With three young adult children living in Israel I decided early last spring to leave the comforts of my husband, home and dog in the lunchbox section of Beverly Hills for a rather worn looking flat in the city center of Tel Aviv. Pathetic language learner that I am I continued my pursuit of the Hebrew language four days a week five hours a day at Ulpan Gordon. I also continued to swim my 1250 meters 24/6 at the city's famous saltwater pool conveniently located blocks from the ulpan and also known as the Gordon Pool. When I was not studying, swimming or socializing with my kids and friends I went on a mad house-hunt for an apartment in central Tel Aviv.
One day my dear friend, Anat, gave me a phone number and said call this guy, Moshe. He had some apartments for sale. We set up a coffee for the next morning. He told me I would know him because he would be wearing a blue shirt and is very tall. Turns out that Moshe is a former Israeli basketball star. Unfortunately, his apartments were in the construction phase and beyond my budget. It also turns out that Moshe didn’t know my friend Anat. I had inadvertently dialed a wrong number but was lucky enough to find another Moshe with apartments for sale. Only in Israel.
My next stop was to another Anat referral. I met a young gentleman named Itai at a nearby gallery. Reluctantly I agreed to get on his motorcycle for a tour of the neighborhood (did I neglect to mention that I was wearing a dress?). As he weaved in and out of the dense traffic, I blurted, “Be patient and just wait for the cars to move because I really like my legs!”
He considered this an invitation to converse. “Why are you in Israel?” He asked.
“My three kids are all here.” I answered.
“Your three kids? How old are they?” He replied.
“24, 22, and 19.” I said.
While continuing to drive and avoid traffic he turned his head completely around and said, “It is impossible because you are far too young to have kids that old!”
Frantically, I pushed his face forward. He turned to look a second time. I pushed his cute 30-year-old punim forward again. Finally we arrived back at the gallery.
Then Itai asked me, “Do you smoke?”
I tell him he is young and handsome and he should quit.
He said, “Not cigarettes.” It was time for my next appointment.
Later in the day I arrived at the pool. Just minding my own business with my nose in a book, I heard a voice. He said, "You look like you belong on the cover of Vogue." I responded, "What gives you the [insert swear word here] right to invade my personal space?" I then laughed, said thank you and we began to converse. He asked me about my day. I started from the beginning, "By mistake I met a former Israeli basketball star." He responded, "Oh, Moshe! He just left this pool."
This is the first in a series of blog posts about how a 60 year old woman, wife and mother of three comes to live on two coasts, the Pacific and the Mediterranean. With many thanks to her husband, children, parents, friends and the Tel Aviv Los Angeles Partnership.