We all went on a summer holiday.

Last Sunday my mommy arrived!

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I went to meet her at the airport in the morning and we went to my brothers place in Tel Aviv since my mom was staying with them last week, and then Paul and the kids met up with us later.

This last week both Paul and I were off work so we could spend time as a family with my mom.

We went to the beach, the pool, the (kids) science museum, the Kotel (Western Wall), Ben Yehuda Street, Sarona Market. We walked so much Im not sure if my feet will ever recover. On the day we went to Jerusalem we walked almost 12km!

Last night my mom came to us and will stay with us until she goes home. Unfortunately I had to come back to work so she is hanging out with the kids this week.

Here are some pics Paul took over the last week (some on the camera, some on the phone).

My mom with all her grandchildren :)
My mom with all her grandchildren ūüôā

 

Family selfie in Jerusalem
Family selfie in Jerusalem

 

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Aaron took this one ūüôā

 

These two!
These two!

 

Olives at the Sarona Market, Aaron was in heaven!
Olives at the Sarona Market, Aaron was in heaven!

 

Family selfie at the science museum
Family selfie at the science museum

 

The cutest nephew in the world!!!!
The cutest nephew in the world!!!!

 

More sibling love!
More sibling love!

 

Refreshing our feet in this awesome mist generating thingy on the streets in Jerusalem
Refreshing our feet in this awesome mist generating thingy on the streets in Jerusalem

 

Family in front of the wall
Family in front of the wall

 

 

Becoming an Israeli, voting and the crab that got away.

So, about 7 or 8 months ago we decided to move to Israel. Within four months we had completed our application forms, filled out our medical forms and received a host of unabridged documentation from the Department of Home Affairs (which is a miracle in and off itself!), we received our visas and our plane tickets in the last month before leaving. Three months ago we left South Africa and arrived in Israel on the morning of December 16th 2014.  A few hours after landing, we left the airport as citizens.

You see, as Jews, we are entitled to Israeli citizenship by virtue of {the Law of Return}.  Take a moment and click the link to read exactly what the law entails.  Its a short but very informative page.

So, we landed at the airport, went through to the office, waited a bit since there were a few people ahead of us and then Paul and I had our photos taken and we were issued our Israeli ID books (the kids get theirs when they are 16 but they are listed in our books). ¬†And that’s the long and the short of us becoming Israeli citizens.

Three months and one day after arriving we participated in our first election. *Edited to add: If the election had taken place on 15th March instead if 17th March we would not have been able to vote, you have to be a resident for at least 90 days before being eligible. I only found this out today ūüôā

*Photo by Paul
*Photo by Paul

Its quite daunting having to choose a party without having directly experienced much of what the previous government had delivered/failed to deliver. ¬†I decided to research each party (online and by discussions with colleagues and friends) and disregard any that didn’t stand for my own¬†views on Israel as a Jewish homeland. ¬†I was then left with a handful of parties that somewhat fit my views and beliefs. ¬†None of them fit exactly, some had things I wanted, some didn’t, so I made a pro/con list and went with the party that had the most pros vs cons.

The election day is given off as a public holiday, so we decided to be at the voting station early (they opened at 7am) so that we could then take a train out to Tel Aviv and explore a bit. ¬†We wound up arriving at the voting station at 7:30am and were the only people there. ¬†I walked in, handed the official my ID document, they marked me off the voters roll and gave me a small envelope. ¬†I then went into the booth and chose the slip of paper with my party’s name on it, placed it in the envelope, sealed it and then dropped it in the box in front of the officials. ¬†A process of less than 5 minutes. Easy peasy.

After voting we hopped on a train and went on an excursion to the Tel Aviv Port which is very much like the V&A Waterfront.  We watched people fishing, almost got splashed by some waves, saw lots of dogs that had been shaved for the summer (think standard poodle with only his tail and his head not shaved).

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We saw a huge crab escape a fishing line (come back tomorrow for a photo that Paul took) and watched a trio of young kids play keyboard, base and trombone for the crowd with a bunch of little kids dancing like no one was watching in front of them.

crab

 

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We took lots of gorgeous photos, Paul’s mostly more gorgeous than mine. We then met up with my brother and his family and a friend of Paul’s who also happens to be an ex Saffa and had sushi for lunch.

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Faith wasn’t feeling so well so we called it a day after getting an ice-cream for dessert and headed back to the train station to go home. ¬†I ended up having a fantastic nap before dinner. ¬†A great end to a fantastic day.

A belated Israel post

Israel was amazing!

We spent most of our time with family and very little time touring but that is why we went, to be with family!

In Tel Aviv, we were right by the beach, a 5 minute walk away to be precise.  Now, Im not really a beach person but we went 3 or 4 times and I swam in the gorgeous warm ocean and got a tan.  The kids loved it!  We found a restaurant on the beach (literally, tables and chairs in the sand) and plonked ourselves down for a few hours a day.

We walked to the mall and took taxis to my brothers flat and had picnics in the park near his house.

In Jerusalem we spent our evenings with our Israeli family and the days with our family from the UK.

The wedding was amazing.  So very very special.  Looking out over the old city, our family and friends all together.  It was a truly happy and joyous occasion.

And the food!  The food in Israel was amazing.  We didnt stop eating.  The croissants in the morning from the corner store, the felafel and shwarma from the little hole-in-the-wall shops, the Italian restaurant we celebrated my Grandfathers birthday in, the homemade meals our family served us.  So much of yummy food all the time!

Here are a few snaps from the trip!

 

My 88 year old grandfather with his 92 year old brother and his sister in law
My 88 year old grandfather with his 92 year old brother and his sister in law

 

Baha'i Gardens
Baha’i Gardens

 

My grandfather and my brother resting while the gals shop
My grandfather and my brother resting while the gals shop

 

Our little beach restaurant in Tel Aviv
Our little beach restaurant in Tel Aviv

 

Tel Aviv sunset from my brothers apartment
Tel Aviv sunset from my brothers apartment

 

Tel Aviv market
Tel Aviv market

 

More Tel Aviv market
More Tel Aviv market

 

The Jerusalem windmill at night
The Jerusalem windmill at night 

 

My brother and my new sister :):):)
My brother and my new sister :):):)

 

The Kottel (Western Wall)
The Kottel (Western Wall)

 

Aunty Yana and the kids
Aunty Yana and the kids

 

Ruins of the Southern Wall in Jerusalem
Ruins of the Southern Wall in Jerusalem

 

Trying to move the huge rock that once made up part of the old city walls
Trying to move the huge rock that once made up part of the old city walls

 

Ancient olive tree
Ancient olive tree

 

Buttons, the cutest dog in Israel
Buttons, the cutest dog in Israel

 

Kitty sculpture in the Mamila Mall, Jerusalem
Kitty sculpture in the Mamila Mall, Jerusalem

 

Why cant ants read books...
Why cant ants read books…

 

Sibling love!
Sibling love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Tel Aviv Apartment

So I tweeted that our apartment is like living in an Escher painting. It gives new meaning to the phrase ‘split level’

Here is a quick video. Excuse the mess and the unruly children.

It’s also a 5 minute walk from the beach and a 10 minute walk to the Disengof shopping centre!

Goodbye South Africa, Shalom Israel

Hello and Shalom from the Holy Land!

I’ve been here 2 full days and am having an absolute blast, I don’t have access all the time so for now I will just give you a rundown of my first few days.

We arrived at the airport very very very VERY early, like 2 hours¬†before check in opened…¬† We sat and had coffee/lemonade and then made our way back to the check in area where we met up with Dominique who was up from CT for the WIZO SA conference.¬† We checked through and made our way through passport control.¬† We did a little browsing, Dom bought some jeans and had an early dinner as she doesn’t eat on planes.

We eventually boarded and got ready to take off.  The Turkish airways plane was very comfortable and the entertainment was not to shabby.  I was a bit disappointed that one of the advertised movies was not in fact a selection and landed up reading most of a novel I had bought.  I managed to sleep for a few hours and of course after waking a few times during the night, I slept straight through the cabin lights being switched on and breakfast!

Dom made an excellent travel companion as she slept through most of the flight and didn’t insist on chit chat!

The only downside to the first leg of our journey was the incredible ear ache I developed on our descent into Istanbul.  I really thought I was going to burst an eardrum and need to be hospitalised on landing!

The second flight was relatively painless, from the security check point and passport control, to boarding and the flight itself.  I ate the snack with gusto as I was starving at this point.

Matt and me!
Matt and I!

My brother¬†Matthew was at the airport to great us and I couldn’t help but almost squeeze the life out of him when I hugged him.¬† He bargained with a taxi driver and didn’t win, 160NIS was a bit steep for a taxi ride to the hotel so we opted to catch a train into Tel Aviv at 14NIS this was much better, we then caught a taxi from the station to the hotel which only cost 35NIS.

I had a small battle with my cheque card at check in and Matt rescued me by putting the hold on his credit card while I sorted out the shit with my bank.  Damn Std Bank had put a hold on my card because they thought it had been stolen, Paul contacted Std Bank and within half an hour the issue was sorted.

We spent a fantastic day together, it was great to catch up with him, I love his sense of humor and I think he was very happy to have someone here who actually thinks he is funny and gets his sense of humor!  He went back to Jerusalem as I had a full day of touring the next day and we met up again for dinner on Thursday night  and he slept in my room so that today we could travel together  to Jerusalem to spend Shabbos with family!

My room was is lovely. ¬†Very luxurious but all the way at the end of the passage so a bit of a trek, I need the exercise though so I don’t really mind.¬† The delegate from India was supposed to arrive on Wednesday, she never rocked up and didnt pitch on Thursday either, I hope that I don’t have to pay for the full room…

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My view
My view
My travel companion, Dominique and our trusty driver, Arye
Dominique, myself and our amazing driver, Arye

On Wed afternoon we were taken to Beit Halochem which is a post all on its own.

Keep checking back for more updates!