Tuesday was election day here in Israel. That means we got the day off. No school, no work, so once Paul and I had voted, we gathered the kids, hopped on a train and went into Tel Aviv to visit the Eretz Israel Museum.
We wandered around looking at the various exhibits and then we came across the David Rubinger, I Captured the Truth, 1947-1997 exhibit. Being a photography nerd, Paul was fascinated and spent a bit more time in the exhibit than the kids or I. So we headed outside and sat on a bench outside.
Once Paul was done, he headed out of the exhibit and stopped to take a photo of us sitting together.
As he took the photo, the usher for the exhibit came rushing out, ‘No no no, you cannot take a picture there!’ She exclaimed (in Hebrew). Paul started looking for a no picture sign. ‘No’, she said again. ‘You cannot take a picture here, that wall, that wall is old and ugly!’
She then pointed across the courtyard, ‘That is where you must take a picture!’ She was pointing at a shady spot with a colourful flower bed.
‘Here. Here is a pretty wall covered in Jerusalem stone, and look at these beautiful flowers. This is where you must take a photo!’
And then she proceeded to direct us to sit in front of the pretty wall and pretty flowers.
‘No!’ She cried again. ‘Abba (dad), must be in the photo too!’ While taking Paul’s camera out his hands and directing him to sit with us.
She even laid her uniform jacket on the bricks for the children to sit on while shuffling us around to best show off the pretty blooms.
After a few misfires with the camera, and Aaron popping up to show her what to press, she snapped a beautiful family photo of us, and the pretty Jerusalem stone wall and the pretty flowers.
We thanked her and she told us that she had planted those flowers and was very proud of them. We also had a conversation about where we came from, ‘Oh, you are not tourists, why did you make aliyah?’ She told us that she is also an immigrant, from Uzbekistan, and that she came to Israel many years ago. She then took our map and showed us the best exhibits for the children to enjoy and wished us well before going back to the exhibit.
We had a wonderful day, voting, exploring the history of our country and generally relaxing, but the best part of the day for me, was a photo in front of some gorgeous flowers!
Legally, on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and in the rain.
Its only taken me 4 years and 3 months to convert to an Israeli drivers license but its finally done.
When we first arrived in Israel, the law was that we could drive for 1 year on our SA license and in total we had up to 3 years to convert to an Israeli license. The catch? We needed to do a minimum of 2 driving lessons and a test in order to convert.
Due to pure laziness, lack of spare funds for lessons and a fear of doing the test, I kept putting it off. Then, just before the 3 years were up, I pulled out my SA license only to see it had expired. And in order to actually do the conversion, besides all of the above, your SA license needs to be valid. Oops…
Oh, and did I mention, if you dont convert your license within the required time period, you have to do a theory test, take a minimum of 28 lessons and do the final test.
Yeah, I resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to drive in Israel.
Then, the law changed, now, you have 5 years to convert your license, you dont need to do lessons or a test and the only requirements are a valid SA license and proof that you have been driving for more than 5 years before making aliyah.
And the, in January, I went back to SA to visit my grandfather who had a bad fall. And while I was there, my mommy organised for me to renew my SA drivers license.
She organised for it to be collected and then a friend of my brothers brought it to Israel for me last week and bam! I had a valid license, proof I had been driving for 5 years prior to coming to Israel and I still had 9 months before the 5 year grace period was over.
And as of yesterday I am officially licensed to drive in Israel.
As for driving a car… a colleague insisted that I take her car for a spin around the parking lot this morning. After 4 years of not driving, it was so much fun. Despite the rain and the fact that we drive on the right over here, I think I managed pretty well.
Now to rent a car and start properly exploring this awesome country.
I was looking for something new to throw over chicken breasts and somehow I came across a teriyaki chicken with home made sauce. Now I cannot for the life of me find that recipe, so in the interest of not forgetting, I am writing it down (from memory so it may not be perfect).
*I think I ran about 50% of the time, the rest I alternated power walking and just trying to remain upright and forward moving.
A few months ago I decided to register for the 14th Modiin Run, 5 km.
I figured I would have some time to train before the race, I would wake up early (are you laughing yet) and take myself for a half hour jog/run around the various parks in my neighbourhood a few times a week and all would be good.
Yeah, I woke up early once, ran 600 m around our nearest park, and never trained again.
In hindsight, even running a few kilometers once or twice a week in the months leading up to the race would have helped tremendously.
But, no point lamenting the fact I didn’t train, it is what it is.
On Friday morning, I woke up, got dressed, drank my coffee and took a slow 2 km stroll to the start of the race. I figured that slow walk would be a good warm up. I got there the recommended hour before the start and walked about, checking out the vendors and other bits and bobs that had been set up in a nearby park.
I posted a pic of my race number and got a great deal of really awesome encouragement from my friends in the computer. Thanks you all by the way, it was a great motivator. I then met up with a friend and we made our way to the start of the race.
I would just like to state, for future record, what I should have done, somewhere in that hour I was wondering around, was find the port-a-potties and gone to the bathroom. I only realised I needed to pee 2 minutes before the start of the race. Running on a full bladder is not recommended. Also a great motivator to finish quickly!
Anyway. There was a great vibe at the start, music pumping, people laughing and smiling and taking selfies. And off we went. I lost my friend within the first few 100 meters, she was a tad faster than me. I figured I would take the start slowly and not use up all my energy at the beginning. Good plan, the start was on a slight uphill!
Once we got to the main road the pack thinned out a bit and I decided to find a few people in the group around me and use them to pace myself. In particular I found a mom and her two boys and decided to pretend that her encouragement for her kids was for me too. Worked a charm and I managed to keep up with them for almost the entire race.
The 2nd half of the race was where I hit a bit of a snag. As we came around the loop and turned towards home, my right butt muscle went into spasm. OUCH! For a moment I even considered stopping at one of the ambulances on the route but decided to just tough it out, I waddled for about a kilometer while rubbing my knuckles into my butt cheek. I must have looked a sight!
And then the final stretch. I walked the small uphill and as I crested it, I could see the finish line. I made an effort to actually run that last 200 meters and to finish with a smile on my face (I was not going to have a bad finish photo) and bam, 5 km done. I will admit to hobbling to the nearest place to sit my butt down and thinking that I was probably not going to stand up again.
I finished in just under 43 minutes (my official time is listed as 00:42:38) and I’m pretty happy and really impressed with that, considering I did no training.
The race organisation was excellent. Everything started on time. Routes were well laid out. There was plenty of water at the water stations. And at the end of the race we were given water, ice lollies and fresh fruit.
I’m not sure I will do the 5 km again next year, mainly because I want to do the 1.8 km event with the kids as a family. Paul on the other hand is now keen to do the 5 km next year. I’m also not sure I will be doing anymore official races, but never say never, I might still be persuaded.
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