So I'm a tad behind with my update as Lag b'omer was last week but it was so much fun that I figure better late than never. First of all, as with so many things here there is some controversy surrounding the way this "little wee holiday turned serious dedication to burning things" day has evolved. For instance, where exactly did all of that wood the kids collect come from? But that is a conversation for a different forum. Anyway, there was so much build up and so much of it seemed well sort of downright scary, that I was prepared to consider it a success if I didn't have to use my newly acquired medical license that night. Fortunately, at least in our little neck of the woods no medical emergencies (though I did make one house call for a trip and fall who was just fine, thank you).
We had such a great time. It's a hard scene to describe but essentially every 400 feet or so there are little groups having bonfires. Our family for instance had 4 different fires we could have belonged to but we chose to attend the second grade bonfire and I let N go on his own to the 4th grade fire since M was out of town. Even while I'm typing this it sounds alarming that I would let my 10 year old go on his own to burn things with friends but I knew there were parents assigned to monitor and also it's sort of normal. And he had a complete and total blast. Imagine organized chaos. At our fire we made our own pita, roasted marshmallows and hot dogs. We also ate roasted potatoes and onions that were soooo good. The technique was rather ingenious. We poked a long wire through the foil wrapped potatoes/onions and put them in the fire. After awhile you just pull the wire to take it out. There were also games and singing. I felt a certain amount of pride when A and L sang along. It's new to me but it won't be to them.
The next morning (kids never go to school in this country so they were home with me), Lital pulled out chopsticks and found some marshmallows and as I was making pancakes she roasted a few marshmallows for the group. Later she and a friend decided to have a bake sale. We made some yummy cupcakes but as it was a million degrees outside they came back in after about two minutes and we played board games until it cooled off. As they were designing their posters for the sale, I realized that the plural form of currency (the shekel) shekalim, rhymes with the word for tasty, ta-im. So they went back out with their cakes and started singing a little ditty. Well they sold out in 30 minutes, I'd like to thank it was the cakes, might have been neighbors eager for the poem/song to end.
Today I went to an ultrasound course in Tel Aviv that the Shaare Zedek docs invited me to. First of all when there isn't any traffic (since Friday is not a standard work day), Tel Aviv is actually only 30 minutes away. It likely would have taken me 2-3 times as long to get there on a regular weekday. The course was great, I got to meet a few ER docs and some medical students who served as models. The lectures were in Hebrew but the slides were in English so between the two I was pretty well able to follow along. The students who were Americans at an American/Israeli medical school (Sackler) told me that after a few months with patient care I would have a decent fluency. As most of them did not know Hebrew before they came, that was good to hear. Especially since I recently discovered that I have been cleaning the toilets with oven cleaner for the better part of 6 weeks. Hmmmm.