We have arrived, safe and sound, at Kibbutz Lohame HaGetaot and had a wonderful meal at Abu Christo’s in Acco, with the rest of the senior staff and assorted kids. A great welcome back…
The trip over was tough, mostly because of the rain storms that hit the East Coast during the night and early morning, just before we left. What with the hour-long delay in Dulles and the four-hour delay in JFK, it took 12 hours just from the time we left our house in Chevy Chase until the flight from New York took off for Tel Aviv…and the flight itself was another 10 hours or so, followed by retrieval of baggage, passport control, Customs, car rental, and the two-hour drive up to the kibbutz – pretty much 24 straight hours of traveling. I’m hoping that we absorbed all of the bad juju and that the other people traveling to join us will have more uneventful journeys.
On the bright side, Hannah (14) and Joshua (almost 10) are excellent travelers and we were all eager to get to the kibbutz, unpack, shower, and eat. In the morning we’ll head out to the site to see what’s what – Joshua keeps asking when he can start digging.
Assaf has already been out at the site with Druze workmen for a few days, clearing out the underbrush and growth that has sprung up in our areas since we were last there (2008 in Area D-West; 2005 in Areas D-North and D-South), but also in the southern area dug by Kempinski and Niemeier sometime between 1986 and 1993 – it looked like a jungle in there last year and it must have been even worse by now. I don’t envy them.
Among other goals for this season, we are going to try to connect the two areas, our D-South and Kempinski’s area (which might become D-South-South or the Back-40), and Assaf reports that the brush-clearing operation has already yielded results: some of Kempinski’s balks have apparently collapsed and previously-unknown walls are now visible. Looks like we’ve already got architecture and the season hasn’t even begun – this is a good omen!
Sunday will bring all of the volunteers for the first session; the bus that we’ve arranged to bring them up from the airport should be full of tired but excited people. Hopefully they won’t be too jet-lagged and the anticipation of what is to come will make up for any initial homesickness that some will undoubtedly feel. We already have our wifi system set up and running (obviously, since I’m blogging here within hours of arriving). This will allow everyone to email, Skype, and blog with loved ones back home, which should help combat any homesickness — we already Skyped with Diane back home; great to see her as if she were sitting right here!
Ah, it’s good to be back, with trowel in hand and discoveries waiting to be made! This may be a perennial migration pattern, as my friend and colleague Norma Franklin said on Facebook the other day (when the American and European archaeologists and volunteers begin to arrive in Israel, she says, she knows it must be summer), but getting out from behind a desk and swapping paperwork for dirt, sweat, and a properly-used pickaxe is going to feel so good!