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Dear Natalie,
 
I just woke up from a lovely nap. The flight is great and in two hours I'll be landing in Israel. I can't wait to see you and Jerusalem again. I hope we can go out for a great dinner tonight. You pick.
 
Will David join us? Will we go shopping tomorrow?
 
I hope we go and find your mystery woman also.  I always thought you had a bit of Nancy Drew in you!  Do you remember in college how you guessed who was sleeping with whom or who had a crush on someone? At first I thought you were psychic but then I realized you picked up on all sorts of tiny cues that I missed, like watching people's eye movements.  Don't wait for me to see what is on that piece of paper that is in the Prayer book.  Maybe someone in the hotel can translate the page.  Anyway, I'm ready to go adventuring with you.
 
Guess what movie I watched before I dozed off? Mamma Mia.
 
It wasn't as good as the play but still I love all the songs and the energy and the colors were gorgeous. Greece isn't that far from Israel. Maybe we can go over there for a few days and explore a Greek Island. How does that sound? Maybe we'll have an adventure there, also! Who knows what is around the next corner?
 
I'll do anything fun! It is such a relief for me to be away. Away from everyone and everything! Gary is great but I even need a break from him. He looked so sad when he took me home last night. But I'm not sad. I am almost relieved not to be seeing him for a few weeks. It's all too new-I mean my divorce-for me to be really ready for another permanent relationship. I don't even like the word 'permanent' right now. I want to be free as a bird. Feeling good about myself. Feeling alive. Making up for lost time!
 
Janet is handling any customers that come my way while I'm away. Everything is in order. I didn't even leave any food to rot in the frig! I am ready! Let's have the best time we have ever had!
 
Love you,
 
Maggie

Dear Maggie,

Alley Bookstore in Jerusalem - Next Year in JerusalemI forgot to tell you that after I met this mysterious woman that we are going to go see together, I went shopping. Normally I don't go into strange little bookstores. You know me, the boutiques are what catches my eye, or the art galleries. It was late out and dark. I was just wandering as David wasn't coming back to the hotel until 9:00 that night. I had some falafel at a small restaurant. There was something about this small bookstore on a side street that beckoned me. I felt almost pushed to walk in. There was a pleasant older woman running the shop and she left me alone. The place smelled of old books and mold. I liked the smell. It reminded me of my great grandmother's book case in her living room. It had glass doors but when you opened the case it smelled sooo old. I didn't mind. After all, she was old, but she loved me and inside the case were fairytale books from when she was a kid. They were amazing with gorgeous illustrations. I would lick lime lollipops, lie on the floor and read the fairytales. I still feel bad she died when I was 8. I wish I could have known her a few more years.

 

 

I was drawn to a book with a silver cover. At least it looks like silver. I asked the woman about it. She told me it is a prayer book. I never saw a prayer book with a silver cover! Well, I guess you figured out the rest. I couldn't help it. I bought the book. You know I hardly ever pray and I don't read Hebrew. But I couldn't resist. Here's the picture of it.

Prayer Book - Next Year in Jerusalem

Maybe there is a secret in the book tied into the mystery woman! And yes, there is a piece of paper in the book. It is in Hebrew. So we will have to wait to know what is on it. I bet it is instructions for us on how to proceed!

My new name is Nancy Drew!

Love, Me

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Dear Maggie, The Panda Bear is so cute. Sounds like you had a great day with Gary. I would suggest you try to put aside some of the past with your ex. You are not the same person you used to be! I saw how you took hold of your business the last five years and took yourself from a depressed, angry homemaker to a successful business woman. Bad marriage, bad divorce. Good marriage, well that is a different story. And some day you will have a good marriage. I'm sure of that. Or the most amazing love affair the world has every known. How does that sound?

Speaking of love affairs, I am a little worried about Jack getting in touch with me while I am in Jerusalem. Don't yell at me! I know you think I was stupid to even 'friend' him. But we all 'friend' everyone in our pasts, don't we? Isn't that part of the whole Facebook thing? Connecting in a new way to old connections? Mmm so you think maybe I am rationalizing? I can hear you across 6000 miles.

Anyway, with David so busy, I keep thinking about some of the things Jack and I did. Things I shouldn't be thinking about. Romantic stuff. I don't want to remember some of it, but it keeps floating back into my head. What can I do? Help me.

The silence is deafening. The only good news is that you will be here soon. When you are here, we will be so busy I won't need to daydream. I'm going for a swim in the hotel pool now.

Love, Natalie

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Dear Natalie, I just woke up from a lovely nap. The flight is great and in two hours I'll be landing in Israel. I can't wait to see you and Jerusalem again. I hope we can go out for a great dinner tonight. You pick.

Will David join us? Will we go shopping tomorrow?

I hope we go and find your mystery woman also.

Guess what movie I watched before I dozed off? Mamma Mia.

It wasn't as good as the play but still I love all the songs and the energy and the colors were gorgeous. Greece isn't that far from Israel. Maybe we can go over there for a few days and explore a Greek Island. How does that sound? Maybe we'll have an adventure there, also! Who knows what is around the next corner?

 

I'll do anything fun! It is such a relief for me to be away. Away from everyone and everything! Gary is great but I even need a break from him. He looked so sad when he took me home last night. But I'm not sad. I am almost relieved not to be seeing him for a few weeks. It's all too new-I mean my divorce-for me to be really ready for another permanent relationship. I don't even like the word 'permanent' right now. I want to be free as a bird. Feeling good about myself. Feeling alive. Making up for lost time!

Janet is handling any customers that come my way while I'm away. Everything is in order. I didn't even leave any food to rot in the frig! I am ready! Let's have the best time we have ever had!

Love you, Maggie

Read more: Buy this book at Amazon!

Dear Natalie, 
 
The most exciting vacation I've had in the last twenty-five years, was last year when I went to San Francisco for that training certificate for Selling Real Estate by Staging Homes.  I guess it was so great for two reasons.  The first reason was I was finally divorced and no longer being verbally abused.  The second reason was Chinatown in San Francisco.  There was something about the atmosphere there that freed me.  Walking those streets made me feel like I was really finally away from the bad stuff of my marriage.  Something about seeing the signs in Chinese and going into the stores and looking at all the beautiful ceramics and linens from China and eating the Chinese food just did it for me.  And I would look down the alleys and small streets and imagine all sorts of romantic adventures that people could have and maybe I would have.  One day I saw a beautiful Chinese woman in a short purple dress.  Maybe 30. Very stylish, with, I'm sure, Italian sandals, and lots of silver jewelry. 
 
Here is my secret: I followed her for a few blocks.  She finally went into the building that was between two restaurants. She looked around her before she went in.  I just walked on, my heart racing.  I assume she went upstairs to one of the apartments over a restaurant.  Was her lover up there waiting?  What mysteries were part of her life?  A husband somewhere else? Oh, Natalie, what am I craving? 
 
Of course, nothing at all actually happened except I learned how to stage an apartment in Manhattan for selling purposes.  But walking Chinatown was the best medicine I had after the divorce.  That is, until I met Gary.  But more on Gary when we are together.
 
Anyway, I was looking through my pictures and I don't think you ever saw this one.  I'm not in the picture, (I took it) but it captures the feel of Chinatown in San Francisco.
 
I wonder if Jerusalem will be as freeing emotionally as Chinatown was for me?  I can't wait to find out.  Your pictures of those great spices and the dark corridors in the Old City make me think it will be just as freeing.  I can't wait!
 
Love,
 
Maggie
 
Next Year in Jerusalem - San Francisco's China Town

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