Category Archives: Ariela Zucker

August 15 – Living Among Strangers

by Ariela Zucker

My husband and I live in the motel we own and run. Our residence located between the lobby and the laundry room is an example of efficiency. This location ensures our ability to oversee the daily operation with ease. It also means that a constant stream of strangers moves in and out of our private space at all times.

Whoever planned the motel made sure to install enough doors to make the flow smooth and so there are four doors, each with its unique function, all of them need to be watched continuously. I can never be sure that my privacy will not be harshly intruded upon at any minute.

The first is the one to the lobby where the reception desk is and people check-in; sign on their check-in slips and receive the keys to their rooms. On their way into the breakfast room, to buy a cold drink, or ask a question about the weather, our guests scream hello, wave or even stick their head in the window that connects the lobby to our living room.

The second door leads to the motel laundry room; this is where our staff comes in in the morning to get the daily cleaning sheet. Through this door, they also come in at the end of the day to sign out or any other time of the day to ask questions about the daily chores.

The third set of doors leads from our bedroom to the backyard. People don’t come in through it anymore since we fenced it in for the dog.

The fourth is my favorite. It is our private entrance to our residence, there is a big sign on it that says ‘Private’ but few times a year, usually late at night, a confused guest will wander in. Caught in the bizarre situation, seeing us watching our favorite show on TV, he will freeze like a deer in headlights. Being used to this, we watch the frightened stranger with obvious amazement trying to guess what strategy of exit he will execute.

There is a fifth door; we were told when we bought the motel. The door connected the bedroom to the utility room. It is now blocked behind a large closet. Still, late at night, already in my bed, I wonder if one day it will open and one of our guests will emerge, rub his eyes and inquire about the best seafood restaurant.

Used to the constant presence of strangers, I will probably point him in the right direction, pull the blanket over my head and nod back into blissful sleep.

Ariela Zucker was born in Israel. She and her husband  left sixteen years ago and now reside Ellsworth Maine where they run a Mom and Pop motel. She blogs at


April 14 – Every Year in Passover

by Ariela Zucker

This is a straightforward event. We read a condensed version of the traditional Hagadah: slaves in Egypt, deliverance, forty years in the desert, four cups of wine (fifth one for Elijah), some strange yet symbolic foods and we are ready for the best part. This is the part when each one of us brings their offering, our take on the ancient story, on breaking out of slavery into freedom, on the snow finally receding and spring pressing on in the form of green buds. The first lone peepers, those who preceed the crowd, sing their monotonous song, the full moon, the abundance of food, the bursts of laughter alternating with the somber moments when I insist on reading something serious.

This is the culmination of preparations that start a week, sometimes few weeks before the big night. Inviting people, planning the menu, finding an insightful piece of reading. Then comes the day itself and from early in the morning I am on it.

Passover is a yearly gathering that brings together not only my daughters but a close group of friends, a loyal group that has been following us for the past fifteen years since we arrived in the U.S and introduced our unique way of conducting it. Once a year we get together for few hours, a varied group of people of all ages; the youngest this year, my newest granddaughter, a year old, the oldest one of my daughter’s friend, eighty-five years old grandmother. Every year we welcome some fresh faces, with only one steady request, bring something to read, anything that connects you to this holiday.

I often reflect on the traditional event, while still in my parents’ home, how I couldn’t wait for it to end. Then I look at my daughters who will not miss it for anything, who proudly invite their friends of all religions. I take a deep breath, I know that what have started as a seed, is now a resilient tree, that hopefully will endure.

Ariela Zucker was born in Israel. She and her husband  left sixteen years ago and now reside Ellsworth Maine where they run a Mom and Pop motel.

November 19 – Time-Lapse

by Ariela Zucker

If my pen, like a camera, was capable of condensing a whole summer season into one day using a time-lapse technique here is how my typical summer day as a motel owner would appear.


Hiring new stuff and retraining the old; spring cleaning galore. Fixing and sprucing up; restocking the supplies. Refreshing all the schedules and getting ready for a flood of reservations and last-minute cancellations

The toilet in room 2 is clogged. The bed in room 5 creaks. The curtain rod in 17 just broke. The Wi-Fi is slow; the mattress too soft. The mattress is too firm; the window doesn’t latch. The air conditioning wouldn’t hush. It’s too dark outside. The light comes up too early and the neighbor next door so noisy. What, only twenty channels! No swimming pool? What are we to do?

Maybe write a blog because it’s rainy all day long.

No brown sugar, no bananas either. I wish there was honey, or at least some peanut butter. I’m lactose intolerant, gluten sensitive too. Where is that damn ice, didn’t I pay a full price?

Couldn’t sleep a wink, those peepers make me crazy. Couldn’t sleep a wink the dog next door barked all night. Couldn’t . . .  Yes we know.

Huddled under the blanket all night, the hyenas were laughing in the dark; I think I saw a mouse. So much nature; too much nature; please give me some shopping malls. Forests and lakes, and ocean, and ocean and forests and lakes, need something interesting for the kids–maybe a mall?

The leaves are turning but it is still raining. How long will it take to get there from here? We can’t find it on the GPS.

Thanks for your hospitality, motel with such quaint personality.

Have to leave, bummer,
Till next summer.



I fold the lawn chairs, dim the lights, close the front doors, lock them twice, winter is on its way, time to rest.
Ariela Zucker was born in Israel. She and her husband  left sixteen years ago and now reside Ellsworth Maine where they run a Mom and Pop motel.