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Thursday, June 5, 2014

As I walk out the door. . .

Heading back to the U.S. for a work marathon and visiting family.  I jumped through the observation period "hoop" at the hospital and at some point I will have to blog about the experience but for now I will simply have to sum up our year in Modiin as amazing.  Our courtyard of dreams, the flowers and vibrant colors everywhere you go, our new community and friends, Lag Ba'Omer (pyromaniac's delight), the Shavuot experience here (chill and meaningful), the countless playdates and sleepovers, frankly just the straight out greatness that the city has to offer, we definitely feel that we have landed in a good spot in our new home.  (Wait, I forgot to mention the awesome Judo competition today.)  I will try to keep in touch this summer.  Shalom chaverim.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Let it go

I'm back in Israel.  I can't say the same for all of my belongings.  Apparently in our new brave world peanut butter has become a dangerous item (and I don't mean because it is a choking hazard).  Or it is if you have more than 4.2 ounces of it in your carry-on.  Of course you can get peanut butter in Israel but it is more expensive so I was bringing some back.  I was stopped at security and they informed me that I was carrying a hazardous item and needed to surrender it.  I would have offered to eat the amount necessary to get down to 4.2 ounces but I didn't think that would end well.  (I have since learned that it wouldn't have helped because the container itself was greater than 4.2 ounces)  The security agent said I could check it but as it's currently $100 to check a second bag I felt that rather defeated the purpose.  Faced with this situation, the following dialogue ensued:

Me:  "Can I give it to one of the workers?"
Security Person: "No.  You have to surrender it, Ma'am."
Me: "Can you donate it to a food pantry, or is there some such program to salvage things that can't make it onto the planes?
Security Person: "No. You have to surrender it, Ma'am.  Do you surrender it?"
Me (as I see/hear the line getting bigger behind me): "Okay, I guess I have to."
Security Person (louder, half-withdrawing the baton from her belt):  "Ma'am, do you surrender the peanut butter?"

What could I do?  I surrendered.  Ironically, at the gate (which in the KC airport is steps away from security) they asked if I would gate check my bag to save space but when I asked if I could go retrieve the peanut butter I was informed that once surrendered, it can not be allowed on the flight.  Even though the surrender was less than 120 seconds before.   Yes, I would describe what I felt as frustration.  But what can you do?  You can't show your frustration to the airport staff.  You have to conceal, don't feel.  Just let it go.

I shudder even now to think of the time when flight attendants used to give us bags of peanuts during the actual flight.  To think what might have happened if we had all gotten together and smashed those peanuts up.  OK, actually I don't know what would have happened and even though I spent a good part of the next 15 hours of travel trying to figure it out I'm afraid that if I were entered into some kind of perverse contest on how to threaten an airplane with 5 ounces of peanut butter, I would never be able to claim the prize.  

I returned for the end of Yom Hazikaron and the start of Yom Haatzmaut.  Unfortunately, jet lag prevented us from attending some parties but we did participate in our local park (courtyard families) ceremony.  Again, jet lag prevented me from understanding much of it but when we sang Hatikvah and raised our flag it was such a joyous feeling.  A and her friend came running down the hill, "Hatikvah, this is my favorite."  Yom Haatzmaut is not really a vegetarian's holiday because it is BBQ city.  We joined friends and had a really nice afternoon.  N made brownies to bring along but used the microwave as a timer which blew out the microwave.  We joked that they were the most expensive brownies ever, but fortunately by the time we returned home the microwave was working again. 

A and I went through a massive pile of unmatched socks and were successful in making at least 20 matches but if you are missing any socks they have likely migrated to our house.  If you happen to live overseas, don't ask me how they hopped the flight----security is pretty tight these days.

Full disclosure:  The baton reference was just literary license.  I thought it would be more dramatic than a taser.  Also, "conceal, don't feel," and "let it go," are references to the movie Frozen.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How do you say Lego in Hebrew?

A couple of days ago N and M were on a morning walk when N spotted an extremely colorful butterfly fluttering in a bush.  "Abba," he cried out "look at that amazing butterfly."  And just as Michael looked over a bird swooped in.  "Seriously?!"  N asked.  "Even butterflies have it rough?"

And so it seems, with news of shootings at the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish nursing home in my hometown of Kansas City, and the father of a 3rd grader in N's school shot dead by Palestinian terrorists on his way to Passover Seder.

This particular butterfly made a narrow escape.  "I guess that's why they flutter in different directions--it's a defense mechanism," N suggested.  And so it seems.

With all the fluttering here I've certainly fallen behind on my blogging.  So a 30-second catch up.   Passover.  We cleaned, we ate, we hiked.  Seriously, we had a fantastic time.  The kids get the week before Passover off so there are all sorts of attempts at activity to keep them entertained.  L got to participate in a netball camp (I had never heard of the sport but her Australian buddies were quite familiar), A had chicken pox so stayed home and N went on a Bnai Akiva trip to the Kinneret.  A's entire Kindergarten class had been vaccinated but 1/3 of them came down with chicken pox.  Fortunately, because of the vaccine she had an extremely mild case.

We celebrated our Passover seder with friends of a very creative bend.  There were costumes and characters, good food and interesting insights.  Walking home, N told me that he wouldn't compare it to being with his grandparents or the D family (shout out to Hannah--my kids wanted to go for pizza with you after chag was over!) but that he finally felt like we were home.  A bit of my heart might have actually melted in that moment.  There might be those who move here and miss the second seder or the extra days of Yom Tov (Sabbath-like part of the week long holiday) but I'm not one of them!

This year we visited the city of Beer Sheva  couple of times.  Once for a festival with a large group of Olim and once on our own to visit the new science museum for kids.   Beer Sheva is about an hour away so it of course took our family two hours and a stop to get there (for our gang, more than 15 minute drive = road trip).  The museum was amazing.  Our kids had a blast.  One of the guides told me that I should really take A to the "Lego exhibit" as it was only there for a short time.  When we got to the exhibit it turned out to be a tent (outdoors) with a bunch of Lego inside that kids could play with.  Reminded me a bit too much of my living room so we skipped that one.   We also toured the Ayalon Institute, the site of an underground factory where Jews secretly manufactured bullets that were used to secure Israel's independence. If you are planning a trip to Israel, I would definitely put it on your list.

We even spent one day at the beach, though it is definitely early in the season.  The tides were pretty strong, so we mostly hung out on the closer side of a sand bar.  What we at first thought might be a plastic bag turned out to be jellyfish.  The kids asked a man standing there (in Hebrew) if the jellyfish could still sting, as it no longer appeared to be alive.  He answered in English and told them he was only visiting from Canada.  They spoke a few minutes (in English) and when he asked them where they were from, they replied "Modiin."

Lital came up with an intra-family mail system.  She created a mailbox from an empty kleenex box.  Quite creative.  She then proceeded to explain the 37 steps necessary to send mail.  One of the things I can't figure out is when my kids invent these games with so many rules and regulations, is it a byproduct of having moved to a bureaucratic country or just their nature.  Anyway, after convincing her that just putting the person's name on the letter could also work, we have had such fun.  I recommend every family create a mail system.  We have been pleasantly surprised by many of the letters.

And almost the moment Passover was over, Israeli flags were getting hung all over town for the upcoming Independence Day celebration.  It seems that one celebration just flows right to the next.  Our courtyard of dreams organizes a presentation that blends Memorial day into Independence Day.  One literally ends as the other begins so all 3 kids have dance/play practice this week.  The songs A has been singing from her Kindergarten are so cute.  On a sad note, they also get introduced to Holocaust remembrance at a young age.  I think the schools do a very good job presenting it but it is of course rather emotionally overwhelming, for any age, and all the more so for young children.  L drew a picture in art of Jewish people hiding behind bushes, and under water (with breathing sticks) and scary men with swords trying to find them.  A woman in the center is holding her baby and L explained she has a scared look on her face because she is realizing that she is too late to hide.

Meanwhile I am 2/3 of the way through my observation period at the hospital.  A colleague mentioned that my Hebrew is really improving but I fear that I may never master the language.  It still seems so daunting.  Thank goodness my broken Hebrew is spoken with an American accent so I get some cred.  It's pretty interesting how patient people actually are.  The vision of my late grandfather who died in NY without ever learning English is so different to me now.  But I plod on.  Many times in the ED it is a group effort, with patients who are waiting (everyone is always waiting a very long time) pitching in with translation.  Like a crowd-sourcing live "google translate" button, but one that gives real words instead of the strange translation google often provides.  Today I told a resident that I would go in to see a patient with him because the patient was in somewhat critical condition,  and I feared losing time to my efforts to understand and be understood in Hebrew.  The irony of it was that when we entered, the patient told us that he "only speaks Russian."

Tonight I head out to visit my dad.  His chemo has apparently stopped being effective and I want another visit.  Distance from family is a hard part of aliyah.  N told me that he didn't think I should take this trip because since I am already planning to go back for work this summer and will see my parents at that time, he felt that this trip was making the statement that I didn't think my dad would be there in the summer.   We video chat a bunch, but the last time the kids saw my dad was last August.  Let's all pray that they will see him again this summer. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

School's out for Adar

And the 2 words every parent can't wait to hear:  "Great news mom, no learning for 2 weeks!"  That is how the lead-in to Purim started and while I don't think it has been entirely true, things have definitely lightened up.  Considering that after Purim we will be in the "pre-Chag" period leading up to Passover,  I am not too sure when learning will resume.  The last couple of weeks have been marathons of crazy dress days, projects, parties, fun and fairs.  Ariella asked why Mordechai is called a Yehudi (Jew) but Esther is not.  An interesting question and I think one that comes from understanding the text in it's original language.  She also wrote a song called "Haman is the loser."  Don't ask for the lyrics because the title does double duty as chorus and refrain (with the occasional "we hope he does tshuva "<repentance> thrown in).  Also, she wanted to know if Esther spoke both Hebrew and English.

Nehemiah's school fair started out sunny and beautiful and within 20 seconds turned dark, windy and started raining.  My question for the evening was were we being punished or rewarded?  Right now we're in a drought so we are all praying for rain but balance that against one of my father's mottos: No good deed goes unpunished, and well, you'll have to answer that one for yourself.  The bouncy rides were taken down but the pedal cars continued and suffice it to say that for a 10-year old boy, racing pedal cars in the rain is a major reward.  

Today I was able to see hundreds of kids in costume as schools did their own Purim parties.   Adar is a good month to keep snacks, treats, and small change on hand because for the weeks leading up to Purim it gets celebrated everywhere the kids go and even if it's gymnastics class they find themselves exchanging goody bags and/or raising money for charity.  My kids threw their things together from the Purim costume garage sale/fair we went to but some of these kids got seriously creative.  Ariella ended up wearing a flamenco dancer dress she got from Savta Joanie a few years ago and went as a flamenco rock star (some of it's attitude).  I saw quite a few flamenco dancers but none that had a rainbow wig and butterfly wings.  Costumes are her thing.

Tonight we're going to Shabbat dinner with friends and than it's party, party, party.  I'm hoping to make  a quick run to my hospital on Purim day and take the kids to visit sick kids along with other members of our congregation before we go for our festive Purim meal.  Nehemiah likes to say "Haman might have been a bad guy but if it weren't for him we wouldn't be having so much fun!"    If we have time I can also give them a quick our of the ED, so that they can see how I am spending my days now that I have "graduated from ulpan."

Wishing you all (for whom it is relevant) a Happy Purim!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Put on those Vulcan ears

So the Purim candy hop that Lital went on was so fantastic, that I want to share.  I had originally thought it seemed like a trick-or-treat type scenario but it was so different.  Apparently, the kids go out on both nights of Rosh Chodesh (beginning of the new month) in full Purim costume singing and dancing.  They collect a sandwich bag full of treats.  On night two they came to our house and they really are spreading the joy of Adar.  About 25 kids in costume came dancing in, sang the popular (Mishe nichnas Adar) Adar song, got a couple of mentos each and went on their way.  In the same way that even though I don't get a "summer vacation" anymore but when the end of school rolls around I just feel a little lighter and as if there is something more to look forward to, I imagine that kids growing up in Israel must feel the joy of Adar well into their adult life.  Last year, I got the sense that Purim is almost a month-long celebration but now I can really say that.  These kids have dress up days/parties/activities etc. for weeks leading up to Purim.  With each one at a different school I can barely keep track of the goings on but now that they understand Hebrew they are keeping track.  Homework, surprisingly, still can fall through the cracks, but the "I need to bring chips for the party" message makes it's way home each and every time.   Plus,  Ariella's interpretation of the Purim story is keeping us laughing.

I started at the hospital this week.  That in and of itself is a whole megillah (got to stay on theme) which I will write about at a later time but suffice it to say for now that if you are feeling sort of doldrum, ho-hum about your life...move to a new country and try doing your job there.  It is an eye opening experience.  I am trying not to compare because it is like comparing the proverbial apple and orange.  Instead, I am just trying to observe and experience.  One thing I learned this week, which means that Israel's more limited resources must be allocated quite efficiently:  Life expectancy in Israel is one of the highest in the World.  #14 (US is 35).

Which gives us the first half, at least, of the classic Vulcan greeting.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dressing up

Good news.  I don't have tuberculosis, hepatitis, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, varicella, rabies, influenza, polio, or mad cow disease (OK I threw that last one in to make sure you were still reading.)  This means that I can start at the hospital Sunday.   Whooohooo.  Someone commented that it might be easier for me to get a job at the CIA.   Last week I completed the Human Resources scavenger hunt--it was so much fun!  The hospital campus is sprawling with building after building, clinics, labs, office buildings.  All surrounded by palm trees and greenery.  Walking pathways, people getting around on golf carts, so many languages and ethnicities.   It reminded me of Disney world but without the piped in music and people in costume.    I'm a bit directionally challenged at the best of times, but throw a massive campus and a foreign language in, and well you can imagine my difficulties.  I went from office to office in search of signatures.  In the first office I opened with "I don't know why I'm here maybe you can help me and showed them my forms."  It was there that it became clear that I was seeking signatures from heads of various departments.  People sometimes ask how I keep from feeling like a moron during this process.  The short answer:  I don't.  How could I?  The most basic tasks are difficult and confusing.  The scavenger hunt was made even more rewarding when the directors would respond with something along the lines of "why do they do this ridiculousness?" (shtuyot).  How am I supposed to answer that question--you're the one who works here!

In one office she called the benefits guy and I overheard her ask him to come meet me, because she thought that I might not ever find him and she could picture me just walking around aimlessly.  The reason I was able to overhear her say that is because she said it out loud in a regular speaking voice on the phone right in front of me.  The benefits guy was interesting.  We didn't have too much to talk about.  Apparently in Israel, retirement saving is compulsory so 5% of my paycheck goes to a pension and the government will match 12.5%.  But since you don't really get paid for the observation period 17% of zero keeps ending up at zero no matter how you spin it.  He did teach me that in Hebrew when you wish someone luck you use the word for success because the word for luck is just an acronym for being in the right place at the right time.

Last night I took the kids to a costume fair for Purim.  It was delightful. (This time, no sarcasm). Imagine a big garage sale of gently used costume pieces.   Costumes here are rather expensive, but these were pieces for 2-20 shekel.  Each kid ended up putting together costumes for about 30 shekels (about $9) and they had such a great time picking out the different combos.  As N commented to me recently, "Costumes for Purim are about getting into the joy and the fun not about putting on a zombie outfit and scaring people."  We went with some friends but also ran into friends from their schools and I saw a friend from camp Ramah who also lives in Modiin (though a different section).  We've already taken to buying hamantashen (triangular cookies for Purim with filling) at the bakery, the kids are singing their songs and Lital's school built a world's fair type thing for Purim.  Her project was Paris and they built an Eiffel tower.  Bon jour.

Tonight after havdalah we broke out into song about the happiness that comes with Adar.  The kids started dancing and it was a really nice moment.  Later some of their friends came by dressed in costume and invited them to come along going door to door for candy and singing "misheh."  I'll say coming from the US that this custom sounds strangely familiar, but I think my poor kids who had to sit out on October 31st all the years we lived in Kansas have finally gotten their chance.  Adar is going to be so much fun. 

Starting today, when I get to dress up-- in scrubs!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Roll with it

I have finally turned Lital's bottle collection in and collected her money for charity.   We went to the first store together.  The whole point of the mission was just to turn the bottles in so I went to our local grocery the "Super Tov."  Tov=good, plus super is what many groceries are called (Supersal, Super Chesed etc), and of course, it's "super good."  It is a really nice store to have in the neighborhood because they carry many American imports.  You may recall the first year when I was contacting Sunshine to see how I could find Cheez-its.  Well, since I am not a major international customer, I can understand their lack of interest in my plight, but how could they not know that several stores here carry Cheez-its and tons of other American food products that you or your kids have grown to love?  (Cheez-its are baked, not fried!)  If you don't mind paying $5 for a box of cake mix, you can get Duncan Hines to your heart's delight.  Honey graham crackers, Mike&Ike, Skittles.  Actually, many of the candy and junk items that we can get here were off limits to us for not being Kosher in the US.   After tasting nacho cheese Doritos, one of the kids commented "and now we understand why Doritos are so successful in America."  My children clearly all have quite refined taste.

But I digress.  We wandered into Super Tov, and let me say in my defense that I didn't mean to be the person in line who starts to cause a big back up, but I just couldn't understand what they were saying to me.  Nor could they understand what I wanted.  The funny thing is, my Hebrew is getting better, and it's not always a translation issue.  They were telling me that they could only accept the bottles that they carry in the store and I was trying to figure out how I would know which brands of water etc. that would be.  Eventually a store manager type came over and selected two bottles from our overflowing bags.  So that trip was worth 60 agurot or about 15 cents, so that was definitely worthwhile.  Especially after Lital bought a pack of gum.

The next day I took the rest of her bottles to Rami Levi, a grocery chain I frequent more often which is about 8 minutes up the road.  This was more a "whose on first, what's on second" encounter.  It's not that I couldn't understand the Hebrew being spoken, it's just that I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do.  The guard kept telling me to put the bottles in the large recycling bins in front of the store and I kept asking how I would get the money.  He would answer that I get it at the customer service desk.  It took me several repeats and walk abouts to understand that this was an honor system.  What?  So I hesitatingly put my bottles into the bin (with the confidence that even with adjusting to Israeli economic realities I could make good for the 2.40 NIS that Lital had coming to her) and then made my way over to the customer service desk where I got my cash.  Note to future Olim--you can only get money for the small bottles.  So Lital ended up with 3 whole shekels to donate to charity and I learned about cash back recycling.

In honor of David L. of Elazar, who told me to "roll with the punches because the punches keep coming," I now offer an update on my attempt to start a career.  Since returning from my work trip in the U.S., I decided to change the hospital site for my observation period.  I was pretty much set to start in Jerusalem but I checked out a different hospital in Rishon Letzion, and to make a long story short, though the first hospital did have a french fry machine in the lobby which I felt was a major plus, it just couldn't compete with the parking garage of the second hospital.  In all seriousness,  the logistics of getting to the Rishon Letzion hospital are much easier.  I was hoping the switch wouldn't cause too much of a delay in getting started.  Even though the observation period only pays a small stipend (if I have to hire a babysitter during any of my shifts we will be making about the same) you do have to have approval from the Ministry of Absorption who pays the stipend before you can begin.  Surprisingly, that transfer was pretty painless.  They called a few times just to be sure that I hadn't started work in Jerusalem and today I got a call that my approval had come through.  My second phone call was from the hospital letting me know that I need one more blood test before beginning.  So I have yet another lab draw appointment this week and David, I'm just going to keep rolling.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Last week we went to a family simcha (celebration) in Jerusalem celebrating our new baby cousin.  I'm a little fuzzy on how exactly we're related but suffice it to say that not that many generations ago there were a brother and sister in a small village in Poland who went out into the world and today their descendants are getting together for joyous occasions in Jerusalem, Israel.  If you will it, it is not a dream.

Anyway, we had recently learned about a great new app that allows you to park in any paid parking spot and just pay through the app.  It's called Pango and I have it on my phone.  Had I remembered that little detail we might have avoided the parking ticket we received for parking in a lot with a broken pay machine.  Yes, Michael is a lawyer by training, and though he did just receive a crash course on Israeli law (more on that in a future post!) I think we'll just pay this one and move on with our lives.  In other words, we are what Israelis might call "friars."

The ticket was well worth it for the experience of getting together with family.  I can't express what it meant to the kids to have cousins here.  We might be distantly related, but the baby was named after his late maternal grandfather, a man that I knew.  He died when I was young but I remember him as a very gentle and kind man.  Incidentally, he was my (step) grandmother's brother, so if you're still following we are related to this family in two ways but it's even too confusing for me so we'll move on.

This week Lital asked for a "mental health day."  Apparently, that is a day in which you skip school and go out for cocoa and sweets with your mom.  I asked her where she got the idee and she replied "from you."  For the love, don't you just hate when your kids actually listen to you??  So,  I am taking my prerogative to rename the day "mom day" and give her a morning off.

My children have pretty much adjusted to the 6-day school week.  A lot of that might be because of the many hours in the day spent on not quite academic endeavors.  If I have to schedule something on a school day (any day except Shabbat), they ask me not to do it on Friday because Friday is a "fun day."  Ironically, many parents do not work on Friday and with kids in school we call it the same thing!

Last Friday,  we went with N on a class trip.  His class finished learning the book of Joshua and we walked from the school to the hills overlooking the valley of Ayalon where a famous battle was fought.  How amazing!  Walking along paths that you read about in the Bible and looking back on thousands of years of history.  Naturally the 10 year old boys were a bit more interested in which snacks each one had brought and digging holes in the ground but somewhere, somehow they history and connection to the land which is basically their current backyard must seep in. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Don't Call Me Shirley

I'm back in Israel after a few weeks working in the US.  Of course it's hard saying goodbye to my family here and crossing an ocean but there is something nice about life being so compartmentalized.  When I'm in KC working, that's all I really have to focus on.  My mom even packs my lunch!  Speaking of crossing oceans, the flight to the US was incredible.  Before we had even completely boarded the plane a flight attendant was injured so I stepped forward to help.  I would classify her injury as "minor" and so really all I did was reassure.  Well, was my reassurance rewarded.  Thank you US air.  I didn't really think much of what I had done (because again it was so minor) but after dinner had been served, they moved me to first class.  Oh yeah baby.  I got to lie down on an airplane.  The captain even came out and gave me a hand written thank you and personally thanked me.  They treated me as if I had performed a life saving procedure.  It was pretty cool.  On the flight back I saw the flight attendant who had been injured and fortunately she was fine.  I got thanked again but no upgrade.  No problem, I was so tired I actually slept in the upright coach position on that flight.  Anyway, it was great being back in the ER for a few weeks.  I am always reminded what a great team I work with and how wonderful my colleagues and co-workers are.   Life at chez Mom and Pop was grand as always.  My parents definitely know how to make life sweet.  I stayed an extra few days to spend time with my dad.  If love could keep someone alive I know he would live forever.  Just seeing how their community and really amazing friends love and support my parents is a tremendous source of comfort. 

Moving to Israel means not seeing family in US as often and I was not looking forward to saying goodbye to my dad, not knowing if we would see each other again.  One thing is when you have a father as great as mine I guess there isn't a final goodbye because the love he gave will last my whole life.  And since he is beating the odds we are all hoping for more time spent together.

The final night packing for my return flight was like watching one of those episodes where clowns keep getting into a small car and you can't figure out where they are going.  I got upgraded to first class for the domestic part of my flight which is great not because you get a bag of pretzels and can reminisce about what it used to be like to fly, but because you can bring two bags and don't have to worry about the 50 pound weight limit!!  My mom packed those bags so full, I don't know how she did it.  Really, you can buy pretty much everything in Israel (except for Life cereal which somehow early on in my parenting days got classified as a non-sugar cereal even though I suspect it is a sugar cereal so naturally my kids beg for it) but things are more expensive here so I guess a perk of the long commute I have for work is getting to bring inexpensive goods from the US.  We didn't come close to the 70lb limit per bag but with things like Life cereal and chex mix you can imagine.

Returning to Israel was great.  I find myself more and more familiar with the flow and I do not take for granted getting to stand in the line for "Israeli Passport" holders when I return.  Michael held the fort down but I definitely have my work cut out for me in terms of organization.  L and one of her friends have been collecting bottles to recycle and give the money to a local organization that helps the poor.  So we have lots of bottles that have yet to be redeemed.  She also apparently brought into science class an onion which had sprouted a long green stalk.  It was somehow relevant to what they are learning.   In the meantime, A has taken to picking out her own clothing (as I was away) and apparently her fashion sense leans towards refugee style.  De gustibus non est disputandum. 

I'm meeting tomorrow with the folks at the ER in Jerusalem where I will be doing my 3 month "observation" period in order to be completely able to work as an ER doc in Israel.  I have been told that it will be a radically different experience from what I am currently used to in the ER.  Don't worry, I will keep you posted and let you know.   Absentem laedit cum ebrio qui litigat.