And I'm back. It was actually a bit frightening on my return flight. We had a "maintenance" check after we were all on board and were cleared to go but 20 minutes after take-off we could smell gas fumes and the pilot announced that we would be returning to Philadelphia as a precautionary measure. Apparently we had to dump all of our fuel (and where fuel is dumped when you are over a city I don't have the slightest idea) and then landed to a runway lined with fire trucks. I have watched too many made-for-tv movies to know that we were still in danger even though we had landed. I started telling everyone around me that we "had to get off the plane" and suddenly I heard an announcement "Eliana please come to the front." Really? Had I been too vocal? Leaving my 20lbs of carry-on goodies behind I marched to the front to discover that they were looking for a child who was travelling alone, apparently named Eliana. Anyway, a few minutes later we were all off the plane and about 6 1/2 hours after originally scheduled we took off for Israel.
Enough has changed in these 3 weeks. I returned to a 4-year old who prefers to speak Hebrew. I have to remind her to speak English at home! And of course now that she is speaking in her Gan, the teacher has a new concern. Something about the way she holds her pencils. Oh goodness I think this will be a year for much patience. The hard part--and I don't want to brag---is that I happen to know A is a little genius. She has become my big helper in the kitchen and friends let me tell you that it's not every child that can be so discriminating when it comes to the quality of chocolate chips. Sure, it sometimes takes her 20 or so to figure things out but this is hardly a skill you want to rush.
N watched one of the movies I brought home, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and later that night gave a little talk at the dinner table about the similarities between the film and Sefer Shoftim (Book of Judges). Though I don't think his insights were perhaps what the Rabbis had in mind I was happy to see that he has picked something up at school. I think his Hebrew has actually advanced quite a bit but he keeps that somewhat hidden in his desire to continue down the path of no homework and no expectation. Well, who can blame him and clearly there is still a large gap in his Hebrew knowledge.
L, middle child that she is, brought me up to speed with all that is going on. She even wrote, stage designed and performed a one-girl musical. Sort of "Music Man" meets "Les Miserables" with the central theme being--here's a shocker: a family that moves to the promised land but realizes that they should probably go back to Kansas. Don't worry in the finale you get some inkling that things in Israel might work out for them. Possibly, maybe.
How M kept things in order for these 3 weeks I don't know but I am thankful to all our new friends here who definitely helped out. Next week are elections. Aaaack. Parliamentary government is rather confusing. I feel I should be granted a Master's degree for all the reading I've been doing trying to figure out who's who (or the reading I should be doing). Now I can see why cab drivers are so eager to talk politics. They probably feel like they should have a degree too. Seriously it is quite confusing. N's recommendation is to vote for Likud since Netanyahu gave us "Yahoo" (breaking down his name natan=gave, yahoo=Yahoo) which is why 9 year olds haven't been granted the right to vote. Though I may be taking my young children to the grocery next time I go for a bit of translation :)