Monday, May 27, 2019

Boston Yom Orchim Weekend - Getting There

Last Thursday afternoon, as the sun was shining, I got a phone call from my Brother-in-Law: my Mother-in-Law's flight to Boston had been canceled and she was scrambling to get on a new flight. The challenge was that we were all hoping to be in Boston by 8am, for my nieces' and nephew's Yom Orchim (guests day) at school. He wanted to know if our flight had been impacted? We were in the clear, I explained.

But, a few hours later we got a notification from American Airlines: our flight had been canceled, too. Now it was our turn to scramble to get on an updated flight. Unlike my Mother-in-Law, we had no luck. If we took crazy flights, we could land in Boston by Saturday Night. Yikes. It was decision time: let the weekend go by without us, or jump in the car and drive the 7+ hours to Boston. We applied the 1-year test: would it matter a year from now if we showed up in Boston for the kids' special day? We weren't sure. Finally, Shira made the call: we're going.

At 4:10pm we jumped in the car. Two hours later, we found ourselves approaching BWI airport - what's usually a 45 minute drive away. The whole trip was like that: our arrival time to Boston kept getting pushed further and further back. An hour away Boston we hit a massive storm, where the lightning lit up the entire sky and our wipers couldn't keep up with the downpour. At 2am, we pulled into our Airbnb and collapsed. 4 hours later we got up and made our way to the kid's school.

After a quick nosh it was time to surprise the kids in their classrooms. Up first was Tzipora's Hebrew class. We peeked in her door and waved. She jumped up and ran over to us, giving us a hearty bear-hug. As I would later recount to the kids, it was at this point that the hectic trip the night before melted away. Was the trip worth it? Absolutely.

Tzipora's class was discussing sites within Jerusalem (all in Hebrew) and it was a thrill to watch Tzipora not just understand what the teacher was saying, but take the lead in her small group and help out another student. Our little scholar! We kvelled!

Then it was off to Dovid and Chana's classroom, where the topic of the day was decoding Ben Franklin's Aphorisms. Dovid's quote was: “Glass, China, and Reputation, are easily cracked, and never well mended.” Chana's was “Beware of the young doctor and the old barber.” These were tricky, and it was great to see both kids could untangle them.

Finally, it was off Gavriella's class where we were given a bit of burlap, some yarn and a plastic needle and the opportunity to make a creation. After a couple of false starts, we ended up creating a delightful picture. It was a treat to see Gavriella figure out how she could control the outcome of the picture with a little planning and being careful about which stitches she put in place. I've got to pick up some of these supplies for our home, as this was a real winner for younger kids.

After spending time with the kids in their classrooms we had a sing along assembly for all the kids. While it was nice seeing Chana, Tzipora and Gavriella sing, it was truly special to see Dovid playing his trumpet. Go Dovid!

We volunteered for school pickup duty and at 2:30pm found ourselves, Shira's Mom and the children packed into the minivan. The safe thing to do would have been to head back to the kid's house and start prepping for Shabbat. But with sundown being so late, I couldn't resist squeezing in an activity. Off we went to the Bunker Hill Monument.

The monument is quite impressive, and after snapping some family pics, we started up the 294 steps to the top. I walked with Tzipora, who at about step 50 had her fear of heights kick in. We took some deep breaths, held hands, and bravely continued up to the top. I'm also afraid of heights, but in this case, there really was nothing to be panicked about. You're fully enclosed at all times and the structure couldn't be more solid. We all made it to the top, including Gavriella! We enjoyed the impressive view at the top, took lots of pics and then made our way back down to ground level.

The forecast was calling for a somewhat windy day, so I had grabbed a pocket kite while packing for Boston. Now, on the green space adjacent to the monument the kids did their best to fly said kite. The gusts weren't enough to keep the kite in the air, but that didn't reduce the kids' kite flying joy one bit. They were to happy to run the grounds, providing their own lift to the kite. The smiles on their faces said it all, they were having a blast.

After the memorial, we made our way back to the house were we hurriedly prepped for shabbat. It had been an exhausting 24 hours, but boy was it worth it!

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