The seventh 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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Halloween in February??
In October, I never saw anything remotely Halloween-related in Israel. So imagine my surprise when I walk into a store in February and I see walls upon walls of costumes.My lack of knowledge with regards to the customs in Israel had me baffled as to what this could be. Was there a Halloween in February? Were these costumes just the remnants of Halloween in the West and sent to the East to be sold?
Welllll, not exactly (not at all, actually). From what the handy-dandy internet tells me, it’s for a celebration called Purim. Purim commemorates “the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman’s plot ‘to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day’ (source)”.
Now, where do the costumes play a role? Well, on Purim it is customary for children (and adults, if they choose to) to dress up in costumes. I won’t go into much more detail here, but once I have a deeper understanding about Purim, I plan to write a blog post about it.
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How on earth is it spring already?
As my parents send me photos of how much it is snowing in Canada, I look outside the window and flowers are blooming here. It is so odd to me that “winter” in Israel consists of rain for a little over a month, and then we’re back to happy sunshine and blooming flowers. It’s quite nice actually, but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t miss the snow.
But it makes me warm and fuzzy inside to be able to see flowers everywhere. Not to mention that sunset is becoming later again so when I leave the office I’m able to get a few more minutes of sunshine before night falls.
I realized that I needed a hobby or I would go crazy. I had started doodling more last month, but that wasn’t enough. Going into the office day in and day out, and not really doing much of anything else has been draining on me and so I figured that I need to get crafty and, well, do some crafts.
So off I went to look around stores and see what exciting items I could find to make cards (because cards are always fun to make and even more fun when you get to give them to people).Here is the result of my hours and hours and hours of work making Ayyam-i-ha cards. My hands had blisters, but my heart was happy.
After not seeing one of my friends for a few months (though we work in the same place…. woooops! That just goes to show how busy we both are), we made the time to go to a Café and catch up with one another.
After my friend left, I also decided to doodle for a bit. I had just gotten some new markers, so I was really excited to play around with them.As I was doodling away, a lady begins to speak to me in Hebrew. I hesitatingly say: “At metaberet Anglit?” aka. “do you speak English?”. We then begin to speak to one another in English and she mentions how her young boy (who was sitting beside her) loves to draw and asked whether he could see what I was drawing. It was so lovely to be able to interact with her and her son – they were both so kind and it lifted my heart to be able to have such a wonderful conversation with them.
Trying out a new bakery
Someone suggested that I try a bakery in the Wadi Nisnas, and so I decided to go get baked goods and eat to my heart’s content and stomach’s demise.
My favourite was the triangular-shaped one – it was savoury, but also sour. I think it had grape leaves in it (?) and it was so delicious!!! (edit: I went back to the bakery to get more of these amazing baked goods, and they told me that it was actually spinach and zatar inside)
I also ended up getting 20 mini pita breads. I wanted to buy less, but they only came in packs of 20 and I really wanted to try some. I really enjoyed them the first day because they were freshly baked – so they were soft, but also crispy. But after the first day, they tasted stale, which was odd to me.
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As I mentioned before, I love making cards – so one could deduce that I also love to give gifts! I remember back in elementary, my mom and I would sit together before Valentine’s day to make cards for all of the kids in my class. Granted, my mom made most of the cards, but I tried to help haha. Now, I still love to give cards out to my friends on Valentine’s day.
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Weeks 4 & 5
Going to Canada to visit my parents
I finally had the opportunity to visit my parents and it was so nice being able to spend time with them, sleep in my old bedroom, frolic in the snow, eat home-cooked meals, go to cute coffee shops, see some friends, and hug my dog until she probably hated me.
I brought an almost empty suitcase with me, so you can be certain that that suitcase was no longer empty when I went back to Israel. I bought the things that I knew that I would have a tough time finding in Israel (or that were more expensive there) and I mayyy have gotten a few new outfits.
8 months down, 22 more to go!