READY, SET, GO — AGAIN!

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Maybe you remember. (It was in “New Travel Companion,” four posts back.) The cardiologist gave me the green light on travel, as long as an oximeter went with me. So the oximeter and I went to Florida on a short trial run visit to a pair of grandchildren and their parents, one of whom is my younger son. I used wheelchairs to ease the airport  ordeal.  Once you swallow your pride about being pushed by another person, it sure beats waiting in lines for inspection and pulling a wheelie for miles and miles and miles. (Why does my gate always have to be the one that’s farthest away?)

But once I was home again, I wanted more.  Something more adventurous. More distant. More memorable.  I may be eighty-seven, but I’m still greedy. I mean, make hay while the sun shines and the oximeter numbers are good, no?  And then, while I was debating with myself — France? Russia? England? River cruise? — and getting nowhere near a decision, a woman I know only slightly walked out of the Windrows dining room after dinner last spring and declared, to me and anyone else who might be listening:  “I’m finally going to Israel!”  She’s eighty-one (a mere youngster), but her late husband refused to fly anywhere. Now she’s free to wing it, while she can.

I expressed interest in the details. It was a late October eleven-day trip with Road Scholar, the organization that sponsored my jaunt to Dublin last year. The price included airfare, and was very reasonable. “And they have one single room left,” she added.

It was as if a scroll unrolled from the heavens bearing the commandment: “That single room is for you!”  Bill had a niece I liked who lives in Israel.  I had an old college friend who now lives in Israel. A WordPress virtual “friend” and blog follower lives in Israel. I could try to see them all. And if I fell into a-fib again from excitement, the cardiologist had given Israeli hospitals his imprimatur; he said they were very good. One more plus: apparently another woman from Windrows was going too. That would make three of us to do things together in the “free time” part of the program.

I hurried upstairs to nail that last single room before anyone else grabbed it. I bought trip cancellation insurance. I also threw caution to the winds because this trip is three times more physically challenging than the Dublin one. The Road Scholar catalog labeled Dublin “Take it Easy.” Israel is labeled “Keep the Pace.”  We will have to deal with cobblestones, and hills, and “unavoidable” stairs. So I hired a trainer a month ago; my last session with her before departure was devoted to learning to walk with a (fold-up) cane.

It certainly takes the mind off old age and death.  So I’ll do what I can do, and skip the rest.  I spent two weeks in Israel twenty-five years ago and “saw” pretty much everything tourists are supposed to see; it won’t be a tragedy if this time I decide to skip clomping around the Masada ruins  or putting on a bathing suit to float in the Dead Sea. What I really want is to see how other people live in other places, and feel for a while what it might be like to live there.  I always did wish we could live parallel lives in multiple countries and not have to choose.

My bag and backpack are packed, and I’m off to JFK on Sunday.  “On Being Old” is therefore closing down for a bit more than two weeks. I’ll try to take some i-Phone pictures. It’s quite an old phone but it’s got a new battery.  Sort of like me.

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21 thoughts on “READY, SET, GO — AGAIN!

  1. Yes, Nina. A good idea to travel and watch the people how they live. We too avoided monuments or tourist attractions. Went to Paris and never looked at the Eifel tower nor the Iguazu waterfalls in South America.

    In Argentina people don’t go out till late in the evening. You see entire families in restaurants at a time when here in Australia the alarm clocks get wound up and lights switched off. I wonder what time the Israelis go to bed? Here in our commune people are in bed at nine PM. Depressing!

    Have an interesting time, Nina. Let us know how you went.
    Gerard.

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    • Thank you, Gerard. I suspect I’ll be in bed fairly early, irrespective of what the Israelis do. Jetlag and early starts to the program activities. And the eighty-seven years. Can’t entirely forget them, can we?

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  2. Marjorie Ellenbogen

    Boker tov. (good day) Been only 4 times and if I take another long flight, it’ll be for #5.
    Have a cat sitter? Look forward to your report… And did you get an absentee ballot?

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    • Three ladies are sharing the cat care. (I take care of their cats when they’re away.) New Jersey permits early voting by mail, so I did that, although I’ll be back a couple of days before Election Day. Thanks for the good wishes, too.

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  3. Kate Schubart

    I’d be tempted to go in the BDS program. Well, I’m kidding a bit. I trust you’ll be in both Israeli Jewish and Israeli Palestinian neighborhoods. And perhaps you’ll meet some scholars and journalists to provide grist fo the Mishkin mind mill.

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    • Palestinian neighborhoods would have to be on free time, Kate. They’re not part of a “Historical Israel” program run by an Israeli tour company. And I’m not sure how safe they would be on our own these days for three elderly women tourists speaking only American English. But scholars and journalists, yes — there are several talks and lectures scheduled.

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  4. fenna hanes

    Dear Nina,So happy to read your upbeat thoughts before you depart for Israel. Have a wonderful time and enjoy seeing your friends and the sites that are within your reach. I will be thinking of you throwing caution to the wind (but you have your oximeter) and enjoying “Being Old.” Fondly, Fenna

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