Well, all I can say is that I am living life and it is moving more quickly than I ever could have imagined.
I hope I didn’t scare you. I know I haven’t written in a long time so I hope my presence back on my blog isn’t too startling. Life’s been busy in this part of the world. Not only have I been writing blog posts all day for the start up I currently work for (if you like money check it out http://www.tipranks.com), but I have also been helping acclimate our lovely kitty to her new home here in Israel, enjoying times with my new friends, and indulging in a little globe trotting.
Professional blogging is going well, but I must admit that it’s hard to write all day long and then come home and continue spending time in front of a computer screen. But, I love writing and keeping you guys posted about my life here in Tel Aviv, so I will continue to faithfully post on Almondjay.com.
So here goes the update…
Dave’s parents brought our cat Nubbins from the states after the final travel paperwork went through. It was a wonderful reunion and we are once again a very happy family. She even seems a little too comfortable, stealing the best seat in the house!
I also had some time to take a quick getaway to London where I met my mom from the States to spend a long girly weekend together. We treated ourselves to shows, plenty of walking and even a little pampering (see below: new haircut). We had a fabulous time and I can’t wait to have more adventures with my mom in any country that can handle the two of us
Of course I made it back to Israel just in time to celebrate a VERY American Halloween in a sea full of Israeli’s who were very confused. Can you guess who I am?
Overall, life feels very normal, which is completely wonderful and just lovely. In comparison to last year, where there never seemed to be a truly comfortable “normal” day, daily life here is simply pleasant. Of course there are adventures to other countries, trips throughout Israel and friendly visitors that elevate the everyday with a sprinkle of excitement, but most of the time life is full of breakfasts, work, time on the couch, minutes on the treadmill and sleeping next to the man I love, and that’s pretty damn good.
On the horizon, I will be journeying to the Israeli desert, celebrating my first Thanksgiving away from my family and experiencing Channuka in Israel . Here goes nothing…
Let’s just say that when you are blogging all day for someone else, coming home to write your own blog takes a back seat. For the past few weeks I have been settling into my internship at a tech startup (www.tipranks.com) writing daily posts about news in the finance world and coming up with clever tweets to make you want to read said blog entries.
Of course, in addition to working every day there have been some lively activities that have slipped in between the 9-5…
This may not be super exciting to all of you, but to the girl who broke her hip a year ago, running half an hour on the treadmill is a huge deal. With the gym literally beckoning me with its fluorescent sign that I see out of my apartment window, it is hard to say no to a quick workout. Luckily the gym is never super busy and the American television stations help me power through the sad reality of actually not getting anywhere while sweating.
I mixed one banana with a scoop of peanut butter, half a cup of almond milk (that stuff is like gold here – almost $7 a box!), a dash of original oatmeal, and finished it off with some chia seeds. I was full for so long – and it was delicious.
I’ve also been on a few trips with my program throughout the country including, a dip in the Dead Sea
and a hike in Ein Gedi
And while life here in the Middle East continues to be an adventure every day, I have to take a pause here to reflect on a very special being back home in the states. Our family dog was just put sleep days before her 15th birthday. Lillian, or Lil as we fondly called her, was a wonderful companion, heart warmer, and smile maker, and she will be missed greatly by all of those she touched (and begged for food from).
So, even though I might pack my days here full of Hebrew, professional blogging and trying not to eat all the hummus in one sitting, I am still thinking of everyone back home. I hope you are all having a great week! I’ll be back this weekend when this little one gets an Israeli stamp in her passport!
Yup, it’s been a while and that’s because I have been very busy traveling. First I spent an overnight in the Golan Heights, hiking and exploring the sights with my internship program. It was nice to spend a short time with everyone on the program and it was even nicer to be hiking. It made me miss Bay Area hiking up Mount Tam or around the Marin Headlands, but it was great to be in nature near the beautiful Sea of Galilee.
Right after I dropped off my dirty backpacking backpack full of smelly clothes, I repacked my rollaway with pants and sweaters to head off to Budapest, Hungary. In the morning I was eating breakfast on a Kibbutz and by 11:00pm I was turning the key in the lock to our Hungarian AirBnB apartment.
The city was incredible! Dave and I literally walked everywhere and saw all of the amazing palaces, castles, hills and baths, plus the inside of many fine hotel bathrooms along the way. 5 days seemed like a long time by the end of the trip because we had more than worn out our walking feet, and a few bouts of food poisoning plagued our last 32 hours. But as you can see below we truly soaked up the sights and enjoyed our time in Europe.
If I can recommend one thing while planning your next trip, you should check out eatwith.com and see if you can sign up for one of these unique dining experiences in the city you are planning to visit. We paid for a dinner in the home of one of the most interesting men I have ever met and it was an experience I will never forget. On top of his amazing location on the Danube River, Mark, our host, cooked a delicious meal, shared stories of his time in Hollywood as a production and set buyer, and charmed us with anecdotes about the eclectic art pieces that adorned every inch of his walls. It was such a special evening and I invite all of you to check it out even for a dining escape in your own back yard.
So now we are home, back in Tel Aviv, enjoying the last part of our vacation before all of the Jewish festival holidays are over and the real routine of life sets in. Of course every day here in Israel is still an adventure to me, so I will be back soon with more stories.
This past weekend was the holiest of Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. It is the tradition to fast for 24 hours, spend some time in services praying and reflect on your transgressions over the past year. Here in Israel the entire country shuts down, no stores are open and no one is allowed to drive on the streets. While there are of course many people following the religious traditions quite closely, most people in Tel Aviv take to the streets and utilize the freedom to frolic.
Despite the slight post-apocalyptic feeling, kids are whizzing in and out of turn lanes on bicycles, parents are pushing strollers down the double lines and couples are holding hands under traffic lights.
I of course was right alongside the rest of Tel Aviv in the streets, but I also took a moment to think about my actions and thoughts over last year and how I want to change my behavior for the future.
Those 24 hours were so peaceful without the hum of the cars and everyone on the street was smiling and having a good time. I am so glad I was here to witness this annual phenomenon and take part in something so special.
Now after that quick break from reality I have a full week ahead of me packed with a hiking trip to the Golan Heights in Israel and a quick get away to Budapest! More details to come…
Sometimes I forget that I’m no longer in America. Tel Aviv has the buzz of New York, the accessibility of San Francisco and the coast of LA (but better of course), and I feel as comfortable as I would be in my home country. But then there are those moments, those still frames that ooze the reality of Israel and I am reminded of where I really am.
To begin with, I have never lived 7 minutes from the beach where I can take a book beach-side and then go for a refreshing dip in warm water.
Then there is the extremely fresh produce. My tuna salad has never tasted so good on top of a bed of cucumbers and tomatoes.
And cats!! So many cats roam the streets. Some of them are hard to resist.
Plus there is always the unique way movers take care of extra furniture in your apartment.
( Hard to tell but they did manage to bring the couch to the ground safely. Notice all of the cushions strewn about the sidewalk? Thank goodness this is not my couch)
Being in a new city where I feel right at home is great, but I also appreciate those eye-opening moments that remind me of my big adventure in a far away land.
Yes, Happy New Year!! Today (in Israel) is the first day of the new Jewish year. It is a time to reflect on the past year and prepare for the year ahead, contemplating actions, dreams and feelings. It’s amazing the amount of things that happen during a year and last year was a pretty full one for me. I persevered through rehabilitation, I mastered living alone, I saw friends and family who I had not seen in quite some time, I got engaged and I moved to another country!
Obviously those are just a few highlights, but it’s amazing to take a glance back at things that were accomplished and get excited about all of the things to come in the near future. Already in my new home I have tested the waters, literally in the swimming pool:
I have eaten out at delicious restaurants:
I have cooked and juiced to my heart’s content:
And I have hosted my first Rosh Hashanah dinner:
I know that there are hardships that come with every new year and while I am already experiencing some of those now, I know that that are more to come that I cannot anticipate. And so I wish for the new year that when those hard times arise I will stay strong and accept them each as a challenge. And that in moments of weakness I refrain from relying on cattiness, anger or jealousy to deal with the situation.
I also know that with any new year comes a chance for new adventures, fun and so much joy. And I wish for all of you (whether you are taking the time to celebrate the new year or not) a healthy, happy and exciting year of growth and learning.
Have a sweet new year!
And congratulations on a chance to take a step in the direction of your choosing on the first day of this new year in your journey of life.
It has been almost two weeks since my relocation to Israel and no two days have been alike. From the moment we landed we have been on the go, finding a new place, moving and settling in, and only just now is some semblance of normal finding its way into the everyday.
I started the intensive hebrew studying today and after the Jewish New Year I will combine the start of my internship with these studies.
For now my day consists of some living room-style vinyasa flow:
(My home studio has plenty of room for fellow yogis, so come on over!)
Once I am all stretched out and centered I take a long stroll around the neighborhood.
The gathering below of families happened on Saturday morning. The kids were cooling themselves off in the public fountain and were loving every minute of cold respite. They were ADORABLE!!
And then it’s time to get down to business for 4 hours practicing Hebrew!
Granted these days are fairly light with activity, and soon that will all change once I integrate my internship, commuting and more social activities into the day. But for now I am soaking up these atypical days.
I am not sure how many of you have been to Israel or how many of you have had the chance to enjoy fantastic Middle Eastern food, but I am in heaven here! The fresh produce, Israeli dips and bountiful spices keep my taste buds satisfied morning, noon and night. Here are are some of the delicious meals that I have indulged in over the past two days:
We had a long day of walking throughout the city, visiting different neighborhoods and historic sites. And as much as I hate being herded in a large group with a tourist sign flashing above my head, it was wonderful to learn more facts about Tel Aviv and be guided through this young city. The Habima National Theater
This was exactly how I felt around 3:30 when we were freed from the tour and I was able to rest my weary body riding the waves of the bus as it sailed back across the city.
Once I arrived home I truly had no interest in walking the few feet out of my front door to pick up some ingredients for dinner, so the lovely (and might I add, sick) fiance volunteered to round up some food.
Home cooked salmon over market rice and greens was the perfect way to end the long day of foot travel. I personally love lightly dressing the salmon with olive oil, lemon, pepper and salt and cooking it in the oven. And even better, we have plenty of left overs!
Tomorrow will be spent in the classroom doing workshops to prepare for our internships. And while I welcome the break, I will miss that feeling of satisfied exhaustion that comes with a day well spent on your feet. One of my absolute favorite things to do is take long walks around a new city, so I will treat tomorrow like a rest day until the following day where I can wander the streets and devour the sites of Tel Aviv.