Back from the Dead Sea getaway
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I am back from the Dead Sea getaway week!!!! It was SOOOO much fun!!!
It all started on Tuesday morning when Jane Jacobs (who works at the Rape Crisis Center with me and Karen...and who kicks butt, in general) picked me and Karen up and we headed down to Ein Boqueq. We had a great car ride down (except for needing to stop and switch seats with Karen cause she was feeling a little green in the back seat) and Jane was a fabulous tour guide out of jerusalem and down the West Coast of Israel. Once we got there, we headed straight for the pool and swam a little, sun bathed, and had a bite to eat. After Anne arrived from Eilat (where she had been earlier) we all got Aromatherapy messages that were about an hour long. MMMMMM....it was sooooo nice!!!! Then we went into the spa area where they have an indoor version of the dead sea (in this huge octagonal pool) and some steam rooms and hot tubs. After partaking of the spa area with all the other old, heavy, russian men and women, we headed back up to the room where Karen napped and Anne, Jane, and I sat on our balcony and took in the view and chatted. After dinner, we said good bye to Jane who headed back to Jerusalem, and after seeing that there wasn't much night life happening, we headed up to the room to be girly. Anne chose the single bed, and Karen and I shared the HUGE bed in the second bedroom. Now, you would think that this would mean that we would both have tons and tons of room. That's what I thought, at least. But it turns out that Karen likes to cuddle up in bed...she defiantely took a good 2/3 of this bigger-than-king-sized bed and although I had enough room...it didn't feel overabundant. She's too funny!!!
After sleeping in (a huge luxury for Karen who has a 4 and 8 year old and is up EVERY MORNING AT 6 AM!!!) we got up, got breakfast and then the rest of the Sherman family arrived. We all got ready for the pool, but it was really cold out that morning, so Karen and I played with Eliana and Rebekah on the playground and a bit on the kid's waterslide. I would have preferred more time with the kids on the waterslide...but that's just me, a BIG KID at heart!!!
After lunch, Anne and Karen and I got facials. After a quick nap (because it had been such a strenous day!) Karen and I went to go get our bodies wrapped in mud. This was by far one of the most interesting experiences of the whole trip. You basically go into this room that looks sort of like a scary doctor's office and the russian woman with a thick accent tells you to take off all your clothes and lie down. Then she comes in with a hot bucket of steaming mud, and slathers it all over your back, arms, and legs. She wraps a sort of saran wrap around you, and puts horse blanket over the rest of you, shuts off the lights, and says "GOODNIGHT" in that thick slavic accent.
OKAY. Several thoughts were running through my head at this point: 1) Did I just pay NIS 180 to do this (roughly $40)?? 2) This is a woman's job? She wakes up every morning to slap mud on people? 3) Karen told me she felt Dead in her wrap..like that's what it would have felt like to be dead...I just felt like a big tortilla. 4) It almost felt very Nazi-concentration camp experiement to me...I couldn't move, I had hot, steaming dirt on me, and I was waiting for something....anything to happen. Weird.
After a while the woman came back in and said: "Get up, and go to the shower, I will wash your back." So I walked over to the tiny shower in the room, and was hosed down by this woman.
The Mud in the Dead Sea is supposed to have such healthful minerals and oils in it, and it's supposed to be very good for the skin...but Karen and I couldn't help but laugh at the whole process. Very memorable!!!
After dinner, Anne wasn't feeling well so she went up to the room, and the Sherman's and I took a walk on the beach. As we left the hotel, we saw some men burning the chametz (bread products) off of serving trays in order to make the kitchen kosher for passover. In fact, the hotel had been in the process of doing this the whole time that we were there. Half of our meals were normal, half were already kosher l'pesach. But it was weird watching these guys taking blow torches and trying to burn off every single crumb that could have possibly been there. Karen and I , or course then got into a whole conversation about what it means to be Kosher for passover, the extent people do and don't go to, and what it all means. Very rabbinical of us, if I do say so myself!
The next morning, we packed up, checked out of the hotel, and headed to Masada so that the Sherman's could see it (because only Karen had been there before). We all went up the cable car (which was cool, I've always hiked up it) because we had the girls with us and the Sherman's let me be their tour guide at the top of Masada. It was fun, but it was getting hot and the girls were tired, so Anne and I took Eliana and Rebekah back down the cable car while Karen and Harvey hiked down. We got the girls popsicles, and we took them into the shop and had lots of fun with them.
After we headed back to Jerusalem, we all got together for dinner at the Sherman's and ordered in. Then Anne and Harvey and I went shopping in order to get all of our Passover food.
All in all, it was a lovely few days spent with some lovely folks.
Part of me wishes that I had gone to the FSU with my other classmates, but being at the spa was sort of like it's own FSU. The way that people speak hebrew and some english in jerusalem is like that near the Dead Sea, only with Hebrew and Russian. I had so much russian spoken at me, and unlike Hebrew...I had absoultely NO IDEA what they were saying. Also, the food at the resort was very russian...lots of smoked and pickled fish, salads, meats, etc. And all the people that worked there were Russian olim. Most of the guests were older Russian men and women and they were all in the spa, getting their joints back in order, crowding me in the hot tub, and just letting everything hang out in general. So, I got my own little taste of the FSU.
Also, I'm really starting to realize that I have about 5 weeks left here in Israel. I'm glad I didn't go away for this break because it's the only break I've actually spent in Israel, and it will give me the opportunity to get a lot of work done so that I can spend the next few weeks here enjoying the time I have left. Part of me feels such a sadness that this year is over, because it has been one of the most life-changing, growing, fun, and unique years of my life. However...I'm feeling ready for it to be done. I know that this year can never be duplicated, no matter how hard we try, and so I have to just appreciate this year for what it had been. I feel like I've done everything this year that I wanted to do, that I've taken advantage of all of the things that I've wanted to, and that I've grown in ways that I may not be able to see right now, but changes that I know have happened.
Part of me is ready to come home, because I know that I will be back. I know that this year has had a profound impact on me and my relationship with Israel and with Reform Judaism, with my own Judaism, and with my own views about myself. I'm ready to be back in America and see what I can do there. I'm ready to see my Mom and Dad again. I'm starting to miss them...a lot. I'm ready to see my friends again, and to tell them about all of my experiences, share with them the wonderful memories I've made this year. The year is coming to a close, and although I cannot put to words the deep sadness that I feel about leaving, I think that in a really healthy way, I'm ready to leave....I can see the end coming, and it's okay.
For now though...I'm just loving the break and the down time to just be here, living in Israel...just living, learning, and loving it all!!!
Posted by Elizabeth
at 3:11 PM