In just a few short hours, our family will board an El Al flight destined for Tel Aviv. For months, I have eagerly anticipated watching the unique juxtaposition of modernity and history that characterizes the Holy Land unfold before my children’s eyes for the first time.
I’ve dreamt of their expressions as they conquer the summit atop Masada, imagined their smiles as they taste their first real shawarma and envisioned their awe in Jerusalem’s Old City. In my optimistic view, everything seems magical. Except the flight.
I envision ten torturous hours of, “Are we there yet?” After all—if it’s possible—their excitement may even surpass mine. And ten hours is sure to feel like a millennium to my trio of ladies.
Not wanting to rely on El Al’s in-flight entertainment for the entire trip, I’ve packed backpacks full of exciting goodies: travel journals for them to document their journey, age-appropriate historical fiction books about Israel, already-addressed and stamped notecards for them to send to friends and family and, of course, snacks.
Our carry-on bag will be full of fresh fruit (which they will no longer think is worth eating after they taste the wonderful Israeli fruit), carrot sticks and hummus (which they will no longer find worth eating after they taste the incredible Israeli hummus) and bags of my gluten-free granola. Packed with protein and sweet enough to call it a treat, this granola will hopefully stave off the “Are we there yet?” routine.
And, if it doesn’t, I will just close my eyes and envision their expressions as they eat their way through the culinary delight that is the shuk (market).