Lessons learned from day ONE in Tel Aviv!

Well well well!  We’ve arrived safely in Tel Aviv and I’m having a great time getting settled!  Yesterday was my FIRST full day in Tel Aviv and BOY was it a learning experience!!

I’m not entirely sure if there is a better way to explain this than an annotated timeline….so here we go!

6:30am – wake up (actually woke up at 3:00am, thank you Jet Lag!) to take Franklin to the vet to get lab work to prove he’s vaccinated against rabies – which he obviously is since he got the shot a month ago…sighhhhhh stupid import rules.  The vet we found to help us with importing process is located in a town about 40 minutes from Tel Aviv – I figured it was best to “rip off the bandaid” for driving in Tel Aviv with a long drive!  People tend to drive a little cray-cray here so I was excited to try my hand at true city driving.  Matt was kind enough to escort me to the parking garage where our car lives because it involves going through a mall next to our house that he said “can be a little confusing”….this will come in again later…. IMG_0348

8:30 am – I was using Google Maps to find the vet….all was going well until it wanted me to go down a dirt road (don’t worry mom, I didn’t go down the dirt road).  I thought “this is weird, I’ll go back to the freeway and take the next exit”.  WELL it turns out the next exit is about 7 miles down the road…and I actually drove 7 miles just to make a u-turn and try again where I came from….so a quick 14 mile detour, no big deal!  Once I was back in the town with the vet, I called and they explained where to go…it more or less made sense and I made it in with 5 minutes to spare before the lab was closing and wouldn’t have been able to process Frank’s blood for another two days!  PHEW! IMG_0351

So Frank g0t his fur trimmed for the lab draw and got poked…he did not enjoy either of these things but complied and went along with the show.  The vet and tech commended him for his bravery and cuteness.  NOW off to quarantine until the lab results come back – which they told me should be done the next day.  SO we’re off….

9:00 am – It was about a 20 minute drive to the govt. quarantine facility.  The woman at the vet told me to use WAZE app for directions instead of GOOGLE…..good to know!  Hopefully that ends the dirt road directions!  The woman at the vet entered the directions on my phone but explained that it wasn’t completely clear where the facility is based on the directions.  She pointed to the map and said “its behind the giant grocery store”.  OK!  Seemed simple enough….heh….

I get to the “general area” where it is and park in a large dirt parking lot.  I can clearly see what she explained as the giant grocery store. *Side note, EVERYTHING is in Hebrew….no English.  So the billboard with a yogurt container was my clue.*  SO Franklin and I head towards the store and see a large building behind it…just like the lady described…hmmmm….looks a lot like a car dealership….YUP! Its a car dealership…and they definitely didn’t speak English…sigh.  OKAY lets try the next building!  I see a sign that says “TO OFFICES” in English….seems like a good idea…. so I go to the “THE OFFICES” and find something like a pediatrician and an engineering company.  The nice women at the engineering company saw Frank and saw my utter and complete confusion and offered to help.  In a mix of broken English we were able to understand that I needed to find a place for my pet to stay because he was moving to Tel Aviv.  They finally realized I was looking for “that government building” and knew where I needed to go!  After a very complicated explaination AND drawing a map…”go left right here onto the elevator, then left, right, left, to the “T” and left”….I eventually concluded it literally on the other side of the parking lot and I could easily walk there.

10:00 am – We got to quarantine!  One woman spoke English and helped me figure out the process.  The vet also spoke excellent English and was very kind, explained the process and scared the heck out of me when explaining how Franklin eventually gets released….. “sometimes the lab work isn’t good enough and they have to stay longer….as much as maybe 10 days.  But you chose to take the risk of brining him without this test, so you have to be prepared that might happen”.  That was depressing…but what else am I going to do?  Run for it and hope they don’t care?!…we already tried that at the airport and didn’t get far. So I decided against running and complied with getting Frank tucked into this quarantine cage.  He was less than excited to spend the night in a big room full of barking dogs.  Luckily he got to keep his cozy carrier in his cage and I think he stayed in it all night.

11:00 am – OK! IKEA!!!  The best part of this journey was the fact that IKEA was only 10 minutes from the quarantine facility and I needed to do some serious NESTING!  The guys have been living with bare-bones functionality in the apartment and it was in desperate need of some feminine touch!  Welp, whats more confusing that IKEA’s Swedish product names?!  Let me tell you —> Ikea Swedish names surrounded by Hebrew!  Luckily “SALE” seems to be pretty universal 🙂 I discovered a new love for Google Translate and the ability to take pictures of text to translate, thank you Google!  So after wandering through Ikea for what was possibly 2-3 hours…and a brief stop in the cafe for a croissant….I walked out with a large rug, a litter box, a hamper, a shower caddy, some organizing containers, some candles, a basil plant, and some tiny succulents!  Also learned that you cannot take the cart away from the store and to your car!  Again with some broken English, they explain to me that I have to leave my cart by the door and go get my car and pull it up.  I later learned there is a parking garage around the back that I can take my cart to…next time!IMG_0354

Take note of the brown sky!  My first thought was smog but I learned from the vet that it’s actually a Dust Storm!  Apparently high winds come and stir up all the dirt and dust…turning the sky brown!  It should rain tonight or tomorrow and clear it up…sounds like a messy combo.

3:00 pm – Grocery Store!  I headed back to the GIANT grocery store next to the quarantine building to stock up on some food!  Another learning experience!  When I walked in, I saw what I thought was the store….the big table of fruit was a clue.  I grabbed a cart and started shopping!  Mama-mia!  So much produce!  After getting through all the produce…I was ready to get other food….like milk, meat, cereal….!  But WAIT – there wasn’t any more food!!  HUH?!  But I saw people with carts full of eggs, milk, bread, etc….. So I checked out and went back outside….OH!  There is ANOTHER store….the paper towels were a clue!  So I head over there….only to be turned around by the security guard because you cannot bring produce in the grocery store!!  So I had to go drop off the produce in the car and go back up to the store.  OH MAN….I never knew buying shampoo, milk, and yogurt would be SO HARD!  Everything is in Hebrew…  I ended up with a wide sampling of “milk/dairy products” to try and figure out what was actually yogurt…..so far it turns out I got a creamed cottage cheese and something I can only describe as watery yogurt with chunks of bran, and coconut with honey and apple flavoring…?  Fingers crossed the “GREEK” container is actually yogurt.  The granola, dressing, chicken, etc was a little easier….. but once it was all said and done, I think it took me about 2 hours!

5:oo pm – FINALLY HOME!  ….ALMOST!  So we live next to a mall, a very LARGE mall!  And we park our car in its parking garage.  To get back to the apartment, you have to go through the GIANT mall.  I had only been in this mall twice so far for a total of maybe 10 minutes.  So I basically had no idea where I was going….yet thought it would be a great idea to take a heavy load of things up to the apartment on the first trip (think, large plastic tub of stuff full of IKEA goods and the bag of produce).  SO I get out of the parking garage and into the mall and have NOOOO IDEA where I am!  This mall has two buildings and about a million different wings….and I’m carrying a TON of stuff!  So I start walking….aimlessly….looking for any stores I recognized from the day before….All I really know is the apartment is out the door with L’Occintane  and a pet store!  I had to stop every few minutes to set the giant box down and rest my arms.   I used Google Maps SEVERAL times just to figure out where I was in relation to the apartment!  I eventually found my way out….only to have to turn around and do it all again 2 more times!  I even used Stava to track myself on the second run because I couldn’t even tell if I was going around in circles!  By the last run, I more or less understood what needed to happen!  Interestingly, the escalators only go UP! and there is no directory of stores! and everything is in Hebrew!  Below is a picture of just one of what feels like a million different corners with stairs!


SO that was my first day!  I was POOOOOPED!  Slept like a rock!

Day 2 was much more mellow….I got to pick Franklin up from quarantine (!!!!!!!) and spend the day around the house nesting and relaxing!  I could get used to this 🙂



4 Comments Add yours

  1. edavis1951 says:

    Kelley, I have great admiration for your sense of adventure! So glad Franklin survived his day of quarantine and that he is back home with you and Matt!



  2. Kris says:

    Good job Kelley! You are certainly on a great adventure. Excellent job keeping your cool. Keep coloring and reading!


  3. Christy says:

    Wheewww! I am tired just reading about your day 🙂 Let the adventures begin!!


  4. Diana says:

    The biggest kicker for me was the fact that you actually stopped to take pictures along the way. I especially laughed about the picture in the mall, as I imagined you dropping all your bags just for the picture because you knew you would need it for the blog… I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

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