Travel at Home



Best paired with Eyes on the Prize – Julia Easterlin. (make it through the first minute, you won’t regret it)


Yesterday, I wanderlusted myself sick.

Thinking about the world and all its roads and caves, mountains and people, all the spices I’ve never tasted and languages I’ve never heard–Mother Mary, it was like suddenly I was standing in a glass box. I held that ground for a while and ate up all the air. When I exhausted the exhales for inhales, I got up and got out, to Starbucks of all places, for a change of pace.

I sat in a dark chocolate arm chair figured maybe eight inches from its twin on the side wall and wrote for hours. In the time spent seated, the world came to me through a string of serendipitous conversations with strangers. One by one, they warmed the chair next to mine, and each offered me unsolicited advice.

1. Travel

He wore a faded polo, medium blue jeans and the kind of sensible New Balance shoes men wear after fifty. He thumbed through the Wall Street Journal, tilting his head back and lifting his brows, his lips split slightly as he followed the story down the page before flipping it. He looked over at me, his skin tan and narrow mustache grey. He  asked, “Are you a student?”

I said no, I’m a writer.

We talked about my job for a bit and he asked, flippantly,  if working in advertising is sexist like it is on Mad Men. Before we finished sharing our laugh, he told me about his daughter who was a freshman at Tufts University, how she was an incredible writer–so great, in fact, that NPR called her to read a piece she wrote on air.

“She has trouble with research papers though. Her writing it too literary, she loves to use metaphors.” Then he proved his point by telling me when she was writing college essays, her professors asked her to “dumb them down” in order to be accepted anywhere, that her audience wouldn’t appreciate, let alone understand, that she was describing her parents heritage through surgery tools.

“I’m jewish, grew up in New York. My wife, she’s German. If you know anything about the Germans, they’re very black and white. I met her through a brazilian friend when I was traveling the world at 18. I started in Greece, beautiful country, walked all over the Parthenon–in those days they didn’t have much security or construction, spent a month in Crete, went up to Mykonos, and finally hitched my way to Switzerland.”

He liked to talk, so I leaned in a bit from where I listened.

“Now, i’m 62, I’d look like a bum if I hitched a place. But you, you’re young. Go now. If you wait, kids and family and things get in the way and you never end up going. Travel. I always tell my girls go travel.”

For a few more minutes, we talked about his daughters, his quest to get them to Israel on birthright, and his PHD in physics. I didn’t have much to say, but I didn’t need to. I heard what I needed to hear, and as he stood to go, he shook my hand. At the same time we said “pleasure meeting you” — I laughed and said, take care.

2. Help

A self-described business woman, in her late sixties, with a Ringo Starr haircut looked over to me and said,

“Your shoes are darling. Where are those from?”

“Thank you. Oddly enough, they’re from Target. Can’t tell, though, they’re actually pretty comfortable, too.”

“Oh I hope they still have them, I want a pair like that. I’m a size 3. See? I have to order all my shoes from Italy, and they’re $800 a pair. I try to buy them on sale, but then they’re still $500–from the minute I wake up to the minute I go to sleep, I’m in grotesque pain.”

She unfolded her hands and flipped  her palms up, then down, like a magician showing a successful trick, and said with a slight break in her voice, “the arthritis is killing me.It’s all over my body, I’m in constant pain.”

I sympathized the best I could, and I think she felt comforted. Maybe not comforted, but comfortable–comfortable enough to ask me if I’d write copy for her website once she found out that I write.

“I need the site to help me fundraise to sue the FDA for not allowing me the right pain medication.”

I listened as she spoke poorly of her doctor, and about her ugly ugly pain. It was clear that she was arrested by aches and just needed to be heard. For about five minutes, she combed through her mind’s files to deliver me the right adjectives for her life. Filthy words. All of them. And as she said them, tears came and left her eyes quick as a Denver storm. She clutched her heart as she whispered to me,

“I’ve even thought about jumping out of a building.”

At which point my thoughts spun and I tried to pull at the right selvage to say the right thing–only to realize that in this case, the only right thing was to show I was  listening and to make her feel less alone. Occasionally the espresso machine overpowered her, so all I could do was hold eye contact. Before leaving, she wrote down her name and phone number on a paper for me and asked that I get in touch to write her website for her. All she wanted was help.


3. Write Your Book

About 15 minutes before I was about to pack my things and head home, a middle-aged man took the hot seat. He wore a light blue shirt with opal snap down buttons tucked into working pants above working boots.

“I normally don’t dress like this. I was at my ranch with my wife and the students. She’s an AP environmental science teacher, so we took the kids for field research to prepare for their big test in May.”

He turned out to be the Mathematics Department chair, and before that, the Principle of his school for 12 years. Our conversation started by him leaning over to joke about how he has to carve time in his day just to answer emails. At which point he closed his computer and we spiraled into a web of shared sentiments on the topics of:

  • technology in the work/place classroom
  • attention spans and instant gratification
  • perseverance
  • family and traditions
  • how to be neighborly
  • travel
  • being greek (him half, I full)
  • the Oakland church where he grew up and my parents were married
  • Book themes, the best ones showing how adversity is overcome
  • His accidental children’s book about mice
  • My upcoming book about (stay tuned!)

I mean really, I was dumbfounded. The ease of conversation, the instant sense of trust and familiarity–this man was so animated, and so eloquent–his thoughts left his mouth like golden ribbons. And I sat there, with the sun in my eyes listening to a perfect stranger tell me,

“you have a gift.”

How does he know? How can he tell?

And then he said something that gave him away. He said,

“Honor differences, validate similarities.”


After I packed up, I walked home right at 8 o’clock. The sky was still full of leftover light. Rounding the corner to my house, I saw a single deer, strutting in the high grass. It was out of sight as quickly as it fell in, and I smiled to myself knowing the significance the deer has for George’s girls ever since his passing.

Maybe we see what we want to see, and hear what we want to hear. Maybe our senses compensate for a mind in need. Why and how my evening happened doesn’t concern me. That it happened is enough to break me out of that glass box and renew me.

Momknapping: The Finale

For seven straight days, my mom and I shared the same 20 x 20 box with two beds. Whenever she awoke, I did too. Whenever she watched a Lifetime movie, so did I. Meals? together. Neighborhood drives? Side by side.

We know a lot about each other, she and I. Always have, but this trip took us to a new level of understanding.

Here’s what I knew to expect: She’s always presentable and always prepared.  She notices the colony of lint settling onto my peacoat approximately 3 days before I do. She checks for holes in her nylons before packing them on a trip, and immediately hangs up her coats, dresses, sweaters, scarfs and transient “wrinkleables” in the hotel closet. The folds of her purse are lined with protein bars and small stashes of almonds.

“Lord knows when you’ll find yourself hungry or in a bind.”

Here’s the unexpected: I felt so much like my dad.

I guess he’d take his socks off in the middle of the night and forget to find them the next day, swallowed in the sheets. I guess he’d talk to waiters and workers and people with the same spark and tenderness that she caught me with.

“You’re so much like your father,” she’d say.

But besides the quirks and traits and behavioral patterns that were passed onto him to be passed onto me, I felt so much like my dad because I felt so much love for my mom. My, my. What a mushy thing to say and extraordinary thing to feel.

Our time in Atlanta can then be lumped into two themes that are so strongly intertwined. Human behavior (my mother’s, my father’s, my own. The people, past and present, that make up the confederacy — that make up the state and the stories told to the tiny Georgia Peaches not yet ripe enough to hear the true sounds of the South) and History.

We started at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Read the quotes to get an idea of the type of human behavior this President fought for.







We drove through the Virginia Highland neighborhoods to stop by a house that means so much to a few we love.



The Fox theatre welcomed us into the Cleopatra Ballroom, where we stood amidst hundreds of lit forty-somethings in sailor hats. They swayed and step-touched to the sounds of Yacht Rock Revue. The band looked like they had just stepped into technicolor, and their mustaches were unspeakably seventies.



The next day we went to Stone Mountain. Before we knew its racist roots, we looked upon it as visitors and were charmed by it. The Antebellum plantations. The fallen leaves. The wooden planks, everything frozen in time.

I cannot even express how heavy my heart is after seeing the tribute to Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson proudly etched into the stone that once held burning KKK crosses. The day evoked strong questions, emotions, sadness. But the visit was worthwhile. It was 20 degrees when we were there, but I cannot recall the cold, only the air hot, sticky with hatred.


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For the rest of the trip, I worked and worked and worked. Luckily, my main girl was always up for meeting me after a long day and trying new places to experience new eats. Together, we sampled some of Atlanta’s food jewels.





And when all the food and fun was said and done, we’d come back to the hotel and rest our heads in unforgivably comfortable beds. We marveled at the christmas decorations and the heated indoor pool.


I took a dip to get my heart rate up. When it slowed, I floated on my back, placing my index fingers in my ears. I listened to the blood circulate and the pool vent chew the water. Weightless, I expressed my gratitude to Work for displacing me, and to my mother and father for placing me where ever it is I am today.


With love, Us.





This one’s a good month. A bountiful month, a  proving month. A glittering crimson and jeweled month, filled with chance and truth month.

On September first, I stopped then started. It was a needed reset, and eight days in, I still feel more or less revived.

It started in Eureka when Drew and I escaped to the North Coast for labor day weekend. My first time in a puddle jumper plane started a domino effect of firsts –in a matter of days, I met droves of his family and friends, experienced cabin life in Willow Creek, hooted and hollered at small town folk in Big Foot suits, saw a night sky tightly polka dotted with stars, and witnessed a scorpion try to sneak its way into a suitcase.

We hiked and explored and played and wandered and sat by the firepit with his parents. We squeezed hands every time we saw deer minding their afternoons like they mind their babies. We drank Troublemaker and ate sliders with childish class, uninterested in time or texts or responsibility.

And I got to bring my dad to a new place. His birthday anniversary was yesterday, and like every day this month, I toasted to his life. In warm company, I remembered him as I always do. Happy birthday dad, this month’s for you.

Here’s a playlist I’ve made to soundtrack this new and ninth month. Enjoy the songs and these below sights.






































A French Adventure

After two weeks of radio silence, I’m back on the microphone to get a little French with you all. In the time I spent off the air, I’ve packed and unpacked moving boxes, settled into a new home, worked 70-hour-weeks and still managed to get outside long enough to get the most gruesome sunburn my olive skin’s experienced since Stingray Swim Camp, 1997.

It’s been a wild ride, but I’m ready to recount the Wonderful.

I’ll start by acknowledging my employer, Rosetta, for shipping me off to the South of France to attend the 60th Annual Cannes Lions of Creativity Festival. It was an enormous honor and opportunity, and I think I’ll always have a mild case of the pinch-me’s about this experience. Astounding presentations, calm coastal waters, Creatives walking around in their loafers and oversized Tortoise frames —  it was just what I expected: surreal.

To set the stage, here’s what  happened while I was detained in a floating cylinder above the Atlantic:

  • Despite being a lowly coach riding scrub in sneakers and yoga pants, Air France rewarded me with glasses full of champagne, personal merlots, and a fudgesicle. All. for. free.
  • Thanks to in-flight silent farter bandits mysteriously dispersed throughout the cabin, the air was in a constant state of perma-stink. Oh, the eleven-hour linger.
  • I shared an arm rest with a really nice woman from Sonoma, and supplemented our intermittent chats with music and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Winter Dreams.”
  • Some people just didn’t give a damn. Like the seven I saw walk into the lavatory barefooted, or the 12 I caught slippin in just wearing socks.

Once I landed, I made it to my hotel, showered and had no more than 15 minutes before I was off to meet the Rosetta crew for our first dinner in Cannes. I was over dressed.

And now, Mesdames et Messieurs, I give you Cannes — land of extravagant people and possessions.




Our group spent between 6 and 8 hours a day nerding out to keynote speeches, interviews, and presentations. Thought leaders, CEOs, innovators, risk-takers and game changers were welcomed to the stage –– I’ll let you place Martha Stewart, Mel B and Nick Cannon into whichever category you see fit.


Highlight: Gloria Steinem. “Violence against females normalizes all forms of violence.” Check out this project, Makers, she’s been working on with AOL.



Highlight: Not seeing Zach Galifianakis but seeing the other fat, funny guy instead.  Jack Black, everybody.


The Cannes Connect rooftop bar — the place to go mingle with little and bigwigs from all over the world. Free Rosé and Riviera views.

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The Google Beach parties, equipped with real You Tube sensations. I was significantly upset that no one invited this corgi or this hamster to perform. As you can see, when you’re a Cannes Lion, mingling is the name of the game and the word of the week.




Highlight: An intimate setting to stare at and listen to the infallible Lianne La Havas. A voice like a rabbit foot, that’s what she’s got.



Eye contact, a thing of the past.





Highlight: Meeting Arianna Huffington after her talk on finding a healthy balance between worklife and lifelife. We bonded over being Greek and are slated to vacation together next month.

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Only in Cannes is an open bar Dj’ed beach party just, you know… casual.

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And now, I put to practice what I learned from BBDO’s presentation titled Hemingway, Dickens and Michelangelo: The Best Agency Ever?

They said: All you have to do is write one true sentence.

Cannes was all-inspiring and sleep depriving.

And when it was over, I went to Paris and stayed in an art curator’s Montemartre flat. Les swoon.

Paris, France flat

And I lost myself down narrow streets that serpentined around buildings older than America.


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Highlight: Visiting the Musée d’Orsay. Impressionist art makes my heart beat like rollerblades in the dryer, and when I saw Degas, Rousseau, Renoir, Tolouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Manet, I was besides myself with joy and disbelief.

Each painting brought me further into an unworldly dimension, and I stopped often to marvel at the way these artists immortalized culture. I felt connected. The brushstrokes revealed backstories that were previously inaccessible to me, and I felt myself  melting into the warped realities of their time.

Below on the right is a self portrait of Degas. He was 19.

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To top off an already unforgettable day in Paris, I managed to be there for France’s Music Festival — a day dedicated to celebrating the summer solstice. Pop-up performances littered the streets and unsuspecting venues and little old me caught as many as I could.

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I gave George a Seine River view.






As I walked home from the subway station, I stumbled upon a little Montemartre theater about to open its doors to play-going-patrons. I paid my way and enjoyed a show I couldn’t understand. It was perfect.

And after a particularly French encore, I exited the theater just in time for the Music Festival to hit the streets of Montemartre. Everyone had wine in one hand and someone in the other. DJs spun an all-night-soundtrack to a street party dance affair, and under my breath I wished a Happy Summer Soltice to the hip kids lining historic streets.





vocab and worldview, expanding

Hold on to your knickers, I have an announcement that’s sure to make even the most ladylike lose function of a vital organ or three. I’ve been reading.

Not in a facebook-status or magazine advice column kind of way, but in a way that mimics the focus and precision of a surgeon. Pen steady in hand. Pupils allowing just the right amount of light into interlacing tubes. My brain, it glows, buzzes even, in the most active state it’s known since high school Calculus. None of that Kindle shit, I hold my book in hand, smell its long-lived life and scrutinize its innards for a good long while at a time.

You see, I’m becoming a writer because writing is becoming on me.

And in my last mass, I focused on diction that wasn’t quite familiar. Circled it, underlined it, listed it out to create stories and fold each acquaintance into the next day’s dough. Kneading as necessary. Rolling as is so assuredly required. Maybe it’s my upcoming trip to France, maybe it’s the hardwood floors that are soon to be mine to have and to hold, to rent and to build a home upon. Either way, I loved this new-to-me German word immediately.

Thoughts of France and Paris

George’s Girl goes to Israel

In a swift act of courage on a cold January night, I booked a flight to Israel. It was a calculated risk, no doubt–one that required hours of research, deliberate introspection, and a built up bank of vacation days.  And while I had many a moment of ambivalence before clicking that oversized ‘confirm’ button, I’m proud that in that frigid winter moment, I did not let cold feet get the best of me.

Follow along day by day to see and read snippets of the most eye-opening, reverent, streetwise, blissful, aware, joyful 10 days I’ve been privileged enough to know. Israel did so very right by me.

T U E S D A Y 3/12 — The starting tone

As he drove me to the airport at 5 AM, my favorite brother-in-law asked me what Dad would think of me going to Israel. Like any good joke, my answer was stitched with the truth: “He’d say, NFW, Nicole. No Firetruck Way.”

But in my heart, I knew my dad would do the opposite of hold his adventuress back. He would have turned his own schedule upside down to help me in any capacity–‘Do you have your passport? Copy of your passport? Enough cash? Snacks? Chargers? Modest clothes? Have you checked the weather? Is your flight on time? Who’s picking you up? Do you know how to say anything at all in Hebrew besides those three lines from the Torah you learned from attending all those bar mitzvahs?’

Yes. Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. No. I have no idea. Ditto that. Absolutely not, Mazel Tov.

He would have printed my boarding passes and shepherded me to the terminal with an unforgivable amount of time to spare.

And in the car on the way to the airport with Yianni, I simultaneously smiled and cried to myself loving my father for that. I pictured him behind his Costco reading glasses tracking my flight as it soared over states, seas, and strange lands he’d never get the chance to visit.

W E D N E S D A Y 3/13 — Life in a floating torpedo

Sitting in the same clothes and inhaling the exhales of a hundred other passengers for hours on end was enough to make a girl mad. Luckily, a few things saved me from losing more than just 9 hours and a healthy line of immune system defense.

1. Austrian Airways indulging its weakness for particularly excruciating puns. It’s cheeky slogan, Time to Say Dubai, both won my heart and broke my soul.

2. Seeing the new parents in front of me do the ‘lift & sniff’ test on their baby no less than 25 times over the duration of the flight. Hyper considerate and cautious Russian first-timers, I thought. I loved them immediately.

3. Sharing row 11 with a hoary-headed Jewish man with gripping blue eyes and genuine intentions. He turned the pages of his book left to right as I turned mine right to left. He tapped me on the shoulder to tell me that by my penmanship, he could tell I had good character. He waited with me to make sure I made my connecting flight to Tel Aviv and told me of his wife, eleven children, father, home in Jerusalem, and his visit to Seattle where the rain, he said, was “gentle.”

T H U R S D A Y 3/14 –Jerusalem

I haven’t been particularly close to my faith over the last several years, and I’m beginning to think it’s because I never bothered to take the stories of the Bible as anything more than fable, let alone codified snapshots of history. This day trip gave me with context, relevance, and an unsuspecting closeness to the church my father was so faithful to. I felt close to him. I felt like I wanted to bury my nose in the Old Testament and history books alike to learn everything I possibly could about the 2,000 year old olive trees, tombs, walls, rocks and meaningful paths that encompassed me.

The view of Jerusalem from Mount of Olive:

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The Garden of Gethsemane

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The Church of All Nations which houses the rock where Jesus knelt to pray after The Last Supper, knowing how he was to die after being betrayed.


The Tomb of the Virgin Mary

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The journey along the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus walked bearing his cross towards crucifixion.

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Along the Via Dolorosa, Jesus’ hand print remains on the wall he used to support himself when nearly stumbling to the ground bearing his cross.

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The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. [ Note the ladder on the second story. Known as the “immovable ladder,” it has been there for as long as America has been a country. The six ecumenical Christian orders created an understanding that no one may move, rearrange, or alter any property without the consent of all six orders.]

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The rock that held Christ’s crucifixion cross.

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The rock Jesus’ cleaned body was placed on after death, as depicted in the icon above.


The Holy Sepulchre.

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The tomb of St. Helen, and the deeper layers of the rock that held Christ’s crucifixion cross.


The Western Wall

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The underground tunnels of the Western Wall. [ Jerusalem is a city that has been built and rebuilt on top of itself over thousands and thousands of years. These underground passageways go at least six stories deep into the crust of the earth and showcase the original stone work of King Herod’s original temple and palace. Layers and layers and layers of history beneath unsuspecting pilgrim feet. Unreal.

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The church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, where she fell into eternal sleep.


The tomb of King David.


The place where The Last Supper took place.

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F R I D A Y 3/15 — Tel Aviv Half Marathon

After what could only be described as a spiritual whirlwind in Jerusalem, Inbal and I woke up at 4 am to hit the starting line for the Tel Aviv Marathon. Since she had to work the event, and I had no choice but to accompany, I watched the first signs of light dust the sleepless city and stretched for approximately 115 minutes longer than I needed to.

At 6 AM the race started. There is no better way to tour an unfamiliar city than running 13.1 miles through its veins and arteries. Despite the early morning heat and my inadequate training, I finished the Half in 2 hours and 5 minutes. I promptly vomited from a combination of sheer exhaustion, a completely effed body clock, and the questionable decision I made to down a whole milk yogurt upon crossing the finish line.












S A T U R D A Y 3/16 — The Dead Sea

With a combined local and domestic knowledge that one upped any travel book I could have ever read, Inbal and her two friends, Keren and Rinat, packed a cultural and political power punch on our day trip to the Dead Sea. On the drive we passed through Druze and Arab villages, as well as Bedouin camps. The ringleted beauties offered me their opinions, thoughts, beliefs, and frustrations regarding the occupied territories and Jewish settlers. They offered me fodder for which to place my own opinion, that for once, would be contextually informed.

Just above the Dead Sea, a lush oasis of life exists. I give you an unintentionally asymmetrical tank top in front of the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve:

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[Despite what it may look like, I am not singing sharp nor using a clear and coiled earpiece to navigate.]


The lowest and saltiest place on Earth:

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Salt Deposits

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S U N D A Y 3/17 — Losing myself on a long walk through Tel Aviv

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I hope I never forget the happy little screams of these sweet mini humans as they yelled to ‘Abba’, Dad, to watch them play.

I also hope my part longing/part goofy stare and picture taking did not worry said ‘Abbas.’ YOLO.


The Carmel Market.

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The Mediterranean Sky Gods flexed their guns real good for me. Nothing like a stroll in fine sand with this view of a striated horizon melting day to night.






And as night fell, Inbal and I gave Tel Aviv the old American cheese and laid down a Dropkick Murpheys song at an open mic night to pay homage to a heritage neither of us possess.

Lies on the Irish punk band point. We sang Lykke Li like good little indie girls.

Unfortunately, since we steered clear of Tracy Chapman, George Michaels, and Aaron Carter, our Israeli audience–of sophisticated music palette–did not recognize our song choice. The applause was   one degree of separation from a golf clap. Can’t win ’em all.

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And then we danced until 5 AM. I may or may not have done the splits on the dance floor. And when I say ‘may not’ I mean: most definitely did.


M O N D A Y 3/18 — Nazareth

While Inbal was at work, I took a little adventure by my onesie. With a little faith and a stable internal compass, I set off for Nazareth to view the Church of the Annunciation, and the city where Jesus spent his adolescent life.

When I walked into the church, I was entirely alone. Except, that is, for the ‘keeper of the keys’ who was  a sweet little Arabic man who looked alarmingly like Count Dracula, but in an endearing way. He spoke English well, and asked me about my religious background. When I told him I grew up Greek Orthodox, he immediately started reciting every Greek Liturgy hymn he had ever been exposed to. He missed some words all together, broke melodies without looking back, and blurred the lines between chants–connecting them in ways that were, for all intents and purposes, unorthodox.

He had this sincere grin on his face the entire time, and I knew he was so proud of both his memory and voice. We engaged in a little game of call and response chanting, until I exhausted his repertoire and he let me be.

It was, to be honest, hilariously magical. And it made me think of my dad and how he would always sing unfitting pieces of the Doxology at random times… i theotokos so son imas, aaaaammmiiinnn… in the shower, in the car wash, in the check-out line, in full confidence.

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IMG_2636 And then I wanted to go to this old underground spice market. The only problem, it was so hipster that no one had heard of it.

Except, that is, for Poopah. An unsuspecting thirteen-year-old on her way home from school, Poopah was kind enough to help out a wandering American who’s pursed lips and furrowed brow gave her less-than-found coordinates away. She led me down cobble stone paths, around markets, up hills, down corridors and to the Babor. But not without lovingly gabbing my ear off first about Justin Bieber, her music lessons, her mean music teacher, her Facebook friends, how she wants to be famous, and her flattering curiosity that kept her harping on the fact that I don’t have a boyfriend. But you’re so beautiful, she’d say.

I wanted to keep her and give her Justin Bieber, fame, and everything she could ever want. But instead, I said thank you and bought an absurd amount of spices from this scensational (couldn’t help it) little hole in the ground.





T U E S D A Y 3/19 — The Golan Heights, Sea of Galilee, Kibbutz

Wildflower season in the North. Every breath and step had me smiling wider than the Cheshire cat.

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The Sea of Galilee

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The Greek Orthodox church of the disciples Peter and Paul, right on the shore of the sea.

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Dinner for three at a Kibbutz overlooking the sea at sun fall. That meal and those moments that wrapped the view in memory foam. Divine.

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W E D N E S D A Y 3/20 — Jaffa, the ancient port city

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T H U R S D A Y 3/21– Lod

I set out on another out of town adventure. Train>>>Taxi>>>Walk>>>Disappointment. The church that houses St. George’s relics was closed.

No no no no no.

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With my tail between my legs and a perma-frown on my face, I made it back to Tel Aviv to meet Inbal for her coworker’s wedding. It started at 9pm, and breezed through the night. Love, happy couples light on their feet, an unstoppably Mediterranean menu of delicious proportions, and more love.





F R I D A Y 3/22 — Lod take 2.

I cannot forbear to thank Inbal for being not only an unbelievable host and guide, but considerate and loving friend. We spent 10 days around each other catching up and confiding. Trusting and loving and laughing and dancing and opening up about any and everything, and it was truly a rare and special bond we grew together. Over hummus. Over halva. Over careers, men, family, my father.

My father. George.

I couldn’t let this trip end without visiting the Church of St. George, and Inbal–bless her giving soul, did everything in her power to get me there. She found every possible loophole to maneuver around a city that shuts down for Shabbot on Fridays. She made phone calls to the national bus hotline, hailed taxis, found the right train that was still operating despite the impeding hours of rest. She braved a bizarre, yet unforgettable dust storm with me and walked through what, in retrospect, was a rather sketchy and questionable “city.” She joined me hand-in-hand and walked down the stairs into the crypt.

She wept with me as I thought of my own St. George, and how mirroring myth or legend or scripture–whatever it may be–he was the one to slay my every dragon.

It was a wildly beautiful visit. Surreal. Victorious against the elements. It was George’s will all along, though, and knowing that brought me unrivaled serenity.

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And just like that, it is already a distant dream.