My first real sense that I was really going to do this thing – leave Israel without my husband and children and go on this business trip was saying goodbye at the airport. It has, for the last decade or more, me saying goodbye to them and driving back home, sad that he or she has left, but less sad than before because there was always the knowledge that I was where I wanted to be and they, whoever they were, would come back, come home.
This is the way it has been each time with my children – so far Amira and Elie and Shmulik only; this is the way it was the few times my husband has flown. This is how it has been each time Yaakov and Chaim went to that other home, the one of their parents, until they came back (or will come back soon) to the home they’ve chosen for themselves.
This time, for the first time, it is me leaving. My bags being packed, my clothes and things, and my husband left to drive the car back to the amazing life and home and family we have built in Israel. I had my first doubts then…because there is another love that I left. I take my family with me – in my heart, in too many phone calls already with Aliza and my husband.
To SMS text messages or emails or pictures I am taking to show them…the cars for Shmulik and Davidi; the hotel for Aliza; the stores and signs for Amira…and I’ll find something to take for Elie too.
But what I couldn’t take with me was that other love of my life – Israel. Leaving Israel behind was more painful than I can explain. There was never a question I’d go back to my family, but I found myself promising Israel that I’d be home soon too. How insane is that? Never mind, this is my blog and I can express my insanity here, so there it is.
So, my first impression of leaving was tremendous pride – reinforced later when I landed in Rome Airport.
In Israel – Terminal 3 Departure Hall – where all outgoing passengers go – is amazing. With all of my experience of two airports (London and Rome), I have to say Israel shines. There is free Internet – use it, surf, have fun.
There are free charging stations – for phones (including plugs for the universal USB, the iPhone and more) and empty plugs so I recharge my laptop and work a bit. All the duty free shops – tons. American chocolate…don’t ask, tons of alcohol – too bad I don’t drink…(can’t stand the taste).
I called my oldest daughter and joked that I was moving there permanently. What more could you need – wide open spaces, bathrooms close by (ones that are cleaned for you, no less), free Internet, a wide variety of food stores – including one called Chocolate and More.
What more could you need?
I was a bit disappointed that the Alitalia plane arrived late and so we got a late start.- but in the scheme of things, it wasn’t that big a deal. I think I just expected everything to run so perfectly – but not a big deal.
Within a short time, I was off…as I sat waiting on the plane to take off, a wave of…something, came over me. Melancholy? I’ve always loved that word. Hesitation? I’m not sure.
I took out my camera and felt the need to take pictures…this is Israel – and I promise you, Israel, I’ll be home very soon.
Leaving Israel…from the runway, from the air…that last glimpse backwards…that’s my next post…
Visit A Soldier’s Mother.Paula Stern