Sunday, March 28, 2010

baruch dayan haemet

the last couple days have been tough. Everyday has brought bad news, although B"H nothing directly relating to the family. Israel is a small country though, and every death feels close to home. On Friday two soldiers were killed... my BIL who is an officer in the army knew long before anything was posted on the news. One of the soldiers who died went to school with my husband, as did his brother who died in combat 12 years ago. My heart goes out to his family, and the family of the other soldier killed.

One of my husbands neighbors also passed away on Thursday. we spent shabbat in a sad sort of mood, and I am thankful for all the blessings I have. Monday night is the start of Passover, and I will celebrate my freedom and the ability to live the life I want with a loving family in multiple countries. May everyone have a healthy and peaceful holiday, chag sameach

Thursday, March 25, 2010

sometimes i think there should be a test to become a parent...

Very few crazy things happen here in KG. Crime is low, there isnt much to do here after dark (or during the day really...) and its a pretty quiet town. When something does happen, it shocks the community, and since everyone is connected in this town, its hard to not feel affected by it.

Last night a single mother put her four year old son to sleep in their apartment. Her ex-husband lives in a near by moshav (of course the same moshav my husbands parents are from), but it was the mothers turn to watch their kids. Their elder child was at a party, and needed to be picked up... so she left the younger son asleep in his room, and stepped out for just a minute. The four year old woke up, went looking for his mom... and at some point fell off their balcony... on the 10th floor of an apartment building. Two of my husbands cousins were in the rescue team which first got to him, but he was pronounced dead on the scene.

This is one thing I just will never understand about Israeli culture. They pride themselves on the fact that their kids can go outside after dark alone without worry... they have no qualms about taking their infants in the car without seatbelts and no qualms about leaving children alone in the house... i just plain dont understand! There are so many things that could happen with a four year old alone in the house, and I am puzzled as to what the mom was thinking. There are so many times that I get into arguments here about whats safe for my child... its such a pity.

My inlaws are going to the shiva, and we may go also. I feel so horrible for the parents, especially the father. Its such a sudden thing, to have a child one day and then hes gone. baruch dayan haemet

Sunday, March 21, 2010

the perfect weekend

last weekend was the perfect weekend. as a birthday gift from my grandparents we spend the weekend at a hotel in tel aviv. I had kosher sushi with my brother-in-law and his wife, a long walk through tel aviv, time in an antique market, explored Jaffo, got a manicure and spent a long quiet time with just my husband and our baby. It was the first time since she was born that we got away just the three of us... and it was wonderful. There were no schedules, no where we needed to be... just a lot of aimless walking and talking.

sometimes its nice to feel like a tourist. even my husband commented that he feels like a tourist in tel aviv... its almost as different from KG as San Francisco is. Speaking of, the SF JCRC had a meeting at the same hotel we stayed at! I wanted to sneak in and see if I knew anyone, but I didnt. I did however get to people watch- there was a wedding Thursday night that included all of the richest people in israel, from the owner of channel 2 to the owner of a bank. i didnt recognize any of them of course, but my husband was beyond excited.

all in all the weekend was much needed and much appreciated. I feel ready to take on the world... starting with my house. I have started cleaning for passover, but i really need to kick it into high gear. not a ton left to do, but all the hardest things... it will start right after i bake myself a birthday cake!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

getting ready

Living as an expat means that everyday I deal with cultural differences... these can be good and bad, but it makes me open my eyes every time. Passover is coming soon, and while in the states I would be started my menu planning and possibly my cleaning, here in Israel the preparation started the SECOND purim ended. The newspapers are filled with passover sales, all my mother-in-law can talk about is how she is behind on cleaning the house, and I feel guilty every time I realize that I havent even started my preparations.

I guess I have an excuse. In the states I usually plan and organize a seder (or two). The first year we were married we put on a seder for our friends, last year for my family and friends. Here in Israel we are going elsewhere- to my husbands family. That cuts down on my preparation by a significant amount. Being here also means that I have less meals to prepare for the whole week of pesach, due to my in laws insistence that we spend almost every day with them. So I have been pushing off the cleaning part, the only major item on my to-do list.

Well, today I finally gave in to all the pressure and started cleaning. Since our place is small its not actually that big of a deal, and it really does need a thorough cleaning... but with a baby underfoot its 10 times as hard. It still feels good to be able to check off some rooms... and I dont even have an oven to clean this year! Even though we still have two weeks, the whole city is in preparation mode, and its something I am definitely not used to. we are going away next weekend, so I am excited to see how the rest of the country is gearing up. I also get a long school break for the holiday, so we will have a chance to do some sightseeing and get out of the house. the weather has already turned to summer, so it should be a nice time. it really is amazing to live in such a jewish country sometimes.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

passing ulpan... hopefully

Well, I had the oral part of my ulpan test... and I passed with flying colors! I have to take the written part (worth 70% of the final grade) in a week and a half. I feel like Im back in college again, cramming for an exam (though to be honest, we had more papers due than exams).

It rained on Purim (like it apparently always does) and the forecasters say it was our last storm of the winter. The weather has been acting appropriately, reaching the low 80s today on my drive into work. Its both a blessing and a curse here in the desert.

Last week I also experienced my first non-family Israeli wedding (read- first ashkenazi wedding in israel)... and it reminded me more of an American wedding than anything else. I guess I had come to assume that all israeli weddings were like the crazy sephardi events that I am used to, with fireworks, techno music and 500 guests. This wedding was at a small gallery in Yaffo, played typical american wedding music and was much more low key. It was nice to feel more at home at an event, though it was a surprise to me.

We are now on the official countdown until Passover. I have a week left of work, then a month break to get myself organized, then enjoy, the holiday. The preparation for passover here in Israel reminds me almost of christmas in the states- the frenzy starting a month before, the change in grocery stores, the rush to get ready... maybe that seems like a funny comparison, but it fits.