Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Full Circle

We have come full circle since we landed. Not only has a whole year come and gone, but we have actually hit the point where we have started doing random things again. Shortly after we got here we spent a freakishly hot afternoon at a local water play area called yeladudis (you can see the old entry with a picture from a year ago here).

Well we went back this week. Channah no longer hangs out on the kiddie slide- oh no! She went on the ginormous, 15 foot tall, spongy air filled water thing. And she LOVED it!

Did I mention she also did kiddie rock wall climbing?

Monday, August 24, 2009

A time to reflect

There are many events on the calendar this time of year that make it a good time to reflect. Last year our Rabbi gave the "what changes have you made in your life recently" speech. Having only being in the country for 7 weeks it was not the most inspirational speech. Living in Toronto we always felt that we were not where we were supposed to be.

Channah is thriving. We have been able to give her oppurtunities that we could not give her in Toronto. She speaks hebrew beautifully and has tons of friends. She has a deep connection to Jewish history as she can literally trip over it, different places we go. She has a level of self-confidence by being able to give her a level of independence that would make set off alarms at any Child Services office in North America.

Rachel has been able to be succesful doing her dream job in the luxury of our home. Her hebrew is very advanced allowing her to be comfortable in most situations. We have developed close friendships in a very short period of time. We took the first half of the year, before I started work to explore the country. She still takes advantage of oppurtunities to see and learn about other parts of the country.

I have found a job that I am good at. I have a great employer and business is growing. I have a regular learning schedule and a close relationship with our Rabbi. I have adjusted to accept the difficulties of how hard it make the 10 hour commute for 2 hours of ice. On the other hand playing in the ice hockey tournament was one of the highlights of the year.

My bitachon and emunah have been restored. Even when it has looked like we received a tough break, I have seen it as been guided to a better oppurtunity. In general that is how things have turned out.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More apartment pictures

New shower curtain (picture for Naomi ;) )

living room/dining room. taken post play date so there are some toys around. bookshelves still need to be organized, but all the artwork is up and things are taking shape well.

During the week we only need 3 seats at the table so it is pushed against the wall to have more room for Channah to play. When we have guests we pull it out and can extend it fully and walk around it no trouble.

kitchen. sorry about the stuff all over the counters. it is all clean and drying- need to either find my drying racks or get new ones. I figured it was better to snap while there was clean stuff than after I start cooking for shabbat.

Beachy Kean

Earlier this week a number of local eemas boarded a bus to the separate beach in Tel Aviv. Yes, believe it or not Tel Aviv does have a separate beach, and it is really rather nice. The driver was clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer and maanged to get lost both coming and going, but other than that it was a great day and I am really glad that we chose to go.

We all rented umbrellas and once we had them set up we have a largish area of shade kids could cool off in. The two babies hung out on a sheet under the umbrellas and the rest of the kids were off playing in the sand. We all took turns taking groups into the water, sitting in the shade with the babies, and playing in the sand in between.

We ended the afternoon with ice cream and a bus ride home.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy (Gregorian) 1 year Aliyaversary to us!

Oh my gosh we have made it a whole year. It has been a year since we last saw most f our family and friends. A year since we said good bye to everything that was familiar and expected and packed ourselves off for, what was to us, the adventure of a lifetime. A year since we got on the plane not knowing if we were making the right decision and just hoping and praying that God would be with us in our endeavors. A year since I was a crying sobbing mess who just wanted to get through a day and collapse into a bed and sleep for 100 years.

As we come to the end of of our first year as "olim chadashim" there are a number of things that, along with linking to our original list of things we had learned at the 6 week mark.

1) Never leaves clothes on the drying rack in direct sunlight. Parts will fade to a washed out pastel and you will look like someone who tried to tie dye and sucked at it

2) It is entirely possible to wash a kitchen full of dishes using only a thimble-full of water. Being aware of water levels (and when it is time to draw a new coloured line somewhere) is a part of life.

3) It was not just the Bait Hamikdash that miraculously explaind as needed- any Israeli home has the miraculous ability to expand to fit as many people as it needs, and all their stuff, for however long they need to stay, no matter how little notice you get.

4) In an over saturated market opening a new venue will not split the current clientele so neither store can survive, rather it will just bring new people out of the woodwork.

5) Throwing a bucket of water on your floor and using a squeegy to toss it out the door is a perfectly acceptable method of cleaning your house.

6) Giving tzedakah (within reason) will positively affect your bottom line.

7) ANYTHING can be sold door to door (and you will continue to recieve it indefinitly even if you have not paid for it). Perishables will be left at your front door even if you might be away for a month.

8) When your kid does start speaking Hebrew, it will be better than yours within 15 minutes.

9) Skype and voip lines can sometimes be better than face to face conversation becuase you can do all sorts of things you would never get away with in real life.

10) The only place to buy ant poison is the grocery store.

11) Being able to bring tanach to life and watching your kid connect to thousands of years of history without realizing that for most people ruins and archeology are not a daily event is deeply satisfying on a soul level.

12) A thirsty person can drink more than a thirsty camel.

13) After breaking your teeth and fighting your way through a contract negotiation in Hebrew, you will discover the other party speaks fluent English- and be thrilled you never knew.

14) If you are used to Canadian maps where 2 inches = 200 km, you are going to miss a lot of turn offs.

15) A 5 minute walk really can be too far at some times of day- like say, any time of day between May and October.

16) Rain can be much colder than snow. But it is still nice knowing you are not going to slide down the hill or need to shovel it. You can still go tobagonning though- it just involves a broken box and a muddy hill.

17) Checkpoints make you feel safer- even when when the only guy there is paying more attention to his banana than to the cars. Always watch for tire spikes even when going in the right direction!

18) When your close family is on another landmass, your friends and neighbours become your family. In a country full of immigrants, no one is really alone.

19) Any Anglos without an English accet are "American"

20) If you go to a movie it will have an intermission. Apparently natural born Israeli's have smaller bladders and need to eat more often.

21) Your friends include "crazy settlers", "meshuganah charidim" and "meshuganah crazy charaidi settlers", and yet it is the "normal ones" who are "anti-peace" because they are thinking about closing in their balcony.

22) Setting your air conditioner to 25 degrees for 20 minutes is staying cool.

23) Children can do anything- for between 130-140 shekel a month. Yes there really is a plastacine chug.

24) There are many really cool things that are worth doing once for 10 minutes- conversely there are many once in a lifetime things you will do repeatedly with anyone who comes to visit.

25) "Made in Israel" signs are not necessarily an incentive to look at bad artwork/handcrafts/random product.

26) Test driving a car will turn into an incredible touring experience with a fantastic guide and amazing views.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

soooooooo tired around here

I think we might have gotten carried away when we were packing...

Our street

For Shelly- what a pedestrian street (midrachov) looks like.

In theory a car can sort of get in for renovations and what not from the other end, but it is not really designed for cars. This is the view from the top of the street. Behind me is a busy street that. On the right is the makolet (grocery store).

small ghetto park thing at the top of the street in front of the makolet.

view from in front of our building looking up the street towards the makolet.

park around the corner just so you can see not all our parks are from 1948.

but it is still a touch creepy in it's own way.

The apartment is coming along...

Guest room area- the jewelery moves when I am not expecting clients, and the under piece pops up to full height- people tell us the beds are really comfortable.

Studio side of the room. Ther ecolour you see runs through the whole front of the apartment and the guest room/studio. I know it looks white in the pictures, but it really is not. You can see the difference when you look at the wall compared to the dresser (which has some empty space for long term visiting guests.

Ok, so it is not pristene yet, but considering we have been in here for roughly a week I think we are doing pretty well unpacking-wise.

Guess whose room we are visiting now?

Her kitchen is defintly nicer than ones I had in Toronto!

Is there any little girl who would nto love this room?

hallway leading to bedrooms containing a bokshelf and the panty. The linen closet is opposite the pantry. Our room is on the left of the book case, Channah's room is across the hell on the right (just beyond the pantry). The guest room is right before the pantry closet on the same side.
Our rom, the bathroom and hpefully the main room later on tonight or tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Small update- pictures to follow in a couple days

Wc are almost entirely out of the old apartment. Just need to finish cleaning it and then whitewash it next week. Not a huge deal. Jason will probably spend Friday morning over there then the painter will go in next week.

Oh, did I mention the landlord is trying to charge us for 2 aronot the last tenants told us were theirs? They were falling apart So we just got rid of them once we no longer needed them. We rented an unfurnished apartment with a stove and oven. Nothing about aronot.

I am so glad to be away from that. The apartment is in great condition (better than we got it) So if be does try to tack on any other charges l will pull out th pictures I took before the old people moved out!

This place is coming along really well. the colors we close look fantastic, and for th most part th furniture fits perfectly.

Channah's room is finished entirely (or will be this afternoon once Handy Randy is here to put p her hooks and artwork. Our room is almost done as well. We even got new micro fibre sheets (40 shek a set on sale at Ace!)Got a few things for Randy to put p and a dresser drawer for him to fix, but once those are done it will be another 20 minutes or so to finish it all up.

Once the mirrors go p today both washrooms are done. Channah's is done in rubber duckies and is super cute. Lots of blue and yellow.

The kitchen is organized, spotless and all in all amazing Even the half-sized sinks are not as bad as if thought they would be. Less room for dishes to pile up.

Studio is still full of boxes, but once my shelves go up this appearance I can really get to work getting set up. living Room is still box-heaven but overall thing are coming along nicely.

Tonight we are looking forward to going out to see the mishpucha in Ginot Shomron. It Should be fun. Yay for family on th Same continent!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Time flies!

According to the Hebrew calender We have now finished our "Shana Rishona", our first year as hero olim. According to anything we hard, the first year is always the hardest if that is really the case than from now on life should be a piece of cake. Seriously, this past year has been the best of my life. (Obviously Single cents stand at prior to this but as a whole this was the best year.)

And now, at the six month mark I am putting up a list of thing we have come to accept as being part of Israeli life row you get He otter half. Ways in which we have rot acculturated and for the most part doubt we ever will.

1) mayonnaise-tel mans all the way. I do not care what I need to pay for it, the Israeli stuff is disgusting.

21 am Sony. I know the Kineret is draining fast, but if I do not get my daily shower I feel subhuman. No I an not calling you subhuman if you do not slower-just if you do not use deodorant and have used the elevator I need in the last hour so that I gag getting in and hold my breath no matter how long I am in there.

3) I still pretty much assume a stone will sell whatever it is they see. d do not assume the shoe store will be out of shoes and selling toys instead.

4) I am still naive enough to hope for -some -customer service. (this includes delivering Thing The day you tell re you are going to or remembering to complete the entire job I am paying you to do.

s) No, I do not want jump or to a moving bus.

Honey, I'm home!

Tonight we are sleeping at the new place. Basic furniture is unpacked. Old place looks like it was hit by a hurricane. That is totally not going to be tackled tonight!

Meantime Channah is out cold in her very pink bedroom. She is dealing with everything pretty well- looking forwarded to putting her princesses back up, but knows that is on the agenda for tomorrow. Her room is always my first priority. Her clothes and toys are already mostly away. She has an awesome new aron in her room So everything has a good place to go.

Movers took forever and cost a small for fine. seriously, if I need to do this again next year, can someone please just kill me?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Channah being cute and overtired at teh new place while I tried to pack

princess channah in her cape. with her loyal subject sir pooh of the beary best knights.

ok, so not my proudest parenting moment. Yes she had peas out of a can for dinner. The plan was also a hard boiled egg but when we cracked it the thing was icky and frozen! Considering we made them friday and they have been in the fridge since, and our freezer is supposedly defrosting it is a rather astounding turn of affairs!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

new apartment- painted.

Living room dining room

our room
Channah's room- waaaay pink!

look, our boxes are growing!

Tisha Bav- photo edition

Driving up to the old city traffic was a nightmare!

at the top of mamila, right before you go up the steps to shar yafo was this weird thing. A goat. And fish. Sure.

Coming up to the old city from mamila

first good view of the kotel. Jason, not having been there in a number of months had to tear kriah- something one does in the deepest mourning. He said doing it on tisha b'av was a very strange feeling. The sea of people was astounding. What I found most interesting, is the cross section of Jews that was represented. Everything from the shtarkest of the yerushalmis to the most secular of the chilonim (but even so still wearing shawels over their heads and shoulders.

coming down the steps

the menorah built by the mishkan temple institute (I think) for use in the 3rd Beit Hamikdash. It is about half way up the steps to the Rovah (and moriah bookstore) and almost always has a kippah selling guy in front of it. It fulfils what the machon hamikdash oppinion is of all the details of the original.

The spot where the holiest of places may once have stood.

One of the exits from the old city. No busses at this time of night, but people using the exit to walk to local stops and taxi stands.

Where people would once have gathered before enteringthe Bait Hamikdash.

This is what is there now- certainly not our Bait Hamikdash.

Our day in Tel Aviv

Last week, I had a rush order to Channah and I went in to Tel Aviv to pick up supplies. Normally I hate having to go in to Tel Aviv, but I had totally forgotten that since it was a Tuesday the artist's shuk and Nachlat Binyamin was going to be open, so Channah and I ended up spending a great afternoon wandering amongst the booths. Once out water bottles were empty we "splurged" on a lemonade at a cafe on the side of the street. Ok, so it was Israeli lemon-aide wannabe, but it was icy cold at when it is 110 degrees outside you take shade, air conditioning and a cold drink when it is offered!

None of my pictures from the shuk turned out well- everything looks totally black as the sun was so insanely bright, but I got a few indoor shots I thought I would share.

On the train on the way to Tel Aviv. She has become quite the accomplished little traveler. It was cooler here so I totally forgot to grab a hat for her- especially since I was not planning on spending the afternoon outside.

That problem was solved when she fell in love with a cute tinkerbell bucket hat. This was the cafe where we enjoyed our air conditioning.

waiting for the train home

the train home.