Jordan’s Day

No, it’s not my birthday.

But, today was a day devoted to simply doing things I enjoy.

For the first time in a long time I had a day completely to myself where I wasn’t working and responsibilities were shrugged to the side.

To begin with, I went for a long walk to the outdoor market to purchase ingredients for dinner.

Sneak peak at dinner… IMG_2314 Along the way I picked up a few art supplies to finally decorate our incredibly bare walls.

- A few blank canvases

- Blue, black and gold acrylic paint

- Paintbrushes

Combine all of the above with some free hours and music and you end up with some inexpensive wall accessories. IMG_2311 IMG_2312Satisfied with my work, I treated myself to hunting the beach for sea glass using the sun as my searchlight. IMG_2310 And, while it might have been more relaxing to order in some pre-made food, it is always much more satisfying to cook up an experimental gluten-free pizza while video chatting with your best friend (Check her out here and here)

gluten pizza

I used the following recipe (minus the yeast), and well, as you can see, somehow my pictures don’t look like hers. This could be called a “Pinterest fail” (where the amateur’s final product fails in comparison to the original creator’s picture), but it was mighty tasty.

IMG_2318

And then, there’s nothing better than ending the day with some snuggles!

IMG_2212

Sabotage

Sabotage is the name of the game and I get caught up in it for more rounds than I would like.

I’m not talking about deleting someone else’s file to get ahead at work, or even letting the air out of someone’s bike tires to make him or her late, I’m talking about self-sabotage. You may not acknowledge it, but it manifests itself in ways you may not even realize throughout daily life.

For instance, I had a great workout earlier today. I walked to and from work (about 35 minutes of walking both ways), plus I went to the gym where I pushed myself through a spin workout, and I even ended with a few rounds of yoga sun salutations, but when I looked in the mirror all I could see were my imperfections.

Sabotage.

Or, when I have a great workout and then I undo all of that healthy exercise by eating more sugar products than I would care to admit.

Sabotage.

Or, when I go on Facebook and start to compare my accomplishments to those of others, completely ignoring reality and circumstances, and feel as if I have not worked hard enough and should be leading a different lifestyle.

Sabotage.

Or, even when I let the littlest self doubt creep in…

You, guessed it – Sabotage.

I certainly don’t spend all day sabotaging myself, but if you take a moment to scan your own day you might find that there are moments where you put yourself down, you don’t give yourself enough credit or you simply fail to pat yourself on the back.

So, starting now, I choose to play a different game and I am going to try harder to be nice to myself. Who wants to play?

IMG_2134

You’ve Got Mail

Sometimes you live in a far away land.

Sometimes you enjoy living in said far away land, but also miss your loved ones.

And, sometimes you enjoy living in said far away land and simply ache for some Ziploc bags.

That’s where the loved ones come in.

My dear family put together a care package of American goodies not available in Israel such as, Justin’s almond butter and Trader Joe’s trail mix (both essential to daily living).

The package was sent well before the holidays, but it took some time to get through customs, and last week we were notified it was finally available for pick up at the post office.

I put on my running shoes, grabbed the package slip and was off on a four and half mile odyssey to collect my prize.

Once securely in my possession I proudly carried the enormous package on the bus back to my apartment, where not even one minute went by before I ripped open the packing tape.

Of course we documented the joyous occasion…

box 1

Let’s just say I never thought I would be so excited to see packaged food with ingredients written in English.

box2

And because Ziplocs are only sold on the black market here, I had to have my own supply shipped in.

box 3

Plus, it’s never too late for a Chanukah gift, even if it is only half wrapped.

box 4

And Dave, of course, also received some well deserved chocolate and love from abroad.

box5

Thanks again family for the amazing gifts, thoughtful treats and extra love sent in the mail. We miss you!

By the way, Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Oh wait…am I a little late? Must be the time difference here in Israel, it tends to throw me off. Or more likely, it’s just the fact that life has gotten ahead of me already in 2014. In all of my math and science classes over the years my teachers failed to mention the fact that time gets exponentially faster every year you get older. I took a moment to flip through my photos and couldn’t believe how many things happened in the span of one year. In 2013… I completed rehabilitation from my broken hip accident in the Summer of 2012 and started running again (slowly)!

IMG_1792

I spent weekends working as a day-of coordinator for weddings IMG_1641 I saw my sister graduate college :) Yay Avery!

grad

I went to Chicago to visit one of my best friends IMG_1819 I got ENGAGED!

IMG_1836

I moved to Israel (yea that was a big one)

IMG_1898

I traveled to Budapest

IMG_2027

I enjoyed a long-weekend with my mom in London

IMG_2109

And I enjoyed many adventures with friends and family

IMG_0567 IMG_2189 IMG_2224

IMG_2102

Bedouin tent dinner - YUM! Already this year I have grown into my role as a pet parent, tending to our very ill (now completely healthy) cat.

IMG_0524

And I’m learning the ropes of living in another country.

Fruit Stand

It’s only been the first few weeks of the new year and already I feel like 2014 is an old friend.

Happy belated New Year

Reaching for the Rungs

Well, all I can say is that I am living life and it is moving more quickly than I ever could have imagined.

My days of Bay Area-living seem hazy and distant, but it’s only been a few months since my feet last pulled me up the steep steps of Fillmore Street. I can almost hear the fog horn off in the distance – or wait, is that just someone’s TV that I can hear through their open window on this warm December evening?
There are often times I have to remind myself that I am living in the Middle East because -other than a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean out my office window – I still go to work, I still cook dinner and I still go to the gym, just like before. The daily routine is more or less the same…
But then there are those times when I am forced to remember I am not living in America, such as: having a full body rash for more than 8 weeks and having to deal with jumping through the hoops of the public healthcare system. Or wanting to go to the specialty food store to buy gluten free flour to bake and having my efforts thwarted due the fact that everything is closed because it’s Shabbat. Not to mention the foreign language that fills the air. Though I am learning more and more, so I am not completely lost in the fog.
It’s been hard to be away from close friends and family during the holidays, but creating a life here with my fiance, old friends, and new friends reminds me that I have passed another rung in the ladder of adulthood. I have reached that point in my life where I am confident enough to welcome new situations and then create comfort and normalcy.
I carved out a place for myself here and so far I have made it fit in the Tel Aviv puzzle. Of course there are still daily challenges that attempt to create wrinkles in the masterpiece, but that only adds to the excitement of daily life here and enhances my character (at least that’s what I tell myself as I mumble incoherent swears at the painfully slow grocery cashier).
I don’t know if this ability to find comfort in new situations and circumstances is part of everyones’ climb in life, but I have accepted the challenge and have moved one step further in my journey.
I know most of you would rather see pictures of my cute cat or my latest adventure or even a smiling face of me than hear about my revelations abroad, so if you have made it this far in the post I will reward you with all of the above:
Nubbins feels right at home here in Tel Aviv

Nubbins feels right at home here in Tel Aviv

Just a little desert scenery

Just a little desert scenery

Bedouin tent dinner - YUM!

Bedouin tent dinner – YUM!

IMG_2166

Oh - that's just me, eating a delicious taco night dinner chez moi

Oh – that’s just me, eating a delicious taco night dinner chez moi

Boo!

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!

IMG_2120

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 ;)

IMG_2112 IMG_2109 IMG_2102 IMG_2100

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?

whostthatgirl

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…

Where have I been

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.

IMG_2002There have also been adventures in the culinary world. I need to perfect a few more recipes before I share them, but I will tell you about a delicious smoothie I made the other day.

IMG_2041

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

Dead Sea

and a hike in Ein Gedi

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).

Lillian and butterfly

 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!

IMG_1721