Yesterday morning was different than our previous ones here in Israel, as all at the Israeli Paikins were still home when we woke up. Usually Yana and Misha are already at work, Nika’s at school, and Dalia is at her army-assigned post. With the approaching weekend and holiday (Purim), the family set aside their days to do some site seeing with us.
We awoke to the smell of fresh pancakes that Dalia had been preparing for breakfast – a great way to start the morning and I couldn’t exactly recall the last time that I had actually had pancakes. While Misha and Sasha ran some morning errands, we drove with Yana and the girls to see the daycare that Yana runs. Located in a large house, the daycare has about 18 kids currently, and provides parents a Russian-language alternative to the other Israeli centers. Sitting there and playing with the kids, it reminded me most of Omar’s old house in Irvine, where Omar’s mom Carmen ran a similar daycare and I would come there after school and play with the kids. It takes a very unique person to run these types of businesses, and Carmen was great with the kids she looked after (now that I think about it, I haven’t recalled those memories in a very long time either).
Once we regrouped, the seven of us caravanned to the national park at Caesarea, where the beautiful Mediterranean sea city underwent eight different periods of construction, flourishing, and demise. The ruins at the site include a well preserved amphitheater (4,000 spectators), Hippodrome (30,000 spectators), palaces, and bathhouses dating as far back as 568 BCE. We spent most of the day there, walking through the different outdoor exhibits and having lunch along the beautiful Mediterranean.
With each historical site that we visit, I can’t help but look in wonder at the fusion of antiquity with present-day life. The breakwater that extends into the Mediterranean at Caesarea for example, includes Herod’s palace, a Roman customs building, and a sushi place. Only adding to the wonder is the fact that the entire site is a half hour drive from Misha’s house, and includes Roman aqueducts and ruins at every turn along the way. I struggled to make each step carefully, so as to not harm any historical artifacts, but I can’t imagine how difficult that is to do so while being surrounded on all sides by all of it. What a great problem to have!
Exhausted from being out in the sun all day, we returned to Misha’s house for an amazing nap. At night we celebrated Yana’s sister-in-law Rimma’s birthday with a barbecue dinner and games with the family, including almost an hour of riddles with which everyone tried to stump each other. In that spirit, and to wrap up this post the way we wrapped up our day, here’s one of them:
A prisoner is put in a completely dark room with no light, given two white pills and two black pills, and told that he must take exactly one white pill and one black pill to live, and that eating two pills of the same color will kill him – how can he live?