Rachel Rona Barcelona

A while back, my daughter Rachel suggested that she and I might go away for a mother/daughter vacation. Not only do I love traveling, but I love traveling with people who are fun and interesting and she fills the bill. Rachel did all of the leg work including finding us a good travel deal. For those of you who do not live in Israel, one of the unexpected perks of living in Israel is that there are fantastic travel packages available to Israelis- which is one reason why on a typical day in any European city of interest, you will see more Israeli tourists on the streets than American tourists. Rachel chose a trip to Barcelona.

And what a adventure! Her husband also had quite an adventure. He held down the fort while she was away– meaning he had to contend with the rearing of six children on his own. He’s a very generous (and brave) man.

Our first challenge was the lava cloud that closed the Barcelona Airport the night before we were to take off. Fortunately, the airport opened and we were able to take off close to on time. We flew Sun D’Or which is an El Al subsidiary and both flights were pleasant with the crew doing as much as they could to make us comfortable. Upon arrival in Barcelona, we opted to not take the transfer to the hotel that came with our package because we thought it would delay us. Instead, we bought a multi-ride pass and took the train to town.

Airport train to Barcelona

Airport train to Barcelona

As you can see, the train was clean and modern. Each stop appeared on a screen that estimated arrival time and showed us what the next few stops would be.

But the incredible surprise came when we emerged from the subway about 2 blocks from our hotel. As we came up the stairs and turned right, this is what we saw

Our Barcelona welcome

Our Barcelona welcome

A little closer

A little closer

Even more detail

Even more detail

The top!

The top!

What a beginning to a most fantastic trip!

The architecture in Barcelona is not to be believed. Everywhere we looked there was beauty.

And I haven’t even mentioned the shopping! Rachel is a shopping superstar. And we did, literally, shop ’til I dropped.

But we didn’t miss seeing a great deal of Barcelona- from the tourist areas, to the parks, to lots of places that I will post about next time.

Best of all, I had a great time being with my daughter. She is terrific!!!

Hello People!*

There actually has been a lot going on…

I had had a little minor surgery for a bump on my nose a few weeks ago. I had shown it to my dermatologist and he had filled out a referral to the plastic surgery clinic at the hospital. When the lab results came back, they suggested I return because the biopsy contained only fragments and there could be more of the nasty cells around. Before the surgery I had read of a surgical technique called “Moh’s Surgery” that involved removing some cells, staining and freezing them, looking under a microscope, and then determining if there was anything more to be removed and then continuing the surgery at the suspicious area until they were sure everything looked clean. I had asked the surgeon and he didn’t actually know what I was talking about.

So, when I arrived to have the procedure done a second time, I had two concerns 1. that they wouldn’t get everything this time either and 2. that they would cut me more than necessary. The surgeon looked at me and said that he didn’t think he could do the surgery. He called his associate. They both agreed that because they couldn’t see anything at all that needed to be removed, they could not do the operation. They said I needed a technique called “Moh’s.”

They sent me to the dermatology clinic and they in turn gave me the name of one of the three doctors in all of Israel who is trained in the procedure. I thought I was pretty relaxed prior to my appointment with him, but at one point, on the way to his office, we sat down on a park bench and I could feel my heart beating rapidly. I took my pulse and it was at 120. I was nervous.

We waited well beyond our appointment time, but the doctor who greeted us seemed competent and was easy to talk to. He told us that the dermatologist should not have referred me to a plastic surgeon in the first place. He also told me that the first surgeon should not have operated. We made an appointment and late in June, I will have the Moh’s surgery done. Having set up the appointment for the surgery, I became much more relaxed.

Other things this week…

On Sunday we bid farewell to our shabbat guests. All three of our sons and their families (combined, that yields 19 children) came to Modi’in to take part in the bat and bar mitzvah celebration of our older daughter’s children, the oldest of our boy/girl twin grandchildren. It was a fabulous shabbat. Our daughter and her husband set up their garden to accommodate feeding the assembled masses of people and that included putting in lighting for Shabbat evening and making sure there was adequate shade for shabbat during the day. Aside from three older boys who stayed with friends of ours, we had everyone in our family who was visiting staying at our house and amazingly enough, we were able to give everyone a soft place to sleep.

The garden looked lovely, the food was good, the singing was beautiful, and having a shabbat with the whole family in a place where the noise did not reverberate was amazing. After all, when you have more than 25 children, most of them 12 and under, there is some noise.

We were very proud of both Matan and Lilach for their accomplishments and for being terrific young people. Lilach did research on how women feel about lighting shabbat candles and together with her mother, wrote a book that also contains pictures of candles and pictures of her family. It is fabulous! Matan read his haftarah beautifully. Kol HaKavod to both of them.

Sunday morning we took our car in for its annual test. Talk about nerves! The day we were at the doctor, we had the car serviced at the Toyota dealer in preparation for the test. On Sunday we took our registration (fee paid at the post office) and our compulsory insurance card (fee paid at the post office) and went off to Lod to have the car inspected. At the end of the inspection process the woman who I paid for the inspection said that there was a problem and if I wanted to know what it was I could ask the inspector. I went to ask the inspector. He said, “do you want to become a car mechanic?” I said that I only wanted to know what was wrong with the car. He said, “I can give you the name of a school that teaches you to be a car mechanic.” When I returned to my husband who was having a new back license plate made for the car (the reflective qualities had diminished over the last 11 years) the man waiting on him asked me why I was upset. I repeated what the inspector had told me. He said, “Come with me to my boss.” I didn’t go. There were two reasons. 1. I am really bad at remembering faces and can’t be sure which of the men it was who said it and 2. I didn’t think it was wise to lodge a complaint against someone who could make sure we failed the inspection again when we returned from getting the car repaired.

We decided to take the car to a nearby garage. The man there looked at the car and told us that we actually didn’t have a problem. A little oil in one place made it look as if we had a leak, but we didn’t. That cost us 100 sheqels. Then we went back to the inspection station.

We waited in the shorter line and then they began to do the inspection. The man who made us the license plate came over and told them that we were fine and so they let us go through. We paid an additional 66 sheqels for a retest, but in the end, it was done. We have a year until the next test. It will take that long for me to feel relaxed again.

And this week… I am working on the information packet on the June tour (information about the locations we will be visiting) and of course preparing for a fabulous trip to BARCELONA with my older daughter!

*to understand the reference, you will have to see an amazing act of unparalleled talent performed my members of my family.