Monday, October 25, 2010

This year in Jerusalem

I knew it was going to be a wild ride when we started a packed journey heading toward the Continental gate in Newark - flight 90. The same flight we took back and forth to Jerusalem when we lived there for nearly 8 years. We hadn't been back in 3 years since we left. Greg and I were leaving the kids "Home Alone." And hoping for the best. We were really excited. The butterflies turned to flying elbows as we approached the chaos at the Continental boarding. They called our row, which was at the back of the plane, and I tried to move past the strollers and the rolling carry-ons. No one was budging so I said, "Excuse me," perhaps a bit louder than I needed to. An 80 year-old man shouted at me, calling me "lady" and told me to wait my turn and that we would all get there at the same time. I explained that he must have misunderstood me, but it was to no avail. We each were indignant. Cross words were said. My blood pressure was up and I laughed as we went down the gangway that with my luck I would be sitting next to the old man. Greg reminded me that I was an "Ambassador" for the Komen race, but gently suggested I may NOT have diplomatic immunity. We made our way down the aisle to find my seat mate: the man who had yelled at me and called me in essence, "a pushy broad." I laughed and told him we would have 14 hours on the flight to get to know one another better. He laughed. I laughed. We both had proved we weren't 'friers'. Then it turned out he was in the wrong seat and moved.

We landed at Ben Gurion airport - not on a pink plane as I had envisioned but it was just as splashy an entrance. I was watching the last few minutes of the "Hurt Locker" as the plane pulled into the gate. I couldn't take my eyes off the movie because it was so unrealistic and yet it did capture a certain aspect of the tragedy of Iraq as was evidence in the 400,000 Wikileaks war logs that I had spent the weekend plowing through. For me, the tears started rolling when Fox's Jerusalem bureau chief Eli Fastman sent me an e-mail saying, "Welcome home, Jen." Greg and I hadn't been back in 3 years - since we left Jerusalem at the end of a nearly 8 year assignment. I guess it was the tears that made me not realize that instead of grabbing my red rolling bag that Greg had picked up the bag of one Seymour Rush (wonder if that is the same man who I had exchanged cross words in Newark? Now that would be funny.) Needless to say, his pants didn't look like they were going to fit as I raced to get dressed for the Komen launch at the Israel Museum at our hotel in Jerusalem. Reena Ninan and our friend Linda Rivkind saved the day, delivering a black Calvin Klein dress that belonged to Reena just in the nick of time to the hotel. Reena being 8 months pregnant won't need it for a few months but I guess I'll eventually have to give it back. Darn.

The Old City walls were lit up in pink as the sun went down tonight. Yonat Friling and our Fox team were there to record it. And so was the building where the Dead Sea scriolls are kept at the Israel Museum. The dome-like structure that houses the scrolls looks like a boob - now a pink boob. Going to get some rest. Race is 4 days away. If you want to support Komen (75 percent of all funds raised will stay in the Israeli and Palestinian areas to fund research here and help encourage women to get mammograms. Women here mostly have Triple Negative like me.)