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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Not home yet, but then again, maybe I am.

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." - T.S. Eliot

So, I am writing you from a 42nd floor room in the Doubletree Suites Hotel in Times Square, New York City.  For those of you who have followed the two week journey/pilgrimage/torture?/adventure, from SF to Tel Aviv to Sea of Galilee, to Bethlehem, to Jerusalem and back again, you know that I am not yet where I am supposed to be.  We were supposed to have been on a flight from JFK to SFO and arrive home last evening at 9:10 p.m.  Ah, but we make plans and God laughs, as the quote goes.  At this point I would say that on this trip God's Facebook post re: our plans would be more along the lines of LMFAO!

When our day began in Bethlehem at 4:30 a.m., I believe we had more anxiety about the hassles we might receive in passport security and customs.  We sailed through and had plenty of time to eat breakfast and prepare to board our 9:40 a.m. flight from Tel Aviv to JFK.  While it was not a pleasant flight (terrible service, many screaming and crying newborns, infants, toddlers and children, loud and obnoxious adult travelers), everything was on time and seemed to be going according to plan.  We also had checked weather in NY and the forecast was for temps in 40s and some rain/wind, but it did not look insurmountable.

We arrived on time to JFK, about 3 p.m.  As we were approaching, the pilot came on and said that it was just starting to snow!  By the time we got our bags, went through quick customs checkout (not quick at all!) the snow was coming down HARD.  Our friend Jeannie has flight status checker and our flight was still scheduled to be on time.  However, once we had gotten through secuirty, she checked her iphone again and the status had a huge, flashing, red bar across the top that said CANCELLED.  Once we got to the flight status board, we discovered that nearly every flight out of JFK was CANCELLED.  So, we treked up to the ticket counter and re-booked for a flight today.  We also discovered that every hotel near the airport was already sold out and we had to go to either Brooklyn (a one star seedy hotel) or Times Square.  We opted for Times Square, being 3 jet-lagged, women traveling alone in a weary and less than patient state.

In many ways, it felt as if we were so close to home, and yet so far away.  However, as we took a cab ride that was supposed to be about 25 mintues in normal traffic that took us over 90 minutes, and we approached the lights, the skyscrapers and the onslaught of media and marketing, I felt my energy shift to excitement and a strange sense of peace, calm and sense of being at home.  Call me crazy, but nothing lights up my heart like urban-ness.  Its as if the blood in my veins begins to course more rapidly and with more life.  I loved every minute of my time in Israel, Palestine and all the holy places we saw and the people we met, but being back in the US and being in NYC, the city that never sleeps, I finally felt that I was back home.  Now, if we can just make the rest of that part of the journey complete, I can squeeze my dear sweet husband, crawl into my warm bed, and arrive back at the place I began, I will know that I have truly arrived at home.

So, for a few more hours, I am not where I am supposed to be, but then on the other hand, perhaps I am exactly where I need to be.

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