Kip’s coworkers ask him every week what he’s going to do for the weekend. They want to hear about some major sight-seeing efforts and know that we are appreciating this opportunity to be in their beautiful land. Unfortunately, his usual answer is that we are going to Tiberius. Again. That’s an hour inland from Haifa, on the coast of the Sea of Galilee. That was an OK answer the first time, but now that we’ve been here several weeks, they’d like for us to do something more. Well, we haven’t. We tried to appease the questioners this weekend by going to the Mt of Beatitudes, also on the Sea of Galilee. We couldn’t do this on a Saturday (Shabbat) because we drive people to church who otherwise couldn’t go. So, our plan of taking picnics and seeing the sights around the Sea of Galilee on Shabbat has been foiled for the duration of our stay here. Instead, we took the chance on Friday to go to Tiberius early (before the fireside at the church that night) and see some stuff. Unfortunately, we got a later start than we planned, so the only thing we had time for was the Mt of Beatitudes. It was very peaceful. There’s a Catholic church built on the sight and the grounds are all manicured into a lovely walking garden. I’m not sure it was exactly like that when Christ spoke there. So, on Sunday, Kip told his coworkers where he’d been and they all looked at him blankly. Oh, whoops. Non-Christians. Yet another weekend of them not being impressed. At least it was fun for us!
On Saturday, Kip and I spoke in church. I tried to plan on how long it would take to talk and be translated (into Russian only this week), but my talk was too long. I followed it up with a flute solo – He Shall Feed His Flock. I figured an Israeli branch might just be the only place I could play something from the Messiah out of season and not have people sick to death of it after all the Christmas-time performances. Everyone loved it, in spite of the fact that Anne (the pianist) and I never actually practiced together. She played through it the night before and I picked out the flute part on the piano. Then, we were both late to church and didn’t get to try it together until the performance. She did great. I got lucky to have her in the branch—and a quality piano donated annonomously after a well-known Morman pianist visited the branch a year ago. So, Kip’s talk was great but got to be much shorter than he prepared. I thought all the nice comments he got on how great it was were at least slightly influenced by my bringing of the Spirit through music before he spoke. I got a lot of compliments on the fluting. I should have skipped the talking…
On Sunday I had my first visit to Dr Zamberg, my Ob while in Israel. I should have thought about the fact that office waiting rooms in Haifa would not be stocked with English reading material. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long. Dr Z looked throught my file and set up all sorts of things, exactly the things my doctor back home wanted me to do that I was hoping to get out of. I had to go take a glucose-tolerance test and get blood drawn and urine tested (all of which turned out just fine). He also scheduled a full ultrasound for me. He then did a little ultrasound of his own and sent me on my way.
The full ultrasound was set for Tuesday. Dr Z warned me that I should take 1800 shekels to pay for it (because I had neglected to bring any money to my appointment with him earlier that week). That is roughly $400. I didn’t think that you could withdraw that much at an ATM, so I went into the bank to get it. A grouchy lady behind a semi-private desk helped me. She took my Visa and my passport and went away and came back with a lot of paperwork for me to sign and a wad of 50 shekel bills. I thought she must be joking. 1800 shekels in 50s? That’s like using $10 bills to pay your $400 fee. She wasn’t joking. As she started to count them out, I asked if she didn’t just possibly have something larger than that. Even the ATM gives you 100s! And, I mean, this was a BANK, right? She shruggingly offered me four 200s and then the other 1000 in 50s. I felt like laughing. ‘Thanks for the ultrasound, Dr. Here’s 1800 shekels in small, unmarked bills.’ It made quite a wad in my purse. Oh, and it wasn’t quite 1800 shekels anyway. In spite of the fact that I’d been entirely clear in my request for 1800 (I wrote it down for her), with the ‘commission,’ as the grouchy lady called it, my total came to 1787. So, was I supposed to magically create the missing 13 shekels for myself? You’d think she could have worked it out to give me the amount I needed.
In any case, the ultrasound was a good experience. I think everyone should take the opportunity to get one if they’re here while pregnant. In the states this is done by a technician who takes measurements and makes little noncommittal noises and tells you little more than whether it’s a boy or girl. In Israel, the ultrasound is performed by a doctor who narrates the whole thing (although the language can be a barrier at times). You know right away that all the proportions are OK, or not. And the doctor I went to enjoyed dabbling in the latest 3-D technology where the computer takes the ultrasound picture and fills it in to show what the baby really looks like. I got some cute pictures of our little girl. Oh, and a full video of the process. Too bad I won’t be able to view it in the states. And for all of you wondering if it really is a girl, yes, the baby in my belly is as female as they come. Little Anna is on her way.
So, it’s been a full week. William learned to say “yellow” and can’t stop saying it. He also got his hand caught in the elevator doors as they opened at Bowden’s apartment on Sunday. He’s got some pretty hideous finger wounds from me yanking it free of the sliding door. But we bought him yellow bandaids and he’s happy with that. He can also say Anna now, in preparation for the arrival of his little sister. And he can say Evan finally. We talk about him a lot at nighttime when William doesn’t want to sleep and I don’t want him screaming in the hotel.
We move to our apartment this weekend. It’s a little one-bedroom place not far from the Bowden’s. It will be nice to have our own place – and a full kitchen. And we may work out and alternate plan for William’s bed’s location.