First of all I’d like to thank Jen for the opportunity to guest post on her blog!
My name is Hevel, and I’m a 34-year-old Irish born Israeli man living with my fiancé and our kids and pets in the most gay friendly city in the Middle East. Maybe it is the only gay friendly city in the Middle East. I’m an ESC (Eurovision Song Contest) fan, a reader of urban fantasy, a crocheter, and these days more and more of the stereotypical gay rights/disability inclusion advocate that your priest has warned you about. When I can find the time I blog at Kosher Kola.
I started reading Jen’s posts several years ago when I first discovered Seven Quick Takes. I loved that there was a non-Catholic voice! I stopped doing or reading Seven Quick Takes, but I still love Jen and her blog!
Summer in my early childhood usually fell during a random weekday. Nowadays our winters remind me of those summers! There are many very different memories of summer in my mind, from my first visit to the Western Wall as a 13-year-old and realizing my own Jewishness, to enjoying a very special summer in Kerala, India, where I could learn first hand about the peaceful coexistence of many world religions, to the Gay Pride Parade two years ago in Tel Aviv with the theme of families when we had the after party in an awesome park with the best playground as our kids played, and enjoyed finally meeting others with same sex parents.
I think, however, that my favourite summer memory is from the summer of 2006. Kevin and I were still living in Budapest, Hungary with our then much smaller family. My grandparents came to visit us from Eilat, Israel. It had been almost 50 years since the last time they had been in the city of their youth, having left in late October 1956. Despite having access to some of the nicest hotels in the city, they chose to stay with us, in the very house that my great-grandfather built for his growing family. During those two weeks I had the opportunity to accompany them to many places in the city and in the countryside as they revisited sites of their lives. We had coffee in the trendy coffee shop that is now at the site of the cake shop where my great-grandfather bought ice cream for his children on Sundays after school. We went to the ice skating rink where Grandpa first met my Grandma. It being the summer it was a small lake, and Grandpa took Grandma on a romantic row boat ride. The kids and I went with them to Palatinus, a pool on Margaret Island where they hung out with friends before the war tore into their lives, and the Jewish laws forced them out. There is a photo from the early 50s with my grandparents and their four young children there, too. And then, many decades later, they were back there. We all ate a lángos, and the adults had a beer, and my grandma, then already over 80, wore a two piece bathing suit.
It was lovely to see them enjoy themselves and relive memories. Some of those memories were sad, stemming from the incredible loss they suffered when the Shoah chopped off many a branch from our family tree. Most, however, was filled with joy only those can experience who truly live and cherish their lives.