Friday, September 3, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

I got back a couple of days ago and am still living in a jet lag world. I had such a spectacular time on the trip-- thank you Warren for being born in such an interesting place. One of my absolute favorite parts about traveling so much is that it means I have regular opportunities to fly into Austin. This is one of my most beloved pastimes. Though I can never remember the exact date, my anniversary of moving here falls in the first week of September. So that means I am, as of this week, officially here for 19 years. Which also means that this is the longest I've lived in one place ever in my whole life, including the small town where I grew up. When I first got here, I didn't understand the fervor-bordering-on-jingoism that folks have for both Austin and Texas. Now I'm pretty sure I'm this town/state's head cheerleader. My heart starts beating faster every time I hear, "We're beginning our descent into Austin." Here are some more pictures:

This was the view out my window on the descent into Austin. Reminded me of a cartoonist's rendering of heaven, which I found fitting. Henry calls these popcorn clouds.

This is sunrise in Atlanta, seen after two hours in the Tel Aviv airport, thirteen hours in the sky, and an hour on the ground going through customs and passport control. A most welcome sight though my body was thoroughly confused by the whole time change thing. On the plane, I sat next to a rabbi who, as we began our descent into Atlanta, pulled a shofar out of his bag, stood in the aisle, and started blowing on it like crazy. No one seemed alarmed and several people applauded.

On our last day Warren's mom took us on a tour of the grounds of the Weizmann Institute, where she used to work and where Warren's Abba got his Ph.d. I'm pretty sure this building is where Wiffle Ball was invented.

Also on my last day, I went out for a little stroll around the neighborhood. I was sitting on a bench when this woman walked by, spotted my Vibram Five Fingers, and got very excited. She sat down, dug through her rolling bag, and pulled out a pair of purple Jellies-- you know those plastic shoes that predate Crocs and were incredibly popular in the 80's at the Jersey Shore. I didn't get her name and her English was very limited but we had a great time talking. If I understood her correctly, she's 86, from Czechoslovakia, speaks five languages, was an Israeli pioneer, lost her family at Auschwitz, mothered two sons (one, a pilot, died at 43), is a widow, and currently has a boyfriend who works at the Weizmann Institute and whom she doesn't sleep with. Oh I loved meeting this woman.

This is David, who has a little candy and smoke shop. He doesn't speak English but he sure speaks Body Language. When I first met him, he pointed to my tattoos and said something (what?) then, pretending to rip open his shirt, he inquired (in his own special way) if I happened to have a chest tattoo. The next time I saw him, he came around from behind the counter, grabbed me, pulled me close, and kept kissing my neck and wouldn't let go.

This is Warren's aunt and her friend Ida. Ida, who was born in Lithuania, was the first woman surgeon in Israel. We had a great talk about her career, how she had to deal with sexism, and the thousands of operations she performed. I asked her to tell me her most memorable story and she told about a 15 year old boy who'd been ripped open by a grenade. She saved his life and used pigskin to graft him back together. Years later, when he was going to be married, he insisted that she be at the wedding. Really moving story.

Warren and his Abba multi-task-- sharing a hug and deflating a flotation device we enjoyed in the little swimming pool at this awesome B&B we stayed in in Galilee.

Warren and I spent many days at the beach. I love the beach. And I love my man. Thanks for a mind blowing vacation, hamuda.

Don't worry-- these are my knees.

My cousin's wife has this AWESOME term she likes to use to describe a certain color of hair dye: Menopause Red. Isn't that excellent? We saw a TON of women sporting MR.

The sun sets on another gorgeous day in paradise.

Best I can tell it is a law in Israel that little kids must run naked at the beach.

Another sunset shot.
My last full day in Israel Warren and I ran away for one last day at the beach. We buried each other in the sand and the tactile thrill is indescribable. I could've stayed in that spot the rest of my life.
Warren emerges from the sand.

Abba and Ima share some baklava.

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