jason got up and went to work and the rest of us took off for the Old City. We took the bus. We spent the morning at migdal David (the citadel) so Channah could show Zaidy one of her favourite places.
We wandered through the old city, down through the shuk, stopped for lunch in the Rova and meandered our way down to the kotel.From there we decided we were just going to walk around a little. As I refused to walk around East Jerusalem with my 5 year old we decided to take a cab over to the midrachov (Ben Yehuda).
Again we wandered around and took in a bunch of street preformers. Abba took Channah to the candy store and I am not sure I ever saw the two of them on such equal footing. He was, well, like a kid in a candy store! Jason joined us after work for dinner and more meandering. We had dinner at some french bakery that Abba knew about. It was, to put it mildly, a gastronaumic affair to remember.
Tuesday they took Channah to the zoo. They had a great time. Channah came home pretty much all over Zaidy and telling us what a great time they had.
Wednsday Jason took the day off work. We rented a car and went to the Animal safari outside of Tel Aviv (we told them it was going to be animals before they decided to go to the zoo but as they were letting a 5 year old plan their iteinerary there was not a whole lot they could do about the plan). I really enjoyed the safari. It is not exactly African Lion Safari back in Toronto (no baboons on your car for one thing) but it was really nice and peaceful. We spent the morning and early afternoon there before heading up to Hertzaliya to check out the marina.
I think if they could move in tomorrow they would! Even I have to admit that it was gorgeous and friendly and interesting and would be perfect for them. We spent a couple of hours wandering the area- Abba wanted to see the marina house. Channah wanted to check out the candy store (they found these banana marshmellow things that one member of our party went a little bananas for).
We also spent about 45 minutes or so in the local arcade. Jason and Channah challenged Abba to a bumber car duel. I am not sure who won but I am sure that I can not remember the last time I saw Abba laugh that hard! Ok, so it was not exactly defensive driving- but man was it a riot to watch. Did I mention that ISraeli bumber cars actually cause damange to each other when they bump?
Being as we had a car and were less than a half hour from Ikea I sort of demanded we make a stop there becuase I needed some more stacking baskets for my studio. We ended up having dinner there (only mehadrin kosher ikea in the world!). Swedish Meatballs are as good as everyone says! Seriously though- where else am I going to be able to feed Channah kosher chicken fingers, fries, a salad and juice for 9 shekel (about $3)?
Thursday was erev shavuot so we only had the morning for doing stuff. On Abba's suggestion we actualy went down to help support the community in Sderot by doing our Yom Tov shopping down there. We also went out to lunch and got what was truly the best salad we ever had- also the biggest. We ate it for all 4 meals on over the weekend as well.
That brings us to yom tov and shabbat. It was nice and quiet. We went to shul. First day mom and abba came with us, second day they went to a minyan for chutznikim (people not from Israel). Shabbat ended, we made havdalah and took Abba to the airport (Mom stayed back with Channah).
Ok, week two at another time because I seriously need to go to bed.
The rest of the pictures to follow when I am more awake (yes that means you might be waiting a while)
Gratuitous cute pictures