Weeks before Pesach, my son started talking about the Juggling Convention during Chol HaMoed. Enthusiastically, he explained that you can camp there over Shabbat, that they give you a bracelet, and that there are going to be some of the best jugglers in the world.
Information fell from him in bits and pieces, often when I was busy doing something else.
As Pesach approached, he showed me information on-line, but it was in Hebrew and I did not have the time to read it. It did not occur to me that there might also be information in English.
We often take advantage of Chol HaMoed to visit friends in far off places, especially friends who live up north of down south. But, a few days before Pesach, my girls, especially Y, expressed their desire to go camping.
Now, I love camping, but Moshe really does not. He does not mind if we (read: the kids and I) go camping, but he wants to sleep somewhere with air-conditioning.
In the past, even though he did not enjoy it, Moshe came and helped a lot. The kids were much younger then, and he basically kept an eye on the younger kids while my eldest did her best to help me set up camp.
With the cancer in my bones, camping is more difficult for me than it used to be. Still, now that the kids are older, I figured we could do it if all the kids pitch in and help.
When I learned that the Juggling Convention would be at Gan HaShlosha (Sahne) in Emek Beit She'an, I realized we could combine everyone's needs and interests.
We have really good friends who live less than a ten minute drive from there, on Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu; Moshe could sleep there.
We had all sorts of plans, including a day trip that Y, my eldest, found, after searching the internet for something appropriate for our family's needs. We planned on spending the first day at the Juggling convention and the second day doing Y's tiyul (hike).
Well, you know how it is...
We fully intended to get on our way either on motzai Shabbat (Saturday night) or early Sunday morning.
In the end, we left Hareisha (where we had spent Shabbat), on Sunday, after noon! Which means we arrived at Sahne after 2:30!
We paid the more expensive admission for attending the Juggler's Convention, then we found a place to park. The kids were all hungry (and bickering), so we quickly found a picnic table and sat down to lunch. (Like me, my kids are easily aggitated when they need to eat)
We did not see any jugglers. Not one. Only lots and lots of Israelis!
Eventually, we asked one of the park attendees where the jugglers were. He looked us over and then told us that we had to pay extra for that. I told him we had.
"Really?" He asked us, disbelievingly.
"Yes, really," I insisted.
"Then you don't belong here," he responded, and directed us to where the jugglers were camped.
It was hot and the girls really wanted to go swimming. I did too, but I wanted to get settled in first.
We got back in our car (no small feet, since the only way to fit into our small car with all our stuff was for the kids and I to be buried under our belongings!), and drove to the very end of the park, where it took us at least another 10-15 minutes to figure out where to park.
When we got to the entrance of the convention, we found out that the entrance fee to the park did not cover entrance to the convention! Furthermore, if you did not pre-register (which we did not), the admission fee was twice as high! Moreover, the international performance was not covered in the admission and if you want to attend that, you have to purchase additional tickets!
This was way more than I bargained for!!
The one consolation was that the higher entrance fee to Sahne was a one time fee for the entire juggling convention, including the ability to remain after closing time (4:00 pm) and camp out.
After several minutes of deliberation, we decided to stay and camp there for both nights. My eldest was not happy about that decision. She really wanted to camp out at least one night by the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). But it was already late and camping out at Sahne made the most sense for a variety of reasons.
By the time we set up our camp, it was almost dark. The main park was closed and we could no longer go swimming. My girls were very disappointed and quite petulant. My son was also complaining that his head hurt.
"This reminds me why I don't like camping," Moshe whispered to me.
It was not an auspicious beginning....
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,