Wednesday, March 28, 2012

the best part of waking up... NOT Folgers in your cup, it's Starbucks in your little French press! And how does one obtain Starbucks coffee in a Starbucks barren land? In fact, this land serves instant coffee in their cafes and where you get a cappuccino when you order a latte and you get a cappuccino when you order a cappuccino. Oh silly people. But who is complaining when you have your sweet friends send you a piece of home from home! Oh sweet, sweet Starbucks I am more committed to you than peanut butter is to jelly! Now that's some serious business! On to the thank yous.
*Drum roll*  
Zhenya: I would like to thank you for the robust aroma of the medium house blend in our home. It is being perfectly paired with a piece of toast with butter and honey. Vika: Your sweet card gave way to fond memories of our churchin' time. 
Thank you ladies! The best part of being away from home is receiving care packages from friends and family. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

a non-kosher sunny day

This past Saturday was such a treat! We traveled two hours to the Galilee region for a fun day in the hot springs plus a cook out. Although, the hot springs were more like warm springs, but no one was complaining considering that it was probably close to 80 degrees that day. Plus the clear water was absolutely marvelous! The last time I saw such water was when we traveled to Bermuda several years back; even though it was fairly deep, you could still see to the bottom. 
Aside from the beautiful surroundings, we were given the opportunity to eat some non-kosher burgers! Now, I am not known to get all giddy for meat, but this day I could barely contain my excitement to eat burgers WITH cheese. Since meat and dairy together is a big big no-no for Kosher abiding folks, the restaurants here can not have meat in the facility if they are serving dairy and vis versa. Therefor, since we are living in Kosherville, we have not had a nice burger (with cheese) since the States. Needless to say, we enjoyed this day very much. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

venturing out and about

The husband and i had some time on our hands so we decided to take the 
opportunity to visit the Israel Museum. One of the exhibits is the "Shrine of the Book," which is a collection of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Perhaps some of you went to a similar exhibit when some of the scrolls came to the U.S.? While we were at the museum, we saw many people dressed up in costumes because they were celebrating Purim. In fact, later that evening we also got dressed up in order that we may go to a synagogue and experience the celebration ourselves. 
 One of the couples that we are friends with is expecting a baby and that baby was craving for some non-kosher Mexican food, so the parents decided to satisfy the little one by taking it to Tel Aviv on Sunday. We had the privilege of tagging along and enjoying the day of relaxing and feasting. We were able to catch some sun for a few hours and even took a dip in the Mediterranean Sea. It was great to get out and do some fun things with friends. We met a few more couples for dinner and finished the day with a walk on the pier and a cup of ice cream. 

While at the museum we saw a flash mob, not sure if i can officially call it that since the true definition doesn't 100% match it. But nonetheless, these museum workers randomly broke out in song and dance in the middle of the hall. 
The Shrine of the Book
This jar held some of the Dead Sea Scrolls

 The book of Esther talks about Purim. It is the celebration that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from the Persian Empire, especially the plans of Haman. So these days the Israeli people celebrate that deliverance from death by giving gifts, sharing a meal, and disguising themselves. The reasons for the costumes are: 1) that Esther was pretending to be Persian rather than what she really was, Jewish; 2) It is a way of emphasizing the celebration from other celebrations; 3) God "disguised" Himself in the book of Esther by not being mentioned but still working out His plans.

Onto Tel Aviv...

Old City Jaffa, believed to be one of the oldest ports in the world. Mentioned in the Bible as "port-of-entry." This area also belonged to the tribe of Dan (Josh 19:46). 
Jaffa is also associated with Jonah as he departed to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

floating, hiking, learning

Have you ever had a "oh-my-goodness, I-erased-all-the-pictures-from-the-camera-before-downloading-them-onto-the-computer" scare? Well, that's what I had with this set. My heart sank to my ankles, but then my short term memory decided that it would kick in (after I broke out into a sweat) and remind me that I indeed did download them already. Close call. 
So this was our first overnight trip with the class. It was rather eventful. We stayed in a hostel for the first time ever, not too shabby; I was able to harass some sheep, also for the first time; we found some pretty ancient pottery pieces that we got to keep; visited the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea; hiked and climbed a lot, and then did it again and again. 

 UGGS!!! Just kidding, kind of. The truth is, the closest I have ever gotten to a sheep is by wearing Uggs. Don't I sound like a complete city girl?  I was severely overjoyed when I saw this flock grazing 20 feet away from us, I simply had to touch one. But I couldn't get too close because they kept scooching away and I was slightly really terrified of the male sheep with the large horns, so I had to keep a safe distance:( 
 Me, excited? What makes you say that?

We visited Lachish (it is mentioned in the OT many many times) where a siege took place roughly in 701 BC. The professor said that hundreds of arrow heads were found here and that there were probably thousands still buried. With that said, the boys started to dig, no joke. 

 While they were looking for weapons, I found a handle to some clay pitcher. 

 The class

 Sometime during the hike, Sam got a hold of our camera and decided to do a photo shoot with and of himself. This is one of the images we discovered later on. 

Glorious view from above.

 These are the images one gets when others have had a long day of hiking, climbing, and too much sun. 

On top of that mountain stood one of Herod's great fortresses, Masada. Today it is one of Israel's "must-see" places. It was most gorgeous and with the absolute best view you could think of. Over looking a valley, the Dead Sea, and other mountains, this great fortress stood 1300 feet high. It, Masada, holds a great story that I will not go into, but highly encourage you to read up on it.  You can do that here or here.

 Floating in the Dead Sea. Did you know that the Dead Sea is the absolute lowest place on planet earth? It is nearly 1400 ft below sea level. 
 Don't we look silly? We had to prove that you can actually float, surely enough, you can:)
Those white puffs that look like sea coral are salt deposits, boy are they ever sharp! 

 At Qumran, the cave behind was one of the caves where they discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls.