Ok, I got lazy from writing all of these posts and I’m going to condense them into one… Hopefully this won’t be too painful for all of you.
Part 9: Friday (Hefzi Ba):
Friday morning, after breakfast, Lori, Elana and I ditched the rest of our family and went shopping at the mall in Afula. I purchased a few things, including a shirt I had just purchased in a different color in Haifa. (I decided to give the first one to my dad). We got some chocolates at the supermarket, which, a month later, I still haven’t delivered to everyone I purchased for. I searched for a few things for my DJ, and her sister, and Gillian but couldn’t find anything but postcards. The kiddies went to play with the horses, and went to the kangaroo zoo. There are only two kosher McDonalds’ in Israel, and one happens to be 15 minutes from my aunt’s kibbutz in Bet Shean. Thus, stopping there for the kosher people is necessary every time we go, though it really isn’t anything special. We hit Kosher McDonalds after shopping, while Mr. Horsham and I texted to meet there at the same time. D&D had ditched the family (similar to my ditching) for Thursday to enjoy a day at a lil B&B or something like that. At McDonalds, dad and Karen were there w/the kiddies, had just finished eating, and thus took our chocolate so it wouldn’t melt in the car. Back at the kibbutz, we headed up to the pool for a quick swim before sunset. Eli cooked excellent dinner which I apparently criticized by putting salt on the potatoes. I won’t do that again. Dinner was followed by chillin on the back porch, with some after dinner drinks and cigars.
Part 10: Saturday (Hefzi Ba):
Saturday morning, after breakfast, we walked to the cow farm and watched the machines work their magic. Atara and Lilah, scared as hell as first, eventually got comfortable with the machines, and the animals, though I don’t know how anyone could get comfortable with the smell. My grandfather (Saba), and his girlfriend came to the kibbutz for the day to hang out with all of us one lsat time before heading back to NY on Sunday. We all ate lunch together, but after lunch, something strange happened. I was sitting on the couch, listening to 4 simultaneous conversations go on with 10 people all around me, and all of a sudden, I’m sleeping. My mouth is apparently so wide open that my siblings are contemplating filling it with some sort of garbage or food. An hour passes without me waking once before everyone’s getting ready to head back up to the pool. We swim for an hour and I make it the full length under water. I don’t know why, but considering A) I don’t swim often at all, and B) I don’t old my breath often at all, this is one of the highlights of the trip for me. Saba and his lady go home and the rest of the family (Lori, Maureen, My Aunt & Uncle, My Parents, My Sisters and the 2 kids) all go to dinner at the Fish Restaurant on the Kibbutz. I have chicken.
Part 11: Sunday (Hefzi Ba/Afula/Driving):
My parents’ flight is at 3pm but ours isn’t until 8pm so we split with them, take 2 cars and the “kids” head back to Afula for shopping and whatnot. I’m pseudo “Ariel” today as he went back to the states Tuesday night because he had a 9am class to teach Wednesday morning. First, we all go to the restaurant Maureen works at (Vanill) for a little lunch snack and then D&D split to head to Tel Aviv for a little shopping. Instead of shopping there, they north of the city, saving time and avoiding traffic. Elana & I go into downtown Afula with the kids to do some window shopping and hopefully, 4 hours before our flight, find something for the DJ, her sister, and Gillian. An hour later, after one last stop and ice cream for the kiddies, I’ve got everything I need and Elana’s got a hat. We drive to Ariel’s Aunt & Uncle’s place just outside the airport to drop off the cell phone we borrowed and try to fill the car with gas in the area. We had more problems filling the car than I could have imagined. Apparently, my credit cards only allowed for 200 shekels ($50) of gas max per card for the whole trip. So I ended up using 3 different cards while away, and had to call customer service to verify charges when I landed.
Part 12: Sunday Night (Flight home):
It’s amazing how much easier it was getting through security with 6 young people including 2 toddlers vs. going alone. They didn’t even ask if we had accepted packages from other and if we had packed our bags ourselves. The strangest thing about an 11 hour flight home that takes off at 8pm is that you’re on a night flight, but you land and it’s still night for 6 more hours. To illustrate, we take off at 8pm, its dark, we fly 11 hours and 7 time zones so its midnight when we land in NYC. Then the sun rises 6 hours later. I’m so glad I don’t live in Norway during the winter because I couldn’t hand 17 hours of darkness in a day, that’s way too much. We had 6 seats together, 2 rows of 3, but the kids were fine, and the flight went well. We played some cards, we watched some movies, I finished Pablo, and we discussed who would commit suicide first if the plane crashed; my rents or Ariel. Don’t worry, we knocked on wood (as I’m also doing right now). I also slept a little because my awesome baby sister gave me the window seat for 4 hours. Thanks Panhead.
Final thoughts tomorrow…