Friday, October 29, 2004

Nag Champa (Smells like Home)

Moving to a new place makes you think about what makes a "home". Some people say, "Home is where the heart is." Well, my heart is in Jerusalem, Kings Mountain, Chapel Hill, Durham, and a few other places too!

For me, memories are revisited when I smell something related to that experience. My grandfather smelled sweet with Red Man or Levi Garrett chewing tobacco and spearmint gum. Every time I smell either of these things, I think of him. Few things smell as wonderful as the red clay earth of the piedmont of NC after a summer rain. The smell of chalk and play dough take me back to elementary school. (When I taught, I used dry erase markers and a different kind of dough.)

David Sutton introduced me to Nag Champa incense. Nag Champa is wonderful! I think that it repels mosquitoes, lifts your spirits, and makes you enjoy breathing!

You may like different smells and have memories associated with a particular scent. Share with us all via a comment below a smell or scent that brings about special thoughts for you.

I am making new scent memories. There is a huge jasmine vine that grows on an arbor in the front garden of our apartment building. It's not the Confederate Jasmine that we often see in NC. The vine has wound its way up the side of our apartment. Its little white flowers attract some bees during the day. At night, the flowers release an incredible fragrance that must be experienced to appreciate. Real jasmine is nothing like the bottled scents found in shops. The fragrance floats up and through our whole apartment. I know that long after we move away from this place, the smell of jasmine will take me right back to Radak St., Jerusalem.

Give Bush a Brain!


You'll laugh! Posted by Hello

Click HERE to play the game! It's fun!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Food

So, Peanut Princess (you know who you are!) wanted to know what I ate in Israel. Here's what I had yesterday:

B-fast: Honey Nut Cheerios (the bee on the box looks different and they taste a little different, but still good and sweet) with 3% milk (no 2% here, just 1% and 3%) and an orange. The oranges in the market here are green. They aren't the gassed versions that we get in the US that are artificially made "orange".

Lunch: mozzarella cheese, olives, pickles, bread, tehina, tomato slices

Snacks: Fruit and sunflower seeds. Nescafe (I can't believe I like it!)

Dinner: Ok this was a little strange. Usually I have some kind of meat (no pork) with salads and cheese. Last night though, Yaacov and I went to a waffle "bar" near our apartment. They serve Belgian waffles with all kinds of toppings. I got a chocolate one and Yaacov got a white chocolate waffle. Imagine a waffle with all the depressions filled with chocolate sauce. It was served with ice cream (to cut the sweetness!) and whipped cream. I had no idea that we were going to have a major dessert for dinner. We both wanted to eat something really salty after our sugar explosion! It's a cute place, the waffle bar. It would be better for after dinner or a late night dessert.

Evening snacks: mozzarella cheese with tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar.

So, I don't eat hummus everyday. (But it's in the fridge!)

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Old News

For some reason, I am still checking the news at www.wral.com . This is a TV station in Raleigh. I don't live there anymore, but I am still curious to know what's going on. I remember moving to Chapel Hill for college in 1995 and seeing WRAL for the first time. It's a little strange when you leave your home and the news station you've known all your life for a new town and a new station. Now I can see the international editions of CNN and Fox "News" on the TV here as well as the BBC and SkyNews (both British channels). The local news is all in Hebrew of course. I can follow along and understand what they're talking about, but the specifics are lost on me. The video and pictures help a lot!

I am still looking at the Durham newspaper www.heraldsun.com as if I lived there. It's still interesting for me to read about what's happening. Here I read Haaretz English edition and the Jerusalem Post online.

Now I am off to practice my Hebrew. I had forgotten how much memorizing there was in learning a language! I am having trouble with the numbers. There are masculine and feminine numbers in Hebrew based on the gender of the noun they modify. I don't know the gender of the nouns yet, so it's tricky! I am off to find index cards to make flash cards.

Giggle!


Funny! Posted by Hello
Please vote! I sent in my absentee ballot, of course! Remember--Nov 2!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Gmail for Me!

If you have an extra invite for Gmail, please send it to me!!!! I want in the club! :)

Holy Land Weather

It's going to rain! They say that it might rain later this week. I'll buy an umbrella tomorrow! Mine wouldn't fit in the suitcase! Here's another link to Jerusalem weather. I like this one because it has a live web cam shot of Jerusalem and there are some COOL pictures from the weather station overlooking Jerusalem! (It plays music too!)

The Living Room


Living Room Posted by Hello
This is our living room. To the left of the sofa on the left are the doors to the balcony. As you can see, we need some art and color. I am thinking that we need a natural fiber rug and some accent pillows. We also need a coffee table. On the right side of the photo you can barely see the pocket doors that separate this room. We leave them open, but I think in the winter we might close off rooms that we're not using. We don't have central heat. We'll just be using plug-in radiators. There's no point in heating all the rooms if you're not in them. We bought our sofas at Ikea. They're great, but not as wonderful as my Mitchell Gold sofa in the US.

Give us your decorating tips by leaving a comment!

Flowers


Another view Posted by Hello
You can see the hanging planters that Yaacov and I prepared this past weekend. We also painted the balcony railing. We've planted trailing geraniums. They should grow up and over the side of the planters for a nice display.


Our Balcony Posted by Hello

The View From Our Apartment


On a Clear Day Posted by Hello
This is what we see from the balcony on the front of our apartment. We have another "utility" balcony where I hang out the wash to dry. It's a nice scene, right? It's fun to watch people go about their daily activities.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Shabbat Humor


Shabbat Humor Posted by Hello
So, on Shabbat, Jews are forbidden to operate "technology". This means, no phone, no radio, no TV, no lights, no AC, no cars, etc, etc. Some folks turn on the lights before Shabbat begins so that they aren't in the dark all night. Shabbat begins at sundown on Friday and goes until sundown on Saturday. In buildings owned by religious Jews, the pay phones are turned off on Shabbat and elevators stop on each floor so that you don't have to press buttons. I don't know how hairs are split between "using technology" while riding on the elevator and not pushing the buttons, but each to their own, I guess! In Jerusalem it is so quiet on Shabbat. There's no traffic (and that's a huge difference compared with other days). It's a nice relief from the rest of crazy city life. New York should try it!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Me


See, I don't have a tan yet. Posted by Hello
Click on the photo to make me bigger!


Yaacov checks out the view Posted by Hello


Israel! Posted by Hello


What a View! Posted by Hello

Kennedy Memorial


Kennedy Memorial Posted by Hello
The JFK Memorial is known as Yad Kennedy here in Israel. It is reached by following winding roads about seven miles from downtown Jerusalem. It was opened in May of 1966 and is designed in the shape of a cut tree trunk, symbolizing a life cut short. The mountaintop memorial is encircled by 51 columns representing each state of the United States plus DC. As these photos show, it has a spectacular view. We passed many bikers on our way up and down today. I was shocked to see so many people on what seems to me to be a very challenging road for biking.

Mahane Yehuda


Veggies! Posted by Hello
Mahane Yehuda is the main outdoor market in Jerusalem. It is an amazing place. On Fridays it seems like the whole city is there shopping for Shabbat. There are piles and piles of every kind of fruit, vegetable, seed and spice imaginable! Yesterday I saw huge bags of cilantro that were a meter long and about a foot an a half in diameter! (Don't you love my mix of units!? I am slowly "converting"!)

There are stalls that sell fish, meat, and cheese. There are stalls owned by immigrants of particular countries. Yaacov's family shops at a stall owned by a Georgian family. There I saw a bottle of vodka with the image of Mikhail Gorbachev printed on it! My favorites are the ones that sell sweets. There are piles and piles of cookies, twists, and rolls filled will cinnamon and chocolate. People here don't use as much oil and fat in their cooking. So their pastries are a little drier than what I am used to. They are still very tasty though!

You put the things you want in plastic bags and you haul your goodies all through the market. It's tough on your hands. It's loud, crowded, and fun. The market is filled with all kinds of smells...some wonderful (hummus and fruit) and some stinky (fish!).

There is a spice shop near the outdoor market that is out of this world. I am going to go back on a day that's not so busy to take photos of this place. It's a small shop with a low vaulted ceiling. Inside are burlap bags, glass jars, and other containers filled with any spice that you can imagine. It is like this little temple to things that taste good. It reminded me of (I'm weird, I know) Harry Potter. You know when Harry goes shopping for his "school" supplies in magic shops? Well, this shop has the same magical feeling. It's as if you've been let in on this incredible culinary secret!

The outdoor market isn't the only place to shop. There are supermarkets all over town too. They look a little different that the ones in the US. Yesterday I went to one in Talpiot that was huge with wide aisles...just like in the US! The only different thing is that it had flat screen TV's everywhere showing commercials! We also visited an Ace "hardware" store. It was like a mini-Lowes, but it also had home decor items a little like Bed, Bath and Beyond. Yaacov and I borrowed a car from his folks to help bring how big packs of bottled water and Diet Coke.


The Market Posted by Hello


Mahane Yehuda Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

Sounds of Jerusalem

It's Shabbat and Jerusalem is quiet. I wish that I had a recorder so that you could experience all the amazing sounds here. When Shabbat is about to begin, a very loud siren alerts everyone to run home, light their candles, and say prayers. It's time for Shabbat. Many things stop. No public transportation, stores are closed, and the radio stations play "softer" music.

Another sound that you'll hear is the muezzin calling Muslims to pray. It is called out five times a day from the mosques.

These sounds mix with the traffic and people talking to each other and on cell phones to create a wonderful (and often over-stimulating) sound festival.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Nice View


My View from the Park Posted by Hello
These were my surroundings while I read this afternoon. Not bad, huh?! You can see part of the walls that surround the Old City and a church with it's bell tower. I can't remember which church it is though.

Security Wall


Security Wall Posted by Hello
If you look closely, you can see the security wall in this photo. Click on the photo to make it larger.


View from Yemin Moshe Posted by Hello

This was what I saw on my walk this afternoon.

Songs in Ordinary Time

Last night I finished reading Songs in Ordinary Time by Mary McGarry Morris. It was a great book. I am a little sleepy this morning because I stayed up too late reading. I'd be interested to hear what other folks think of this book. So, please leave comments.

The book is amazing in the way it reveals how each of the characters is involved in their own drama. Songs shows us how the same circumstances -- the same conditions -- can be interpreted so differently by individuals. Morris demonstrates a deep understanding of the human condition through her characters. Each one has different motivations and psychological "tools" that they use to move through life...manipulating, avoiding, fighting...but it's just part of the "play" they create for themselves. This books shows how we all have an individual concept of reality and most of the time were are incapable of looking outside of ourselves to see how our strategies to hold the myth all together keep us from having authentic experiences with others and block out truth in our life.

Morris doesn't judge her characters. Each one is shown in a kind of true light...we are able to see the rationale for their behavior -- no matter how crazy we might think it is -- and come away with an understanding about ourselves.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Jerusalem Theater


Jerusalem Theater Posted by Hello
This is the home of the Jerusalem Centre for the Performing Arts. It is about a 5 minute walk from the apartment. It is a beautiful building. The hyperlink will take you to more detailed photos. I am working on taking photos at night. It's harder than daytime pictures because you have to be very still due to the length/amount of the exposure (is that right?). All I know is that I have more success with my daytime pictures. One of the cool things about living in Jerusalem is that you walk out of your apartment and fall right into "culture". Things are happening here all the time. It's just fun to sit and watch people live.

Today I went to the pharmacy and bought a Spira mosquito repellent refill. We plug it in at night to keep the mosquitoes away. There aren't very many mosquitoes, but here we have no screens on the windows. So, they can just fly right in. For some reason, the mosquitoes here hurt more when they bite and the bite site itch more too. ...and I am used to mosquitoes coming from North Carolina! Anyway, pharmacies here are multi-purpose places like in the US. The one around the corner from our apartment though is small and cute. When three people are in there, it's crowded! I asked for a refill in Hebrew. I guess my Hebrew was good enough because the lady working there gave me lots of advice. All I could catch was, "Yom tov"-- good day.

Tonight Yaacov and I went to a cute coffee shop on Emek Refaim. It's a fun, hip street with lots of cafes and shops. Afterwards, Yaacov went to a board meeting at the apartment building where he owns an apartment. I walked home. On my way home a soldier asked me for directions. It was the third time someone has asked me for directions here. I don't know if I pass for Israeli or if the person asking is in such need or hurry that they don't care. Either way, it's a little frustrating not being able to help folks.

The night is cool and wonderful. It's late (almost 11:00) but the lady that cleans the common areas in our apartment building is washing the floors. There has been a lot of sweeping followed by lots of splashing.

I really like it here.

Pomegranate Tree


A Pomegranate Tree Posted by Hello
This pomegranate tree is growing in the "back yard" of our apartment building. The fruits have a tough exterior and many juicy seeds inside. The seeds are good and fun to eat. Folks here also grow citrus trees in their gardens and patios. This picture was taken from the side balcony on our apartment.

Our Washer


Our Washer! Posted by Hello
This is our tiny washer! It's very cute. It's about a foot wide and a couple of feet deep. It holds a lot though. No dryer. I hang the wash out on a line off of one of our balconies. They dry very quickly here in the arid environment. I did two loads of wash today. I feel at home!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Sunset in Tel Aviv


Sunset in Tel Aviv Posted by Hello

Yaacov and I spent the evening with our friend David in Tel Aviv. This photo is from our spot on the beach. The Mediterranean is about 45-50 minutes by car from Jerusalem. You can also take a bus to Tel Aviv, but it takes longer. Yaacov's dad let us borrow his car!


Tel Aviv Beach Posted by Hello

Tel Aviv


Tel Aviv (well, part of it) Posted by Hello
I took this photo from inside the car while waiting for David. The sky isn't that blue; it's the tinting on the windshield. The two towers on the left are the Azrieli Towers. There are lots of skyscrapers and highrise buildings in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is a modern, busy, loud city.

Tired Feet!


Tired Feet! Posted by Hello

This picture is for Steve N.! I walked all day yesterday. It's 3:23am right now and I am awake. Will try to go back to sleep in a minute. I went to find Home Depot yesterday. Yaacov says I didn't go far enough, but my feet disagree! I did find a cute mall and had some good ice cream. It's fun learning your way around town.