Wednesday, March 27, 2013

in Israel

Very late last Friday night I finally put the last of the bottled tomatoes up on the shelf and the last of the stewed apples away in the freezer and went to my bedroom to pack for Israel. To pack clothes and toiletries and craft supplies for three spring weeks on the other side of the planet in a country I hadn't visited for 20 years. A country I hadn't visited for 20 years but had at different times in my life called home.

And as I slowly started gathering and packing it occurred to me how little I had really thought about this trip. With the craziness of finishing my book, the autumn picking and preserving and the mothering, I hadn't really thought beyond the where we'll go and what we'll see. I hadn't really imagined how I would feel visiting a place that once upon a time I knew so well.

And now we're here, far, far away from our little farm in Daylesford, I realise that I could never have imagined the tiny details that are leading me tripping down my memory lane. Even if I'd had a second to think about it.

Those tiny milk bar type shops dotted all over the place that sell nuts and seeds and cigarettes and newspapers and lollies.

The feel of a warm paper bag full of sunflower seeds in my hand. The crack of the salty shell and the taste of the fresh nut in my mouth.

The street food; the pita stuffed full of felafel, salads, humous, tahini and pickles and the cheese borekkas.

The air-conditioners hanging out from every window and the hot water units on every roof.

The Hebrew language, written and spoken, that once felt so natural and comfortable and now feels sticky and foreign but still so familiar and somehow comforting.

The geography, the names of the streets, the look of the streets and how it feels to be walking down those same streets again after all this time.

The culture. The fire drums in the street on the day before Passover for people to dispose of their bread products before the festival.

The memory I have of the best watermelon icy-pole ever that keeps me searching the freezers of every shop we pass just in case we can find it again.

The relief that comes with finding a wool shop, just in case. To be truthful I packed enough wool to knit for months, but that's not the point now is it.

The feeling I get when I watch my family, our family, our kids, running through the streets that we once ran through. Watching them slowly learning bits of the language and experimenting with the food. Seeing this world through their eyes. Introducing them to places and people and memories from our pasts. Feeling like this is a big trip, an important trip.

Looking forward to watching where our adventure takes us next and the memories it evokes.

Remembering where I have come from and who I was back then.

Enjoying being led on this journey. Being in the moment. Smelling and tasting and seeing and hearing.

Being aware that I may not be able to take a zillion photos and write a blog a day like I had hoped. Right now experience seems more important than capture and document.


Have you done this? Have you visited a place you once called home?
Do you know that familiarly different feeling?
Do you ever feel home when you're far far away?

Happy days friends,
Shalom. xx


  1. Oh, Israel! I have been there only once, last summer, in August to be precise (it was so hot!), and I would love to go back some time...
    Looks like Tel Aviv in the pictures - is it?
    I didn't know you lived there and speak Hebrew - would love to hear more about it if you would like to share with us!
    Hope you have a wonderful time and to focus on experiencing sounds just right. Oh, and I hope you find that watermelon icy pole!


  2. Shalom!
    Wonderful pictures and I could even smell the falafel.... :-) For more then 25 years ago I lived for 2 years in Israel and your pictures remind me of that wonderful time. I hope you will share some more...

    Greetings from Holland,

  3. I so look forward to traveling with my husband and maybe one day, children! Experiencing different cultures, different foods - really just taking it in and building memories.

    Enjoy your travels!

  4. So interesting to see Tel Aviv through your photos and this post. I had no idea that you'd lived there!

  5. Enjoy Kate ... I feel the same way about England ~ not my home, but so familiar and comforting ~ a home away from home over on that side of the world. xx

  6. Your photos are so beautiful. It looks like such a beautiful place to visit.
    I try to return to Munich in Germany as often as I can and each time that I step off the plane it feels like I have returned home. i don't get the same feeling anywhere else in the world.
    Hope that you enjoy the rest of your trip.

  7. The food looks SO GOOD!! I think London would feel like that to me one day when I go back.

  8. What a beautiful adventure for your family to have together. The food looks amazing! Lovely photos as always!


  9. Well, that's something I've never seen or heard of before.
    Fire drums on the street to burn bread.
    And don't those hot water stands look precarious!

  10. Falafel from roadside stalls, picking oranges, sunset in the negev. 30 years ago I spent a year on Kibbutz Na'an and your words brought back so many memories, I would love to hear more of your own story of Israel and look forward to your pictures. Enjoy yourselves. Nick Cee

  11. Your photos look stunning - so exciting! Makes me want to be adventurous and go somewhere I've never been before.

  12. It all looks just amazing Kate - how fabulous to do this :) As you know, we have travelled with our girls a bit, mostly to big cities, but we've been saying for years now that we'd like to take them to Central America where we spent so much time in our 20s. I agree it is so wonderful seeing them explore and to watch their fascination with difference :) We used to live in London and both the girls were born there - when we go back I do love it when my eldest remembers things from living there. My youngest was too little when we left to remember anything unfortunately. Loving your photos :) Kx

  13. Just came across a lovely quote for you:

    As you think, you travel, and as you love, you attract. You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you. — James Allen


  14. Wow, amazing photos Kate. Just as Miss Piggy said...I feel like an adventure now! Enjoy Israel x

  15. You've captured such beauty in this post, both words and images. Enjoy.

  16. We are off to Italy for a month with the kidlets in May/June! Can't wait to taste and smell Venice and Florence again x

  17. I am so glad you're showing your children your past and where you come from, this is so important - yet so easily people forget.

  18. שלום קייט וברוכים הבאים לישראל
    Hello Kate and welcome to Israel,
    Usually I read you blog and enjoyed it, so different life, so far and so creative, today I open it and you are here in my country, in my home.
    So, if you arrive to Jerusalem you well come for a Passover meal :-)
    Enjoy Israel and the quit days of the holiday.

  19. Ahhh I was wondering where you had got to!! Israel !! wow!! have a FANTASTIC time and I'll be looking forward to your blog posts when you're home and retelling such an adventure!! lucky!!
    Enjoy and stay safe X

  20. Have a lovely memory making time with the FAM!

  21. Great pictures it lets me see another part of the world. Would love to know about your time there and how you ended up in Australia if you want to share that with us. Enjoy your your great trip.

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  23. Shalom Kate! So interesting...I can't wait to see more. Were you born in Israel? Are you back there to celebrate Easter? Whenever I go back to NZ it is always a mixture of the familiar and the new. Sometimes I'm in awe of the changes and sometimes amazed at what doesn't change..hehe!

  24. WOW! It sounds incredible. Have the best time, lovely people. Kellie xx

  25. What an incredible experience for you and your family. Enjoy, and soak it in. Blogging will wait :) xx

  26. Just saw that you were in Israel. Envy with a capital E.. Just watched the series from Yokam Ottolenghi about his home country, Israel, and other gorgeous places in the area. It was on SBS. Loving your pictures. Eilat, is my only venture in Israel, many moons ago. Looking forward to seeing more of your adventures..

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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