Last summer as I embarked on the start of my Foreign Service career, I blogged about the good life I had enjoyed and how blessed I was to have a wonderful family who supported me. More than a year later, the same feeling remains. I'm still livin' the dream.
The past month was another chapter of the good life. Two of the highlights that immediately come to mind were a weekend getaway to Istanbul and a brief visit to Jerusalem. Over Rosh Hashanah a quick two hour plane brought us to the amazing sights of the Ottoman empire. We saw magnificent mosques and toured decadent palaces. My kids didn't appreciate the architectural marvels and ornate aesthetics as much but were mostly content throughout the trip. The previous weekend the family also made its first pilgrimage to Jerusalem. We were able to tour the Western Wall complex and stroll through the Old City before returning home late that afternoon. We will be back many more times to see .
These were trips of a lifetime but a number of everyday experiences have left a more indelible mark on my spirits. Weekend excursions to beautiful nearby beaches have reminded me of boyhood vacations at my grandparents' in South Florida. Biking to and from work with my wife along the Mediterranean has become a pleasant diversion from the normal commute. Visiting my kids' classrooms has left me feeling very positive about their education. Coming home to a clean house and home cooked meal has reassured me that we made a good choice for our domestic help.
The good life in Israel is almost all encompassing. J and I were actually hard pressed the other night to come up with a major drawback of being posted here. We suppose the prices could be cheaper. It's still hard to swallow paying at least $150 in groceries every week and gas costs more than $8 per gallon. The kids' bus ride is also long and an early morning pickup means I have to drag them out of bed every morning. But that's really about it. I can't complain too much.
I'd like to think that the honeymoon stage of my first tour has passed and that these feelings will not wear off anytime soon. I'm sure our remaining twenty-one months will have their share of ups and downs. We do feel homesick once and a while but then there's always another sunset behind the palm tree in our back yard. Life is good.