Adventure and Perspective

It was a long week. We were ready to return home.

As the random orthodox priest traveling with his parish told Liviu on the plane ride back, we have seen a lot more of Israel than anyone without a proper plan and a tour guide. But we had our friend.

TelAviv was refreshing. We stayed near the Mediterranean Sea. Though swimming was forbidden, we could fill our lungs with deliciously salty and fresh air on every walk. It reminded us of the hip San Francisco. The city is very artsy with beautiful graffity on every wall and corner, as a form of expression, with large window shops with cobblers, painters, mechanics and potters, with delicious local pastry shops, and really cool architecture.

We walked everywhere and rested well at night. One day our friend drove us to the Dead Sea – very eerie actually, abandoned land, but the ancient feel to it was thus preserved. We hiked up to Herod’s fortress and all you could see from up there was golden dry land and rocks.

Half way into our trip we took a bus up north to Nazareth: 2.5 hours scenic drive by the shore. We arrived late on Friday night, worried that because of Sabbath all stores and restaurants will be closed. Public transit is completely suspended on Friday nights. Little did we know that the majority of the population in Nazareth is Cristian. A city next to Nazareth is predominantly observing the Sabbath and there everything does close for Sabbath.

We met some wonderful people. Really welcoming, kind, interesting and very friendly in Nazareth. We totally looked like tourists – unintentionally so – and everyone would say “welcome” as we passed by them. I got to buy oranges from the grocery store in the corner where the old guy owning it didn’t speak a lick of english. But as we would walk by afterwards going home, he would wave at us.

We also got to attend the Sunday morning service at the Baptist church where our friend’s dad is a pastor. It was a lovely experience, in a small church, singing in arabic and taking communion with real wine… Listening to a sermon about Moses in his early days, it felt so close, so real, and the truth and points the pastor made were quite revenant – like no other pastor in the western world could make. Maybe ’cause the Red Sea and Egypt were in driving distance.

We also spent a day in West Bank, behind the walls, in Palestine. 

There is a lot of injustice, old hurts, suspicion, anger, oppression, and tantrum reactions all around. Behind the Palestinian walls there are beautiful people. A lot of old mistakes are perpetuated and the hard feeling are carried over. My heart aches for what happens in that side of the world. I understand it better, and I can’t fix it. It is not my job to take sides, but we had to really zip-it and think before we speak in our naiveté and free light heart. People take offense on both sides, but being a christian is the least of your worries – on the contrary, it is the place where you could proudly say you are a christian tourist and they would readily accept and welcome that profile.
We had some issues at the border coming in and going out as it is unusual for such a small group to visit Israel on our own. After being interrogated for 15 minutes in line, while there were hundreds of people behind us trying to be admitted into the country, I think we naively mentioned we have a Palestinian friend and we were invited aside, in a room, to wait until we got cleared to enter into the country. This has never happened to me. I have immigrated to the united states and became a citizen, had to wait in many lines and be interviewed … but this room at the airport gave me a whole new insight into country politics. Rather uneasy. 

On the way out, we rented a car the day before to have a certain means to make it to the airport on time. We left Nazareth at 6 and arrived in Tel Aviv 7:40. By the time we dropped off the car we were in the airport a good 2 hour before the flight. Everywhere in Europe we only needed 1 hour. But not here. Several security checks, interviews, busses, lines, screens, luggage opened (not Conrad and I, but our friend) And we barely made it on time on the plane. I had this nagging feeling that we need to rent a car. Otherwise the trip from Nazareth to the airport is 3+ hours and the first bus was a 5. Also, the bus station was 3 km away from where we were staying. So yeah. The car rental helped us make our flight.

Conrad is beyond exhausted with allergies – his eyes are red, his nose is raw, his throat hurts and he sneezes 30-50 times a day. We tried to stay hydrated, caffeinated, sun protected … but the pollen and dust allergies have given him a run for his money. His nostril membrane is chronically inflamed …we just hope it will slowly heal.

As I got home, a letter from the social and adoption agency was waiting for me. We have been assigned a psychologist and a social worker. I got a lot of information in that letter, about the next steps, expectations, plans etc. what they will be evaluating regarding our family dynamics, family history, attitude towards conflict resolution, feelings towards money and work …sounds a lot more proper the way she says it, and the list is huge.

On that note… we are home for a while. Both businesses are thriving. Rufus is delightful and Spring is here.

One last note: We had one very good and memorable day in Nazareth, which ended with laying in bed, before falling asleep, praying for all the people I could remember (one by one), people I love and people who are hurting. At the end Conrad prayed for our future son or daughter, who already exists somewhere in the world… It is just a matter of time and faith.