Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The visiting trilogy - Part 1 - The Tropen-Choshen visit

First of all I would like to apologize to our loyal reader E from Tzefat for having to wait so long for this one. Sorry.
The last couple of months flew by faster than any other part of our trip. Paraphrasing an old saying, I realize this trip is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes… And yes, with mixed emotions we are getting closer to the end of this trip, and to a new mysterious beginning. But this deserves a post of its own.
One thing that did happen when people finally realized it’s almost the end of our trip was that they finally decided to accept out long standing invitation, and actually come and visit! This is how we found our self with 3 back to back visits, each one special, amazing and exciting in its own way.
It all started with my parents, AKA Savta Lily and Saba Ilan, who thought of our schedule, looked at the calendar, connected the dots and announced they will come visit us in the beginning of April, which meant spending Passover together. Awesome! After checking our options we have decided the best place to meet them would be in Georgetown, Bahamas. That was supposed to give us enough time to cross the Mona Passage, explore a little bit of the Turks and Caicos and still make it to Georgetown in time. A couple of weeks after they’ve made their reservation, my sister Tamar (AKA Doda Tamar) started thinking of joining them. An amazing idea, except for the challenge the timing brought. Her husband had to work and could not join her. I assured her, that except for the flights we will do everything we can to make it easy for her, and then I had an idea… If I could tell my uncle in NYC, (Dod Yair) my only uncle, that Tamar is coming, maybe I can talk him and his wife to join us too, then, use him as the final push to get Tamar to come… It worked!!! Now all we had to do was find a place (on shore… of course) which will be able to comfortably accommodate this big tribe. Leave it to Oren and some good wifi connection, and the perfect house was found.
Tamar was the first one to arrive 3 days before the others. Her kids are 8.5 6 and 3 (Rony had her birthday during their visit) so they are the same age as ours.
The kids haven’t seen each other in almost 2 years, but seconds after I got them home from the airport it seemed like they were never apart. Throughout the 2 weeks it was amazing and heartwarming to see how close these cousins are.
First day was a bit cloudy and windy, but the following days were perfect to explore the boat, the dingy, and the near by Stocking Island.

 Itai, The oldest, was eager to check out the dingy and was so excited when Oren tought him how to drive!
Together we have discovered the sting ray feeding area on stocking islandOn the island, there is a small conch shack where they make (an excellent) fresh conch salad (John, you would have loved that!). turns out the keep all the leftover conch in a bucket anyone can come and take from and feed sting rays. sting rays have been on to this for quite some time now, and the spot has quite a few big and small rays just hovering around, waiting to be fed or just petted. For Omri that was no doubt the highlight of the visit! He would go back and forth again and again, feed them and pet them and look at them and seemed to never get bored. Even Roni was brave enough to swim with them and even pet them!

3 days after Tamar arrived, my parents and uncle made it to the island. For one thing, I think it was the first time ever my dad and his brother ever went on vacation together, which is by itself exciting enough. On top of that this big family reunion was amazing. My kids were so thrilled to see Savta and Saba and their cousins shared their grand parents and great uncle and aunt with no problems.
(It was amazing to see how Arbel addressed Yair in Hebrew, and then without hesitation addressed Laurel-Lee in English).
 Now that everyone was there we could start  preparing for the next big thing on the agenda – The Seder – The Passover dinner!
I was apparently out of the loop, but my dad talked his brother into bringing from NYC all the “kosher” Passover must haves, including Mattzah, gefillte fish and horse radish, and of course enough Hagadot to go around (The Hagada is the book we read during the Seder that tells the story of the exodus – how the people of Israel got out of Egypt and made it back to the holy land…)
Before we started cooking we had to go to the beach J

Happy times!
Everyone joined hand in preparing the dinner, and when Tamar mentioned she wished we had matzah balls to add to the soup I have decided it was do-able. All we needed was some Matazh meal which we didn't have, but we did have Matazh... so we put Yair and the kids on it, and a few minutes later we had ourselves enough matzah crumbs to make legit Matzha balls!

Oren was in charge of desert and with help from the kids made his famous Sorbet De Coco

Dinner was great, and fun! when we finally ran out of Matzah a few days later I helped the kids make their own no-rise matza! was fun! Even Guy got to taste some (over skype...)

The next days of the visit flew by quickly with fun filled days. We celebrated Roni's 3rd birthday, went to the beach, had Tamar and her kids sleep over on the boat and our kids sleep over at the house (Oren and I even had the boat all to ourselves one night :) And one day Tamar, Oren and I got to go scuba diving together! sweet!
Oren and my dad went fishing together, and even Savta Lily made it on board Del Max!

I was really hoping they would be able to come and have at least a taste of what our lives are like, and I am so regretful they all made it! With Yair and Laurel Lee joining the reunion, it was way above my dreams!
Thank you for coming! I know it's been a LONG way!
Before they left we celebrated 2 early birthdays together - My mom's who turned 77, and Mika, my amazing princess, who celebrated 9! Tamar made them a great birthday cake, and I think they were both very happy!
Happy birthday Mami, Happy birthday Mike!

Yair and Laurel-Lee left a few days earlier and got their own farewell party with home cooked Lobster tails.
a few weeks after returning to New York Yair suffered a stroke. He is doing well now and back to normal, but at those critical hours when we were so worried about him I cherished the precious time we had together. Be well Yair!!

Saying goodbye was hard. but knowing we will be seeing each other soon made it easier.

Le Shana HaBaa Be Yerushalaim (next year in Jerusalem)


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