Thursday, May 30, 2013

Up Up and Away

Finally. We're on the airplane - our home for the next 10 1/2 hours. We walk past the first class seats and the business seats, but Papa and Nayna keep going. Rats! I was hoping for those seats. They look comfortable. And then, the next to the last row, Papa points to our seats in the middle of the plane. We're in the back. Nayna shoves her backpack under her seat and settles in. Papa examines his seat and finds that the earphone plug is broken. He could watch movies on the seat screen, but he wouldn't be able to hear anything. He tells an attendant, who calls in a maintenance man. Nope! It can't be fixed before we take off. "Oh well," he says. But then the attendant returns and asks us to follow her. She's found two seats a few rows up. Everything works. Papa and Nayna collect all their things. It's noisy with all the people talking.
We all settle in again and prepare for takeoff.
We're on our waaaaay.
The big plane lumbers and rocks down the runway and then heaves up into the air. We're going to Israel!
It was late, after midnight when we got into the air. After we reached our flying altitude, we were served our dinner. I've never eaten so late. But I guess my body clock is going to be all wonky for quite awhile. I crawled back into Nayna's purse and did what any self respecting bear would do...I hibernated. I needed my sleep!
We landed at 5pm Israel time. When the plane touched down, everyone clapped. It was cool. 
After we left the plane, we walked a long way to passport control. Now, we stood in a long line and waited for the lady in the booth to call us. She asked where we were going, looked at the passport pictures and then at  Papa and Nayna and stamped their passports. I stayed in Nayna's purse the whole time and peeked out. It was a little scary for me.

 After all that, we collected our suitcases and went outside to get a taxi for our ride to Tel Aviv and our hotel. Strange! People were all speaking another language. Hebrew. I didn't understand anything they said. And when I looked at all the signs, everything was in Hebrew and under that in smaller letters, English and Arabic. This is going to be interesting!
And the weather was different too. It was very warm and very humid. I'm wearing my fur coat.

 We got to our hotel and unpacked a little. We were hungry again. Nayna said we could take a sherut - a 12 passenger van (I'll tell you about those in another blog) to Frishman Street a few miles away, and eat dinner at a place called Cafe Masada. It's right across the street from the Mediterranean Sea. We sat outside. Nayna and I ate chicken schnitzel and rice. We had so much food, we took some back to the hotel. On our way back to the sherut, we stopped at a little shop and Nayna bought a star of David necklace and we used shekels instead of dollars. That's another thing I need to learn about if I'm going to do some serious shopping.

We got back to our room around 10pm, and although I snoozed through the whole trip, I was really tired and found my comfy bed.
Tomorrow is our first full day in Israel. I wonder what we're going to do.
Laila tov. That means, good night in Hebrew.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bamboo's Adventure - The Journey Begins.

 I'm at the airport!! We have a a few hours to wait for our airplane. Our flight was to leave at 8:30pm but when Papa and Nayna looked at the departure board, it said we'd have to wait longer. So that leaves us more time to eat dinner. Turkey burger and fries for Nayna and me. I'm hungry!
 Dinner over, it's now time to wait - and wait some more. I'm kind of scared. This is my first time to fly...ever. I still don't know how a big metal tube filled with people can stay in the air. I'm glad the pilots went to school to learn how to fly.
 It's finally time to board our plane. Nayna tucks me safely in her purse. We give the attendant our ticket and walk through a long tunnel to the door of the plane. So this is what it looks like inside. We get a window seat so I can look out. The flight attendants make sure I'm safely buckled in my seat before we can fly. We amble down the runway and then...
Wow. We're in the air. This is fun!
 We fly for an hour and a half. It's getting late and my big bear eyes are getting heavy. I look out the window and see so many lights. So this is Los Angeles. Kind of makes me dizzy as we tip down towards the ground below to land.

After getting our suitcases from a big carousel, we wait outside for about a half hour. Our hotel shuttle is coming to get us. I hope he comes soon because it's very late now and way past my bed time.
 Ahhhhh. My comfy bed. 4:30am is going to come way too soon.
Good night everyone.
 Good morning! It's so early, I get to watch the sun come up as we take our shuttle back to the airport.
Once again we have to go through security. While Nayna and Papa have to pile their shoes and belts and computers and all sorts of other things in plastic bins, I hide inside Nayna's purse. I think they can see me, though when I go through a big box on a conveyor belt.
We find our gate and wait until they tell us we can board the plane.
 This time we don't get a window seat. In fact Nayna and I are in an aisle seat in the middle and Papa is in an aisle seat across from us. While Papa makes friends with the man sitting next to him and they talk, Nayna lets me read a book on her Kindle. We also take a nap because we only got 4 hour of sleep last night.

Papa lets me sit with him for awhile.

 5 hours later we arrive in Newark, New Jersey. Now we have 7 and 1/2 hours to explore the airport and wait for our flight to Israel. That's a loooooong time.
We look in some of the stores, take a walk outside, go back inside the airport and find a Chili's restaurant. It's dinner time and I'm as hungry as a bear. Good thing because I AM a bear! Salmon, rice and broccoli. I dig in.
After dinner we go through security AGAIN and then find our gate. We still have a long time before our flight leaves at 11:30pm.
Finally people start arriving at the lounge area at our gate. Maybe it won't be long. I'm soooo sleepy, but I don't want to miss anything, so I keep my eyes wide open.

After what seems like forever, we get to board our last plane. It's huge.
But that story is for the next time.
I'll tell you all about my next adventure soon.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bamboo's Trip to Israel

Hi! Wanna come along with me on my trip to Israel? I'm wiggling in my skin with excitement.
It's been kinda crazy in the house with all the planning and packing. Seems there's always one more thing to do. But I think we're about ready to go.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mothers, Daughters and Frogs

Last weekend I went to a ladies retreat with my daughter.
 It brought back memories.

It's the same retreat center I went to with my mother - fifteen years ago. Some things had changed. They've added a lounge under the dining hall and  the pool is now  heated.

My mom and I always stayed in the lodge with real beds and linens and towels. She paid my way because as a newly married gal, funds were tight. We'd hang around together - eat together, sit together for the meetings and take the same craft workshops. At night we'd crawl into the double bed and talk until around midnight. I can't remember what we talked about. Nothing deep or profound. We didn't share what we learned from the evening session. She didn't give me lasting tidbits of wisdom for raising a family. But we spent hours talking. And we did this for years - until the dementia overtook her ability to handle anything but simple daily routines.

This time, I spent the weekend with my daughter and the ladies of her congregation. We stayed in a cabin with four other women. It was sleeping bags and vinyl mattresses. But that's okay. It was nice looking across the floor to the other bunk and seeing the mother of my grand-babies. I only knew a few women by name. It felt weird to be in a place I grew up at and yet not know anyone. I tried not to shadow her. I wanted to give her space and time with her friends. I'm not sure if I did that good a job. Sometimes its hard to be in a familiar place and yet know that nothing is the same.

Our lives never stay the same. People change, places change. Sometimes we enter paradigm shifts or life changes where nothing is as we knew it before. We learn to live with a "new normal". Its when we can get to that point where we make friends with it and know there's One who never changes. Since G~d has been around forever, He's not prone to being caught off guard. He knew us before and He knows us now. When He says He'll take care of us - never leave us or forsake us, that's what He means. He's held on to the universe for a very very long time and hasn't broken a promise yet. Odds are, He never will.

On Saturday evening my daughter and I walked across the small bridge that spans the pond. This was a ritual for my mother and I. We'd stop in the middle of the bridge and my mom would call out, "re-deep, re-deep". As if on cue, a choir of frogs would begin their serenade. Some people actually thought that it was a recording triggered by voice, it was so precise.
My mom loved frogs. I love frogs and my daughter does too.
And so, we stood in the middle of the bridge and I called out, "re-deep, re-deep". We looked down into the murky water and there on a lily pad a little frog, with bubble throat croaked out the first response. "Re-deep!" Another called back. On the other side of the bridge one more joined in. We didn't get a full concert hall choir - just a three piece ensemble. But none the less, it was what we'd hoped for.
We laughed and remarked that Grammy was elbowing a few angels and friends. "You hear that?" And then she sat back, arms folded with a smile on her face.