Traveling in Israel with boys…

I know I haven’t been here for awhile, and I kept meaning to post, but was tired of posting anymore about running (although I did recently finish my first half marathon, which was momentous), or about divorce, or about living alone.

And the last couple of days were a bit of a whirlwind of activity preparing me and the boys to join a group tour in Israel for the next 10 days.  It also coincided with the end of the school year, that half marathon run, my spring voice recital, and quite a few other events and obligations.  So, I wasn’t thinking about writing during all of that, but now that we’re here, checked in to our hotel in Jerusalem for the start of this trip, I feel like I can finally breathe, and maybe record a few observations.

As usual, I didn’t pack in advance, and the morning of our departure was my typical mad rushing around, trying to figure out what to bring.  I can never seem to get this right.  I meant to pack on the weekend, but the half marathon was Saturday morning, voice recital was Sunday afternoon, and there were quite a few other boy activities to fit in during the weekend, so packing just took a back burner.  So, yes, I know I’ve forgotten a few things I meant to bring, but we’ll be fine.

Our outbound journey connected through Montreal, and we almost missed our flight to Tel Aviv, because the connection was so tight, and it turned out our bags weren’t checked through, and we had to dash back to the airline customer service counter to get them to shift our bags to the right flight.  And then we had to run to the gate, and were misdirected to a dead end, and had to double back.  As we ran up to the gate entryway, the staff were all cheering us on, and we were the absolute last passengers on the plane.  10-year-old J was slightly traumatized by the possibility that we might have missed the flight, which spurred him to unusual speed in our mad dash!  I was very impressed.  I told him how proud I was, and since 12-year-old S was running way ahead of us both, I added that he was always a champ (I hate him to think that I lavish more praise on little brother simply because we always expect so much less from him).  That prompted J to ask “Why don’t you ever call me a champ?  Is it because I always whine?”  To which I had to answer, truthfully, yes, but then I said, equally truthfully, that this time, he really was behaving like a champ!

But, he was whining about being hungry.  Since it was a transatlantic flight, we were getting a meal, which I kept reassuring him about, but he was having trouble waiting for it to appear.  When it finally did, he ate with gusto, and then curled up in a ball that only he was able to manage, with his head in my lap, and his feet against his brother, and he got several hours of solid sleep.  S and I didn’t fare quite so well.  Since S is now as tall as I, he can’t curl up in the seat, but he did manage to pile some pillows and blankets on his brother’s hip, and created a bit of a comfortable bed for himself.  And I was just happy that they were getting some sleep (I thought about taking a photo, but it was so dark, it wouldn’t have come out).

Then, at about 5 in the morning (Tel Aviv time), there was frantic calls in the cabin for a doctor, and I had to go up and assist with a young man who had fainted, most likely from mild dehydration and possibly a vasovagal response.  I was the only doctor on the scene, until a guy came up and initially said he wasn’t really a doctor, but then took over in a very uncollegial way, and was incredibly rude.  I never really figured out what this guy was, but none of us liked him.  I took over documentation which the flight attendants needed completed, and let the other “doctor” take over, and play hero (when it was clear that our patient was doing just fine, and was recovering without any ill effects).  This is the second time I’ve had to respond to a call for a doctor on a flight – the first time was more serious, and I worried a lot more about the patient.

So, if I was hoping for any sleep at that point, it wasn’t happening.

The rest of the flight was uneventful, and our arrival in Tel Aviv, and taxi ride to our hotel in Jerusalem went smoothly.  The best thing was that our room was ready for us to check into when we arrived, which wasn’t guaranteed until  3pm, and we arrived at about 2pm.  So, S is sleeping soundly to make up for a very broken night of sleep, J is wide awake and refusing to consider sleep, and I’m kind of in between.  Maybe if I stay up, I’ll be able to sleep through the night tonight, and be on track for the rest of the trip…?

Tomorrow, our itinerary has us exploring the Old City, and visiting the Kotel.  I’m hoping we’ll all be feeling rested and ready to explore and learn.

Jerusalem at sunset, from Haaretz