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It's Never Too Late
leona uchitelle

Lucky and I know it

It's Shabbat and everyone wishes you a Shabbat Shalom. The cabbie, the guy at the grocery store,your landlord, when he brings over a dozen rolls of toilet paper. Nice.

We are living a very frugal, quiet life here. I could be in a more contemporary apt, have my groceries delivered, but it is fun for a short time to be more self reliant, make do with less. I wonder how this will change what I do when I get back to Florida. I can see now how wasteful I was . I am now more cognizant of how to repurpose and reuse and re everything.

We do have a problem. I have this one iPad and it has Kindle on it. Bob is reading from the Kindle, so I am forced to read a "book". Tomorrow, I will go to a book store in mamilla mall and buy a book of my choice. The books left here by other tourists are terrible. No wonder they left them.

This has been a good experience. I don't think we are ready to move here. At least not without our own apt and things. Maybe if it were warmer outside, I would feel differently. We still have places to go, phone calls to make and things to do. It is a challenge and a sense of excitement that we have doing all of these things in Jerusalem. It's never to late to appreciate that I can actuall do these things. I am so lucky

 

It's Never Too Late
leona uchitelle

Review for a two week adventure

Here is a brief review of our first  two weeks in Israel. Overall, it is cold. I expected cold, but this is cold for us. Then, dust. I thought that Iwas slightly exaggerating about the dust, but it is true. Our landlord says that this is the first dust storm in five years and that it affected not only Jerusalem, but Israel. Everything is covered.I did the wise thing in keeping us indoors for a few days. 

Then, before we left Venice, I bought at GoodWill a black cotton velor two piece sport suit. The kind old ladies wear to lunch . I thought it would be good for traveling. Elastic waist, zip jacket with a hood. I did travel in it and it lived up to expectations. However, I have not taken it off. It is perfect for layering, it is comfortable and it has pockets for my kleenex.! Good buy and I will probably burn it when I bring it back to Florida.

Did you know that as crazy as the drivers are here, if you are standing at a cross walk, they stop for you. I am so powerful.

The beef is terrible. Remind me of that when I think about a hamburger. I will go for fish or dairy. Today at the Israel Museum, we each had a hamburger .Total lunch check, $47.00 .

For the first time ever, I convinced Bob to use a wheel chair at a museum. It was perfect.That is the only way to go in these large public places. Easy on me and certainly easy on him. He was not happy at first but the sensibility of this arrangement did make sense. And the people of Israel, are warm, helpful, have a sense of humor and such pride in their country. Each cab driver is a driving endorsement for Israel. It's never too late to be happy that we are having this adventure. 

It's Never Too Late
leona uchitelle

Weather-bad,spirits-good

Yesterday was an absolute inside day. We had the security blinds down and the heat up. It sounded like a hurricane force wind. I may be exaggerating, but it was very windy and it was forecasted as a dust storm. Better to be indoors if you could. At one point, I forgot where I was and looked for some windex to clean the kitchen windows. There are 30 paines of glass on those windows. The view, in spring and summer is probably beautiful. I can see remnants of some fruit on trees and I even see 2 roses about to bloom. I will check if they are still viable. The windows have guards on them, which is a good thing, because it would be easy to just smash and grab,if they were not there. But with the window cleaner, I didn't find any and the mood soon left. The windows are clean on the inside, the out is what needs doing and I wasn't planning to do those.

We have used all of the food in the fridge, so today we will go to the grocery. I think they are beginning to recognize me. Bob dreamt about meat loaf last night. I think that is a sign for me to make one. It's never too late to see if I can turn on an Israeli oven. Stayed tuned.

It's Never Too Late
leona uchitelle

A routine day

I was finally able to get brave enough to change the channel on the TV. I went from Extreme Sports to National Geographic. I now have several "tricks" that I can show my Grandson. I learned how to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew and how to separate the yolk from the white with a plastic soda bottle. Both very cool and meant to impress.

I continue to be amazed at what can be done in a rental, Israeli kitchen. I have no utensils,the bare needs of pots and covers, but it can be done. Last night was my version of fried rice with chicken cutlets.I still can't eat the Koshered meats. That salt is just too much for me. When I go to my health food shop tomorrow, I will ask about this. Today is fish and I dont think that is salted.

The weather is now windy. And cold. A good day to sit around and read.This afternoon we will air ourselves out and take a walk around the neighborhood. The decision will be do we want to start uphill so we can come back downhill or the other way around. No matter what, we can not avoid hills. I will be marathon ready when we get back to flat Florida. Just don't sign me up yet.

Did I talk about mopping floors here. Mops are not here. But squeegees are. You wet a rag,throw it on the floor and take the squeegee and move it all about.Then you can take a dry rag and do the same with the squeegee and dry the floor. I hear that if you have a drain in your floor, you just throw a bucket of water down and squeegee the water to the drain. Seems a little extreme, but I guess if you have no furniture it would work. I use the shoe method. Wet cloth on floor, apply shoe to cloth and skate with one foot. Did I mention that the floors are all tile,white tile.

It's never too late to learn as much as you can about a country that has a lot to teach.

It's Never Too Late
leona uchitelle

Observations

Things are different here. There are more shades of black than I have ever seen. I did a survey of watching Religious women,young and old. All black for the married ones and black and white for the younger girls. But black has various tints. And the clothes are mostly high fashion. The cuts of the skirts are swing-y,some have that angular cut. Some even have slits up the sides so you see , not leg, but fashionable boots. Then there is the head covering. These are more colorful and are very intricate. I went on line to get a tutorial , but it is to complicated for me.And make up. There is nothing unfashionable about the nail polish and make up. These are not poor women shopping at the Mamilla Mall. Whoever said "give them a mall and they will come", knew what they were talking about, The men, don't clean up as good. Even the best dressed. look slightly shiney pants,shoes worn. I guess their ladies are what they show off.

I went into the Crock store and they have a great line of shoes . I don't know if Beall's will ever get them, but everything from lined boots to ballet type. I'm going back.

Our apt is getting more comfortable. I have a routine. We still fight the duvets , but we are beginning to win. I can hear some music that sounds Islamic. It is soothing. I don't know where it is coming from, but it sets the right mood for this adventure. It's never too late,for anything.

 

It's never Too Late
leona uchitelle

What better way to see how it feels to live in any place than to have to make a trip to the Emergency Room? I wanted this to be as if we were living here and not a tourist and I gt my wish. Bob coughed all night. Nothing that I had in my small first aid kit helped. So in the early morning we cabbed to Terem, an emergency facility. I had the foresight to bring our passports because we were asked for them.Bob was not seriously sick, so I wasn't concerned about heart issues, but the coughing never stopped. All of his vitals were great and in fact, he felt good. Just couldn't stop coughing. Back home ,Israel home, he has codeine and an inhaler. It may be an allergy. Just think, allergic to Israel. But I navigated the pharmacy ,many, many sheckles, because our US unsurance doesnt cover this and a few taxi rides and Bob is tucked into bed, still coughing and waiting for the codeine to kick in. Its never too late to really make yourself at home and experience everything Israel has to offer,including their medical facilities.

It's Never Too Late
leona uchitelle

A day in the life...

Today may be a rest day. I need to make anther trip to the "super market". It's a little larger than a hole in the wall but it must have everything anyone could want.No fresh meats or fish, but frozen works. The selection of fresh veggies is limited, but if they don't have it, you don't need it. To day my major purchases will be coffee and kleenex.Sleep still eludes us. I can't figure out why. The room temp is fine, duvets fought over and won by Bob ,pillow OK. So we take great naps after lunch and everything is fine. Even no nap and we can't sleep soundly. Maybe we need Cricket. She would hate it here. The cats are bigger than she is and they do not look friendly. I'm not sure that she has ever seen a cat. People do not pick up after their dogs. So beware where you step.

We almost figured out the TV. Because I am afraid to change the channel, we have been watching "Extreme Sports". Bob keeps saying,"how do they do that"? I think they have a death wish.So far we have seen skate boarding on concrete and on ice or snow. And they make a living doing those crazy things. In interviews, they sound a little shell shocked, with large pupils.

It's never too late to make another shopping list for another day in the life of an American house wife spending a month in Israel trying to fit in. I can't fool anyone.

It's Never Too Late
leona uchitelle

Quite all around you

Shabbat in Jerusalem is different than Shabbat any where else. If you stand on the corner or King George Street and Hess Avenue,you notice immediately. You can cross the street without fear of being hit by a car. You see people actually strolling on the sidewalks. It breathes calm. It is unusually warm for February. This makes people more leisurely in their strolling. People are looking in the windows of closed jewelry stores and art galleries. This happens every Shabbat. Fantastic. I don't quite understand how an entire country that can't agree on anything, can get to this calm state once a week and then at sunset, it's business as usual. But it is good to experience it and to join in this peaceful 25 hours of respite. It's never too late to capture this feeling of rest because tomorrow there will be another hill to climb.

A day in the life of an exPat house wife

I am not sure what the exact date is. if it is the sixth here, is it the fifth in the states? 

I should say a few words about our apt. It is not lavish. It has indoor plumbing,hot,hot water and electric light bulbs with no shades. I understand that this is a typical Israeli apt. We have these wonderful duvets on the bed. Bob hasn't mastered them yet and they can overtake you.They slide off of you when you least expect it. We solved the problem by each of us using one and making it like a sleeping bag. But they are wonderfully warm. Another thing that we have are these metal venetian looking blinds on the outside of every window. I can roll then during the day and I think thay are bomb shades. Look like hurricane blinds. To further remind us of where we are, we have a bomb shelter . I won't go down there until the ferril cats move out. It is dark and nasty looking. My landlord said that we should just stay in our apt. I will.

We are eating breakfast overlooking what could be a beautful yard. Give me some tools and a pair of work gloves and I could get going on it. But first the cats would have to leave. Cats are evry where. They look well fed so some well meaning person is taking care of them. A few are even pretty, if you like cats. I miss Cricket.

It's never too late to experience one more day as a non tourist in Jerusalem. Today is food shopping day for the Shabbat. This could be exciting.

It's Never Too Late
leona uchitelle

Kotel,wailing wall,western wall.

I have been waiting for some kind of a spiritual knock on the side of the head. I even wrote my Rabbi about waiting, but nothing was happening. His advice was to just enjoy and when I am not looking, it'll happen. Well, he may be right. Today I know of four people who need special healing and for good measure, I will put Bob on the list. Maybe I am here to send out a prayer for their speedy and complete recovery. Where better then when in Jerusalem, the holiest of cities and at the Western Wall, where we went today. Bob and I each had our scrawled note to shove into a crack in the wall. I know what mine said, but not what Bob's said. I watched Bob do his shuffle in the mens side to get to the wall. He had on a hoodie, so I could distinguish which body he was. He didn't want their kipa that was available to men who had no head covering. He went straight to the wall and placed his prayer or request or supplication. Then he noticed a Bar Mitzvah in progress and went to join them. I lost sight of him then and my caretaker juices started to surface. But there he came back, the same way he went down. I went to the woman's side with my list. I cry easily and I start to cry even when I think of the wall. This was no different. My list was longer than I expected. So much has happened to people I love, I know, I care about ,in just a few short days. I placed my note and cried for a few minutes. Then I left too. I placed the money given to me by a member of our congregation in the Charity box and we went in search of a taxi to come home. It was a very emotional few hours. For Bob, it was more the history of the wall. He was fascinated by the size, the blocks of stone. I was overwhelmed of what this site means to Jews. It's never to late to just be in the moment.

Lost but that is the fun part

Yesterday was an adventure day. With detailed instructions we were to walk to a repurposed train station where there were restaurants and small shops. We got lost at the first choice we had . Eventually we got there and because we were slightly lost, we got to see the Sir Montefiore's windmill. I can check off two things to see with one adventure.I found a great natural food store in the repurposed train station and I stocked up on vitals, like oatmeal,golden raisins and cheeses. I don't know why the cheeses are so good here. I have not seen any cows or goats, so I can't judge how happy they are. Bob is still amazed that hebrew is the spoken language here. He knows we are in the continent of Africa and I guess he rationalizes that Africanese should be the language. Sorta makes sense. Today is an off day.We will explore our block. We see a very large cross on a building behind us. We will see if it is a church. If what I wanted was to see how it felt to actually live in Israel, we are doing that. The routine things of taking out garbage, cooking oatmeal for breakfast, are the same everywhere. It's meeting the people that will make it different. That will be next. It's never too late to just inhale this bustling country.

If you go up, you have to get to a down , at some point

Today is a beautiful day. So far,the daily living is proving to be not so easy. Everything is uphill.Being in Jerusalem has not had a spiritual effect on me. It has, however, brought forth my ceativity. No toaster? Put evoo in a fry pan and saute your bread. Bread. I spoke Hebrew like a native yesterday. Couldn't find the bread aisle at the grocery. Went up to clerk and proudly asked "lechem"? I hoped that meant "bread"?. Must have because he said in English, last aisle". 

We had breakfast yesterday at the King David Hotel. Elegant building. When you ask for more coffee"American coffee", they don't just bring over a pot of coffee and pour into your exsisting cup. They remove the whole thing and return with a fresh cup of coffee. Worth the $25 for each of us.Across the street was the YMCA. A beautiful architectural landmark. It looks nothing like the YMCA of the Rockies or the YMCA of Venice. It does still use that picture of happy people creating a YMCA with their arms. They have a very formal dining room with white cloth and subdued lighting. We should go there for dinner, one night.

We are literally around the corner from the US Embassy. Guards,watch towers. Makes me feel safe, or not. Depends who is protesting, I guess.And speaking of uphill. Forget that I even considered training for the Jerusalem Marathon. I break out in a sweat walking to our apartment. Everything is uphill. Even the downhills. But it is how you live here. It's never too late to just go with the flow,after a while things may begin to feel downhill,

What day is this ?'ll have to go some evening

Good news, bad news. Very bad news.  First the good. The trip was fine. Everything was as it should be.  Bad news. My son in law that was to meet us in Jerusalem had a colassal embollism in his lung. He is in the ICU in Illinois. Bad news. They will not be coming to Israel this week. Good news. He is improving.

I am not sure, but today maybe Feb 2. I have no knowledge of what happened to Feb.1. Our apartment is the worse unit in the best neighborhood. Just fine though for us. The weather is fantastic and in a few minutes we are off to King George Street to exchange money and get something to eat. I will be more coherent after this. It's never too late to get out in this beautiful day and do some exploring.

It's Never Too Late
leona uchitelle

Let the Good times roll

Last night at services, we got a wonderful send off. All day,yesterday,I received phone calls. More peple gave me names of relatives. We have two invitations for Shabbat dinner and one invitation to join a Super Bowl party. Our journey is really about to begin. Last night ,in his sermon, our Rabbi spoke about Miriam being so sure that they would cross to the other side and leave Egypt, that even in the haste to leave, she and the other woman brought her timbrels and drums.That's how sure they were. I am that sure that we will have a wonderful adventure and come home safe and well.It's all about attitude. And planning doesn't hurt. I got up at 2 AM and printed out our boarding passes for El Al. Technology is wonderful. Now we are really ready. It is real. My next blog will probably be from Israel. How can this little iPad be so smart. From Israel I will post my next blog ! Really ! It's never too late to be awed by this journey that awaites us. I'm ready. Bob is ready. Let the good times roll.

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Marci | Reply 17.02.2015 16.04

I feel all up to date now!! Hoping Bob and son-in-law are feeling better. Seems so expensive there! Have you gone to Shabbat services anywhere? Hugs to you both

Bernice | Reply 15.02.2015 11.19

Enjoying your adventure, keep writing .

Lorraine | Reply 10.02.2015 08.40

Leona, All of us from Bird Bay send our best wishes that Bob gets better real soon and that you keep well. We miss you. Bohdi and Kookie have play dates.

Sharon Napshin | Reply 09.02.2015 21.03

Oh my gosh, I hope that Bob will feel much better soon. At least, he has a wonderful nurse. Enjoy your month; it will be over so soon. Love, Sharon and Barry

mardi | Reply 04.02.2015 07.31

What an adventure. I can't express how happy I am for you and Bob to be living your dream. I look forward to your daily postings. Thanks for writing!

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Latest comments

29.08 | 13:45

Don't quite know how this got to me but it was on the top line of my computer (not in email) But I really enjoyed it. I truly admire you.

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31.07 | 07:02

Leona, do you have a date or a booked flight that you come back ?

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20.07 | 13:55

Everything sounds so wonderful Leona. Venice will seem boring . I would want to move to Portownsend where the kids are living. All sounds great . Is there?

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19.07 | 12:33

That lavender sounds very nice!

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