Friday, June 3, 2011

Assutah III/Tel Aviv

I woke up in the Assutah Hospital Sleep Clinic at my regular time, ie around five am, and Raphaela woke up within twenty minutes after I did.  Her mood was not stellar, nor did I expect it to be, and even the bribe of Bamba did very little to improve her disposition. 

I briefly washed my face and brushed my teeth, and after six am I called my Uncle to pick us up and bring us back to their apartment;  after my own appendectomy last month, and this round of tests for Raphaela, I have come to value family even more.  While we were waiting, Raphaela helped feed the fish in the Japanese pond outside the hospital, amazing how they swarmed around a few pieces of bread.

I did not feel awake enough or emotionally ready to immediately return to Jerusalem, and so after a brief breakfast, I took Raphaela to the private nearby beach.  At 7:30 in the morning, the beach is empty except for a group of serious surfer dudes, the sand is clean and soft, and the sun feels just right.  Raphaela immediately settled in  and started digging and building sand castles. With very little convincing, she agreed to stand near the water's edge, and her bravey increased exponentially.  By the time we left we were both soaked, and in fact it was my daughter who pushed me to go deeper into the ocean.

That's three "firsts" for Raphaela:  first time in Tel Aviv, first time (and hopefully the last) spending overnight in a medical facility, and first time at the beach rather than a chlorinated pool.

We spent all morning at the beach, and when I knew it was time to leave I started tearing up, I could not imagine leaving such a tranquil and happy place to return to my "real life" of preparing for Shabbat, checking emails and making office calls.  The ocean has always made me feel whole, and I think that if I lived near the sea, I would never get any work done.

The drive back to Jerusalem was so much smoother and quicker than the ride the previous day, the highways remained clear except for one minor accident. Raphaela slept all the way home. Of course, between our clothing and our shoes and our beach bag, Raphaela and I brought home practically enough sand to set up a small beach on our living room floor.

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