They’ve left. Twenty-one days of non-stop in-house guests. Two old friends from New York decided to visit at the same time – separately and without knowledge of the other’s intent. One is a dear friend that I haven’t seen in three years. The other was an old friend that I hadn’t seen in twenty. It could have been disastrous – how would I divide my attention between two friends? How would I make them feel comfortable, wanted and treasured? What if my husband didn’t like the one he didn’t know. Fear not – it all went beautifully and although I am exhausted and fatter – I’d do it all again!

When C called and said she’s ready to make the reservation I was thrilled. We’ve been talking about her coming to visit Israel for several years. Her husband didn’t feel like making the trip (anyway someone has to be on doggie patrol) so she decided to fly solo. I couldn’t contain my excitement – and started making plans of all the things I wanted to do with her. So did my husband! They’ll go biking here, and there, and he reminded me to tell her to bring her pedals, and her helmet and on the pre-trip phone calls they chatted non-stop in their very cute, very unintelligible for me, bike talk.

She walked into arrivals looking gorgeous – swathed in a hot pink sweater and black capri pants. Did she have to look so damn good? And from the moment she arrived at my house, she never stopped smiling, laughing, talking, helping, organizing, cooking (veggie chili!) and playing with the dogs (brushing them too!). She brought me all the things I asked for, and some surprises, which was so appreciated. We shelpped to different parts of the country, we ate way too well, we met with some friends, we hung out at some favorite joints, we had a glorious Rosh Hashanna dinner and she managed to get in quite a few bike rides. We’re already planning the next trip here.

Then K arrived. She was going to stay with us for two days, before heading off to meet a friend of hers. So another female was added to the mix and I think my husband just loved all the girlie chatter. Each woman got her own room, so they had complete privacy when they wanted it. K immediately unloaded her suitcase and loaded me up with a bunch of samples – she is a representative of many interesting beauty and body care products and I became the beneficiary! Can you imagine the smile on my face? She also brought me the manual I needed to teach me InDesign – which will hopefully allow me to format that novel I was supposed to have done by now. That alone could have caused her to be overweight but she gladly shlepped it for me.

More eating, drinking, entertaining, etc. etc. More shlepping around to fun places. No one asked to be taken anywhere – both guests were extremely modest in their requirements – basically they had none. But feeling proud of this adopted country of mine, and wanting to share all the wonderful advances Israel has made in the last decade or so, I couldn’t help but take them to designer restaurants, Moroccan cafes, renovated artsy neighborhoods, crafts fairs and more. I love sharing all the exciting places that I know about – and they loved visiting them.

Yesterday was Saturday, the first day of being alone. And instead of reveling in the quiet, we went to Tel Aviv to share a yummy brunch with good friends. They prepared and we ate. And since they were celebrating a significant wedding anniversary, who could say no to all that champagne? Who could say no to baked brioche with egg, olives and spinach inside? With an almond cake, sorbet and later ice cream for yet another dessert, can you imagine how my clothes no longer fit?

From there we drove down HaYarkon Street in Tel Aviv, which is parallel to the beach promenade and we walked into the new development called “HaTachanah”. Its a shopping and cafe area made out of the  old British/Turkish railway station. I didn’t even know the place existed! Well, bravo to Tel Aviv – its gorgeous! Upscale shops, cute buildings from another era, lovely looking cafes – all there across the street from the Mediterranean Sea. If you’re coming to Israel – don’t miss it.

So… I enjoyed every minute of having my friends here BUT I didn’t do a stitch of work. I added to the pile of papers on my desk without bothering to sort them. I totally ignored my novel, which is in desperate need of attention, I didn’t practice the new software program I learned and for sure by now I’ve forgotten everything.

I was so tired and worn out from all the goodness that I called Nelly, the magic masseuse and asked if there was any chance I could see her. She made time for me and am I ever grateful! After her fingers worked out the knots and tensions in my body, I’m ready to start life again.

Tuesday evening I’ll be flying to Barcelona, then off to Tarragona to enjoy the international Food Photo Festival. I can’t wait! One week of being in the company of brilliant photographers, cooks, foodies and like-minded people. I suppose the eating orgy will continue. And I suppose I’ll continue to wear clothes with elastic waistbands.

Ah, the problems life presents.

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