So many memories...

I have been home for a little over 24 hours now.

I wanted to stay awake all day yesterday, thinking that would help me get back to my normal time clock faster. So I never sat down once after we got home. John completely unpacked his bag, got cleaned up and went to the dealership for the afternoon. I went grocery shopping first, then unpacked all of my stuff, did the laundry and put everything away. It was nice to get it all done and not wake up to it this morning. Once I had all of that done I worked out on the Stairmaster for thirty minutes. And when John got home I made us a big salad for dinner.

I had planned a long soak in the tub, until the minute I got in and I knew I was not going to be able to stay awake. But we had managed to stay up until 9:30. So I was confident I would sleep all night after the previous long night of traveling and then staying up all day. So much for my theory. I still woke up at 3:00 AM and didn't go back to sleep. But it felt so unbelievably good to be resting in my own bed that I didn't get up until John did (at 5:00). He said he started waking up around 1:30, but he was always able to go right back to sleep. He slept better than I did on the trip (except for the night I took Nyquil Gel Caps AND a .5 mg Xanax to guarantee a whole night of sound sleep, which enhanced my power-snoring and disturbed his rest).

I slept enough to feel fine all day. But I either had a hard time going to sleep or staying asleep almost every night of the trip. The one night I took an Ambien, I woke up feeling very disoriented and skipped breakfast because I also felt queasy. So I didn't want to try that again, even though it seemed to work great for a lot of the others. One person said I probably only needed half a pill. But I was reluctant to try it again (and never did).

On the flight over, I didn't get a lot of sleep. But I knew it would be afternoon when we got there and I assumed being extra tired would make me adjust easier the first night. This theory proved to be wrong as well. I'm sure part of it was the excitement. When I would go to bed at night, I couldn't turn my mind off. This is a problem I don't normally have. The night I took both Nyquil and Xanax was because I had first taken the Nyquil and it wasn't working. I hoped there would not be an interaction, but I felt desperate for sleep that night and took my chances.

When our flight arrived in Tel Aviv, a strike had just begun and we were informed there might be a wait for our baggage. These kinds of events are not uncommon and they can begin and end spontaneously. So we didn't know how long it would take for us to be reunited with the bags. We waited for a little while and then made the decision to go on to the hotel and have dinner. Allen went back to the airport with the bus after dinner and collected our luggage while we all walked to Jaffa. He called from the airport to tell us that the only bag they could not locate was John's. I have to be honest. I felt bad for John and yet a bit relieved that my bag was on its way. At this point, we were hopeful his bag would be found and delivered to our hotel the next day. But we didn't really know. John took this in stride much better than I would have been able to, by the way. He borrowed a t-shirt from a friend and wore the same pants one more day. His bag arrived the following evening at our hotel in Tiberius.

These first two pictures are from our first destination. We stayed in a hotel along the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv. We had an amazing buffet dinner the first night. I loved almost everything I tasted. They eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and wonderful breads in Israel. So I knew I would be fine at any buffet. That first night there were half a dozen eggplant dishes prepared in various different ways. They were all extremely delicious. There was also a salad that was loaded with cilantro (which I love). And there were so many different breads and rolls to choose from, I couldn't try all of them. I was so glad we had a nice little walk planned after dinner.

We walked along the coast to Jaffa (Joppa in Bible days). I took quite a few pictures but they didn't turn out well because it was dark. When we got to the overlook area, we stood in a circle and prayed. We talked about Jonah departing from Joppa and then Heather recounted the story from Acts 10 about God showing Peter that he was to go to the house of Cornelius, a centurion in Caesarea. That night seems like a month ago now.

This was the view from our hotel room the next morning before we left for Caesarea, also along the Mediterranean Sea.
This was a beautiful spot overlooking the Mediterranean. I always feel right at home near water and palm trees. And I felt that way here. I have to say that I felt at home in Israel the entire trip. Never at any time did I feel danger or concern for my safety. In fact, there was a very peaceful feeling everywhere we went that I could not have anticipated. I don't know how anyone could be there without the sense of being in a very, very special place. I must have said to John a hundred times, "I can't believe we are here."

We had left home Monday afternoon, the day before the election, flown all night and then arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday afternoon (which was Tuesday morning at home). There is an eight hour time difference. We left the hotel Wednesday morning for the start of our first full day of touring. And at home, it was the end of a long election day. At this point, we knew who our next presdident would be. We were all watching Fox News in our rooms and talking about it over meals and on the bus.

I had planned on taking a nap this afternoon. We are getting together with our small group tonight and I thought I might need to get some rest. But I have spent a lot of time downloading my pictures and backing them up on my portable hard drive. I went through all of them (over 600) to rotate the ones that were vertical and I relived the whole trip. So it's hard to stop after posting about just the first day. But I think it will be easier to digest in small doses.

I have a couple of errands to run this afternoon and our group meets at 6:30. So I have this feeling I am not going to take a nap after all. But I was anxious to organize my pictures so I could start sharing some of them on my blog. I don't want to just post pictures, though. I want to explain what I'm sharing so you will know what you're seeing. So I'll stop here for now. More to come, though. Much more.