Sunday, February 15, 2009

Visiting Israel: Meeting with Chen and Einat

It’s been about a week since I last populated my blog with new material, reason being, for the most part, a rather tight schedule. It also appears that my laptop’s keyboard is starting to fail me, which will require fixing as soon as I’m back in Canada. In the meantime, please forgive me for undetected spelling mistakes etc. You know I can do better.

I finally met with my dear old friend, Chen Varon, and his girlfriend Einat, on Monday. We met in a Tel-Aviv restaurant called “Lucas”, which serves great food – mostly meat – in fantastic prices that are really hard to beat ( – sorry, Hebrew only).

Chen and I go way back to the workplace-whose-name-I-should-not-disclose (exactly the same place I first met pretty much all of my friends except for Ran whom I known forever). He is into software development as well, a great guy to work with, professionally and personally. He also deserves a good spot in my “talented IT people” clique. We used to be very good friends back then, before I moved to Canada at the end of 2002 when I, admittedly, kind of lost touch with everyone – solely at my fault.

Chen is a huge fan of The Simpsons; about two years ago, when the 7th season’s DVD was released, he asked me to ship him a copy – a request I was more than happy to fulfil. In return, he offered to take me out to a restaurant in my next visit. That visit was one year ago, however it was kind of a lousy visit during which I hardly left my house – so we agreed to meet this time.

We agreed to meet at 21:00 at the restaurant, on Maz’ee Street (just off Allenby Street, about five minutes walk from the beach; hell, you can never be too far from the beach in Tel-Aviv). Chen encountered some traffic on his way there so I waited outside the restaurant gazing at people walking and cars driving up and down the street. I also caught a minor road accident live, right in front of me, which was quite a bit of an “ouch”.

So at about 21:30 I saw a familiar face walking towards me, waving. I don’t know too many people in Tel-Aviv, but yet I refused to believe that this was Chen. It took a few more seconds to realize what happened. It turns out that, since I left, Chen started a diet and some fitness program and lost some considerable weight. What a difference it made, I was shocked. He looked great.

It was the first time for me to meet with Einat, his girlfriend. They met not too long after I had left and have been together ever since. I recall Chen, a few years ago, telling me about Einat being the best thing that ever happened to him; and it shows – they look perfect together. A kismet. She appears to be at least as brilliant as he is.

So we all caught up with each other, which was great. Between sentences, we also got to eat something. I ordered the Fillet (beef, of course) which was awesome. Einat and I shared half a litre of red wine (while Chen stuck to water – all the power to you, Chen!), we talked and we talked without realizing how time passes by. When time flies by while you’re having a conversation, it’s a clear sign that you really enjoy it – which I did.

Chen grew up in a Kibbutz (a form of collective residence that only exists in Israel; read about it here, it’s quite interesting) called Yaqum, conveniently located north of Tel-Aviv, far enough to avoid the city hustle but close enough to everything that matters – brilliant spot to build a home in, which is exactly what Chen and Einat are planning on doing. Best of luck!

I don’t remember when we left, I just remember it was late – at least half an hour past midnight. I was planning on taking the bus (or a “Service Cab”; more about Israel’s public transportation in a separate post coming up soon) from Allenby Street straight home, however Chen insisted to give me a ride home, much to my enjoyment and appreciation.

About twenty minutes later I was already at home – happy after a great conversation with a brilliant couple, as well as a tasteful Fillet grilled exactly to my liking.

Chen & Einat – thank you for dinner! It was great meeting with you and we will do this more often!



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