I’m sitting in seat 45H on my way to south and east Africa for two months. My eyes are puffy from too much crying and a puppy has kept me awake the past four nights so I’m not a pretty sight, but I’m cocooned in with a good book and dried mango. All week has felt like the chaos of Friday afternoon in preparation for Shabbat. I’ve finally made it to my metaphorical Friday Evening. It’s not quite sundown but we’re dancing at the Wall, charged with anticipation.
Jewish people who observe the Sabbath scurry around on Fridays to buy and prepare all the food they’ll need for the 24-hours ahead, including braiding and baking all the challah and taking into account the random mouths that will surely stop by. Everything has to be ready by sundown. Then it’s “pencils down.”
In similar fashion, I’ve just prepped like mad to get ready for this trip. I can’t conduct my business from overseas so all outstanding invoices were sent out and monies were collected. I’ve got multiple people are filling in for me at work, and I packed 3 different kinds of shoes (flipflops, water shoes and workboots) yet only 3 pair of underwear (they can be washed.)
There’s nothing left to prepare. My phone is in airplane mode, and I’m easing into the aloneness that comes with international travel. The moments where no one back home knows where I am.
In Israel there was a palpable magic to Shabbat, nothing like our western TGIF/It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere. Jews replace “hello” with “Shabbat Shalom” and it feels like a special guest is about to arrive. People dance and sing to welcome this guest. I won’t dance on the plane for fear of winding up with a Redress number, but the feeling is similar. Something good is coming.