So our first Yom Ha’atzmaut as Real Live Israelis has come and gone, and today was a regular day. None of this namby-pamby three-day weekend stuff here!
It was a day full of surprises. Like that every single chain supermarket was closed. For the entire day. The day before, Yom Hazikaron, things had closed mid-afternoon. The day before that, erev Yom Hazikaron, everything was shut up tight by 7 in the evening. We did not know this, or we would have laid in more of the basics, like…milk. For the cereal my children eat for breakfast every single day.
(Now, I should have figured this out last Friday, when I popped into a grocery store for a few last minute items and found that it was outrageously crowded, above and beyond the usual Friday crush.)
Thankfully, several small stores–a grocer, a bakery, and a fruit-and-vegetable store in the next neighborhood over–were open, so we were able to properly prepare for our Yom Ha’azmaut tiyul (hike). I ran into three people I knew, one of whom told me that I was bound for a day “full of bloggable material!” And then he provided it to Gila.
The next surprise was that when we reached our destination, Ein Sataf, we were able to find a parking space. At ten o’clock in the morning! I was in shock at this development, because Israelis take Yom Ha’atzmaut picnicking, hiking, and grilling extremely seriously. It’s an art. Or a science. In any event, as we were driving to Ein Sataf we saw cars with chairs and tables strapped to the roof.
We started our tiyul with a snack. Because it’s tough getting two kids under six out of the house at 9:30 when they’ve been up since 6. No, really, I had my doubts about this plan of attack, but it worked: stuffing the kids with pita and melon slices and chocolate milk prevented them from asking for snack for almost 90 minutes, which is just 20 minutes shy of miraculous.
The tiyul involved not one, but two caves with water in them. Flashlights! and faux crocs! and changes of clothes! The abbas of the group managed to get a ride to the top and bring the cars down to us, instead of herding eight kids under seven up a rather steep hill in unseasonable heat. And there were ice pops at the top. Win!
Then we retired to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s house for a BBQ, where there was a lot of meat. And vegetables too. It was good. Very good.
But like I explained in my last post, I still don’t quite feel Israeli. I am assuming, like everything else involved in aliyah, that it will be a process. Spending the day with actual Hebrew-speaking Israelis drove home that point, that we’re outsiders still. Even Taxman, who speaks very good (if not grammatically correct) Hebrew, felt that way. “I hope it wasn’t too much for you, the Hebrew,” my sister-in-law said as we left. I actually understood a fair bit of what was being said, despite the fact that it was delivered at normal (rapid) speed; naturally I could not respond without sounding like an idiot, so every now and then I interjected something in English, which was equally idiotic, I guess, but made me feel better because I could get my subjects and verbs to agree. As an editor this makes me feel like all is right in the world.
So: good meat, hot weather, Hebrew, and back to regular life the next day. I could kind of use a massage and a nap and a fruity drink with a parasol.