Just finished the hardest job of the year -- the pre-Pesach shopping expedition. In previous years, I'd left work early, but this year, I really couldn't do so, so had to make do with heading off to the store at 5:30p.m., after a full day of work and a trip to the shuk (open-air market).
First of all, we don't eat Pesach food made with Kitnyot, grains which may, it is thought, be ground up into flour. This includes everything made with soy oil, so every product that I buy has to be checked carefully to make sure that it's kitnyot-free. (And then, I bought a few basic kitniyot products for Yochi, who is vegetarian and needs SOMETHING in her diet besides potatos, matza and eggs).
Then, standing in line FOREVER, with dozens of other shoppers, some with their children, and others with their nerves. While I was standing there, staring at nothing, a man came around, asking all the male shoppers if they had prayed the evening service yet -- he wanted to form a minyan, a quorum of 10 men, for evening prayers. Only in Israel....he asked each man, whether or not they looked religious, whether or not they had already prayed, and not a single man took offense. And then, when the 10 men were gathered, they went off to the back of the store, leaving their trollies and their places in line to be guarded by other shoppers, none of whom took advantage of the situation.
It's simply terribly wearing, checking each item, filling up the cart, then unloading it on the conveyer belt and bagging everything up at top speed, because 10 other people are all waiting behind you. And just as I started the bagging and told the woman that I needed a "mishloach" -- a delivery, she announced that there would be no more deliveries that night. So there I was, with all my bags, stuck.
And then, again, another "only in Israel" story...I began chatting with the woman in front of me, who was American with her baby and Israeli husband. She told me that they were in Tzfat for just a short time, staying at her friends' home while they were getting ready to move, and suddenly, it hit me,and I said "you're Rivka!" Rivka is a young woman who I'd never met, but through e-mail correspondence, was aware that she, a Livnot alumni, had recently made aliyah with her Israeli husband and their baby, and were living down the block from LIvnot for a few weeks while her husband was job-hunting. He had just found a job in Rehovot, and I actually had, again through e-mail, put her in touch with a friend in Modi'in, which they were checking out.
So in the end, they schlepped me and my bags home, which was a big pain for them, since it took them out of their way, and their small car barely held all my shopping bags. Bless them! And thank goodness for....coincidences?
Right now, I'm so sore from carrying everything home and worn out from putting everything away that I don't even have energy to eat. But, once again, you gotta do what you gotta do...plus I have too many leftovers to dump.