Tuesday, July 21, 2015
five stories of Israel
So much for my grand plans for catching up and documenting our trip up to date here. I guess sometimes a tiny apartment, too many people always talking at once and the dodgiest Internet get in the way.
Last time we came to Israel we did the tourist thing. We travelled from the middle to the bottom and then the middle to the top and did all the touristy things in between. It was fun, and educational, and exhausting, and inspiring. We learnt history and geography, we walked on 2,000 year old tiles, stayed in a hotel on the edge of a crater, we floated on the Dead Sea and sosososo much more.
This time around we wanted to do something different. This time we wanted to live in the same place for a while and get to know the people, the culture and the way of life a little. This time we planned to spend two weeks in the middle of Israel in a crazy beach side city called Tel Aviv and then travel up north to a vegetarian settlement for a week and then back to Tel Aviv before we leave.
This time we've found a couple of places that make great coffee, we've discovered that if you want to go for a run along the beach in the morning you have to leave home well before seven or it's just too hot, we've visited a gorgeous vegetarian cafe where we felt right at home, we've spent time at markets and museums and the beach, and we've gradually been getting a sense of direction as we've walked miles and miles each day.
I've got zillions of photos and tales to tell, I really hope I get around to sharing them but with only three days left here I thought the best place to start might be one story each. So here goes.
Indi - On the first day we arrived up north on Moshav Amirim we spent a while in their little shop stocking up on kitchen essentials to see us through our stay. As we were wandering up and down each aisle trying our best to read labels and make the best choices Miss Indi started to feel hot and bothered and went to sit on a bench outside. Not long after she sat down a dog came and started rummaging through someones bag of food they had left near her. When they returned and pointed to the mess and asked her in Hebrew who was responsible she confidently replied - kelev! Dog.
How cool is that feeling you get when something just clicks. A foreign country, a foreign language, a foreign word starting to make sense tiny bit by tiny bit.
Jarrah - I guess one of the fears of taking three children to a country so different to the one they live in is the food situation - what will they eat? For us, local food is one of the reasons we do love to travel, but it's always a risk with the girls.
Well I'm here to tell you that Miss Jarrah has embraced the Middle Eastern tradition of eating shakshuka for breakfast. She loves it!! After five days away up north, the first thing she wanted to do yesterday on our return was walk down the street to find a cafe serving her fave. To her delight we found a place that served the baked egg dish in a rich, spicy tomato sauce served inside a sliced round challah. You should have seen her happy face.
Shakshuka for breakfast is a very long way away from the porridge and honey that we eat at home each day but something tells me we might have to mix it up a bit when we get home.
Pepper - While we were up north we spent quite a bit of time with a gorgeous family with three girls of their own. The most beautiful thing was to watch our girls playing with theirs without the use of verbal language. To watch our seven year old and theirs pointing and gesturing and laughing. To see how quickly they worked out things they could both do together that didn't need words - things like swimming pool games, loom bands, pretending to be cats and swinging on swings and hammocks.
Mostly they were the quietest that two seven year olds playing together have ever been.
At one stage after leaving them together and coming back a few hours later, we found them all swinging on swings and hammocks with arms draped around each others shoulders giggling like crazy and calling out random words they had exchanged in each others' languages.
Much later that same night, an extremely overtired Miss Pepper leaned over to me and whispered in my ear that she loved me so much more because I speak English and she can understand what I'm saying. It's so amazing watching the big wide world opening up to them.
Along with being in charge of directions and bus timetables and currency conversion and all manner of organisation - One of the highlights of this trip for me has been watching my farmer boy share his story of this country with our girls. Listening to him talking about history in a way that engages and excited the girls is priceless.
One day a few weeks back we were walking to the Tel Aviv museum in the heat of the morning when he pulled us all over into the shade of an ancient olive tree and told us of a time 20 years ago when he was living here. An exciting time when the Prime Minister of Israel was making inroads to peace with the Palestinians only to have it smashed when he was murdered by an Israeli who opposed the trading of land for peace.
Watching our girls' faces as they heard his personal story of life here at that time, listening to their questions as they came to terms with what had happened and then feeling their hunger to see more at the memorial, to stand on the balcony where it all happened and to google it all when we got home made me so proud of our guide and so happy that our girls are experiencing this with us here.
I guess for me, as much as I've loved being here again, as much as the sunshine, the family, the markets, the food, the culture, the friends, the craziness of this country inspires me and excites me - one of the best parts of this trip for me has been that I have started drawing and painting again. I know that it's insane to think that I needed to come across to the other side of the world for that, but I think I did.
Each afternoon we've been coming home from wherever we've spent the morning and we've sat around a kitchen table and made art in our journals. We've tried to capture the flavours and feelings of where we've been and it's been awesome!! Thinking about it gives me the same excited feeling in my tummy that working with wool does. I'm thrilled to have rediscovered this part of myself that has sat unused and unloved for too many years.
As I write this Indi is sitting next to me writing in her journal, the littler two are reading Harry Potter and my farmer boy is trying to find more ways to share our Dharma school crowd funding campaign with the world. It's seven at night back home but here it's midday and time to pack up our books and head out for lunch and some exploring.
Wishing you peace in your lives and in our world.
Love Kate xoxo