Our trip to the north was lovely, especially for Ricki. The only bad part was the constant refrain of “Oh Gee, Rickismom, you’re amazing” from the teachers. I guess that they never expected someone of my proportions to go wading down streams (because most of them DIDN’T).
My first big pleasure from the trip was that when I pulled out a map of northern Israel to show Ricki where we were, she not only didn’t protest, she was interested. She is studying northern Israel right now in school, and I was sure that showing her on the map at points along the way would make the map more “alive” during geography studies. And then she even ASKED me for the map a various times throughout the trip.
The first stop was at “Nachal Kibutzim”, a small river one can go wading in. The bottom was straight, and the water was waist high. Since Ricki can float, and was with friends, I felt OK with her going in without me, especially as I would have her in constant eyesight. I was going to try and not go in the water, simply to avoid the hassle of finding a modest place to change later (bus drivers being known for not allowing soaking wet persons aboard). However, there was a busload of 7th graders from a different school making the same trip as we were. On entering the water, Ricki GRABBED the arm of the girl next to her, who happened to be from the second school. She was nice, and didn’t protest. HOWEVER, she had never seen Ricki in her life, and really looked as if she didn’t know what had hit her. (ie. She stood there, frozen in place.) So I went in, unlatched Ricki from the 7th grader, and got Ricki to loosen up. She quickly joined a bunch of classmates. I exited the water (hoping to dry out before reboarding). Then Ricki’s classmates really took over, even taking her on a “slide” to a lower pool.
The second stop was even more exciting. It was another river one walks along, but here the riverbed was full of irregular, slippery stones. When Ricki and I were in Colorado last year, we hiked along many mountain trails with stones like these. Ricki did not appreciate them (to put it mildly), but she did learn to navigate fairly well between the rocks. However, there we could see the stones; here we couldn’t. I will be honest and say that I did not enjoy this part of the trip, and was afraid that I would twist my ankle. By midway Ricki was only half coping, after some muddy water had splashed into her eyes, and had a runny nose as well. Then I slipped and fell. Nothing happened (except to my pride as a “hiker”), but Ricki became truly hysterical. So we exited a bit early. But within 5 minutes, Ricki’s friends had coaxed her back into the water, and they continued with her until the end of the water trail. (I had again opted out, deciding that I had had enough of stones I can’t see.)