Entry from a Second Session TM

Mary Laurel writes:

It is a pleasure to read the blogs from those of you who are already there.  It gives me an idea of what to expect.  I have been trying to prepare myself for months, and will do my best to keep up with all of you.

To get acquainted, I’ll give you a little personal history.

I live in Fort Myers, Florida, on the West Coast across Alligator Alley from Fort Lauderdale.  And our beaches are free of the effects of the oils spill, Thank God.

I would characterize myself as adventurous, temporized by prudence.

After my husband died last summer, I took off on a 3600 mile motor trip on my own (adventurous) backed up by my Blackberry gps and AAA maps (prudent), visiting family along the way – I have 4 children and 7 grandchildren.

I was visiting my son in Vermont when his delightful lady told us about living several years in Israel with her family when she was an adolescent.  One of her experiences was being a volunteer on a dig.  “Oh, I would love to do that,” I gushed.  Miriam, being very direct, looked my right in the eye and said, “Why don’t you?”  “At my age?”  Charlie says “Go for it, Mom.”  So here I am (or soon will be.)

After my husband retired from business, he indulged in his first love and became an artist.  You can see examples of his work at our website www.laurelart.org.  Anyway, my day job is to market his work.  In fact, my next trek was my southern swing to New Orleans, Houston, etc. (only 2800 miles.)  So Kim, yes, I can maneuver I-610 and I-630, thought I prefer not to.  Perhaps we passed each other on the Central Expressway (Dallas to the unitiated.)

My avocation is classical music – I listen very well.  I am active in my local Symphony Society, with an emphasis on youth programs.  Of course, none of this keeps me busy enough, so I am also remodeling my house, an activity that has taken on a life of its own.

Charles and I were inveterate travelers, including two trips to Israel.  But this time I’ll be on my own, when I am not with my fellow diggers.  I have been learning/practicing for this adventure:

  1. Fitness – joined a gym, working out
  2. Walking – got my boots and breaking them in – do we really have to climb up and down the tel several times a day!  Oh, my, I thought once I made it to the top I’d stay there.  My aching legs.
  3. Water – my trainer (and you all) say I must drink a lot.  My canteen only holds 16 oz.  May I assume refills are available on site?  Thank goodness there is a pub at the kibbutz.  Do they have wine, or will drinking beer be part of my learning experience?
  4. Going without pantyhose (gasp!)  But I’m not practicing going without makeup.  That will have to be on-the-job training.

My concerns are mostly about getting around in Israel before and after the dig.  I’m arriving several days before and staying several days after. What is the best way to get from the airport to my hotel in Tel Aviv, and from my hotel to bus stop for kibbutz?  I’m going to Jerusalem after the dig.  Should I go back to Tel Aviv with the bus, and then go to Jerusalem.  Or can I go directly to Jerusalem from the kibbutz?  How do I get from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv to catch my flight home?  Any advice is appreciated.

Yes, I have been doing some reading.  I don’t want to be totally ignorant when I get there.  But you students will be way ahead of me, so I’ll be learning a lot from you.  Looking forward to meeting all of you.


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