Sunday, May 15, 2016

Where Would Phoebe Go?: On the jet-setting lifestyle

Normally, to campus and back, and to various Toronto coffee shops. Next week, however, it's off to Paris and Rehovot, via New York. No, I'm not going on some sort of simulated French-Jewish aliyah tour, although I see why it might seem that way. All that's happening is, my husband has some conferences, and - as happens on the rare occasions when doing so is feasible - I'm going to tag along. Speaking of tags, I still need to get a Canadian flag one for my luggage.

I remember, when on research trips to Paris, being really miffed when people thought (or when I thought they thought) I was on vacation. In retrospect, the time I spent living there, where my only work responsibility was writing a dissertation, was a bit vacation-ish, at least compared with this past year, during which I taught full-time at a university; coordinated one of those courses; wrote regularly for a publication; and, aaah, wrote a book manuscript. Yes, all of that happened in the past year. I didn't really have weekends, or much in the way of evenings off. So you know what? I'm going to say, in full, unabashed delight, that this trip to Paris counts as a vacation. Yes, I'll likely do some work, but I'll also do a spot of croissant/shoe/book/clothes-shopping, or as much as the dismal euro-CAD exchange rate permits. And I'll have to see whether I now sound French-Canadian; if I get a chilly reception in shoe-and-croissant emporia, I won't know whether it's the old-new European anti-Semitism or the fact that I now may use the 'wrong' kind of French.

Rehovot, meanwhile, I know next to nothing about. Apparently there's really good hummus, some of which I'd like right now, please. (Maybe there's good Middle Eastern food in Toronto, but ingredient-wise, it doesn't seem possible.) It's also apparently 107 degrees these days, which, with it dipping to 37 today in Toronto, I'm having trouble even imagining. My plan is to go into Tel Aviv a bunch, assuming that's not incredibly complicated, and enjoy that which is non-Canadian (warm weather, a beach, amazing vegetables, and those sweet iced blended coffees...). Also to see Jerusalem, but in the way that doesn't involve swooping in and out, as I did on a tour when I was 8 (which I sadly remember none of) and, at 23, on Birthright (which I remember bits of, including the fact that I spent the group's big night out in Jerusalem in the hotel room, talking on the phone to my non-Birthright-eligible now-husband). Not quite sure what to do there, nor whether I own skirts long enough for it, but it seems ridiculous to be so close by and not have a look.

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