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We wanted to jot a quick post to let everyone know we made it to the states safely. We left for the Tel Aviv airport at 12:45 am on Thursday (Israel time) and arrived at our “summer home” in Orange City at 9 am on Friday (Israel time). We would love to say the trip home was uneventful, but we ran into a couple snags. At first Joanna wasn’t ticketed correctly in the system so we spent some time in Tel Aviv straightening out her ticket. In Frankfort we had a 1/2 hour flight delay due to mechanical problems. When we arrived in Chicago there was a delay in getting our bags off the plane, related to that mechanical problem, which made us miss our connecting flight to Omaha. Thankfully they were able to get us on the next flight. After 32 hours of travel, we are very thankful to be done with that part of our transition. Now we need to work on the jetlag.

Sunday we went with the JUC group on the student activity day. They do one each semester. Last semester we went hiking in the Golan Heights. This time we went on a short hike in the Shephelah and then to the beach in Ashkelon.

The Shephelah is agricultural land here so it was really green. We got rained on a bit and it was cool, but the hike was beautiful and not too difficult for the pregnant lady. 🙂

At noon we barbecued and then headed to the beach. Joanna’s been near the beach a couple of times here but never in the water. This time she got to go in the water. She was very hesitant at first and took a little while to warm up to the idea of water rushing at her feet. Eventually, she figured out that the water came to her and she got excited each time a wave came close.

This was our last big outing as a family in Israel, and it was so much fun!

Sometimes I think Israeli drivers attempt the most difficult maneuvers when driving. Maybe they don’t feel like driving around another hill. Maybe the roads are too confusing and they get lost a lot. Whatever the situation, I’ve seen countless u-turns attempted in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances. Take this one for example.

On a seemingly quiet afternoon, I was annoyed by the on and off beeping noise of a large vehicle going in reverse. Lots of vehicles here have those annoying beepers so I assumed it was another car pulling out of their parking spot in front of our apartment. Then it kept going, and going, and going. Soon there were horns honking. I decided to go check it out. This is what I saw…

The bus was indeed traveling right on this road. He must have forgotten something at home because he decided to u-turn on a busy 2 lane road. Luckily he was able to utilize the available parking spaces to just squeeze through. There must have been an easier way.

This afternoon I went on the back porch to hang up the laundry as usual. Then I heard this little jingling sound and looked up to see this…

If you can’t tell, there are 2 goats grazing on the hill just behind our house. Crazy thing is that the only thing up the hill is more houses. We’re not quite sure how the goats got there, considering it’s the equivalent of someone’s backyard. That’s Jerusalem for you.

Last night we met up with Jeff Barker at Damascus gate. Jeff works in the theatre department at NWC and was my boss for a couple of the years I worked there. He’s in Israel for a week on a tour and was staying in Jerusalem. We’re so excited that he’s gotten the opportunity to come. Although Jeff got a picture of us, we failed to take a picture with him. So unfortunately his mug won’t be making our blog. Enjoy the rest of your visit Jeff and thanks again for dinner!

After a little delay in Amsterdam due to snow, Brooke is here. Brandon met her at the airport at 4 am and they were back here by 5. We “slept in” as long as Joanna would let us (7am) and have a relaxing day planned. Translation: it’s 9:45 and I’m still in my pjs. 🙂

Tomorrow morning Brandon leaves for an 8 day trip to Egypt. He won’t have any way to communicate with us unless a hotel has internet access, which we were told would be VERY hard to come by. Could you please pray for us this next week? Specifically…
– Safe travels for Brandon
– Brandon’s health (many students return sick from Egypt)
– Joanna to sleep well (she’s been having an unusually tough time with this lately and thus is a bit crabbier than normal too)
– Kelly’s sanity (8 days alone with a 15 month old is not bound to be easy)
Thanks in advance for your prayers.

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