Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My Moses Moment

Okay, so Gwyneth took a pass on another fruity name and went with Moses for her baby boy. Add that to the fact that it's nearly Passover (no, I'm not Jewish, but I've dipped my share of parsley into little bowls of salt water), and I have a mild case of Moses on my mind. I share with you, now, my Moses Moment.

Ten years ago, just before I got pregnant with Teddy, his dad and I went to Israel for a week. We were in London, and this was our spring break escape from all the wet and gray cold. Our only requirement for the trip was that it be to a place that was warm and sunny, which ruled out pretty much everything we could get to cheaply, outside of Africa and Israel. Africa required shots, so the decision was made.

We each packed a bag and walked to the underground, and then caught a train, and then flew to Eilat (I couldn't believe how self-sufficiently we were able to leave the country--going to England involved two cars' worth of family and luggage to see us off at the Pittsburgh Airport). We landed at one of those little airports where guys wheel stairs up to the plane and you climb down and then walk across tarmac to get into the main building. We caught a cab to take us to our hostel (a remarkably nice one wherein we actually had our own bathroom!), and spent a week reading, soaking up the sun, and sniggering at the Russian tourists who really did resemble walruses. Well, the men did, anyway. The women were topless and leather-skinned. Oh! And there was an earthquake one morning while we were eating our breakfast! Just a little one, but it felt like our breakfast table was sitting on top of a washing machine while on the spin cycle. By the time we realized what it was, it was over.

We went scuba diving, which was exciting and terrifying, like the greatest roller coaster ever, only amplified about a million times. WAY scarier than the little earthquake.

We didn't go to Jerusalem, because the day we bought our tickets for the bus trip up, we heard that a tour bus had been bombed and that American students had been killed. I got scared and cried, and then we called our parents from a pay phone to let them know we were fine, and then we threw out the bus tickets and resolved to just stay at the beach.

So where was Moses in all of this? Well, Eilat is a little town that sits right on the Red Sea. I was lying on the beach, thinking about how the mountains reminded me of the chocolate mountains in the "Land of Dairy Queen" TV commercials and thinking, look, there's Egypt . . . look, there's Jordan . . . HOLY CRAP, MOSES WAS HERE! MOSES! PROMISED LAND! PARTING THE RED SEA! I was just blown away by the fact that the clear water I was staring into, watching schools of little fish arc up out of like tiny rainbows, was THAT Red Sea.

Never before or since has biblical history felt so amazing and alive and, frankly possible as it did at that moment.

All that, from a week at the beach. Not bad!


BabelBabe said...

Possible? Really?

Ah, sounds blissful.

I do not like the name Moses, but I recently read an article about Gwyneth explaining that she felt the name Apple was wholesome and clean-sounding and sweet, and I wavered a bit in my derision.

BabelBabe said...

Also, what was wrong with Banana? Or even something a little more adventurous like Mango or Kumquat? Strawberry - too feminine...

Gina said...

Really and truly possible. I don't like Moses, either, although I assume he'll end up being called Mo or Moe, which is kind of cute.

I saw that same thing about Apple, and that's all when and good, but the fact remains that the sweet and wholesome little girl is going to be an adult at some point, and then Apple isn't such an appropriate name at all.

Joke said...

I'm with y'all as re. Gwyneth's Moses.

THE Moses I am totally fine with. Which reminds me, it's almost time for Joke's Annual All-Gentile Seder.


P.S. Gina, I'd be totally speechless at realizing that one could be lollygagging at THE Red Sea. I'd love to visit the Holy Land, but I'd rather wait for people to stop thinking that tourists are best if they are [SCTV]done blowed up real good.[/SCTV]

The best I can do is a schlep to the Vatican.


P.S. At JAAGS, I use cilantro instead of parsley. And my haroset RULES.

andrea said...

i don't like moses, but i don't mind moshe. not enought to name my own kid one of them weirdo hebrew names, though...

BabelBabe said...

I don't like Moshe either. Although I have a soft spot for Shlomo.

My MIL, upon meeting Debi, asked me what sort of names her kids have (Ari and Nadav). I whispered back dramatically, "Hebrew."

MIL: "Ooooooh."

Gina said...

I don't mind Moshe or Schlomo, but Moses bothers me because it's SO LOADED. You know? I mean, it's possible to name a kid Joan without everyone leaping to "of Ark" conclusions, but with Moses, you're pretty much stuck with images of Charleton Heston, at best. PS--Favorite Hebrew name? Orley. I think it means "light", but it just sounds so happy to me!

bb, I wish I could stage whisper all kinds of things to your MIL: Hebrew! Foreskin! Vegan! Gay!

Joke, I of course don't like cilanto. Know why, though? Because it tastes like a synthetic to me. As do raspberries. I bet you're thrilled to know that.

And I'm really glad I got to stick my toes in the Red Sea when I did. It's one thing when you're 25 and childless. Age and parenthood do strange things to your willingness to take risks, though.

Joke said...

On its own, cilantro has a vaguely soapy taste to me. But in salsa, etc., it's OK. In moderation.

While you wre whispering to BabBab's MIL, you left out one of the FabFive from that Bravo show.


BabelBabe said...

A military-nut guy I went to high school with spent a summer in Israel and came home dating a machine-gun-toting chick from the Israeli army named Orly. She scared me.

andrea said...

i don't like shlomo AT ALL. it sounds like the name of an elephant to me.

if avi had been a girl, he *probably* would have been named davi (meaning beloved) cuz i like me some v-sounding names.

for a second, i toyed with vladimir, but i mean, come on...

does debi know the sex of their expected child yet?

jess said...

I hear Shlomo as someone with a lisp saying "slow-mo" as in slow-motion.

When I hear Moses I think of this little Latino boy who comes into the library, whose sister is named Kathy...

Sarah Louise said...

I wish I had some witticism about names or MiLs or passover or cilantro...

I like the name Moses because I have a friend who loves to recite the verse, "Moses supposes his toeses are roses..." (which googling I just discovered is from one of the best all time movies, Singing in the Rain...but I digress)

I like cilantro. It can be horrible in salsa, though, if done poorly. (And I love raspberries.)

Never been scuba diving, but snorkeling in the islands off Honduras freaked me out. All those fish, all that coral...yes, like a rollercoaster, all those colors.

Also, I think of Moses as an African-American name, as I have met a few Moses' who were African American.

Joke said...

Unrelated to anything, Gina, please email me as I have a question regarding the Star Wars lightsabers. (BabBab & SL have the address)



Suse said...

Totally jealous over your moses moment. I get all gobsmacked in London, having Chaucer and Shakespeare were here kind of moments. I can't even imagine having a biblical moment.

Moving right along, I adore raspberries and cilantro but here we call it coriander.

Shlomo sounds like a drunk attempting to speak Yiddish. I have a fondness for Seth. And Sol. My Son #1 has a Hebrew name.

Joke said...

Sol is also "Sun" in Spanish, so you could have that angle covered as well.


P.S. Maybe in Portuguese as well.

BabelBabe said...

Suse - I was exactly the same way in London. Westminster Abbey drove me to tears.

I love the name Seth but H would not hear of it.

And I don't exactly LILKE Shlomo....but it ...amuses....me.