We did it! Week 1 in Tel Aviv!

So we made it through our first full week of living and working in Tel Aviv (although Matt was already here for 5 weeks last year…it was a fresh start for us together!)!.  Things generally settled down after my first crazy day dealing with Franklin, getting groceries, and navigating Ikea.  We really enjoy having space to “live” in our new apartment!  Its an amazing upgrade from our 400 sqft “cottage” and we frequently marvel at the pleasure we get from sitting on the couch together or having a coffee table to put a book on….its the small things 🙂  I’m still working on the “moisture” issue…the windows seem to want to attack 110% of the moisture in the house and hold onto it for….well…forever.

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Franklin, who we all know you’re most interested in, is settling in well.  He dislikes the cold, hard floors but is enjoying the big windows.  He takes great pleasure in licking the condensation off the windows so he can watch the birds and neighborhood cats outside.  He is having a hard time warming-up to Josh, our roommate….but Josh is persistent and understanding of Frank’s struggle (and knows where the treats are)…so its only a matter of time until they are best friends.  Frank has voluntarily crate-trained himself as a way of keeping warm and away from “strangers”…..mostly Josh…. everything is scary to Frank, always and forever……

Most of my week consisted of getting settled and finding my way around the neighborhood.  I usually get lost once or twice a day in the mall but have identified my “regular stops” inside: book store, grocery store, cell-phone company (yup, went there three times trying to figure out a phone plan….we’re great friends), and we signed up for the gym today….and yes, thats ALL in the mall…..literally 50 meters from my apartment!  I also look forward to exploring the movie theater later this week!  We enjoyed a delicious dinner down the street – the food here is seriously amazing!  I also made my way to a cafe to try out the coffee I had heard SO MUCH about!  Welp! YUP!  It’s AMAZING!  Rarely can I drink an unflavored latte, but WOW – this one was EASY and SMOOTH!  I also had some hibiscus and cider….tea?  I don’t know what it was, but it was amazing!

Last Thursday (our “Friday”) the mall was full of food venders and Matt introduced me to Kurtosh!  A popular funnel shaped doughy pastry covered in sugar and fun toppings such as nuts, sprinkles, and coconut.  Pastries are BOUNTIFUL here, I am looking forward to trying more!

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After Thursday came FRIDAY!  (Our “Saturday”!).  The weather cleared up very nicely and we walked ALL AROUND Tel Aviv!  We headed South from our apartment to the Carmel Market, then West to the BEACH!, and eventually further South to Jaffa (a VERY old city).  Matt wrote about all these wonderful places in an earlier post – so I will not bore you with my re-cap.  BUT I will bore you with saying we ate at Dr. Shakshuka – my first experience with Shakshuka – mama mia!  yummy!!

I am looking forward to warmer weather so we can enjoy the beach!  There were tons of people surfing and playing matkot – basically beach paddle ball that makes a very loud and distinct noise….especially when a couple dozen groups of people are playing.

On Saturday, Shabbat, the city is much quieter and many things are closed or open late.  I learned how serious they are about Shabbat when I wanted to get some eggs and milk….after walking around for 30 minutes….I ended up back at the apartment empty handed.  Lesson learned.  Since many things were closed, we decided to go for a hike.  We did some research on Ben Shemen Forest and set out!  We reached the park pretty easily…I think only 2 or 3 u-turns were involved.  We drove around the park for a bit to get oriented and try to figure out the trail system.  Turns out some of the roads are more clay than gravel….which our little car did not particularly appreciate….thankfully, Matt got himself into all sorts of crazy $#*% as a crazy teenager and knew exactly how to rescue us from our peril (the pictures don’t do it justice….) but I remember at one point calmly asking Matt, “um why isn’t our car working?” as we were sliding sideways down the “road”.  Eventually, we came across the map….in Hebrew….supppppppper helpful…..NOT!!!…….so we just walked down the road until we found a little trail and walked for a bit.  We were delighted to find some structures, play grounds, wildflowers, and men on horseback who were happy to exclaim that Israel is the Greatest Land of All!

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Well that gets us through the week!  We’re looking forward to many more adventures!

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