Olive Wood Statue, Chalkboards, and Resoluteness

He almost as it were knew me by name. I walked into his shop earlier the same morning to help my friend pick out an olive wood souvenir. In the midst of searching for a nativity set for my friend, I looked for something appealing that I could take home, and here is how the shopkeeper and I got introduced. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, so I kept pointing to different statues on the shelf and asking for the price. Obviously the owner quadrupled the price on me, yet because I wasn’t too interested, I didn’t bother to bargain and soon we left. After a whole day of wondering around Jerusalem we happened to walk by the olive wood shop again. Not sure if it was by my desire, but either way we stopped by the store. This time however I saw something I wanted. The shopkeeper was not too thrilled about my bargaining, but I’ve been long enough in the Middle East to understand his game. When I wasn’t getting the price I wanted, I put down the small olive statue and walked out of the store. And that’s when he lifted his hands in the air and shouted my way in his broken English, “Fine, fine, just because you so stubborn I give you for 45 shekels!” “Hmmm stubborn?”, I thought to myself, I’ll take that as a compliment. I turned around and bought the statue.

Time to time I’m reminded of that story, especially in the situations where I can describe myself more or less as stubborn, except I like to call it “resolute.” So talking about my resoluteness, a little over a week ago I decided to make my own chalkboards. I’ve been always frustrated with their prices and the inability to find exactly what I want, so when I found recipes for chalkboards online, I decided to make some myself. It seemed like a rather easy task, but if it weren’t for my resoluteness, I wouldn’t have carried it through.

The part I almost gave up was not the several layers of painting, but getting an 8×4 foot board to my house. After a long process of choosing a board and finally getting one off the shelf, I realized that it was scratched in several places and I wanted a smooth board. The Home Depot staff seemed to disappear when I needed them. Eventually someone came over and helped to exchange the board and then cut it in half. Then came the second obstacle of getting it into my car. Although I carefully measured the interior of my car, I forgot one slight detail, that the boards first had to go through the door frame, which is not as high as the interior. I wanted to go back inside and cut them down, which would have worked just fine, except someone noticed my struggle and decided to help. I was first grateful, but when the man started pushing the boards with all his might to get them inside, I was highly disappointed. I asked him to stop so I can take them in, but he kept on pushing and put both of them inside. “Oh, but it might be hard to get them out!” he concluded. Duh! I foresaw this happening, but it was too late now.

I came home with two boards in my car and was unable to pull them out. Thankful my dad came to the rescue, took out the boards and cut them for me the right size. Dads like mine get cool points. I don’t know where I’d be without my dad. Probably still driving with plywood in the back seat. From that point on everything went smoothly. I wiped the surface, applied a coat of primer to my boards and after four hours, applied the chalkboard paint I also bought at Home Depot. After 2.5 days (should have been 3), I covered the whole board with chalk and erased it. Voila! And then again my dad came to the rescue. He prepared holes in the chalkboard, and left the screws in the wood for us to easily assemble, which is what you see Tim doing below in the photos.

And now I will probably hang one of the boards in my room and just like the olive statue, it will serve as a memorial to my stubborness!


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3 thoughts on “Olive Wood Statue, Chalkboards, and Resoluteness

  1. Hi Yuliya! I’m going to Israel this December! Since I’ve read a bit about you being there I thought you might be able to share in my joy! Have you ever considered doing a post on your time in Israel or maybe share a few photos? I have been looking for some good photos of the place I am going to visit!

  2. Ha, I could relate to your stubbornness & plywood stories. This summer I worked on a prayer journey experience for our youth camp (painted/created/drew using ten pieces 4×8 plywood as canvas). It turned out awesome, though the process was tough.

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