Monday, May 24, 2021

Sunday, May 23, 2021

#142 Back to the beach!

 Back to the beach today, free of sirens, rockets and anxiety. My brain totally shut down and I felt my body relax.

I forgot how much being at the beach is an escape. It is how I got through the first awful semester in Abu Dhabi (the beach and crying every night). Sadiyaat Beach was 75 AED ($20) for a chair under an umbrella and worth every penny. The best bargain in Tel Aviv I've found is the beach chair - 12 NIS (4 USD) and 6 NIS for an umbrella- that's only 2 USD!

Saturday, May 22, 2021

#141 Anxiety-free outing!

 Today was the first day I have driven in two weeks and it felt great to leave the 'hood, free of anxiety (although every siren-type sound sends a shock through my body)! Six of us met up North to do a hike. It was a full-day-extravaganza: 1.5 hour drive both ways and we were on the trail for about 4 hours total.

I am discovering that the spring here looks and feels a lot fall in some parts of the United States. The  highs are near 80°F, it is slightly cool at night, lots of things are blooming beautiful colors and leaves are falling off of other trees after also changing colors. 

The smell of the forest alone was worth the drive! Here's where we were: 

Let's go!

Yoad, Olivia's husband who came prepared with Turkish Coffee
Coffee break!


Friday, May 21, 2021

#141 The friends that get us through

 I've gotten lax about my gratitudes each day a few months ago. I was taking Hebrew, working in person full time and doing a lot of Zooming with friends. However, giving up the blog helped chip away at an attitude of gratitude where I am constantly looking for what I will write about today.

Nothing like a ceasefire after some bomb being intercepted over one's head to spark some gratitude!

Friday morning was amazingly free! So a few of us went out to dinner at Cafe Dizengoff where I got to have my favorite burger (so far) in Tel Aviv and my favorite dessert, a personal size vegan pecan pie.

I didn't take pictures at dinner, but here are a couple of pictures from the last week. These lovely ladies (and some others!) helped me get through this year.

A little gathering on my balcony on Wednesday.

On the roof Monday, awaiting more rockets (which didn't come)

Sunday, April 11, 2021

#101 Constructing my first piece of IKEA furniture by myself!

 Sunday is one of my days off but it is the first day of the work week here in Israel.

What I discovered today is that about 2 PM on a Sunday is a great time to visit IKEA! The parking lot was only about half full thus making walking through the maze a much more pleasant experience.

My main objective was a small, closed shelf that could hold all of the toiletries that heretofore have been living on the bottom shelves of a bookcase you see as soon as you open the front door. 

Not the welcome I want my guests to have!

Because the store wasn't super busy, I actually got help from a nice worker guy who highlighted the piece I needed from the warehouse.

Once I got it home, the fun began. Let the record show he told me it would take me 15 minutes to put it together.

Here's what really happened. 

3.30 pm. It begins.

3:48 p.m.

[Quite a struggle ensued here to get the back on and the 4th side attached.] 
4:50 p.m. The struggle continues.

5:29 p.m. A different corner won't work now.

There was also a short dinner break and some exasperated pouts on the couch culminating in Googling videos of others who had assembled the same piece.] 


6:48 p.m. The back is on and all four corners are flush!!

7:14 p.m. The shelves are in!!

7:26. One door on!

7:30 p.m. Finished!  Doors closed.

Doors open!

The new look! The travel posted will get hung above the cabinet.

The shelf my stuff used to be on can now be used to display cool stuff I have collected.

Friday, April 9, 2021

#98 Getting My Car Towed

 I found the BEST parking spot two nights ago! Parking in Tel Aviv is a big deal and when you find a good one it is hard to give up. This one was less than a block from my apartment, no one else parked near me.

When I went to go to work two mornings later, there was nothing there but space! I saw that the curb is not blue and white (legal parking), just blue (loading zone). It didn't take long to figure out what happened.

How far I've come! There was a time when this would have completely incensed me and ruined my day. But on this day all I could do is laugh.

Here's where the gratitude really kicks in. My friend Jessie was halfway to school but Melanie had just walked out the door and was able to give me a lift. 

Now, there is no phone number on the "no parking" sign to call if you get towed and I didn't think to look on the Tel Aviv Municipality website for English, so I asked a very nice guy in administration at school to call for me. He did and got the address of the tow lot and the amount owed which I am also grateful to be able to afford (By the way, it seems way cheaper than getting a car out of tow-jail in the U.S.).

My plan was to walk to the tow lot after my gym class at 7PM. I told two ladies at the gym about getting my car towed (which they both said has happened to them) and a delightful woman name Nira offered to go to the tow lot with me to rescue my vehicle.

Of we went after class across the river to the tow lot. Thank goodness for Nira! Even though signs were also in English and a button to push to call a live person, it would have taken me 3 times as long and not nearly as much fun. Instead, Nira basically did all the work to figure out what to do, pressed the human button and talked to the operator then made sure I got out of the gate before she left.

Me and Nira and the Ticket Machine

Finally, after I drove around for 30 minutes I found a legit parking space, in blue and white, very close to my building.

All in all, getting my car towed was a great way for God to show of how many kind and helpful people I have in my life today.

I thought this was my car until I got right up to it and it didn't respond to the clicker! Mine was to the left.

The sign that I now know says "don't park here" for two days in a row!

Monday, March 29, 2021

#87 Guidebooks for Hiking [that are delivered to my door!]

 Front door delivery is not big news in America or the UAE, but in Israel it is astonishing--At least to me!

I ordered a book of hiking trails around Tel Aviv a few days ago. I took a chance and put in my home address, assuming it would get delivered to the nearest post office, generate an email and have to be retrieved by me at a pre-scheduled time. This has been the process several times already.

Today I did get a text, but it wasn't from the post office--it was from the author of the book!

She wasn't kidding. And not only was it on the doorstep, it had a personalized message on the package. It's the little things that make life so fun!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

#86 A Visit to the Forest of the Martyrs

Since I didn't travel over spring break I have decided that my purpose during this vacation is to rest, spend time with myself, rest some more, exercise and spend time with myself. 

Yesterday's adventure was a quick outing to The Forest of the Martyrs. There was almost no one out, which I assume is because tonight is the beginning of Passover, a huge holiday here. I think everyone was getting ready for the seder tonight.

The forest was created in 1951 when 6 million trees were planted in honor of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust. There were two memorials I visited--the Scroll of Fire, Martyr's Cave and the Anne Frank Memorial. Both are moving and beautiful and help us to remember the unforgettable.

I just saw in the news that the Idaho Anne Frank Memorial in Boise (my hometown) was defaced in December--I can't believe how people behave. It is unimaginable to me the hate people can harbor for their fellow humans.  Anyways, the Idaho memorial was completed in 2002 by Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, a non-profit organized by former priest Bill Wassmuth who was disturbed by "the misuse of theology for hateful aims". Idaho has a history of housing some people with racist and prejudice views and this memorial is one way to combat hate.

As I learn more about Israel and Judaism I find more and more evidence that God has me here on purpose. The fact that there is an Anne Frank Memorial in Idaho to encourage people to think about human rights is just another "coincidence" in the mystery of my presence in Israel. 

I am so grateful that people take the time to remember. 

The Scroll of Fire

The Jerusalem Hills

I hiked up to the top of a ridge above the Anne Frank Memorial.

The Martyr's Cave

The Anne Frank Memorial

A memorial found at the site of the cave and the Anne Frank Memorial

Saturday, March 27, 2021

#85 Yoga in the Park

 I've never done yoga in the park before, so today was a first! my new friend from the gym recently became a yoga instructor and has started teaching in the park.d It was a beautiful day and I did an assisted headstand from straddle, which I've never been able to do. At least now my body knows what it feels like!

The instructor, Shachar

I cheated during class to snap a picture

Melanie went with me

Okay, I didn't get up by myself, but that's me learning what a headstand feels like!

#84 My Coronavirus Roommate

 One year ago today I Abu Dhabi announced a 24 hour lockdown. I had been teaching in my apartment for the week and the thought of staying there for 48 hours solid brought me to tears.

So I called Kelli hiccup crying. She lives in a two bedroom, three bath ground floor apartment in a lovely development in Abu Dhabi. Kelli didn't hesitate. Pack your stuff and come over here right now

I never spent another night in that apartment. We had the best time during lockdown! Her husband was in America for the entire time (less one night) I stayed there. We made dinner, went scuba diving and went to the grocery store a LOT. I miss living with her so much but I am forever and ever grateful for her hospitality and friendship.

Thank you, Kelli!!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

#83 Attending my first symphony performance in over a year

After a wait of over a year, I attended my first symphonic performance tonight of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra! I was so delighted to get lost for an hour in beautiful classical music.  Jessie and I walked about 25 minutes to the theatre during which I said about 63 times "I can't believe I live overseas!" 

I couldn't resist a picture of the absolutely massive ladies room