The third installment of “This is Israel” is here (sorry that it’s a week late)! 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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Persimmon season is here!
My love for persimmons knows no bounds. None I tell you!
So, you see, when I saw that persimmons had made their way into markets and grocery stores, my excitement levels reached an all-time high.
They got so high in fact that my patience for waiting a few days for them to ripen flew out of the door.
As a result, I had the most bitter and chalky-like tasting persimmon in the world.
Ughhh just let me enjoy my fruits. Let me live liiiife.
In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the prophet of the Bahá’í Faith (Bahá’u’lláh), the entirety of the Shrine of the Báb (in Haifa) and the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh (in Bahji) were open for visitors to come and enjoy on October 7th.
On this day, I had the wonderful and blessed opportunity to volunteer and be a guide at the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh (pictured below). I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly, but it ended up being the most joyful of times. I was able to meet so many friendly and smiling people, and even though I could not directly speak to some of them due to a language barrier, we made it work!
I miss traveling and I miss exploring (so soooo much), so having the chance to go to Akko was very nice. It gave me the opportunity to relax, but to also feel as though I was taking a short “vacation” away from my daily life and routine. I was able to experience new eats, walk new paths I had yet to walk, and see things that I had yet to see. Because of my yearning for travel, I’ve decided to commit to a goal this year: to find a way to do day trips to other cities in Israel on my day off (granted, that will be difficult because my day off is Saturday, and no transit runs on Saturdays…. BUT I WILL MAKE IT WORK!)
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Since my arrival in July, I had not seen a drop of rain. So after almost 3.5 months of heat, it was so refreshing to not only see the rain, but to also get caught in the downpour. You wouldn’t believe how crazy insane it rains here! It rains briefly(ish) but to the point where you could probably take a shower outside because of the sheer amount of rain falling down. So nice! (but also, so cold after getting drenched to the bone!)
One of my favourite things that I have started to do is to go up above the terraces of the Bahá’í Gardens and spend time there. It feels so magical to be able to see the entire city below you – especially in the evenings when all the lights of the houses, apartments, and streets are lit up. It makes you think about the fact that each of those lights represents one or more people – it makes you realize that you’re not alone in this world. It’s especially nice to come up here when you’re having a challenging day. The realization hits you that out of all those lights, there are people that are also having a tough day, and they are persevering (and therefore, so should you).
Back to Akko again!
Back again this week (and probably will be back yet again). Just like the week before, I had the chance of venturing to the Old City and going through the market place. EXCEPT, this time I got myself some frozen yogurt! (Which interestingly, the shop called “yogurt”. Frozen yogurt = frozen fruits are blended together. Yogurt = the frozen yogurt that you’re used to in Canada that has a more light ‘ice cream’ texture to it)
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Finding my favourite restaurant
I know that this may sound silly, but I’ve missed eating food with chopsticks. So when a friend introduced me to Wok, what I would consider a fast-food type Asian cuisine, I was beyond excited. At Wok, you get to customize your meal by choosing from an array of noodles, vegetables, meats/tofu, and toppings – which they stir fry for you. SO GOOD.
For those of you who know me, you’ll know that I’m in love with mangoes and if I could eat a mango a day, I most likely would. A month ago, I thought that mango season had ended
which ensued in many tears and mourning for such a loss. However, a few weeks ago, I saw that stores were bringing in green mangoes. YES! Mango season was back! But the mangoes were not yet ripe (or so I thought…). So I waited, and waited, and a week or two passed AND THE MANGOES WERE STILL GREEN! When were the mangoes going to ripen?! But then I found out how much of a fool I was I realized that these green mangoes were just another kind of mango – in reality, although they were green, they were fully ripe. 1 Point: Mango, 0 Point: Iman.
This week, Bahá’ís all over the world celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh (the prophet of the Bahá’í Faith). At the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa, we had the most beautiful celebrations filled with programs, food, and soul-uplifting music. The Shrines were open 24 hours during the day until the end of the Bicentenary, which was beyond amazing and gave me the chance to visit them whenever I had some free time. I also had the opportunity to volunteer during the two days and was able to meet new people who had come on pilgrimage from around the world during this period. What a marvelous occasion!
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Catching the sunrise
If you’re ever in Haifa, I need to encourage you to try to catch the sunrise at least before you leave. Up until this point, I had not gotten up early enough to catch the sun rising above the city. So thankfully, because of the encouragement of one of my new friends, a group of us went to see the sunrise (and take pictures, of course!). The great company and the amazing view of the early morning sun made waking up at 4:00am most definitely worth it. I still haven’t seen the sunset though, so maybe next time I’ll be able to catch that!
Exploring Talpiot Market
I think I’ll make a whole blog on its own about this bustling market (so I’ll keep this short). Although it is within the city of Haifa, the moment you walk into Talpiot Market, it feels as though you have gone into a different country. I’m not sure where it reminds me of, but it definitely doesn’t truly give off a Haifa-vibe. There are vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, sweets, dried goods, meats, and trinkets!
“Picnic” by the beach
One of my most favourite things to do (and something that I will most definitely continue doing throughout my stay in Haifa) is buying pastries and snacks from the market and going to eat them by the beach. Not only do you get to eat delicious food, but you also get to enjoy that food while looking over the Mediterranean sea.
4 months down, 26 more to go!