The second installment of “This is Israel” is here! A space where I share with you what I have experienced during my past month in Israel. In addition to my normal travel blogs, I want to use this space to give you a glimpse of what my life in Israel is really like.
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As many of you know, I love to just walk around and find the little mysteries of every city that I travel to. This time around, I explored an area of Haifa called Markaz. It was Shabbat, so nothing was really open, but it was still nice to wander about for a little bit.
Doing what I do best
Okay, so Israel presents me with a problem when it comes to gelato.
On the plus side, I’m here for 2.5 years, so that gives me more than enough time to try as many flavours as possible.
This time around, I went with a coconut gelato – which I dare say was one of the most delicious ice creams I have ever tasted.
“Picnic” at the beach
My definition of fun may differ from others’. Where others like to go out and party or shop, I would rather go on a hike or go for a picnic. This week, my friend and I bought some pastries and a mini “pizza” (mine was just pita bread with tomato sauce and onions) and headed down to the beach to enjoy each other’s company and to take in the beautiful view of the sea and the amazing feel of the breeze. It was so lovely and I will most definitely do it again (maybe even bring a book to read?). The next time, I hope that I’ll be able to make it in time to watch the sunset too.
Taking in the wonders of Ben Gurion street at night
Although I really miss the abundance of stars that I could see back home, the twinkling lights scattered about on Ben Gurion street somewhat make up for it. I was even told that during Christmas time, the lights are not just in the restaurants, instead they flow down from the beginning of the street to the very end. I can’t wait! *squeals in excitement*
Okay, so first thing first, the red meat in Israel bothers me for some reason. So this will probably be the last kebab I will have for a very long time. On that note, this kebab wrapped in Laffa bread was delicious! But I think I would have to say that my father’s kebabs would beat this one any day (hi dad! do I get points for that?)
Going to an Israeli grocery store
This week I went to an Israeli grocery store for the second time. Israeli grocery stores differ from those in Canada. How do I put it? They’re a bit more packed with food and produce? They give off a pretty cool vibe. It’s so interesting how culture even impacts a grocery store (I love it!)
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Trolllll, in the dungeon!
And by troll, I mean snake… And by dungeon, I mean the lobby of the building I volunteer in.
Soooo yeah, there was a snake! (a pretty cute one at that)
This is something that I have never experienced back home. Neither snakes nor lizards find their way into the workplace. Granted, I’m not even sure we have lizards back home to the same degree that there are lizards here (are there even lizards where I lived? Nooo idea). Fortunately, the snake that came in the building was not a poisonous one and someone came to let it back out.
Meeting a new neighbour
Although I asked him his name, he declined to answer – so I have decided to name him Todrick.
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Starting Japanese lessons
There is a lovely Japanese lady serving at the Baha’i World Centre that has been kind enough to help me with learning Japanese! Every Thursday at lunch time, she helps me learn a few words and teaches me certain sayings. Learning languages has been one of my most favourite things to do since I was a child. When you a learn a new language, it gives you the capacity to converse with more people and as a result it gives you more insight on different aspects of culture or the way people think. It allows you to learn about people and make more friends. How lovely would it be if we could converse with people from all around the world and learn about their experiences, challenges, and insights?
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I used to really love hummus, but over the years my love for hummus came to a standstill. Not sure why, but I lost my appetite for it.
But let’s be honest, Israel has their hummus game on a whole other level compared to Canada. So I thought it was time that I try some of the hummus here. And sweet lawwwwd was it ever delicious! I can’t wait to try all the different kinds of hummus here!
Ferrets in Israel?
Imagine this: you’re walking through beautiful gardens. The weather has gotten a bit cooler (though it’s still around 27 degrees celsius), you can smell the flowers around you, and all of a sudden you see an animal running around the flower beds. It has a fairly long and fluffy tail, and its fur is grey. Your first thought is that it is a cat. But it looks too skinny to be a cat. You come closer to the animal, which is now meeting up with its two other fluffy friends. All three are running around. “Ferret?” is your first though. And you decide that they’re definitely ferrets.
A little later you find out that they were
mongooses… mongeese? (What on earth is the plural of mongoose???) a mongoose family.
Pots and Pans
I FINALLY GOT POTS AND PANS AND I AM SO EXCITED BECAUSE I CAN COOK THINGS YES THANK YOU HALLELUJAH. AND THE PAN IS A NO STICK PAN AND I AM VERY HAPPY YES.
Haifa has an Asian Market!
Someone that I met here showed me an Asian Market! Although it doesn’t have many of the foods that I would love to cook, it does have a little selection of things such as different kinds of noodles, rice, and curry. I will definitely be heading there again to see what kinds of things I can make!
Dinner with friends
My friends and I decided that we would have a pizza and movie night, so we bought some ingredients and made pizzas on Laffah bread (and watched Grease). I am so grateful for the friends that I have made here – they are so kind, honest, and overall amazing!
What’s on the pizza you ask? Red bell peppers, egg plant, pepperoni, mushrooms, and basil!
My flat lacks plant life – and of the three (I think three?) plants that we have, one had withered away but was still in its pot. One of my friends volunteers as a gardener and was kind enough to give me a few Marigolds that were going to be thrown out. So, I took out the dead plant and replaced the pot with 5 cute marigolds! Hopefully they will bloom!
Experiencing Yom Kippur for the first time
Yom Kippur, known as The Day of Atonement, is one of the most significant and somber Holy Days of the Jewish Year. It began sunset on Friday, September 29th and ended nightfall on Saturday, September 30th. On this day, Jewish people fast for 25 hours. Interestingly, all car activity also stops.
It was quite an exquisite sight to witness. On a normal day in Haifa, cars would be hustling and bustling all around. On Yom Kippur, however, the driving of cars was kept to a minimum. The atmosphere was so serene and, in a way, it felt freeing being able to walk in the streets. (Also, there was no honking the whole day, SO IT WAS SO LOVELY)
The road is so empty!
This is the same street pictured above on any other day. See all of those cars in the middle of the road?
Month 3 down, 27 more to go!