Shavuot – Tuesday/Wednesday – Day 288/289

Posted on 20th May 2013

Today was the start of tour! At 5AM I woke up, showered, grabbed by bags and headed to Platt for the last time. There waiting was the entire Glee Club, ready for our flight. From there, we walked to the station to catch a train to the airport, which we made just in time. Check in wasn’t so much of a pain, especially having flown so many times before, I just went with it. Security was a breeze, and soon I was on the plan, furiously texting my few friends left in Philly and saying more goodbyes.

I slept all the way to Chicago, O’Hare airport, and there for a two hour layover, decided to head to the American Airlines Lounge with a few friends and 24 hour guest passes we had. After a glass of wine, and some snacks, we chilled and napped briefly, before catching our final flight to Seattle.

The flight there was barely long enough to be uncomfortable and, the issue was more dealing with large amounts of luggage and the fact that I had no real place for Shavuot, a Jewish festival starting that evening. Regarding that matter, I was complaint to my close friend Tova Reiter. Since her last visit, we had become much closer and given the time difference between Seattle and Chicago, she was a convenient friend with whom to voice my annoyance. However she wasn’t standing for it one bit. A few minutes later I received a text from her with a number to call for someone in the Seattle community. I was also instructed in no uncertain terms that it was my responsibility to call the number. I tried it a few times to no avail and had almost given up when on a fourth try a very direct lady answered asking me what my situation was. The connection was shaky and dropped a few times, however within the half hour I had a family to stay with and a list of places where I would be eating over the next two days.

My next task was to make it from the centre of Seattle to the Seward Park neighborhood where the Jewish community was located. This was more of a task than I initially would’ve assumed. I started asking around and no-one seemed to know either where it was or how to get there. Eventually I found a lady who directed me to a certain bus and told me to switch to the ‘fifty’ at some later point. After about half an hour on the bus I started to get nervous and started asking others on the bus where I should disembark. Given a piece of incorrect information I disembarked early, ending up in some foreign suburb with all my bags, waiting for the next bus. Twenty minutes later I was on the road again, this time for only five minutes, before being unceremoniously dumped once more on the side of the road. By this point the sun was starting to drop in the sky and I started to get a little on edge.

I waited ten minutes for the next bus, then twenty, forty, fifty and then, finally, at the one hour mark, the bus trundled down the near empty road and picked me up. From there my next task was to figure out how to get from the Seward Park neighbourhood to the address I had been given. I asked the bus driver and she was a little uncertain but very warm and friendly and let me know that she would ensure my safe arrival. Though she couldn’t take me direct to my destination she dropped me off on the side of a major intersection and told me to run to catch another bus fast approaching that would take me to the final stop. Very worn out by this point, I raced to the other bus, just catching it in time.

Barely three minutes later, the bus arrived at the intersection I needed. As I got off, I gazed at the path ahead. My head tilted up and up, till I could finally see the top of the incline that was mine to climb. With time fast passing me by, I knew the task needed to be completed swiftly and thus, I gathered my efforts and twenty five minutes later made it to the top of the hill to the house of Ezra and Eliza Genauer.

The took me in with great warmth and no hesitation, and introduced me to their charming children, Levi, Donny and Tova (a different Tova this time). Ezra took me with him to Synagogue where he introduced me to a man named Moshe who would be hosting me for dinner. My meal that evening was fair, though the company was well above my age range, the youngest at the table being a good fifteen years by senior. I made it back to the house just after midnight and fell fast asleep.

Ezra woke me early the next morning for synagogue the next day, chatting to me on the way about his interests in community organizing which piqued my own interest due to my work in such things back home. Lunch at his place afterwards was slightly more exciting than the night before due to the company of a Microsoft Security officer who worked in the community. The evening meal was similar, although this time the host was an Amazon employee and an ex-Microsoft staffer from the Windows department. It was most exciting to be surrounded by so many technical types as my previous environments had limited talent in the area. Back a bit earlier, I chatted to Ezra and Eliza in the evening before bed.

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