Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Family time

On Wednesday, I awoke still tired. I moved slowly but made myself get up and get ready. It was impossible to sleep due to loud construction noise--an elevator was being installed in our building. Susan, fleeing the noise, walked five minutes to the closest coffee shop. I followed a few minutes later. Within the hour, Dad joined us and we planned our day.

I'd hoped to get on the internet, but that was not to be. Dad had volunteered himself as chauffeur for the day for the bride, Ora and I said I'd go along with him. We went back to the apartment, gathered our stuff, dropped Susan off at a coffee shop and met Ora and the youngest girl, Ahuva. The three of us inched through dense Jerusalem traffic to take Ora to one of the main market streets. Dad pulled over and Ora hopped out. He perched there, illegally, for almost an hour as Ora visited several shops and came back to deposit her purchases in the car. I joked that we were a motorized shopping cart.

Unfortunately, I don't know exactly where we were, except that it was a religious area. I was the only woman on the street wearing slacks and all the men were wearing yarmulkes, even those dressed in a t-shirt and jeans. In contrast, most of the men in the neighborhood where we're staying don't wear yarmulkes and the women are divided evenly between wearing skirts and slacks. Anything goes!

Ahuva and I were bored and I pulled out the computer to see if she wanted to play a game (all I have is solitaire but she likes "spit" so I thought she might be interested). I found a wi-fi signal and took a minute to check email. I told Dad and he asked to use the computer to check on B2's (Israeli brother) bank account. B2 doesn't have a computer and doesn't believe in using the internet, but it's hard to do business any other way these days. He'd asked Dad to check something for him. I gave Dad the computer and got out of the car. Ahuva and I went in search of soda.

After errands were complete, we went for lunch at "the best falafel shop in Jerusalem." It was ok, but the best thing was some tasty sweet frozen coffee from a machine.

The next stop was Ora's new apartment. She and the family have been stocking for the last few weeks. It has a bed, dining room table and chairs, comfortable chairs, an oven and a full kitchen. The apartment is only about a 20-minute walk from her parent's place, which is normal and makes everyone happy. The floor plan of the place is odd because it used to be part of a larger unit. They're renting for now, which is for the best. The tiny rooms and peculiar kitchen--the fridge is across the room from the rest of the kitchen and the oven is in another room all together--make it a poor long term choice. For a year or so, though, it's fine.

After we dropped off some things at the new place, we drove back to B2's. Dad took Ora somewhere else but I elected to stick around. Adina was there and I figured I could help with some household tasks. I did help, but mostly we just hung out and talked. I had the computer and Adina wanted to see what programs it had. She's studying computer programming and thought she might be able to use my machine to write Java, but no such luck. She's decided to take the teaching route instead of get a programming job, which is typical for religious girls. Teaching is more compatible with the fertility imperative.

After giving up on the computer, Adina pulled out a jigsaw puzzle she was assembling as a present for Ora. We worked on it for the next couple of hours, on and off, with help from Ora's friend Estee, in town for the wedding. Adina also had to get potatoes ready for dinner. I helped a little, but it wasn't necessary.

The rest of the evening was spent waiting for people to arrive. First, Dad, Susan and B1. Then, eventually, Yehuda (oldest nephew) his wife, Avital, and the baby. A beautiful baby, indeed, who was fawned over by everyone, though the fawning was modest by American standards. Still, I'm not worried about this baby feeling unloved.

Dinner was late, around 9pm, and meager by Israeli standards, but no one went away hungry. B2 attempted some planning for the next day--which was the big day--but was not very successful. Tikvah had a schedule for every moment and let me know I had a hair appointment (with her) for 11am. That's all I needed to know.

We were home by midnight.

Grateful for: flexibility.

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