One of the things we decided when we made aliyah was that we were going to try live as Israelis as much as possible. In particular food. We decided to buy and eat Israeli products as much as we could.
One, buying imported things is expensive.
Two, support the local economy.
Three, the kids are growing up Israeli, they need to be comfortable eating foods we may not have eaten in South Africa.
All of this is not to say we don’t eat the same foods we used to eat in South Africa. I’m yet to see cottage pie on a restaurant menu but we often have it for dinner.
Israelis also tend to eat larger, heavier meals at lunch and smaller, lighter meals at dinner time. We still eat a proper cooked meal for dinner, mostly, this summer we have tried eating lighter, smaller meals at night.
All this brings me to things that we don’t/cant buy here (there is one big store that imports food stuffs from SA and Australia and the UK, but it is hellishly expensive). Things that I miss. Things that I have asked people to bring me and that I hoard and cherish like a certain gold ring.
Anita mentioned on Facebook, samp, which I haven’t had in years and now have a hectic craving for.
Along with samp, is a good stiff pap with tomato gravy. You can buy polenta here but its just not the same.
Boerewors. I’ve had locally prepared boeries but its just not the same. The meat here is very different to SA and you can tell.
Five Roses Tea. Israeli black tea is rather weak. At least that’s my opinion. I love a good cup of Five Roses.
Biltong. I actually have a biltong maker, I just need to figure out what’s the best cut of meat to use so I can make some.
Mrs Ball’s Chutney. I dont even really like chutney but I use to use it for cooking. Maybe I should try make my own…
All in all I think we manage just fine using local products and ingredients. And I don’t really miss anything to point of agonising over not having it. But I wouldn’t say no, if someone gave me any of the above.
They say the grass is greener on the other side. They also say that’s because there is more bullshit. They also say the grass is greener where you water it.
I say there are shades of green.
One of the many* reasons we left South Africa was for a better life for our children. Better, in that they can walk to school and their friends on their own without me having to worry too much. Better in that there is a park on every corner and they have the freedom to play in those parks until the sun goes down and beyond. We don’t have to worry about being broken into and being held at gun point (something I have experienced myself). We can drive with our windows down and our doors unlocked (when we eventually get a car). All in all, on a daily basis our lives are much safer here.
That being said, Israel is subject to bouts of extreme violence and terror. Stabbings, rock throwing, run-over attacks, bus bombs, suicide bombers and the ever present rocket attacks.
The thing is, no where is perfect, no where is 100% safe. Yes, its terrifying, watching the news and seeing innocent civilians being attacked, parents dying and children being left orphaned. Its heartbreaking.
But… Its amazing to see the people of this country pull together. Young students with ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ (Israel Lives) signs dancing and singing at the entrance to my city. Old and young talking to each other and hugging at bus stops. People collecting snack, sweets and food for our soldiers who are stationed away from their families and cant be with them on the weekends.
Basically, shades of green.
Life, no matter where you are, is what you make of it. I choose to be in the moment and to make the best of each moment as they come. I choose to love myself, my family and my country.
*There are many, many reasons we came to Israel, in the context of this post I am choosing to only concentrate on safety.
Today I voted. Paul got up ridiculously early and got to the voting station at 6:45. The queue was already round the conrer. At 8am Aletta came in to look after Aaron (she is going this afternoon) and I left to join Paul in the line. I got there at about 8:15 and we had another 40 min wait until we reached the front.
Everyone was in a good mood despite the freezing cold weather. Paul took some photos, you can see one or two of them here and here.
I am proud to have voted. So, all South Africans, get out there and make your mark!!