Well, our first full day was somewhat stymied by jet lag on the part of the females in the family. SS (since he has legally changed his name to his Hebrew one--Shalom Shachne [although the initials are the same for his English name]) got up early, went to daven and then learned for the morning at his former yeshiva, Bircas HaTorah, then came home to work for his US job. This will be his regular schedule (although, until the high speed rail that's in the works from the suburb we will live in to Jerusalem gets built, he will likely go to a local place to learn, rather than going into the Old City to Bircas HaTorah). We saw him briefly as he was leaving Bircas and his face was absolutely glowing and there was such a spring in his step ;)
The girls and I had the craziest morning where one or two of us would be ready to leave the apartment but the others would be asleep. And by the time they woke up, the first round would be asleep. We made two brief journeys in groups of two (one to forage for breakfast items and one to go shopping for socks, as they are evidently packed in the bags that are locked in the apartment downstairs.....Later, we brought up two pieces of luggage and will hope for the best for tomorrow. And, if not, we bought a multi-pack of socks :))
We finally left home around 1:00 and walked to the Old City, stopping for iced coffee (they have slushie machines of iced coffee here. It's genius, I tell you!) and to try to get cell phone service, which didn't happen b/c I forgot that here, like in Europe, having your passport on you is the key to making official things happen. Nefesh B'Nefesh did give us a short-term phone card at the airport, but, now that we're all spoiled by having cell phones, having only *one* feels very difficult.
We spent a lovely, long and heartfelt time davening at the Kotel (praying at the Western Wall). There are special prayers to say when at the Kotel and it was incredible to actually get to say them, rather than just skip by those pages.
When going down the stairs to the Kotel, there are always people set up asking for tzedakah money for charity. Each person I gave to, I told that we made Aliyah yesterday. After donating, one is showered with blessings, and I figured I should get as much personalized bang for my (literal) buck (and a big thank you to those of you who gave us shaliach mitzva money to donate). These people went on and on giving us brachas --it was totally great even though I didn't understand all of it since they all spoke Hebrew (nothing much to it, in my opinion--they are smiling and clearly saying all sorts of nice things, so I just smiled, nodded and said 'Amen' a lot :)).
When we were out, several people noticed our "official NBN baseball hats" and wished us Mazal Tov and that we should have a "klita tova" ("good absorption", which makes SS chuckle, like they're talking about kitchen sponges or something).
It's the end of a multi-week heat wave here, and we were totally wiped out upon returning home, even though we took the very groovy light rail home
We ran into our Boston neighbor, Nossen, at a bus stop. One of the things I really like about Israel--it really is possible to just randomly bump into people you know.
After a rest, out to visit with our old homeschooling pals, Fern and Jonathan. SO great to see them (and eat their delicious curry!). Dragged our tired selves home after doing a great job of NOT falling asleep on their sofas :).
Hoping for a good night's rest and that tomorrow we will be mostly over the jet lag.....
By the way, here are a few photos from the NBN Facebook page of me meeting Temima's sisters, Tova and Mazal. I think it's pretty clear how thankful I was for their incredible act of kindness in coming to meet us....