I was outside hanging up some fresh laundry when Matthew came up to me and asked if I wanted to go with him to pick up the landlord from the ferry. I asked if Yollana thought it was okay and he said yes so I decided to go for it. I grabbed a jacket and decided I'd wear a pair of my new jeans since we were picking up the landlord. I wanted to look somewhat nice for this first impression. Matthew changed clothes too and put on a nice polo shirt and some clean shorts to match.
The car ride was interesting only because Matthew had just finished a cup of coffee. He jabbered on about all sorts of things and I laughed and listened and chimed in when I could. We talked about the Spanish teacher we had in high school. We had him at different times during the day but our stories were the same. He was in class with several of his friends and together they would push the limits on Mr. Morrero.
The best story Matthew told was how he bet Mr. Morrero that he could do more push-ups than him. Mr. Morrero said if Matthew won then the class wouldn't have to take a vocabulary test but if Matthew lost then everyone had to take it. Matthew said they got close to one hundred and then Matthew finally lost control of his biceps. Mr. Morrero did two more and then lost control as well. The class still had to take the test but Matthew got ten bonus points for his brave attempt.
When Matthew ended the story I looked up and we were at the back porch of a house where we were supposed to pick up a wine order for Yollana. We got outside the car and I noticed the temperature had dropped several degrees. Before I could start towards the door a tall blonde man with a beautiful tan came outside.
“You two must be from Seal Bay?” He smiled when he spoke and his teeth were white and neat in two perfect rows.
“We sure are. Do you have some wine for us to pick up?” Matthew stuck out his hand and the man introduced himself as Jeff. Matthew said his name and then Jeff turned and shook my hand while I introduced myself.
Jeff then turned and picked up four boxes of wine. Matthew took them from him and I watched as he put them in the car. I thought there was going to be more but Jeff said that was it.
“So whereabouts are you from? Not Australia, I assume.”
“Yeah, we're both from Oklahoma, USA.” Matthew said.
“Oh, nice. What brings you to KI?”
“Well we're uh, hoping to be the new managers at Seal Bay soon.”
“Ah, very nice. I'm sure I'll see you around pretty often then, huh?” I couldn't tell what Jeff's accent was but it was smooth and easy to understand, but not Australian. Maybe he was from America too, but then again, maybe not.
Matthew and I got back in the car and Matthew told me about the first time he got a ticket. He was seventeen years old and it was for public intoxication. He said he didn't tell his mom for several weeks. When he did tell her he started the conversation while he was driving.
“So you aren't supposed to mess with someone while they are driving, right?”
“That's right.” his mom said.
“Well then, I need to tell you that I got a ticket for public intoxication a few weeks ago.”
He said his mother was horrified but then eventually responded by saying he was going to have to pay for the entire thing himself. He was horrified because $200 is a lot of money to a seventeen year-old.
In time we made our way to Penneshaw. We watched as people poured off the ferry looking for their next mode of transportation. As we watched we realized that we had no idea what this guy looked like, other than he would probably be brown bc he was from Israel and he would also have a small child with him.
Matthew pointed to his notebook and told me to call the number on the paper. I giggled a little when I saw the guy's name was spelled “U-z-i.” I got his voicemail.
“Uh, Hi Uzi. This is Haley from Seal Bay Cottages. We are here at the ferry to pick you up. It should be a green Ford Festa right out front. Thanks. See you soon.”
We continued looking around and finally found a big dark man with dark hair and a small child. He approached our car and him and Matthew shook hands. I got out of the car and shook his hand before looking to see a beautiful young girl. She had bright blue eyes and a ton of big blonde goldilocks curls bouncing all over her head.
“What's your name?” I bent down to look her in the eye but she quickly hid behind her father's leg. He looked at me and said, “Leila. Her name is Leila.” I smiled and thought it was the perfect name for such a beautiful girl.
Matthew and Uzi loaded the suitcases in the back of the car and I helped Leila get settled in her seat. She sat in the middle seat and I had to squeeze in next to her and the door. It was a tight fit with all of the luggage and wine but we made it work. While Uzi and Matthew chatted up front I tried to make conversation with Leila.
“How old are you?” She put her head down with embarassment and pretended to look at her book. I asked her a few other questions before giving up. I heard Uzi ask Matthew about Donald Trump and I laughed a little before turning my gaze out the window.
A few minutes passed and then I was surprised to hear Leila ask me a question.
"Do you speak Hebrew?" She was grinning at me as if she had a great secret. I looked her in the eyes and told her I did not speak any Hebrew at all.
She then turned to her father in the front seat and began talking wildly in a language I didn't understand. Her father ignored her at first and then finally shushed her and told her to use her English. I was intrigued to see a young girl with such good bilingual skills. She was fluent in both English and Hebrew. I wondered if she knew how blessed she was to have this talent. My guess was that she did.
"How much longer until we get there?" She restated her question so Matthew and I could understand it.
"I don't know, Leila. Half an hour." His accent was thick but his English was not bad. The only other Israeli I had interacted with was Ethan, the guy from the balcony in Adelaide. Ethan's English was so good he might as well have been American. Uzi had a Hebrew name, a thick accent and he definitely looked Israeli, so there was no mistaking his nationality.The two spoke again in Hebrew before Uzi suggested that Leila teach me some Hebrew.
"How do I say, 'Hello, my name is Haley'?" I was looking sweetly at the girl, hoping she would focus on me and forget about the length of the trip.
"Shalom hashem sheli Heli" she spoke faster than I could listen.
"Say it again, slower."
"Shalom hashem sheli Heli" she hadn't slowed it down much. I had no idea what she was saying.
"Say it really, super slow so I can understand, please." Her father said something to her in Hebrew and she made a dramatic exhale before repeating herself extremely slowly.
"Sha-lom. Hash-em. Shel-i. He-li."
"Shalom. Hashem sheli, Haley." I tried it out the phrase and thought I did pretty good but Leila seemed to think otherwise.
"No, no, no, no! It's not Haaayleeee like you're from Australia or something. It's Heli. You can't drag it out like Hayyyleeee, you have to say it in Hebrew like Heli. Heli. Heli. Heli. Heli. Got it?"
The entire car burst into laughter. I was a bit embarrassed that such a young girl had essentially called me a hick. Matthew laughed too and said it was our Okie accent that made us talk like that. How quickly this girl had picked up on accents and pronunciation.
After I proved I could say my name without a southern accent, Leila went on to ask me about the holidays I celebrated. I told her Easter was in a few days and she said she didn't know what that was. I explained to her that Easter was a holiday for Christians to celebrate Jesus dieing on the cross and defeating the grave so we could all be saved from our sins. I told her that we celebrated by going to church and by hunting easter eggs with chocolates in them. She asked if she could celebrate Easter with us and I said of course she could.
She told me about a Jewish holiday, Shushan Purim, that they celebrated in Israel. She said they loved to celebrate it even though they weren't really jewish. She went on to name several Jewish holidays that I had never heard of. She could not believe I hadn't heard of these holidays and when she wouldn't stop telling me how silly I was for not knowing about them, I asked her if she celebrated Thanksgiving.
I learned that Leila was in year 3 at school even though she was meant to be in year 4. She was soon to be nine years old and she had one younger brother who was six. She travelled with her father to Israel once a year but they didn't want to live there because it was full of war. Her and her father lived in Brisbane, near Byron Bay.
When we arrived at the house Leila and Uzi put away their things in the bedroom Alex and I had made up for them earlier in the day. After they put away their things all seven of us sat down for a delicious dinner that Kim had prepared. We had curry, rice, vegetables and baked sweet potatoes. It was very yummy in my opinion but Leila voiced her difference in opinion. Because she didn't like it she didn't have to eat it. Yollana made her a piece of toast with Jam and she had a few bites before Uzi allowed her to leave the table.
Leila and Uzi were exhausted from their trip so they went straight to bed after dinner. Yollana retired to her cabin and the rest of us cleaned up dinner before settling down in front of the television with a box of Tim-Tams and some hot chocolate. Together we enjoyed watching an animated film called Big Hero Six. It was quite cute.
When the movie was over we all went into our bedrooms and retired for the evening. In my bunk I prayed for Jesus to heal the broken hearts on the island. I prayed that he would open the floodgates of heaven and let His spirit fill the place. Shatter our walls and melt our hearts. Let your love wash over us and cleanse us of our fears please, Lord. You are great. Your love has more power. There is no fear in love. Perfect love cancels out fear. I declare that your love would cancel out all fear in this hostel, Jesus.
Let me show your love to the ones I work with, Lord. I want to be your hands and feet.