do i start with the highlights or

the lowlights?

Or a mixture of both?

How to organize experiences; how to rate them–on a scale of 1 to 10?

Or just describe things as they were and then realize that the good was not so good and perhaps the bad not so bad?

What could be good and then turn out not so good, you ask?

That we have to leave.

I should probably end with that, or I could, but I said I would tell you the highlights, etc., so here they are:

No, I’ll start with the lowlights and get that over with.

Traffic. I’m used to it for Jerusalem and I’m used to it for Tel Aviv, but sloshing through it when we said we’d be somewhere and then have no ability to figure out alternate routes.

So we have to live here to learn the ropes. The biggest one is that one set of directions is not identical to the return trip, and roads are not marked well. One thing we learned is that all signs in Jerusalem point to Tel Aviv, but in the Tel Aviv area, they don’t mention Jerusalem…So instead of getting off the road in Petach Tikvah to go towards Jerusalem, we ended up in Kiryat Gat.  That’s in the middle of nowhere, really. And you can’t even easily get off the road there! We used the road called Kvish Shesh (Road #6) that is a toll road, but there are few and far between exits once you leave the Tel Aviv area. It’s like driving through Texas, not that I’ve ever done that, where distances are substantial. It’s extraordinary to realize the differences in the placement of people in Israel.

We figured G-d really wanted us to travel south this trip, and we hadn’t gotten around to it.

Instead, we ended up spending an extra 2 hours in the car.

That really was it, the lowlight.

Oh, except ISHI’s pulled back. That’s a real lowlight. He’s feeling his age. That’s not good. We bought some incredible goat and sheep cheese at this amazing bakery (yes, that also sells artisanal cheeses and wines. I love this country.) So hopefully the calcium will kick in. And not the cholesterol.

The highlights? Oh too many!

Bonding with the little one. Playing playdough with the big one during a huge rainstorm, feeling very safe, even when the electricity kept going out. Seeing old friends in their new settings in Zichron Yaakov, with one of their kids saying “school is school” when asked how are you managing with your new school?  Having some time to ourselves to explore the north. Seeing old friends in their new apartment in Jerusalem, settling in for real. Going out to eat at endless wonderful restaurants and really enjoying a variety of food. Going to the newly renovated Israel Museum on a Friday morning with a dear friend and not having enough time to finish seeing the whole thing before running back to get ready for Shabbat. Going to the zoo with the kids and their parents, too. Seeing lots of old friends also visiting Israel at all kinds of places.

Knowing that we have to find a good place for us to settle in.

For real.


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