Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Soldering my way to Israel

Patrick Alessi wasn't just interested in the software business. He was an electrical engineer. There was a company up in Wilmington, Massachusetts called Cryovac. They made machines that shrinkwrapped fruit, and presumably other things too. Mr Alessi had managed to win a bid on some business to provide them with electronic controller boards for their machines. There were two different boards, and he offered me a chance to make some money assembling and soldering them together. It's amazing to me how I was able to memorize where hundreds of parts should be inserted and soldered into place. The more I worked the faster I got and the more money I made.

In my junior year of high school I had met a very sweet girl who was a foreign exchange student from Israel. Her name was Michal Zilberman. I began to spend a lot of time with her and we became very close. When she went back home we wrote back and forth a few times and I called her on the phone once in a while. I decided to visit her the following year.

I would pay for the trip by assembling circuitboards for Mr. Alessi. It only took me a few weeks to earn the $850 or so dollars I needed for the plane ticket. When my folks noticed what I was doing and that I had obtained a passport they figured I wasn't ready to be a world traveler (probably true) and they sent my grandfather with me. He had always wanted to go to see the Holy Lands, so he was eager to go. When we got to Tel Aviv we didn't actually see each other very much. He was a great traveling companion and we did enjoy some time together and he let me beat him at checkers. When he took off to go on tours including a diversion to Egypt, I enjoyed exploring Tel Aviv with my camera in the mornings and then I would walk to Michal's home and see her family. We spent a few days together in Tel Aviv seeing the city. The we went to stay with her sister in Jerusalem for a few days and spent a day in Haifa.

My relationship with Michal was not meant to be, but this was an unforgettable adventure.

No comments: