O. Goller. A Ray of light from Los Angeles

Shalom: a short report from Los Angeles on the third day:

Yesterday I decided to take the Corona test.

Not so much for my own safety as much as for the sake of my daughter’s peace of mind. She has two little boys and there is a very tough bureaucracy in kindergartens here.  Every day the parents are asked, “Do you have visitors from other states or other countries?” My grandkids are 8 months and 2.5 years old and they go to two different kindergartens. One of those kindergartens is a real five-star hotel, with a full meal prep and an exclusive number of kids that counts no more than 6 per class; all overseen by two teachers. The other kindergarten is just slightly less luxurious, but both cost about three times more than kindergartens in Israel. What I did find strange is that non of those expenses is paid by the government to my daughter; who is here on a diplomatic contract as the head of operations for the Israeli Ministry for Tourism. But I digress.

We found a free test site 40 km from their home, which is considered relatively close for America. Just like everything in America, there were a lot of options. We found a few tests that cost about $200, but then we saw some that were free. It wasn’t very clear what the real difference is.

I think the paid ones were just “results in one day”, which didn’t make that much difference to us, so we picked the free test, and set up an appointment for the following Tuesday.

Tuesday comes around and we arrive to the test site; a large parking next to a giant community pool. I could feel the brisk wind of LA’s winter, but the weather here is still clear and sunny, and the site of the flower dancing in the gentle wind made me smile.

We walked along the sidewalk of the blue water, taken a back by such a beautiful community center without a single soul to enjoy it, I thought to myself there was something sad about this image. It hit me then that we really do live in a very unique and strange time.

Test Station

Swim pool

My kids like my bodyguards walking next to me; my D and D. They were both born in Moscow. My son Danny lived in Israel for 17 years before moving to America, and my daughter Dina lived in Israel for 30 years before now also finding herself here in California – the land of the endless sun. The feeling of success has filled my sails as a proud mom. Life is good and I really succeeded!

Right in front of us, a long but fast flowing line of people opened up. A short video was sent to everyone in the application for the Corona-test, which included all the steps from A-Z of how to complete the test. After exactly five minutes I’ve approached the guy at the end of the long line, was handed a test tube, got a quick refresher of what to do, and was shown to a little tent to do my test. It took me less than a minute to finish the steps of the oral-swab-test, I’ve dropped my sealed bag in the container next to the exit, and we were on our way. It took exactly fifteen minutes from the car to the exit. Impeccable organized, I thought to myself. People follow all the rules, while being respectfully quiet and smiling. I’m always amazed how easy things can be when people don’t think only about themselves.

I want to share with you one more thought.

When we got back to the car my son asked if we wanted to stop for some coffee, it was a unanimous “yes”. I was a little confused for a moment, since I thought that most places are closed because of Corona. We drove into a parking lot on our way back home. My son got out of the car and signaled me and Dina to follow. We walked up to a small and – as I suspected – closed, coffee shop. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys, opened the door and said, “Let’s go!”. We followed him inside. Apparently his business partner also owns a coffee shop that was closing early every day because of Corona, but he always had access to it. I found the place to be super interesting. It was a red-brick, New York style, retro coffee place, with art works on the walls, and that small mom-and-pop shop vibe that you can only get in an east coast Brooklyn joint. But what got my attention more than anything was a hundred years old piano that was standing in the corner. When I was a child I used to play “Für Elise” by Beethoven, on a very similar piano we used to have. I quit playing at a young age, but the memory of being able to produce such beauty has never left me. I knew then that this vacation with my kids will be a big success. We raced home between the brown mountains of LA, listening to Beethoven, enjoying the drive, our lives, and each other.

Yes, my dear friends, I we should not give up, LIFE IS A GOOD AND A WONDERFUL THING.

Graffiti

Olga Goller

Original in Russian here

Published 13/01/2021  13:00 

Updated 14/01/2021 19:14