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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Observations from Afar

israel1I could make many meaningful comments about the Holy Land, and I will, I’m sure.  But for now, let’s just say that there are other more pressing matters that are gaining my attention, such as why my rental car sounded like it was going to blow up from the first second that I got it at the airport.4093887-my_rental_Ford_Focus_from_Eldans_Israel

Well, not the first second.  It waited to happen on the highway, when accelerating.  Hasn’t gone away since.  For all I know, it might be a loose license plate, flapping wildly in the wind.  I’ve gotten people to open the hood and take a look, and nothing seems amiss there.  I just don’t want to be stranded on the side of the img_3475road, camels poking their fly-infested noses in my open car window.

I will try to exchange the car for another tomorrow, which has already taken me hours on the phone from two continents.

But beyond that.

2.  There are trash cats here in Jerusalem.  Never mind that many folks leave plates of food outside their door, for either their, or any wandering cat.  (I guess they don’t have rodent problems, which is nice.)  Yet, some cats live in 4979555924_a66e6b9d3e_zthe dumpsters that are at intervals on every street.  You carry your own trash to the dumpster, then the trash truck takes it from there.

How the cats climb inside dumpsters, I don’t know.  Maybe somebody leaves the top open-?  But when you go to give your bag a little up-and-over toss, out flies a squawking cat, sure that you’re trying to kill him.  It’s especially unnerving when taking the trash out at night.

Not that I’ve taken out my trash.  I’m not a very trashy person.  And there are peeps here to do that.  But I hear others.  I think the dumpster is not far from my open 301811_359084317473096_246310432083819_950685_145522951_nwindows getting the (finally) cool night breeze.  Either that, or some kids must be swinging cats by the tail by the sound of it.

3.  A Russian woman inquired about my children, and then gave me four individually-wrapped dark chocolates.  I thanked her and touched her cheek, kind soul that she was, and tossed them in a tote bag that one of my associates was carrying for moi, the bag lady.  Last time he carries my bag.  Now I see that there are three mini-chocolates.  Well, by now, two actually.  On second thought, I might need to check through the car before I return it…. 140158914_8dade573ee_zHmmm… were these for my children?  All I can say is, the Lord knows what you need.

4.  Random observation:  be thankful for American bathrooms.  Here, you have a “toilet room” by itself, then the tub and sink in a separate room.  Note to self:  rent an American-style apartment if coming with the children.  Preferably with two bathrooms for six people.  Even I get tangled up, running back and forth all by myself.

5.  When driving, Israelis like using their horns.  A lot.  And it doesn’t help that the traffic lights give you a one-second warning of orange before the light turns to green.  The guy behind you is already laying on the imageshorn, simply in anticipation.  I return the favor by throwing up my hands (while stepping on it), as if to say, “What?  Alright already!”

6.  They also like to ride your tail when inching up a steep incline in a stick-shift during rush-hour traffic.  Never a smart idea to ride somebody’s popa, especially if she has a rental car already threatening to blow up.

7.  Life with the windows open is fun.  I never have the windows open in the U.S.  In imagesDC, we would have unwelcome “visitors”, and at the dacha, we would have raccoons.  Anyway, I would hear people on their cellphones, which you could also hear in this locale, but I just heard a woman singing a beautiful song as she strolled along tonight.  Last night, I heard a man discussing life with his big dog, Leo, around midnight.  Talked to him just like I talk to my little guys, albeit behind closed doors. 

Seems to be more humanity here.  I like it.

images8.  Everyone tries to feed you.  Today my attorney asked me three times if I wanted to have lunch with him.  Trying to fit in more appointments, I said no.  Trying to get out of work, he still took me out in his car, bringing me up to date on all matters, cruising slowwwly past the best restaurants.  Despite his love for food, he told me he has never once cooked for himself, an idea I can’t even begin to comprehend with an Italian husband who regals me over the phone with what he just cooked for everyone.  A Middle Eastern man generally doesn’t cook, but that’s changing.

9.  My manager made me coffee, and he’s a man.  He probably also stole the imageschocolate, but maybe not.  Maybe so.  Would that make us even-steven?  I brought him a gift of dried fruits because next week a big harvest festival is coming up, dating from the Bible, and even celebrated today.  The coffee was very thick.  I’ll tell you more about coffee and tea in the Middle East another time.  Come to think of it, he has never cooked in his life, either.

10.  About the time I’m prepping for bed (washing my underwear out in the sink), my kids are swinging into Chatty Cathy mode and wanting some Skype interaction after school.  So they see me in my pajamas and must think that Mama is one big Lazy Lady—hanging out in her jammies all day long!

And there you have it.  What are some of your observations today?

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