In the living room of Dina’s Uncle Misha, we currently sit, I typing away while Dina and her cousins watch the apparent Israeli version of Beauty and the Geek. Sasha and Misha are in the room too, but regularly switch between looking at the television and looking at the girls in disbelief. For a minute, the world is much smaller than previously thought, the people basically the same, and the most valuable American export is a terrible reality show that shouldn’t have lasted in America, never mind abroad. Misha’s great commentary, along with Sasha’s quick turn to the iPhone in his pocket, pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter.
Most of this morning is a bit of a blur, as we woke up early to catch our airport shuttle and headed out to Charles de Gaulle airport while the rising sun backlit the clouds with a burgundy shade of early daylight. Our flight was uneventful, with Dina studying part of the time, sleeping a bit, and getting caught up in some French movie, while I did some strange combination of reading, sleeping, and blowing my nose. Apparently I left Paris with a little more than memories. Just the sniffles though – not to worry.
Upon our arrival into Tel Aviv, Dina and I split up at passport check, her to the Israeli citizen line and me to the one for foreigners. With all of my trip information ready and memorized, ready for the famous Israili security grilling that my sister went through, I approached the passport window only to have it be glanced at and stamped almost immediately. A risk to the State of Israel I am not.
We met Sasha at baggage claim, and after a three hour traffic-infused car ride, we arrived at Misha’s house and met the family. The Israeli Paikins were pretty much how I imagined them to be, kind and welcoming people who made me feel comfortable sitting with them at the dining room table. After dinner Misha, Sasha, and I discussed the current state of affairs in the world, which let me get to know Misha a bit better (I found myself nodding quite often) and to learn more about political attitudes here in Israel.
Tomorrow we are meeting up with Dina’s childhood friend Polina and her fiancé, and venturing out in this beautiful country that stands for the freedom of all Jewish people everywhere. I can’t wait.