Jet Lagged kids at a Jerusalem Shopping Mall where we purchased new cellular plans which were far cheaper than the U.S with unlimited international calls to and from the States!
Pizza in Little Italy
Walking down the street near our apartment.
Standing in front of The Church of the Nativity
Josh on the phone talking to his best friend Tony in Alabama, with Caleb asleep on his chest. (Had to get a picture of them too!)
Standing in front of the Stars and Bucks Cafe!
Dear friends and family,
Thank you to all of you who have been following our journey as we have moved to Bethlehem. We arrived 1:15am Friday morning in Tel Aviv. We were tired but so excited to have arrived in our new home. The above picture is of us in the airport as we arrived with our 4 kids, 12 suitcases, 6 carry-ons, 6 backpacks, 1 computer bag, a stroller and 2 car seats. We are so grateful to have reached our new home around 2:45am with the help of 3 teachers picking us up, and then 2 more to help carry all of those suitcases up 3 flights of stairs to our new apartment. It was such a blessing to come into a place with warm beds, a table in the kitchen, some couches, and some food in the refrigerator. After talking to our new teacher friends and getting acquainted, we were pretty hungry, that’s when we were so happy to fill our tummies with some warm turkey and cheese pita bread sandwiches. We finally got to bed by 5am, Israel time. The next 2 1/2 days seemed like a blur. We slept a lot. Dealt with 2 sick kids. Navigated getting to the local stores for food. We even made it to church Saturday night. Afterwards we were able to spend some time in fellowship with more teachers at the home of a friend. The kids were definitely happy to meet some fellow American children their age that night!
Sunday was another jet-lagged day, but one with much success. Our friend took us to a mall in Jerusalem to get our phones set up so that we can call in Israel and also so that people can call and reach us over here (but it is a US number they call with no extra charge). It was fun to get out and see different parts of the city and I couldn’t believe how much Jerusalem and the surrounding areas have grown since I was here last. It was quite a site to see with so many new roads and buildings. The kids were very happy to have an “American” like treat as we visited a Mr. Pretzel snack shop very similar to the ones in the states. (Picture of the tired kids at the mall waiting for our phones to be hooked up.)
We returned to our home that day around 4pm and I felt it, and could see it on all our faces: TIREDNESS/JET-LAG. I knew if we stayed at our place we would all soon be asleep and not conquer this beast. So we decided (based on the advice of fellow teachers with kids) to keep the kids active and ran out to get a pizza toward downtown Bethlehem, called Little Italy. In trying to keep the kids awake just a little longer, we saw the signs for Manger Square (our taxi driver who dropped us at the pizza place said it was about a kilometer walk) and decided to make the trek to the site they honor as where Jesus was born.
Well, it definitely was not 1 kilometer walk, it was probably almost 2.5 kilometers with an incline. Caleb was fast asleep in minutes strapped in our Ergo on Josh. Olivia and Ava were troopers, and I ended up carrying Eliana as much as I could. We sure are getting our exercise in being over here! The Church of the Nativity was closed (we knew it would be) but it was a nice walk, with beautiful night lights looking over the valley’s below, and so much history everywhere. There are so many shops along the way, restaurants, many nice hotels, and we even found Stars & Bucks, lol. The kids did start to complain (some more than others ;) ) of what a long walk it was and how tired their feet and legs were. I agreed with them for sure, my feet were tired and my lungs were burning at some points, but as we were walking (and I wanted to complain too), I remembered who made that same journey so so many years ago and how much further they walked than we did. I enjoyed being able to talk to the girls about how Joseph and Mary may have walked the same road we were on, how tired they must have been, how they probably couldn’t wait to get to Bethlehem to finally rest. Such a long journey they made, exhausted finally arriving to be told there was no room for them in the inn. What an opportunity to reflect with our children on the nativity story, even after Christmas, and realizing what a journey was made for Christ to come into this world. We are grateful to be here and thankful for the living lessons we are partaking in. Thanks for reading. Headed to bed, I have a brute to vanquish. ;) - R
Stay tuned we just finished our first day of school today! Looking forward to sharing it and this coming first week with you all.