Open Window / by Susie Lubell


Thanks to watching three consecutive episodes of LOST online last night, the jetlag seems to have subsided. Finally. Though a small female demon woke me at 5:45 this morning, which I consider progress. My son, on the other hand, has a future as an international business man or diplomat or flight attendant. He scoffs at jetlag. First night back he slept from 8 pm to 7:30 am. That's a gold medal in sleeping right there.

I've been in a funk since our return. We really had a great trip. Aside from the weather, which was horrible for much of our stay (back to back heat waves and some kind of South African sand storm), every day offered some amazing experience. Sometimes adorable, like when my daughter was putting pick up sticks into my father-in-law's ponytail like he was a geisha. Sometimes wondrous, like watching my son play with the kids of our close friends and actually speak to them in Hebrew. We spent most of our time in the south and the kids really enjoyed being with their aunt and grandparents. One day we spent with friends in Tel Aviv and I fell in love again with that city. It combines Middle East grit with European charm. Picture crumbling 1950s apartment building with well-tended geraniums under every window. And the food. So many kinds of salads and cous cous and shwarma and falafel. And the yogurts too. Holy lactose intolerance. And did I mention the shoco b'sakit? That's chocolate milk in a plastic bag where you bite off the corner and literally nurse yourself into euphoria. It's bliss.

It was also great to see many of our friends and where they're living. Beautiful homes with desert views, funky old apartments in the center of everything, some pastoral, some urban, some up in the hills. Some way out in the middle of nowhere, which you wouldn't think possible in a country this tiny.

And we had a lot of interesting conversations, many of which included questions about our return. We left Israel almost ten years ago. The standard answer has always been two years. There are Israelis living in Silicon Valley forty years and they're still on the two year plan. So who really knows. One thing is for sure. When you marry someone from a different country, it opens a window that can never close. You are forever caught between two worlds. Two cultures. Two languages. Two histories. And in our case, ten time zones. It would be a lot easier if I was European. You can pretty much commute between Israel and Europe. Even New York would be more manageable.  California feels like another whole planet away. But you can't always plan who you love or where your heart takes you. We'll always be missing somewhere or someone.

Here's a taste.




Ein Avdat