For the most part, today’s story is not about mortgages. If your sole reason for opening this email was to read about mortgages, jump to the last paragraph.
I recently returned from a 10-day hiking trip to Israel during which I hiked some of the great, amazingly well-marked hiking trails that are located in every geographic region of the country. I travelled with a friend and our trip kicked off with a 12-hour layover in Warsaw, Poland. We spent the time walking café-lined streets teeming with people, most of who appeared to be locals. I judged Warsaw a city of love because of the many couples I saw holding hands, walking arm-in-arm, and generally displaying affection. For me, Warsaw was plentiful free wi-fi, an amazing bowl of soup, pierogies and strong coffee at a funky bistro, and far more people speaking English than I expected given the “use the bathroom before we depart” speech we were given at O’Hare because of a broken toilet on our Boeing 767. There’s more, of course, but I just got a taste.
And then, on to Israel. My 3:30 AM welcome to Israel as the last passenger through Passport Control was a chance to declare that I had come to hike. We rented the equivalent of a clown car (in size, anyway…it lacked the bulb horn) and drove north from Tel Aviv to the storied Golan Heights on a deserted highway. After nearly an hour, dawn broke, and I was greeted by lush green hills, and then the beautiful, life-sustaining Lake Kinneret (known to some as the Sea of Galilee). Bleary-eyed, but not necessarily any worse for the wear, I sat on a picnic table outside an Israeli gas station drinking coffee I’d brought from home and delicious chocolate-filled burekas. Each day and night brought new vistas through the window of our car. We drove hundreds of kilometers, starting in the north at Golan Heights where we viewed Syria and the snow-capped peak of Mt. Hermon.
Our self-directed itinerary took us from north to south. Each day included a hike lasting at least three hours in breathtaking locations that ranged from dense forest to chalky, wind-blown desert. I broke a five-day falafel eating streak when we ate pizza in Eilat while watching children frolic in the chilly (although not Lake Michigan chilly) waters of the Red Sea. One early morning hike started as the sun rose over the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea (where we floated on the mineral-dense water). We wrapped the week on Friday afternoon as we literally waded through frenetic shoppers in the most energized market I have ever seen. When it was over, I had seen Israel’s four major bodies of water, been sightseeing in its major cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and sampled the local produce and foods of small towns and villages. It was a whirlwind adventure.
It wasn’t until I was home that it occurred to me that my trip was like the Taste of Chicago. I hadn’t really been anywhere long enough to know it well, rather, each stop, even hikes lasting four hours or more in the hot desert sun, were like those small, overpriced “tastes” of local fare. They were invitations to try more. It brought me joyfully back to my senior year in college, when, having satisfied the requirements of my major, I tossed darts at the university course guide and sampled from departments far afield from my area of concentration. The results of this randomness were an enhancement of my photography skills, a lifelong love of jazz music, and a fairly embarrassing beating in a Tae Kwan Do match at the Kokomo armory (when you’re sampling, not every choice is a good one).
I promised at the outset that I would say something about mortgages, and so I shall. Global uncertainty and the United States’ stumbling, nascent economic recovery have led to a recent buying spree in the bond market. As bond prices rise, bond yields go lower, taking mortgage rates with them. If you are in the market to buy a new home or have been considering refinancing your mortgage, now is a wonderful time to do so. Please contact me so we can best find a mortgage that suits your needs.