I’m here in Israel! The flight was good, although despite being extremely exhausted (1 hour of sleep the night before my flight), I got only about three hours of sleep. We decided weeks ago that dd14 would come with me – I haven’t said anything here because we wanted to surprise dd16. I told dd14 if she wanted to pay for her own ticket ($1075), that I’d cover all other expenses – passport, food, travel with Israel, and activities. It’s a lot of money, and after thinking about it, she said she really wanted to come, but it felt like too much money for such a short time.
So I contacted the head of dd16’s program, to see if dd14 could stay with her sister a few days (attending classes with her – for someone who’s been homeschooled for over a decade, it will be a new experience!), and she agreed. Being able to spend an additional week in Israel made it worthwhile for dd14, so she’ll be coming back on her own a week after me. It was really nice having dd14 with me – she’s been a great traveling buddy!
It’s also been nice for the two of us to have shared the preparation and anticipation for this trip. We particularly talked a lot about how to surprise dd16 when we get to the airport, and after many possible schemes, decided to just have dd14 exit to the waiting area 5 minutes after me. (It’s been a big effort not to let anything slip and to tell as few people as possible, to eliminate the possibility of other people letting it out.) The only problem with that was when we got there, dd16 wasn’t there! So we stayed on different sides of the airport waiting area so dd16 wouldn’t see us together.
As I was walking around and looking for dd16, I suddenly heard, “Mommy!”, and I turned, and there she was! She came over and started crying, and I gave her a huge hug, and then a few more hugs. I didn’t want her to see dd14 yet, so we walked to the restrooms on the other side of the waiting area, then walked back in the other direction, as I was thinking about how to give dd14 a chance to see us before we exited to the train. Fortunately, dd14 saw us, and came over, saying, “Hi, T!” And dd16 casually says, “Hi, M!” and hugs her. I was like, umm, aren’t you a tiny bit surprised to see your sister here?
And dd16 told me she was sure I was going to bring her, and in fact, had told her friends that her sister would be coming back from the airport with us! Apparently I had said something before I ever planned the trip that if I ever came, I’d want to bring dd14 with me, and she said I after I told her I was coming, I never expressly told her I wasn’t bringing dd14. The irony is I wasn’t planning to bring dd14 when I initially planned my trip! Her guess was confirmed a few weeks ago when ds4 told dd16, “Mommy bought us yummy cereal for when M. and Mommy go to visit you!” I quickly shushed him and told him to tell her it was a mistake, and he did; when she got on the phone with me, she asked me what he was saying, that she couldn’t understand him – she realized we were trying to keep it a secret from her and didn’t want us to know she figured it out.
So even though dd wasn’t surprised, at least most of my blog readers will be! 😛