Saturday, March 26, 2011

Israel: The Journey and Arrival

The morning we left for the airport, I kept waking up for fear that surely I would oversleep on this day of all days not to be late.  Finally, my alarm sounded and giddy with excitement, I prepared for a day of adventure.  My friend Amy's in-laws, so sweetly took us to the airport, so we were treated to curbside service!  Once inside, we checked our luggage (my suitcase was less than the allotted weight, so I knew I had some extra room for treats!!  Hooray!), went through security, and then headed to our gate.
Here are Kelli and Amy waiting at our gate.  Amy, Kelli, and I are in the same Spritual Formation Group at school, so it was really special to be on this amazing journey with them, too!!
Yes, here is our gate. :)  I really wanted to take a picture of the screen that said where we were headed, but then I felt a little awkward because once I got over to the screens, I realized airline personnel would end up in the picture and I didn't want to bother them since I knew they were probably under a bit of stress, so I took a picture of the gate sign instead.  You see, up until we arrived at our gate, everything said "on time".  Once we got there, though, our flight was delayed for a little over two hours due to some inclement weather in New York.  Our plan was to fly from DFW to JFK and then JFK to Tel Aviv.  So, with a little extended time at our gate, I got to take part in several fun things going on in the airport.  Since it was Sunday, an interfaith worship service was held in the airport chapel, so a group of us took part in that.  Also, at the Bose kiosk close to the chapel, they were playing amazing oldies, but goodies and some of us joined in an impromptu dance party.  So much fun!  I just love hearing music that makes you want to dance.  Sometimes when I go to the grocery store at home with my mom, they have the most amazing oldies on and I find myself dancing up and down the cereal and canned goods aisles.  Then, I realize that my mom is very embarassed so I stop. :)  Love you, Mom!  Okay, sorry for that rabbit trail, back to DFW.  We even had a time to have lunch at TGIFridays before our flight.  I had a Caribbean chicken sandwich and sweet potato fries.  Oh, how I love those things!!  Sweet potato fries just seem so gourmet to me!  :) 

After lunch, our flight was boarding, so I hurried myself in line and found my seat on the aircraft.  I was so fortunate to have an aisle seat!!  On the flight to JFK we got to watch...wait for it...The King's Speech!!  Now, you know this Colin Firth fan was just a little elated and due to a quick trip to Walgreens the night before, I had some cute pink earbuds with which to listen to this cinematic masterpiece.  Now, as we got closer to JFK, I started looking at my watch and my boarding pass.  Whoa Nellie, this was gonna be a snug fit to get to our next flight.  We all gathered our carryons, exited the plane, and our wonderful leader calmly told us our next steps.  We quickly journeyed through the airport, taking a SkyTrain to another terminal, going through security, and then, yes, spending some time looking like that famous airport dash in Home Alone.  Fortunately, no Kevin McAllisters were left behind and we arrived at the gate about 30 seconds before they were going to close the door.  God is so gracious!!  After a few more security questions, we found our seats on the biggest airplane I had ever flown on.  It even had an upstairs!!  I remember reading a Babysitter's Club Super Special book about a trip the girls took and I think that airplane had an upstairs, too.  I never found out what was upstairs, but I'll just tell myself it was fabulous!
Here was the large screen in front of me for the flight.  I was fortunate to sit in the first row of our section of the plane, so I had a little extra leg room.  As we crossed the Atlantic, they showed a map on the screen and our little plane as we made our journey.  Soon, dinner was served complete with yummy hummus and I got to watch another movie.  This time we had individual tvs and could select our programming.  I chose to watch The Switch with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman.  It was pretty cute!  The little boy in the movie is adorable!!  Finally, I got a little shut eye.  I woke up at what seemed an early hour for me, but not so early for Israel and was served breakfast complete with what might possibly have been the most delicious bagel I have ever eaten!!  Yum!  As we neared our destination, I read my Israel travel book a little more and finished up my Traditional Home issue.

Here is the view from my seat during our lengthy journey. 
Sitting to my left were two friends who had grown up together, moved away, and were now headed to Israel for a wedding.  One of the friends had a baby and he was so adorable and so good!  The flight attendants brought out a little basinet that hooked into the partition in front of us and he slept there.  I had never seen one of those before!

Finally, we landed in Tel Aviv!!

Here is some of our group, walking from the plane to customs.  It was so nice to be able to walk around and stretch our legs.  After going through customs, we were met by a fabulous lady from our touring company.  Since we had just made our flight from JFK, our luggage had not been transferred to our flight, but was put on a later flight.  She helped us fill out the appropriate form and El Al, the Israeli airline we took, gave us each little dop kits with travel essentials for our overnight.  Thankfully, we were reunited with our luggage the very next day.

Here  are some beautiful mosaics in the Tel Aviv airport.

After we filled out our forms, we boarded our bus that would take us on our magical journey for the next 8 days and met our incredible tour guide, Dan!!  He is the best!
These are both pictures I took from the bus of Tel Aviv.  I tried desperately to take a picture of a sign of the H&M store I saw for my friend Erin, but we had passed by before I got my camera act together.

I tried so desperately to write down what each picture was at the end of the day.  After looking at my journal, all I have written for these last two images is "green fields".  Super helpful, right?  Well, as I have been racking my brain, I think these photos might potentially be looking toward Jaffa.  You see, Jaffa is very close to Tel Aviv and is also known as Joppa in the Bible.  Joppa was the place where Jonah set sail for Tarshish (Spain):

"But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence fo the LORD.  So he went to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD." Jonah 1:3 (NASB)

Okay, now this was a moment for me.  This was the first moment and so thankfully by no means the last, that I would find myself being told about a biblical place that we were driving by or about to visit.  It is unreal still to me to know that I have been close to where Jonah was!  Also, I learned on this little bus ride from the airport that Tarshish is modern-day Spain.  I had no idea.  Already, 10 minutes into the trip, I was amazed.  God had even more in store.  He is so generous and gracious.

Now, speaking of Jonah, I hope my dear friend at Plastic Cupcake won't mind if I link you to an incredible post I just read today that she wrote on the very man himself.  Her thoughtful words definitely had my wheels turning!!  Thanks, Em! :)

From here on out, we will have many more places to visit and I think I might just take one site at a time because I do love to expound a little bit on my experience and observations, as I'm sure you have noticed. :) If you are still reading -- thank you!!  I know some of this may be long and tedious, but I want to record as many details for myself, so I will still remember them later. :)

Hope you are all having a blessed evening!!  Enjoy the weekend!


  1. Absolutely perfect! Delightful!! Not too long at all. I feel like I was there. CAN NOT WAIT for each day and what you have to teach us. Thanks sweet friend.

  2. a) I love the King's Speech.
    b) I love Colin Firth.
    c) I love the Baby-Sitter's Club and remember the book that you're talking about. Those were always my favorite, where they traveled places like Hawaii and California (to stay with Dawn's family, of course.) I remember when we'd go to Town East and my mom would let me go to Walden Books and pick out 3 books. I'd read one at the mall, one on the way home, and save one for at home. Gosh I loved those books.
    d) I'm intrigued by this bassinet idea. I can't picture it in my head.
    e) I'm excited to hear about more of your trip!

  3. love love love! thanks for the link to the jonah blog. :) so funny--i had just read too, that tarshish was modern day spain. crazy! i love it! that makes things so real when you can SEE it in person, or look on a map how amazing it was that he went from one place to another in the belly of a fish. ha!

    love this post! can't wait to read more!!! :)

  4. I can't wait to hear more!! I am so thankful you are taking the time to do this-- you're writing so well I almost feel like I'm there!

    Love you friend!

  5. Oooh! I love the interesting facts (and the XO fleece on the plane!). I can't wait for more! :)


Thanks so much for stopping by! I love reading your comments. :)