Tag Archives: ex pat

What a difference a decade makes

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Ten years ago today I said good-bye to my family and friends and boarded a plane for the Holy Land. I was about to embark on a journey of life, of discovery, of fear, loathing and love. Ten years on, 3 children, 3 conflicts, 3 homes and a lot poorer I can honestly say that I have some of the best friends I could have ever imagined, I have tasted a life I never would have imagined and I am certainly not the naive small town girl I was back then.

In December 2004 I had been married just 4 months and had lived as a married woman with my husband for 1 week before his visa required he returned to his native land. We had spent the 7 years previous working towards the end goal; marriage, family and a life together in one of our countries.

I arrived to blue skies and bright sunshine, a far cry from the grey, damp, drizzle of the UK and was filled with hope and dreams for our new life together. I was still at the stages of checking my wedding ring finger and admiring the shiny rings. I was excited, but also I was scared. What if I never spoke the language, what if I couldn’t find a job? What if this place was just. too. foreign? It was, not so much now.

Our first few weeks were spent at the apartment of very generous and welcoming friends, sleeping in their spare room and seeing each other every now and then. Husband was, at the time, working as a pastry chef in a newly opened restaurant and that meant long hours, day and night. I was on my own. Luckily our friends lived near Tel Aviv’s large and luscious park and I spent many an afternoon with a book or a journal, marvelling at the sunshine and the parrots and acclimatizing myself to the Middle East. Each morning I rode our friend’s bike to the Ulpan, the Hebrew school for new immigrants (you may remember the comedy of errors that experience was). I met people from around the globe, 1 of which has become a great friend and ally here.

In lieu of my husband the weekends were spent with his friends, one in particular who became my regular date for nights out, coffee shop meetings and cinema trips. Seems like as good a time as any to say thank you, your friendship was and still is invaluable.

We finally found an apartment to rent, close to my newly beloved park and I set about setting up home as a not so smug married. We got a dog, my adored Jesse. We bought furniture and unpacked our belongings from their shipping crates and the first of our UK visitors came to see us in our new life. Once Husband changed jobs his hours became easier and we spent time exploring Tel Aviv, the beach and the benefits of year round sunshine.

There were ups and downs. The language was so hard and the people so aggressive. Many a visit to the supermarket or post office saw me seeking refuge on our balcony, sobbing into Jesse’s fur. But on the up side, Husband and I were finally together, permanently, after our long and international journey. We had a ready-made set of friends from his early army days and I could manage one or two words in Hebrew. We had money in the bank and we wanted to start a family.

A long period of ill-health put paid to the family for a few years but eventually and due to the incredible health system and amazing Doctors here, 4 years later at full health, we welcomed our first child. By this time I was working back in television where I had worked for many years in the UK. Things were on the up. We had a bigger apartment and a wider network of friends including my gorgeous British girlfriends who continue to provide me with laughter and wine and a shoulder to cry on.

By 2010 we were a family of 5. The arrival of twins sent us packing to the suburbs and a child friendly home which is where we reside now. The TV career took a back seat as I faced the challenges of motherhood and three very small people. So now what?

As 2014 comes to a close and I look back on this year and the ten years I have spent here I see that we are on the edge of a new chapter. What that will be, we still don’t know but it seems a fitting time to take stock and count our blessings; our friends, our children, our health and our love for each other that has carried us through the upheaval of moving countries and facing the challenges that a life in Israel brings.

Thank you for your loyal following of my ramblings through 2014 and I’ll see you on the other side, hungover and ready to begin the next stage of the journey.

champagne-toast

Remembrance

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In 1986 at age 14, I heard for the first time in a History lesson about the Holocaust

In 1997 I met someone who told me about his grandparents who lost parents, partners, siblings and children in the Holocaust

In 2005 I saw a number tattooed on an old man’s arm as he played backgammon in a coffee shop and I cried

In 2006 I saw the many other names written on my Grandmother in law’s gravestone to honour her parents and her siblings who perished, they did not have the luxury of a grave until their surviving family member died.

Every year I stand in silence for a minute with the rest of Israel when a siren of remembrance is sounded across the state, when the cars pull over at the side of the highways, when the supermarket tills stop ringing and the televisions and radios stop broadcasting.

8th April 2013. Holocaust Day in Israel.  We must never forget.

Holocaust Day

7 fail safe ways to impress first time visitors to Israel.

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Thank you to everyone who commented and shared this competition entry for www.expatblogs.com writing competition, no, I didn’t win, but it’s the taking part that counts right?!

For those of you who didn’t see it, here is my entry.  Despite what you may see and read in the press there is a side to Israel that most people don’t know, so if you fancy a visit this is what you can expect to see – especially if I am your guide!

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The Israel most people don’t see

1. Jerusalem. It goes without saying that any first time visitor to Israel should visit this most awe-inspiring city. Not only is Jerusalem geographically impressive, historically extraordinary and religiously remarkable it is also a bustling, noisy city of everyday people in an urban melting pot. Start with a view from the Hebrew University over the whole city then wind down by the Garden of Gethsemane to do a tour of the old city; the religious sites cannot fail to impress. Don’t forget to take an empty stomach to feast on the street food as you wander, from fresh bagels and zartar to hummus, kube, knafe (traditional Arab cheese pastry soaked in sweet syrup), lahmabajeen (meat on pitta) and tamarind lemonade. Watch as your guest’s senses become bloated, as their minds try to absorb the languages, cultures, religions and sheer enormity of the importance of the city to so many. Take some time to visit outside of the old city walls; to the Machne Yehuda Market to taste halva and listen to the shouts of the market traders, to walk through the ruins of David’s City and wonder at the ancient ruins, to sit in the shade of the Montefiore windmill and take in the sights. Leave to the sound of church bells and calls to prayer ringing in their ears via a short hop to Ein Kerem or with a glimpse of the road down to the desert to tease their expectations for what’s to come.

2. The Dead Sea. No matter how stinky and stingy the water of the Dead Sea might be to some, no first time trip to Israel is complete without the compulsory photo reading a book whilst floating on the Dead Sea. Make your visitors strip off and cover them in mud (cameras at the ready), remind them to shower vigorously afterwards and then sit in silence on a cliff top whilst they take in the view. Arrive in the morning and spend the day in the desert so that the true beauty of the changing light on the barren land is fully appreciated. For the historically minded a visit to the majestic Masada fort is fascinating and even for those not so inclined, take them anyway. The view from the top is more than worth the climb or the cable car ride and the story cannot fail to move. Finish the day with traditional coffee in a Bedouin style tent on the shores of the sea, for extra ambience enhancement for your guests, take your guitar (and someone who can play it) to strum as the sun goes down.

3. Tel Aviv sea front and Jaffa. A walk or bike ride from one end of the tayelet (promenade) to the other will take your visitors from the modern cafes and restaurants in the Tel Aviv port, passing the sun worshippers, kite surfers and boogie boarders on the long white beach to the tranquil historic beauty of Jaffa port. A good guide-book to explain the significance historically and emotionally of the port is key, plus a comfy pair of shoes to climb the stairs into Jaffa itself. Once in the buzz of the town, food is once again crucial to the experience so put diets aside and make your visitors tuck into malabi, hummus and shakshuka, pausing for mint tea in the flea market to people watch and pick up an unusual bargain (odd shoe anyone?). If their feet can stand it, make the short walk to the old train station and into the oldest part of Tel Aviv, Neve Tsedek where the tiny run down cottages rub shoulders with designer jewellers and gourmet ice cream parlours and eat dinner in one of the atmospheric restaurants.

Jaffa port

Quiet in Jaffa port

4. North to the Sea of Galilee. The drive from the populated centre of Israel up into the hills of the Galilee should be savoured with regular stops for your visitors to appreciate the abundance of scenery changes on the way. Take the coast road for maximum effect, alongside the turquoise of the sea, the mountain pine forests and city of Haifa and the cliffs of Rosh Hanikra. As you drive inland make sure to point out the Keshet caves, the lonely impressive Montfort, tell the stories of the kibbutzim and their history and make a stop in the ancient and mystical town of Sefad high above the lake’s shore. Pause to take in the history and spirituality of the town, marvel at the views; east to the Golan, north to the Hermon and Lebanon, west to Mount Meron and south to Tiberias and the lake itself. Drive down to Rosh Pina to amaze with the choice of culinary experiences and then head to the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) itself. I’ll bet they don’t know it’s a lake.

5. The Sea of Galilee. Depending on the age and interests of your visitor, the lake and its surroundings to stun all tastes. The religious sites and churches on the banks marking the locations of Bible stories from Old and New Testaments, Roman ruins, Jewish holy sites, Byzantine mosaics and a 1st Century fishing boat, to name but a few of the historic and religious gems in the area. For the thrill seekers; white water rafting on the Jordan River (in season of course), windsurfing or jet skiing on the lake and for the nature lovers a walk around or up from the lake promises a wealth of bird life, wildlife, and evidence of ancient life. The views are majestic and don’t forget to keep one eye on the sky to catch a glimpse of impressive preying birds swooping and hovering. End your day with a dip in the lake, in summer the water is warm and the muddy bottom slips between your toes. Don’t forget to take along your shesh besh (backgammon) board, your gas burner and finjan (pot) to make the coffee as you watch the sunset.

6. The Negev. So you took them to the Dead Sea and they had a glimpse at the desert. Now you need to head further into the Negev and show them the Israel they had probably imagined. Camels, donkeys and long stretches of road with nothing but rocks and sand, eagles overhead and Bedouin tents in the distance. The Negev has a stark beauty that cannot fail to impress, especially visitors from the Northern hemisphere. Pack your binoculars and the ubiquitous coffee-making equipment for unscheduled shady stops to listen to the silence and wonder at the dry enveloping heat. Your goal is to get to the town of Mitzpe Ramon where your visitors get their first glimpse of the impressive crater, stock up on all the knowledge there that they need to fully grasp the enormity, geographical wonder and history of the massive natural crater. Remember to make friends with the nosy ibex that wander around the hot town’s streets. Take them for a walk in the crater’s floor to pick up ammonite fossils and get a glimpse of the geological curiosities which crowd the area. Don’t forget to show your insider knowledge by leaving via the small crater and your descent by the Scorpion’s Ascent, a steep and winding road down to the main desert highway. As night falls, pull over to watch and listen to the desert come to life as the temperature drops. For the more adventurous, pull out your sleeping bag and sleep under the stars but only if you can handle it, nothing worse than your host panicking when there’s a rustle in the sand.

7. Tel Aviv by night. Any self-respecting local knows that the nightlife in Tel Aviv only starts after 11pm so pre-warn your visitors to take an afternoon nap and prepare to be out ‘til dawn. Book a dinner at one of the many notable culinary establishments Tel Aviv has to offer, think Middle Eastern, your visitors want a taste of the local fare not a bowl of spaghetti. When setting out to the restaurant take a walk down Rothschild or Nachlat Binyamin streets to get a taste of Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus past. Stop for a quick cocktail in one of the multitude of bars. Once full and astounded by the quality of their dinner you can start to head to the bars spilling out onto the streets. If they are still able, at 1am head downtown to one of the clubs where the music is loud, the drinks are shots and the dancing is sweaty. A sleep on the beach as the sun comes up followed by a quick dip should sort out the ringing in their ears and clear their heads for the day ahead.

Congrats to the winners, you can have a read at http://www.expatblogs.com

Starry starry night

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Many years ago a friend went home to his parents for the weekend.  On his return I asked him how it had been and he replied,’ there was lots of sky’.  I have never forgotten that statement. If you live in a city like I did at that time, you don’t notice the sky between the buildings, you might (if you’re English), constantly talk about the weather but probably don’t spend too long looking at the sky.  If I look up at the sky I get vertigo, how weird is that?  I look up and get jelly legs.  I prefer to look out rather than up.

When I think of my parent’s house I see the view from their back window.  Unhindered by other buildings the view is of garden and fields and the not so distant Peak District.  The sky is often steely grey and there are times the clouds whizz past so quickly they make your head spin but it’s possible to stare at the sky for a long time.

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My home now is all blue sky – almost neon.  I can’t leave my sunglasses at home, ever, winter or summer the light is bright here.  At this time of year the weather is changeable; 35 degrees on Friday, 17 degrees 2 days later, but mostly with blue sky.  When the clouds and rain comes it’s dramatic and the navy blue clouds are threatening and picture worthy.

Israel winter sky

When I think of meeting my husband for the first time I think of the stars in the sky above the beach in Port Douglas, Australia.  Later at Lake Tekapo in New Zealand we lay on the lake shore and watched the satellites and marveled at the amount of stars.  I have never seen such an amazing amount of lights in the sky – man-made and natural – as I saw in the Antipodes.

When I think of my childhood I think of blue sky with fluffy clouds, like a kid’s painting.  That has to be a good sign right? I must have had a good childhood because I am sure the weather in North West England was also pretty dismal in the 70s and 80s. I also remember that heavy and lead coloured sky before a snow fall, poor England has seen a lot of that recently, blizzards in Spring makes the novelty of snow very tiring.

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I remember the stars on my friend’s ceiling when I was very young.  They magically appeared when we turned the lights out.  Sleepovers at her house were extra special because of those stars.  I really thought they were magic, they almost made up for the hamster that annoyingly squeaked around its wheel throughout the night.  One of the first things I bought for my first child were some glow in the dark stars for his ceiling.  I think I appreciate them way more than he does.

image from www.National Geographic.com

image from http://www.National Geographic.com

desert skyNext week we are camping in the desert and I am foreseeing a lot of sky and star watching, if there is one place in the world that there is a lot of sky, it’s in a desert.  We are either mad, adventurous or optimistic thinking that 3 under 5s under canvas in the desert is a good idea. I am hoping that the sheer amount of oxygen that will be filling their lungs on a daily basis will make for peaceful nights.  I am also hopeful that the camel spider aka wind or sun scorpion aka akrabut (in Hebrew) doesn’t make an uninvited visit to our tent.  We once saw one of these massive and frankly terrifying creatures on a trip to the desert and I never want to see one again.  In fact any animals, snakes, reptiles, creepy crawlies can stay away.  Stars and a bright moon however are most welcome and I fully intend to drink in as much sky as possible to soothe my soul and remind myself what a mere dot I am in the big picture.

Seders I have known

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In 1997 in Wellington, New Zealand I attended my first Passover Seder.  I had absolutely zero idea what a Seder was, truth be told, I didn’t really know what Passover was.  I had vague recollections of being taught about this important Jewish holiday in a Religious Education lesson at high school but as my RE teacher was very suntanned, except under her chin which was pearly white, I spent more time staring at her neck and wondering how she didn’t notice, than what she was teaching. Shame on me. In a Wellington hostel we joined a group of other Jewish backpackers who, as far as I can remember were very disorganised and noisy and couldn’t decide what order to read the Haggadah, which is the guide and story for the Passover meal.  I also remember being given a cold hard boiled egg (my idea of hell) and being shown to dip some leaves in salt water.  To say that it was a bizarre experience is an understatement.  We left before the end when half the guests were concentrating on downing the full glasses of wine which are part of the ritual while others argued about whether to keep reading or eat.  Not the best introduction to the Jewish faith methinks.

16 years on (where did that time go?) and we are approaching the Passover Seder again and my mind has been mulling the memories of the Seders I have attended since that chilly evening in Wellington.

For those of you who, like I was, have no idea what a Seder is, here is the 39 & Counting guide – again if you are Jewish please skip this part for fear of a) being offended and b) choking on your tea with mirth at my lack of knowledge.

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The Seder is a ritual feast which is held at the start of Passover in which families and friends gather and retell the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt where they were being kept as slaves by the Pharoah.  The dinner is guided through the reading of the Haggadah which tells the story, includes blessings, songs and rituals (salt water on lettuce amongst others) to remember and symbolise the struggle of the ancient Jews in their escape (salt water represents the tears). The Seder  includes drinking four cups of wine (merry backpackers in Wellington), eating matzot which are crackers symbolising the unleavened bread they carried as they had no time to let the bread rise, eating symbolic foods placed on a special Seder plate and then reclining in celebration of their freedom.  This is very much in a nutshell and if you want to know more, click here.

One of the most notable things about a Seder is that give or take a few cultural changes depending on the nationality of the guests it is pretty much the same all over the world and has been for thousands of years.  Quite amazing if you think about it.

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a child size glass and grape juice – my glass is larger and full of the real stuff

When we lived in London we had one Jewish friend who went back to her family in Scotland for the holiday so my husband was resigned to doing it chez nous with just the 2 of us – which is odd and obviously leads to a lot of skipping of the text and a lot of wine drinking.  However, the first year we were there we were invited to the house of one of the congregants of the synagogue that my husband was working at as a security guard.  (So sad that a place of worship needs security). The house was in St John’s Wood and was gigantic.  They were hosting around 20 people, all of whom were a long way from their particular homes and were as an assorted a bunch as the Wellington crowd. We sat around a beautifully decorated table and I witnessed for the first time a ‘proper’ Seder.  The mood was friendly and welcoming – I had no idea what to do and was guided throughout – the food ranged from the usual (roast chicken) to the highly unusual (for me), gefilte fish (excuse me, what is that?) and when they passed a platter of chopped liver I must have looked horrified as my table mate quietly told me what it was and that it was delicious (still not my thing).  The reading was solemn, the songs jubilant and although the experience was way outside of my norm I found it moving and impressive.

The London Seders that followed were less impressive in our pokey flat but nevertheless we always had them, of varying lengths throughout our time there.

In Israel of course Passover starts the second the Purim costumes have been sold,  rather like the Easter eggs arriving on the shelves minutes after the Christmas decorations have come down.    3 weeks ago no. 1 son insistedIMG_0296 I bought matzot in the supermarket because he thinks them delicious.

We now do the Seder with my in-laws of course, once with a more religious member of the family which was a longer and more serious affair, once with no.1 son as a new-born where I spent the evening rocking and running between rooms as I tried to settle him enough to keep on reading (ah the foolishness of a first time mother).

One year my sister was visiting during Passover and we had the Seder in a tiny hotel dining room in a desert town with 6 other hotel guests.  That was bizarre.  My sister was the loudest singer at the table (Hebrew being her strong point – not) and the meal and reading was over in less than an hour.  Only we remained until the ritual was complete.  I really enjoyed that Seder in fact.

Next Monday there will be assorted members of our extended family sitting around the table.  I am thankful that although young, my children are able to sit at the table/occupy themselves/join in rather than cry and breastfeed as in previous years.  They will be dressed in their best bib and tucker – a great excuse for my daughter to wear one of the many party dresses that have been handed down by English cousins – and best of all there will be at least 7 other adults to help when we have to convince them that the party is over and its time to go to sleep.

The greatest part of Passover for me personally is that as a baker and pastry chef my husband gets to take a holiday.  For the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten so basically no regular bread,  cakes,  biscuits so hooray his bakery shuts and we get to see him.

Happy Passover and Chag Sameach everyone.

available at zazzle.com

available at zazzle.com

Ode to Jesse

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Dear Jesse

Thank you for coming to stay with us this week.

Thank you for remembering me and not holding a grudge that we gave you to another loving member of the family when so many children arrived in such a short time.

Thank you for being the same furry, cuddly bundle you always were

Thank you for letting a little boy rest his head on your back even though it’s probably really annoying.

Thanks for not snapping when 3 miniature people circle around you and corner you under the table.

Thank you for being so patient when the scrap for who holds the lead starts.

Please refrain from rolling in crap, dead animals or stinking rubbish while you are staying with us.

Also, if you could not bark at shadows in the dead of night waking our ever wakeful household that would also be appreciated.

Thank you for coming on really long walks in really hot weather all those years ago when you first came to live with us.  I needed those walks to give me purpose when I was finding my way in a new country, when I spent hours and hours alone and was doubting my decision.

Thank you for making me stay when I was determined to leave.  If it hadn’t been for rabies rules in the UK I could well have thrown in the towel years ago.

Thank you for listening to my moans and for letting me cry in your fur.

Thanks for making me get out and walk when it would be much easier to crawl under a blanket.

Thank you for being an unknowing fluffy saviour.

I promise this week you will be spoilt rotten; walked, fed, groomed, stroked ’til you can take no more.

Thank you for being my pooch, no matter that you are now a pooch-in-law.  

You will always be my Jesse.

X

 

Dedicated to Doggie and for my lovely friend and her family who had to say goodbye this weekend.

 

Good Day Sunshine

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The strangest thing happened this morning.  Everyone I met on the early morning drop off was happy.  What’s the secret?  Mother’s loading 3 or more children into cars with smiles on their faces, men chatting happily with small children in carseats behind them, the lollipop man was smiling, someone let me out and smiled at me.  It was all very peculiar.

I spent the short drive back wondering what I was missing. Do I just usually not notice people’s exuberance at starting the day? Was I earlier than usual and my fellow grumpies had not set out yet?  Was  I missing the declaration of peace between Israel and all their Arab neighbours?  (I don’t listen to the radio news because a) I hardly understand it and b) Wheels on the Bus always takes precedence in my car)  Was it just because it was warm, unseasonably so, and the sun was shining?  It was clocking 26 degrees at 7.45am so we are in for a scorcher, by 11am everyone will be too hot and yelling again.

Apparently March 20th is the UN’s official Happiness Day, so we only have a week to go before we can all smile for no reason save for the fact someone told us it’s Happiness Day.  I was reliably informed through a FB  status update that it was the UK’s Happiness Day a couple of days ago although I must confess I can find no evidence of this on Google – Elly that radio station had you fooled.  I am taking all of these clues and today’s smiley school run as a sign of something, what, I don’t know, but it has got me thinking about what is it that makes people happy?  Or more specifically why can’t we be happy more often?

So what is it that brings happiness? Health, love, family, friends, wealth (enough that money is not an issue – is that possible?) and the one that I believe can make you happiest in a moment is hope.  The times in my life when I have been the saddest the thought that I haven’t got anything to look forward to was the one thought that I couldn’t shake, even though in reality it probably wasn’t true. The promise of something good coming, the promise of a change or an improvement be it a fresh coat of paint or a new haircut,  a holiday, a visitor, a new job, a pay rise, something simple.  Without hope, we have nothing, someone famously said so I am thinking that perhaps everyone’s smiles this morning were not due to their all-encompassing self contentment, more that the sunshine and warmth was germinating hope.

I am feeling pretty happy today, I have hope for a change for my family and my daughter has a temperature.  Ha ha I am not happy she is sick, I am happy we get to have a day off together without the rowdy boys and my head spinning in 3 directions.  What one might term ‘quality time’ (and to be fair she really doesn’t seem that poorly at all).  So we’re off to do our chores together and she is happily loading the washing machine as I type.  Happy days indeed.

Si Si San Miguel

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When I think of expats I think white vests strained over burnt bellies sipping San Miguel in an English caff in the Costa Del Sol. Definitely not the reality of the millions living away from their birth country for most expats.
Flag_of_Israel These days so many Brits seem to be intent on leaving Britain with its rain and recession or have already made the leap to a new life; I have as many British friends scattered around the globe as I have left in Britain.  But why?  Is Britain today so bad? I watch A Place in the Sun Home or Away and yell at the TV “Don’t do it”; don’t think because it’s sunny and you can buy cheap run down property that your life is going to magically become a Disney movie. Or maybe that’s just me, or the place I chose to live. No nuclear threat in Disney, right?
Soon my neighbourhood is closing down for an evening to do a missile attack training exercise. Oh yes we will be going through the motions of what to do if/when we have a 2 minute warning to get somewhere safe. (If I remember my reading of Z for Zacariah in High School, no safe room is going to save us). Armed with pamphlets, gas masks and jolly faces for the childers we will be doing a dummy run for the unimaginably possible. Although one half of me is considering doing a runner to a friend’s house out of my area, the other half is thinking we should really be prepared. But how do you explain it to a 4-year-old and 2 x 2 year olds? Hmmm. Must try to refit the bomb proof door back on our in-house bomb shelter.
Since day 1 I have had a love/hate relationship with Israel. It’s got so many benefits; the weather, the outdoor living, the beach, desert and mountains, the child friendly family oriented culture, the can-do attitude and the fresh, dynamic perspective to life. Of course if you’re Jewish it comes with a billion other benefits.  However the downsides to living in Israel are in a class of their own:
Always being the bad guy no matter what the truth
Living under threat
Being surrounded by difficult neighbours
Not an island but no way out except by plane (or a really long booze cruise to Cyprus)
New language (to me at least) – new alphabet and back to front (to me).
Its not just the books but even some of the doors to fridges, washing machines, rooms, open back to front (to me)
The lack of savlanoot
Having said all that Israel has been my home for the past 8 years. My children were born here, many of my friends are here, our home and life, not to mention the mundane bank accounts, insurance policies, health care etc is here. So when I am reminded with a bang of all the bad stuff in the form of a leaflet handed to me in the park by a soldier, outlining our missile training, it makes me wonder if I am up to the challenges of living here. It ain’t easy. Maybe a bit (OK a lot) of rain is better.
Recently in a store at 9.30 on a Friday night I met a 19-year-old buying a packet of Turkish coffee (or botz as it’s called here), he asked for a spoon and some cups because him and his mate were heading down to the beach to hang out for the evening where they would cook their coffee on their camping gas and pass the time. That in a nutshell is what I love about Israel; no 20 pints and a kebab, no hair gel and pant revealing skinny jeans, just  knowing at 19 how to enjoy the simple life. Pas me a  San Miguel, I’ll get my gas mask.

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System Failure 651

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As a self confessed luddite I thought nothing of it when my home internet went down last week.  Little did I know the knock on effect after 5 days internet free.  Handily at the same time no.2 son got hold of my iphone and dropped it, duly smashing the screen so I have been 100% disconnected.

My major upsets so far;

I miss my daily Facebook updates from friends and family overseas.  I may have mentioned before the importance of hearing the mundane from your home country when you live overseas.  Little Charlie went to the zoo today, John and Jill had pizza for dinner and Gareth doesn’t like his neighbours.  Important information I think.

I rely wholly on skype to chat to family and friends; no internet = no contact.  (obviously picking up the phone or texting is out of the question)

As a newly converted kindle fanatic I can’t buy new reading material without internet access. As my husband remarked as I was flicking through an old paperback “what’s that you’re holding?”

I am relying on Sky and BBC international TV for my news, not the numerous online newspapers I usually headline read – makes for an interesting outlook on world events

I found myself more than a little concerned that I couldn’t check out the Oscar winners and the fashion choices of the stars. (Does that make me shallow?)

My work is obviously suffering, I am well and truly behind on a deadline and my new business venture is being set back; trying to decide how a website looks through the cracked screen of an iphone is not terribly beneficial.

I feel cut off, a little jumpy, perhaps I am missing something, perhaps someone is looking for me.  Probably not.  When I choose to be offline I don’t miss it, but as this cyber exile is not self imposed it’s suprising the effect it’s having on me.

Luckily today the iphone is fixed and I am tapping away on a borrowed pc. I feel calmer and more in control.  Seriously, how did I manage before the internet, or rather look how addicted I have become to the internet.  Is this an addiction or just reliance and is it something I should try to work on along with the other 50 million self improvements I have been promising myself? Sod it.  Someone just help me fix the thing and let me get on with my cyber life. Please, I may go out and I need the internet to tell me what I should wear.