Ambilly, c’est fini.

Closing the door one last time. Not looking back. That’s it: I will never set a foot in this house again. The house of my childhood, my home. Maybe I won’t even come back in this small town. Ambilly, c’est fini.  IMG_2668

It’s rather rare in life to know when we are doing something for the last time. I walked back from the border last night, like I’ve done a million time before. Route de Geneve, taking left after the shady bar. Walking fast, it’s not the best neighborhood although I actually never got any trouble. Walking through the residential alley, smelling flowers in the night; spring finally arrived here.

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Waiting for the tram 12 at Bel-Air, one last time.

Taking left once again. Pont Noir. Crossing the railway where it seems a ghost train might appear since they took off the barrier. It feels a bit weird. Last straight line. Rue des Marroniers. I think about Kenny almost every time. I’m not even sure it is where he was living but that’s what child-me remembers. He won’t be there on his motorbike though. Never.

Now the roundabout. On the right the school “La Paix”. My school. I’ve been in every classroom, I played in the yard, I ran, I felt, I lost my favorite marble against a big girl, I sat on the ground, talking for hours with my Iranian friend, wondering why “the couldn’t all get along as we do”. The political discussions we had at 10 do not sound so different from the ones we are having now.

Yesterday, for the first time ever, the street lights were not working. The night was so dark I could not see the playground in front of the school, as if the town was closing down. Good bye,  don’t be sad, there is nothing left from your childhood anyway, nothing to regret.

Walking  along the stadium; on the other side, the park. The lights are on there, but I’m not even sure I visited it since it’s been renovated. It’s not anymore the place where I played hide-and-seek for hours, where I scared myself out going downhill on roller-blades and turning last second to avoid falling in the pond. The waterlilies, the huge goldfish and the broken bricks of the edges, all are gone already.

Left one more time. The entrance of the “Cottages”. The sign has been destroyed years ago but the mailboxes haven’t changed since we got there. Left again in front of Julien’s house. Passing Gael’s, Laura’s, James and Marina’s. Their parents are still living here but we are not riding our bikes together anymore. Au revoir les amis. Facebook is our new neighborhood.

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French boulangerie, when will I ever see you again?

Numero 6. There are no flowers on the clematis. I pause for a second. Good bye little house. Kissing the mezuza one last time. Good bye home. Now I will cary my home with me, everywhere, in the heart of those I love. A house is not a home, it’s just bricks. Home is where love is.

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Gaza, Egypt and Iam Hamelakh

Last month, my cousin and his wife traveled to Israel for their honeymoon. A freshly met friend offered to take us on a trip to his parents’ moshav, Yated, at the border with Gaza and Egypt. We went on the top of a monument from where we could see up to the see and had a glimpse on both territories. No need to say that from there, a cloud of dust sprouting from Gaza is not the most reassuring thing.

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In the back: Gaza

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Straight ahead: Egypt

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On the right: the moshav

We then went to visit the workshop of an artist who lives across the street of my friend’s, Yaron Bob. I let him explain what he does because he does that better than me.

This guy is a magician, he can transform a fork into all kind of animals, and he showed us every thing he does. We also had a glimpse of his raw material:

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He explained us that the big ones, the Qassams, are handwork: people take a sewage pipe, suture three small wings on it, fill it with explosives and shoot. It’s impossible to aim with that, and since they stay inside populated area to avoid reprisals, they generally land in the middle of fields. He pointed out to the one in the front and said: “This one landed in my property yesterday”. My cousin’s wife was not totally relaxed. The missile he holds in his hand is a professional one, sold by Russia or Iran (you can tell by just reading what is written on it). There is the Iron Dome against those, but if they shoot more that nine at the same time, not all of them can be intercepted.

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While we were waling around the properties, we asked if there were snakes and scorpions. To what he answered that we shouldn’t be scared of scorpions, but of the animal eating them! Let me introduce you to Akshuvah (Solifugae in English).

Luckily we didn’t meet any of those little creatures.

The day after, we drove to Iam HaMelakh (the Dead Sea) and enjoyed the fresh spring of Ein Bokek.

IMG_0976 IMG_0992IMG_0999 IMG_1005A tradition at the Dead Sea is to cover oneself with the nutrient-rich mud of the sea and then rinse it in the salty water. Although you can’t find the mud on the banks of the sea anymore, you can get some at the local shop (No worries, it’s VERY cheap!).

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And because some asked if you really float in the Dead Sea: yes, you do.

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Oh, and the water temperature is probably above 30 degrees. Come visit!