The time difference between Israel and the East Coast of the United States is seven hours, which means that I woke up yesterday morning to learn that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by US forces at some point during the night. This being the age of new media, it’s probably not terribly surprising to anyone that I discovered this bit of news via my Facebook feed (with Lisa Goldman having the dubious distinction of being the bearer of such tidings, since her status update was the first one I read). The news websites confirmed the information that my Facebook friends (and indeed, my Twitter feed as well) were sharing – some rather giddily, and the images I saw on television shortly thereafter showed Americans in front of the White House celebrating and singing.
I didn’t cheer, nor did I jump for joy or break into spontaneous singing of a national anthem. I wasn’t sorry to hear the news, but I also found it distasteful to watch people joyously celebrating someone’s death, and in the same raucous manner that one might celebrate a major sports victory. I can’t share the view of some of my friends who believe his death was wrong, or that he should have been brought to justice instead. I think that sometimes, as disturbing as this type of retribution might be, it may be the most sensible response to a situation whose components defy the most basic elements of logic, reason and humanity that most people hold dear, regardless of nationality, religion or any other circumstances that define who we are as individuals and members of the human race. (more…)by Liza Rosenberg
Butt. Poop. Budge. Intrigued? Amused? Slightly repulsed? Join the club. These were just three of the new words that the Little One learned to use with great gusto during his two weeks in an American day camp last month. Of course, it now seems like ages since we were in the US, but the reality is that we’ve been back for just over a week.
Truly, we had a month filled with escapades and exploits, not to mention what certainly seemed to be more than our fair share of encounters of the watery kind. We managed to squeeze in three days by the Delaware Water Gap with dear friends, rafting down the Delaware (and reveling in an onslaught of happy memories of long lost summers in a camp just up the road), sightseeing, eating, drinking (which seemed to happen with greater frequency than usual, though rarely in excess), and being quite merry. As much as I can be merry, that is…
We made it to two amusement parks. One was small and close to home, where I had the privilege to meet up with two old school friends (both of whom could probably make a fortune by selling their secrets for not aging) and their gorgeous children – a four year-old girl and a four-and-a-half year old boy. It was wonderful to spend time with these fabulous women, and the children really seemed to enjoy each other’s company. Until “the incident”, that is. Until a certain four-year-old girl (who will most certainly be keeping her parents perpetually on their toes, and who has been voted most likely to throw a house party when her parents are out of town, though hopefully not until she’s at least seven or so) tried to hug and kiss the Little One goodbye. Oh, the horror!
Imagine this scene, if you will – a beautiful little girl chasing an increasingly frantic Little One in circles around me, with the Little One calling out (in English, albeit with a slightly Israeli accent), “no Mommy! I don’t want!” I just know he’s going to regret this when he’s a hormonal sixteen year-old looking over my shoulder at pictures of her when she’s 15 and stunning, as she inevitably will be. Our girl was apparently not used to being rejected so firmly, as she later commented to her mother, “why wouldn’t that boy let me kiss him? If he had, he’d have seen that it was ok…” High-fiving the little boy goodbye in the parking lot appeared to be acceptable, however, and I was charmed to learn that he asked his mother before going to sleep later that evening if she thought that “his new friends missed him”. If he considers me to be one of his new friends, then the answer to that question would be a resounding “yes”.
And then there was day camp. Two action-packed, fun-filled weeks at the local JCC day camp, and while camp is probably deserving of its very own post, you’ll have to make due with a few of the highlights.
Clearly, it’s very difficult to do justice to a month-long journey in one (rather long) blog post. Therefore, I’ve decided to spare you the blow-by-blow description and throw in yet another list of highlights, given that it worked so well above. For those of you in the know, feel free to add other choice vignettes to the comments.
All in all, this was definitely one of our more successful trips to the US. We are finally over our jet lag (three cheers for vodka – hurrah!), and the Little One is once again using more Hebrew than English (though the words “butt” and “poop” still pop up with dizzying regularity). My heart is full. My wallet is empty. And so begins our return to normal life. Normal being a relative term, of course…by Liza Rosenberg
I do not conquer jet lag very well. We returned to Israel on Thursday afternoon (noting from the airplane while in Israeli airspace that nearly every green patch within view was filled with parked cars and Israelis barbecuing and celebrating Israel’s Independence Day), and while I dropped from exhaustion shortly before 12:30am and woke up at 10am when the telephone rang, Friday night was a challenge, and last night was a disaster, as I fell asleep only once daylight set in and the birds began to chirp (starting at around 5 am or so, for those of you not in the know). Who knew that birds could be so damned annoying…
I swear to you that I started to write at least half-a-dozen posts (or at least half of a half-dozen) while in the US, but needless to say, I was easily distracted and didn’t get around to finishing any of them. It never ceases to amaze me that vacation time can pass so quickly, while at the same time, events from just a few weeks earlier can seem like a lifetime ago. The day we arrived feels like a distant memory on the one hand, yet it still somehow seems like yesterday that we landed at Newark Airport without our luggage. By the way, we did receive the luggage the day after we arrived in Sarasota, after being told rather conspiratorially by one baggage service agent that another agent (who’d been rather rude to us one day earlier) was a “bitter, bitter man who hated his job and hated luggage”…
We were gone for a month, and while it sounds like a long time, no matter how long I’m there, it’s just never long enough. This was especially true for this visit, made more hectic by the fact that we were in both Florida and New York, and a veritable plethora of spots in between. I loved St. Augustine, Florida, where we took a trolley ride around the city and I drank from the Fountain of Youth (which may or may not explain why everyone tells me I look rested – maybe I just look younger). The Luray Caverns left me speechless, and many pictures were taken by all, including the Little One, who would preface every request to hand over the camera with, “ooooh! Wow! Mommy, look at that one!” The Great Smoky Mountains (where a young Israeli traveling with his parents offered in Hebrew to take a picture of our family at Clingmans Dome) and the Blue Ridge Parkway were stunning, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania was great fun, though probably more on account of the fact that we were with close friends than because of the area itself, given that we were there in the off-season.
We traveled, visited with friends and family, shopped (not nearly enough), and ate (far too much). Most of all, we took great pleasure in watching the Little One acclimate to and enjoy his surroundings, playing with family and friends and feeling more and more at ease in the English language with each passing day. I know that he understands everything, but with each trip, I hold my breath, waiting to see how he handles the switch, waiting to see how long it takes him to speak more English than Hebrew. Initially shy and hesitant, we knew that we’d turned a corner when he responded to Bob the Builder’s usual query of “can we fix it?” with “absolutely!” And, while I’m rather pleased that he’s calling me “Mommy” these days, I can’t say the same is true of my husband, who greatly prefers “Aba” to “Dad” or “Daddy”, said with an American accent that neither I nor my parents have.
If I were to make an educated guess as to what the highlight of our visit was for the Little One, I’d say our trip to Disney World, where we spent a few precious moments with the current objects of my son’s affection – Buzz, Woody and Jessie, looking on with wide-eyed admiration, exchanging hugs and posing for pictures. And that was just me… Not that the kid is obsessed or anything, but when we returned from the US, among our vast number of purchases, one could find two Buzz Lightyear action figures (one big, one small), one Woody (small), Buzz Lightyear/Toy Story sneakers, pajamas, short-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shirts, one baseball cap, one video game, and the DVD of Toy Story 2. Rather scary, no? It’s so easy to succumb to the temptation, though, especially when it comes to all things Disney, where the attention to detail and customer service is nothing short of spectacular, so much so that you almost don’t mind notice the fact that you’ve given them the better part of your bank account just by crossing over the threshold into their wonderful world of Disney.by Liza Rosenberg