When I was 17, I backpacked around Europe with a buddy, sleeping on park benches, on overnight trains, and in bug-infested youth hostels. Since then, I have had the itch (maybe caused by one of the hostel bugs) to always be traveling, finding new and fascinating destinations that I have never been to before, eating exotic food, and meeting warm and friendly people.
My parents, although not as adventurous as me, also enjoyed traveling, particularly to Israel, their homeland. They journeyed back six times to work on a kibbutz, filling medical supply bags for military staff, and doing other menial jobs. Mom and dad didn’t mind wearing military uniforms or sleeping in the army barracks because they so thoroughly enjoyed helping the Israeli people.
Five years ago, my mom got very sick, and was no longer able to travel. For four years, my dedicated dad visited my mom in the hospital and rehabilitation center, dad after day after day, while my mom got frailer and frailer. Mom passed away last June, and my dad was devastated. He slowly got back on track and in October, he told me that he wanted to go to Israel again to work on the same kibbutz that he had worked on with my mom. My 86 year old dad booked flights for himself, flew to Israel, and worked on the kibbutz. I was so proud that he was able to do this by himself.
When dad returned, he told me about all of his wonderful experiences, including the delicious food. He told me about a dish called “shakshuka”, which was his very favorite. I had never eaten shakshuka, but I knew that it was a very popular Israeli street food. My dad visited me (we live on opposite sides of the U.S.) in March, and when he was here, I made shakshuka for him. I took the liberty of adding shrimp and garbanzo beans, and it turned out spectacularly!
For that meal, my dad was back in Israel, and he was very happy.