The girls and I spent our last day of summer exploring new places; my friend is moving back to Israel and she’s living in a small community a half an hour out of Tel Aviv call Ein Ha Yam. Down the street from her house, we entered a wild beach through grass-covered dunes that looked like Cape Cod to me and we explored the big rocks. The girls collected sea shells and chased baby crabs across the beach; they were hard to see because they were the exact same color as the sand on the beach. This particular beach is the destination of nesting sea turtles.
This desolate, wild beach felt so different to me than the sardine-packed beaches of Tel Aviv. I marveled at the beauty of the nature, the big fluffy clouds, the razor sharp cliffs that dotted the coast and my good fortune that my dear friend is again living near by.
Tomorrow, two of my girls will start school; they’ll be entering junior high and high school. My little one will start school on Monday and I’m hopeful for a new year for them filled with new friends, old friends, new activities, new challenges and a lot of good old fashioned learning! The daily grind will begin again, but I’ll be happy to have a schedule so that I can finally get some work done!
So we’re in Paris for our summer vacation! There’s a never ending panorama of beautiful sights, but this last week has been a photographic challenge as the weather has been grey and rainy. We are thrilled with the cool, rainy weather (so opposite from Tel Aviv right now, it’s a wonderful break for us) but photographically, much more difficult to achieve great photos. Most of the old buildings are a cream color, lending themselves to black and white or sepia tone, but I’ve found a few colorful subjects in this wonderland of neutrals.
I really wanted to bring the girls to Paris so they could practice their French and experience France as French speakers; I think it gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. They all three study in a French school in Tel Aviv, they’re fluent in French, Hebrew and English; I felt that they should have the real French experience. BUT, it seems they are not the least bit interested in seeing the monuments, museums or touristy sights, all they want to do it SHOP! To the girls’ credit, the only museum that I remember visiting as a young child was the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (I was probably 10 or 11 years old); I remember that my brother, sister and I loved dropping coins into the wax mold machines, watching the souvenir machine make wax molds of an Abraham Lincoln bust, then the mold dropped out still warm for us to take home and I remember the lake Michigan beach that was nearby. I don’t remember one thing from the museum, but I do remember the experience with my family and I think that’s the most important part.
I will have to say that shopping here is vastly different than shopping in Tel Aviv, there’s so much more to choose from! I’ve tried to strike a compromise, a little shopping, a little Eiffel tower, a little shopping, a little Louvre, a little shopping, a little Notre Dame….I’m hoping one day they’re appreciate the experience a little more than they seem to now.
My experience with children on vacation: We were in the Pompidou Center,
Emili (9 years old)-shortly after we arrive: “Can we leave now, I’m tired and bored.”
my husband: “We’re all tired and bored, that’s the price you pay for culture.”
When I visit a new place, my goals are to take some great photos AND I like to collect accessories like shoes or eye glasses; I search for these special things as I wonder foreign places. These accessories become my souvnenirs from the places I visit. I haven’t found anything here that strikes my fancy yet.
I’m shoving the girls out the door now, we’re going to the Louvre. I hope that as we roam the galleries of the Louvre, my enthusiasm for art will rub off on them a little and the recitation of my art history lessons that I remember will entertain them for as long as it takes to drag them past some of the most famous art in the world. I’ll promise them creme brule if they finish the tour without driving me crazy!
July 1st was my birthday, I started the day like off at the flea market. Going to the flea market has been a yearly birthday ritual of mine. I went by myself this year which made it a quiet, reflective and enjoyable trip.
This is a beautiful, old apartment overlooking one of the main streets of the flea market. When I see interesting homes, I like to imagine who lives in them and their lives might be like.
I wandered through the crowded streets, looking at the old, vintage/junk items for sale. This year I wasn’t as excited about being in the flea market as in previous years; I found everything was messy and crowded together, which hadn’t bothered me in the past. I felt a need for order and peacefulness as I manuvered through the market.
I left the flea market and crossed the street into the old city of Jaffa. The old city is on the sea, I felt the need to be by the sea. I’ve been to the old city so many times that I challenged myself to to see things differently, so my photos would be new and fresh.
The first thing I encountered as I approached the old city was a dilapidated building, as I passed it I heard very loud chirping. ! ? I turned around to peer into the glassless windows to see what was making so much noise. The crumbling, vaulted ceilings were COVERED with little bats hanging upside down. There were four owl bodies hanging down from the ceiling, obviously they were meant to scare the bats away, but it wasnt’ working at all. There were so many of them that the ceiling appeared black and undulating. I continued on.
I ate lunch at a seaside restauant that looked Greek. After lunch, I continued on my way down the smooth, ancient and winding stairs of the city, into the port area. The Jaffa port is authentic, it’s dirty, the boats are working boats, there are piles of fishing nets topped by florescent buoyies, there are no fancy yachts. There are no chic boutiques lining the port area as there are in many other ports I’ve seen (the Tel Aviv port being one of them), but there is a fish restauant and a bars/art galleries in the old warehouse spaces which appealed to me very much. There is art all over the port inside and out.
One warehouse in particular was covered in huge murals, all the characters appeared bleak and many offered to mutilate themselves for something in return, I think it was the opportunity to be taught something. All the graffiti and art I saw was depressing. Is that the state of affairs of Israeli-Arab artists? I suppose it could be, Israel is an intense and often depressing place if you live in reality here. Many choose to ignore what’s going on around them, it’s how you live a more peaceful life.
I found a huge bar/gallery space in the port. Such large spaces are rare. The walls were covered by wire sculptures.
This figure seems to be trying to fly or he is floundering in some way-interesting, but depressing-again.
I noticed that I had a bit of a sunburn, so in the late afternoon I started heading back home.
I was pleased with my day of photography and the moments I’d captured. It was now time to go home and take a birthday nap!
It’s nearly July and it just dawned on me that I should be making things to put in my website shop and Etsy shop for the Christmas season NOW. How am I going to get in the Christmas/Santa/Reindeer/Snowman mood while hiding from the summer heat, indoors in the air-conditioning?
I’m not a summer person, I love the fall, although fall in Israel is just like summer at home, so here I look forward to the winter, which is the most like fall in the mid-west! Did you understand that?! For me summer is a problem, I avoid the sun so much, I end up having to take vitamin D for a deficiency and the air conditioning wreaks havoc with my lungs; I come out in the evening (like a vampire) to go to the beach and watch the sunset. This year, we haven’t seen any jellyfish, but we’re not going into the water because it’s contaminated again by a sewage leak! This happens a lot here and it grosses me out so much, I rarely go into the sea. So we make do at Grandma’s pool.
We’re working on finding a little summer get away this year in which I hope to find some great photo ops-more to come. I’m working on several projects that I can’t show you yet, I’ve entered a few felting contests; the pieces will be unveiled in September. I’m looking into new projects to expand my horizons. I continue to felt natural toys and my little dog sculptures during the days. Since I closed the store, I’ve started cooking a lot, I believe that I could write a vegetarian cookbook soon. The girls and I will eat almost anything, but my husband won’t eat meat, pasta or bread and he insists his food be organic; this poses a meal puzzle for me nearly everyday. It takes a lot of creativity to find something that everyone will eat, I very often end up making several organic, vegetarian dishes so the family can choose.
I’m off to the “organic” market at the Old Train Station to look for my favorite summer flowers, peonies; I hope I find them today. Asparagus, cilantro, goat’s cheese, Caesar lettuce, avocados and potatoes are on my shopping list, they will be part of the ingredients for this evening’s meal-Yum:)
I haven’t had much time to work lately because of the end of the year school activities of my girls. Lili’s choir, Bat Kohl had a concert at the Dormitian Abbey and Monastery in Jerusalem on Friday; I decided to do a little photo shoot in this beautiful and historic site.
The Dormitian Abbey and Monastery is a German Benedictine church established at the end of the 20th century. The Ottomans gave the land to the Germans and they rebuilt the abbey at the top of Mount Zion to commemorate the Virgin Mary.
German monks clad in brown robes can be seen gliding through the abbey. The church is filled with beautiful mosaics and stained glass windows.
After the choir concert, we wandered outside to wait for Lili; this is the view outside the abbey, on the top of Mt. Zion.
The scenery bekoned me further up the path, away from the abbey to the huge and impressive Zion Gate, one of four gates into the Old City of Jerusalem.
Emili passed through the Zion gate into the Armenian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, one of four quarters of the city. The stones under the gate are smooth and hard to walk on; you can drive through the gate.
This is Lili’s choir group, the Bat Kohl girls of Tel Aviv, directed by Anat Morahg. Lili is the blond in the center with a big smile on her face! You can see the girls performing here and here, enjoy!