Dear Max and Rebecca
About seven falafels, eight chocolate yoghurts, 25 vanillla yoghurts with chocolate bits, 10 cups of coffee milk and 150 000 steps later, and we’re recently’ish back from our dream trip to Israel.
It was a “late” reunion of sorts, and a whopping 17 years since my last visit. On one hand, it felt like a completely new country that I was familiarizing myself with for the first time, and on the other hand, there were old memories and bits of recognition, and an easy flow back into simple Hebrew after so long (nowadays I care less about grammar mistakes than I did when I was in my early 20s).
Max, you were so missed, and I thought of you all the time, and the things I would have showed you and shared with you. Hopefully we’ll get to experience falafels, cobbled streets, and the spirit of Israel that is so difficult to explain – you kind of gotta be there to see what I mean.
Rebecca, aside from some age-appropriate ice cream tantrums (who could blame you – the ice creams really are good), you travelled like a star – patient, sweet, seldom complaining (even in 43C heat on Masada), chatty, friendly and accommodating. Just like your big brother, you’re a star traveler, with more patience and endurance than I do a lot of the time. You were a little star that lit up shops and buses – part your sweet and friendly nature, and part your blue eyes and blonde hair that’s a rare sight in Israel.
We stayed in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, in fantastic and perfectly situated Airbnbs, saw family, and I caught up with an old friend who, incidentally, became a bestie on our grade 10 programme in Israel. We saw the hot spots we wanted to see, and had a special Shabbat evening in Jerusalem when the city shut down and became a tranquil and mesmerizing space. We saw thousands of years of history at Masada, the Old City and Israel Museum. I shouted back at people in Hebrew, spoke to friendly people in stores, and pictured what a life there could be like, and wondered how life would have turned if I didn’t return back to SA in my early 20s, after believing that Israel was the only place in the world for me.
I came back richer in experience, poorer in pocket, and as to be expected, heavier on the scale. But there’s a lightness too, which comes from having been connected to this special country, and I look forward to us experiencing it together.
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