Waking up and walking onto the beach… in your pajamas.
Waking up and walking onto the beach… in your pajamas.
To my surprise, there is not a lot online in terms of backpacking in less developed countries with babies. Are we crazy? My favorite article that I found was by Jennifer Blyer in the New York Times, “Traveling in Southeast Asia With a Rock-Star Baby.” I read the article when it was first published and it was a real inspiration for me. But it was lacking practical tips. My biggest question: should we bring a stroller or just a baby carrier? A few travel forums I found suggested that the lack of sidewalks and bad roads in a lot of southeast Asia make a stroller useless. We recently invested in a Deuter baby carrier with a back system for hiking in Israel, so we thought of taking that. Or we can take our Ergo baby carrier which folds up pretty small, but it’s not as comfortable for Eden to sit in on the all-day treks we plan on doing. The idea of being stroller-less as at times when we have our backpacks on our backs is daunting. Maybe a super light-weight stroller that we can easily fold up and sling over our backs when we are in transi?. In the day-to-day here in Jerusalem, we use the UppaBaby G-Lite and we love it. It weighs nearly nothing, has an excellent sun canopy and folds very easily. And Eden sleeps in it all the time, even though it doesn’t recline. But would it hold up on a backpacking trip? Any tips from seasoned backpacking parents out there?
Tomorrow is the Jerusalem Marathon. The city has been getting ready all week and there is a feeling of excitement in the air that has made this such a fun week. The Full Marathon is going to be running right by our apartment so our street is filled with blue barriers for the crowds to stand behind and there are signs along the street directing the runners. The Jerusalem Marathon is listed as one of the top 10 marathons in the world. I’ve never run a marathon but when I do (it’s definitely on my life to-do list), this seems like a pretty cool one to run. Runners literally run through thousands of years of history, including the Old City of Jerusalem. The views are breathtaking. Watching the preparations for the marathon makes me feel really lucky to be living here in Jerusalem. It’s not New York, but I would absolutely say that it is one of the most cultured and happening cities I’ve visited in the world. Whenever my travel bug starts itching, I try to remind myself that where I live is pretty awesome too. So awesome that thousands (millions?) come here to visit every year. In honor of the marathon, all of the main streets in Jerusalem are closed and Eden’s daycare is cancelled. We have no plans to get into our car tomorrow and are looking forward to heading out to the streets to cheer on the runners. I find them so inspiring. They have determination and endurance written all over their faces. Plus we have a few friends running. With the whole city basically shut down in honor of the marathon, it feels almost like a holiday. Excited for a fun family Friday!
Last weekend, on the way to visit my parents, we drove off the road and 2 minutes later we were in the forest. Transported. From the racing hiwghway to the tranquility and calm of the forest. Winter is coming to a close here and the flowers are in full bloom. But the real blooming flower was little Eden. She is a wild outdoors kind of girl, that baby of mine. She went racing through grass as tall as she is, ran up hills and zoomed right back down, and when the moment struck her as just right, she plopped herself down in the middle of the flowers. She loves flowers, too, it seems, just like her mama. Although at this stage her affection is demonstrated by carefully and meticulously pulling all the petals off the flower. We’ll have to work on that one… As for me, I was just just purely happy. I had everything I love most- Binny and Eden by my side and nature at its most glorious. Another hiker we met showed us how to spot wild artichokes that we could eat. What is it about the forest that is so magical? The light, the sounds of the birds chirping, the bright colors, the delicacy of the grass and flowers and the awesome strength of the tall trees. How blessed we are to have such a place so close to home.
There were lonnng lines at the supermarket today. As I waited patiently, the cashier began conversing with the customer she was ringing up. More than just polite conversation, a real nice and long lengthy conversation. A conversation between friends. Which while very sweet, meant that it was taking her way longer than it should have to ring up the woman’s groceries. And there was a whole line of people waiting in line. The guy in front of me didn’t seem bothered by this whole thing. But me, I wanted to open up my mouth and very matter-of-factly explain to the cashier that her sweet conversation was really inconveniencing all the other customers in line, and well, could she please hurry things up. And then I thought of Binny. Binny would never, not in a 100 years ever, say something like that to anyone. The thought would never even cross his mind in the first place. So I took a chocolate bar from the rack always so conveniently placed by the cashier so that people like me can eat them while we wait in line. I munched and tried to practice my patience. Halfway through my chocolate bar, the cashier’s conversation was still going. And going. And I really really wanted to just say something to her. In my head, I thought of 10 different ways I could tell her that her chat was not really very considerate of all of us waiting in line. Then I thought of Binny. And I thought about what I would feel like if I were the one sitting in the cashier’s seat. These short interactions with customers would probably be the highlight of my day. Especially on beautiful days like today when it must be so frustrating to be sitting indoors when there is so much sunshine and beauty only a few skips away, out those electric doors. Who am I to deprive a nice lady of her happiness? But this conversation wasn’t ending, and patience is something that does not come naturally to me. By some miracle, i managed to keep my mouth closed and in a few minutes (that seemed like an eternity to me as I waged an inner battle with myself), it was my turn in line and the cashier was just as sweet to me as she had been to the people in line before me. And again, my inner evil wanted to make some quip about how long I had been waiting in line. But I didn’t. I thought to myself how lucky and blessed I am to be married to a man who inspires me to be a better person at the supermarket and everyday of our lives together. I couldn’t ask for a greater gift or for a more perfect partner in life.
Today was too beautiful a day to stay indoors. It was so sunny that I almost felt like taking my shoes off and walking barefoot so the heat from the cement could seep into my feet. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom and it was just one of those perfect days to be walking outside. Mamila is one of my favorite places in Jerusalem. It is one of those places that seems to have captured the character of Jerusalem, where the modern and the ancient sit side by side. Jerusalem stone surrounding hip and modern stores. And languages, so many languages. Hebrew, English, French, German, and great music too. And there is always beautiful artwork on display. Bumping into one of my cousins who I haven’t seen in a while made the whole morning feel just right.