Friday, June 5, 2009

“...the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away...” (Job 1:21)

So, how was the Hold Land? Everybody has been asking us since we returned and I'm faced with a difficult decision every time they do.

Do I tell them the most interesting (and disappointing) part? Or do I focus on the good things and leave that bit out?

The truth is that while we were in Israel, at noon on our 3rd day in the country, all of our luggage and bags were stolen from the trunk of our rented hatchback car. We went to see the ruins in Caesaria on our way from Tel Aviv up to the Golan and when we returned to the parking lot everything was missing, but there wasn't even a scratch on the car itself! The thieves were clearly experts. They jimmied the lock very carefully and took off with our bags without leaving more than a few fingerprints for the cops to use to find them. The only thing they left was our bag of dirty laundry. We were left with nothing but that bag and the clothes on our backs. I had my camera with me of course, so that wasn't stolen either. But my laptop, my wallet, and my passport were all in the backpack that we had decided to leave in the car (after all, we were only going to be gone for an hour). So they were all gone. We had to spend the rest of that day filing a police report, and all of the next day at the Canadian consulate in Tel Aviv to apply for a replacement passport for myself. I learned quickly that the Hebrew word for passport is "darkon".

I tried really hard to enjoy the trip anyway. We bought new clothes and carried on as if everything was fine. We stayed in Rosh Pina for 3 nights. The couple who owned the guest house were so sweet. We told them what happened and they offered to make us dinner that night, then gave me a pair of shoes (I was wearing sandals the day our luggage was stolen) and gave R one of their son's old army t-shirts. They offered to wash our dirty laundry for us so that we could have clean underwear. The day that we left they gave us one of their old suitcases.

Everybody who heard our story offered to give us something or help us out. The police officer who filed our report gave us a hat from a special even that he attended - It has the Israeli police logo on it and R wore it hiking so it was put to good use. The officer even offered to put us up for the night in his parents' house if we didn't have a place to stay (but we did). The security guard at the Canadian consulate offered to make tea for me while I was waiting to apply for my passport. Complete strangers let us use their cell phones and laptops. It made us feel so much better, after everything that had happened, to know that people cared about us and wanted to help.

Now that we're home everything is more or less back to normal. I have shoes and underwear again! We filed a claim for insurance and now we're just waiting to find out how we can get our things replaced. I haven't had a laptop for a month now. This is the longest I've been without my own computer since I was 17!

So is that a good reason for not updating at all in May? I sure hope so. I'm hoping to do some more cooking and baking soon, but in the mean time here are a few photos that you might enjoy:

The western wall at night.
The Western Wall at night.

Jerusalem at night.
Jerusalem at night, from the Hebrew U campus.

Marching to the Western Wall
A group of kids were following behind these drummers, chanting in Hebrew. It was an emotionally exhilarating trip to the Western Wall with these people behind us!

Richard, looking down the Snake Path up Masada.
The snake path, which we took to the top of Masada at 4am to catch the sunrise.

Sunset in Tzfat
Sunset in Tzfat (Safed).

I'll post about the good bits of our trip next, because there really were some great things about Israel, and it was a very different experience this time because I'm so close to being finished my conversion to Judaism. I'm working on a recipe for shakshuka (a great tomato/egg thing that they make in Israel for breakfast), so when I get a chance I'll share that too!

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