Mount of Olives panorama

Mount of Olives panorama
A panoramic view of the Mount of Olives

Preparing to Leave

One month and counting . . .

July 27 was the luggage purchase.  Each person gets one personal item (laptops mostly) and one carry-on to take onto the plane.  Two large suitcases, each not weighing over 50 pounds.  We are going to pay for at least one extra large one.  Eric, gray.  Elaine, burnt orange.  Rachel, electric blue.  Samuel, his favorite red.

July 28 was my last full shift serving in the Provo Temple.  I have worked there on Thursdays since 2002.  Hard to believe that we will not be able to attend in an LDS temple for a year, but at I will be able to go up on the ruins of the original temple every week, or at least look at it from my window every day!

July 29 saw our fish go to the kids' dentist's office to live.  I needed to empty and take down the 110-gallon saltwater aquarium that we have had for 18 years, as long as we have been married.

Our aquarium the night before the big take down

Their new home: we explained to Samuel that his dentist was going to take care of our fish and corals while we were in Jerusalem

Wednesday, Aug 10, exactly two weeks before we leave for Israel, saw Elaine completely clean and organize Samuel's room, getting everything ready to pack.

That night, before going to a late showing of "Captain America" together (need to get a last few American movies in!), we did a LOT of shopping.  New running shoes for me, a few DVD purchases so we can take some American tv with us, and a buying binge at Walmart, where we got a lot of the toiletries, contact supplies, and other personal items that we are either not sure that we can get in Jerusalem or which we expect to be prohibitively expensive there.

I will not post the final total, but let's simply say that the personal items run cost us more than our monthly grocery budget sometimes runs!

Our shopping cart filled with contact solutions and other personal items.  Now how are we going to pack this all?

The loot on the checkout conveyor.  Eric died as the the total mounted, but Elaine pointed out that these are normal items that will not appear in the next 6-12 month's monthly budgets

Our purchases last night included new running shoes for the coming year.  I did not choose these on purpose, they were literally my favorite two pair.  Those on the left are my "Palestinian shoes" (black, green, red, and white), and on the right are my "Israeli shoes" (white and light blue).  Usually I alternate running shoes, but maybe I should select shoes by what neighborhood in Jerusalem I am running in!
Saturday, August 13.  Elaine was up late last night.  When I got up, I saw that this was her Facebook post: "Two 48 lb. suitcases packed, 11 to go . . ."  We each get three bags, two checked and one carry-on, and we are planning to pay for at least one extra bag.

I did the last major work in the yard, and Samuel and I did a run to the dump.  Rachel sorted and made a spreadsheet of all the DVDs that we are taking and then put them in the sleeves of light weight DVD carriers.  We are getting there little by little!

Monday, August 15 (Departure - 9 days!).  I started at 9:30 and worked all they way until 6:00 in my study, cleaning out files and drawers and then working through my closet and drawers, separating clothes for those to take to Jerusalem, those to go to DI, and those to keep here.  Loaded two boxes with folded clothes to  pack (scheduled for Wednesday night).  Could not have gotten as much done if Mother and my friend Eric Schetselaar had not come and helped the whole day.

Mother and Eric shredding, shredding, shredding as I eliminated piles and cleaned out drawers and files.

Next came the sorting and folding of clothes.

Separating clothes for the move, those to go to charity, and those to keep (more neatly organized and less stuffed than before).

Meanwhile Elaine got Samuel almost completely packed, filling another large suitcase.  She is ahead of the rest of us, having packed three cases already.  Rachel has almost filled one, and my efforts today are only preparing me to start packing mine.