January 24, 2013

Catching up...and other news.

How often do you feel like you're playing catch-up? Lately, I feel like that most of the time.
Today, I'm catching up on blogging.
I logged on and realized I haven't posted since Christmas? Oy. My apologies.
I was going to post awesome pics of the New Year's party that Itzik and I had tickets for, but then I caught strep throat, missed the party...and almost two weeks of my life. Now I'm playing catch up at that (life), too. So, let me catch you up a little bit about the goings-on in my corner of the world:

At some point (after the penicillin kicked in, methinks) I realized that I needed to make some serious changes, restore my health and officially move from the nomadic, transient head-space I've been inhabiting  since I graduated from TAU (yes, thats right, I actually finished my MA! Baruch HaShem!)

But which changes? First and foremost- yoga. Yoga is an expensive habit I picked up in Boston. Only, in Boston I was volunteering at a studio and was getting my fix for free. When I left for an adventure in the Middle East I let my student-budget put my practice on hold. However, I am no longer a student, I've been sick all winter, I've put on a few lbs, my face has been breaking out for four months, and in general I haven't been feeling at my physical peak. So, this week, I made the executive decision that yoga can no longer be classified as a 'want' rather than a 'need,' and I forked over the cash for a membership at a studio. I've been to several classes, and I can already feel myself returning. My skin is clearing, my thoughts are clearing, and my muscles are shouting at me for more. I have found great value in a habit which works my body, and lets my mind rest for a few hours every week.

Sometimes I go to the beach in the morning to do a little yoga. 
It could be worse.

Until I receive my working visa, my employment options are a bit limited,
so I've been babysitting (what any recent MA grad wants to do) and enjoying the opportunities to get outside, play with children, and walk around Tel Aviv.
Every day I fall more in love with this place. Ellie (the 1-yr-old I pass the time with) and I have been on a mission to find the best playground in Tel Aviv. It's grueling work. We both really hate it.

Also, I experienced my first Israeli election this week. Did you hear about it in the news? If you don't live here, it's likely that you didn't hear much. The outcomes were, politically, a bit unexpected, and interesting (at least to me). But what I want to highlight about Israeli elections, what surprised and delighted me, was the incredible sense of unity and community that comes with an election here. The population is small, and voter turnout was at an all-time high - around 65%. That's a big deal.

One difference between elections in the US and here is that in Israel, Election Day is a bank holiday. Everything is closed. Public transportation runs, but by making Election Day a holiday, the election itself becomes something that you can't ignore. Parents take their children, who see that citizenship is something important and worthwhile. Families spend time together. And it felt to me like everyone had a stake in what was happening that day.

Itzik and I visited his mother outside of Tel Aviv so he could vote, and on the way there it seemed that all of Israel was out and about. We actually cut through the market on foot cause it was faster than sitting on a bus in traffic (I, of course, took the opportunity to grab a smoothie and a donut).

Yes, moving through this crowd was faster than the bus.

Love the shuk. It's never dull.

Itzik's brothers and sister all joined us at their mom's place, and we all walked over to their old elementary school so they could vote. I kept high-fiving Itzik (which he hates) and shouting "citizenship!". I wasn't even voting, but I felt like I was a part of something important.

Afterwards, his mom rewarded me by showing us old family photos.
It would be a shame not to share these:

Itzik (the baby) is now the spitting image of his father (the adult)

Playing dress-up for Purim

In other news...
I've also been making a concerted effort to catch-up with friends and family from back home. My old boss from The David Project, Charles, and his family were in Israel last month and the opportunity was seized to have a DP reunion!

Charles, Libbie, and I

CJ trying to Skype someone in from back home

One of the best parts of the evening was welcoming Maggy and Kurt back to Israel.for good!

They flew in a couple of days prior, and I am LOVING having so many people from home around these days.
More on Maggy's return in a later post.

Okay, I think this is a pretty good catch-up for the time being. We have covered a lot of ground. What do you think? Have any thoughts about the election? Want more pics of Ellie? Into the street art?
Hit me with some feedback, I'd love your thoughts.

It is my solemn vow to you, dear reader, that I won't let so much time pass anymore between posts, so that they are not as jam-packed moving forward.

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