Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Waves

Fun fact: Israel is roughly the same size as the state of New Jersey

Now that I threw out a captivating fact to grab your attention, Happy Wednesday.  By the time you read this I'll most likely be closer to Thursday, but that's ok.

One thing I've always wrestled with when moving somewhere new (this is now my third time) is the lacking of simplicity. What I mean by this is, for awhile, things that would normally be fairly simple or mindless are not.  The amount of effort that has to be put into tasks such as finding the nearest grocery store, then purchasing said groceries, etc., is much more tasking in a brand new place.

Hebrew and a different currency don't help, but it's all new regardless of those barriers.

Relationships are the biggest simplicity that I consistently miss directly after the move - outside of Andrew, and my dog - all relationships are starting from scratch, having to be built up and nurtured, and therefore require a lot more time and energy than a relationship that is familiar and has been standing for years.


This is just me thinking out loud, not necessarily complaining, because I expected all of this going into the move.

One awesome thing about living in the middle of Tel Aviv is that when I'm having a bad day, a slower day, or just need to get out for awhile, the beach is always an option. And pretty much a guaranteed pick-me-up.

So yesterday after a productive morning I made the ten minute trek to the shore and was PUMPED to find that the waves were massive.



 {For the Med that is. I'm not talking Hawaii-sized waves but big enough to at least body surf and get tossed around}

I don't know what it is about big waves, but they make me irrationally happy. So I left my backpack near the shore by some trustworthy looking peeps and ran in, as cool-looking as possible (which is actually impossible when doing such an act alone).

It was a little odd, splashing and playing about in the waves completely by myself. I did some handstands and caught some of the bigger waves, trying to body surf them in. At one point a larger wave threw me under and I actually came back up with a stupid smile on my face.

An older gentleman was nearby also by himself, and we both caught each other smiling as another big wave came barreling through.  And it was the simplicity of those 20 minutes or so, completely alone with myself yet on a beach full of people that brought me a lot of unexpected joy.

So the point of this weird story?  I think joy is very easily found in simplicity, and I believe simplicity can be found easier than we often realize. You kind of just have to keep your eyes open, and seek it out.  I know building solid relationships out here is going to be a very healthy thing for both of us in the long run - but sometimes it's best to just take a step away from the noise and the events and the planned dinners or meet and greets - and be alone.


On that note, I'm off to another lunch.  Because it's about balance; and while my comfort zone is a good, necessary place to retreat to, I'm not going to make any friends standing in the ocean alone all day.

Cheers- 
Kait

Friday, August 26, 2016

Observing

Being a Type A person,  it is a bit weird to wake up every day and not have a solid schedule in place. Don't get me wrong, every day there are certainly things to get done, but for awhile we will be lacking a consistent schedule.


So until I fully figure out what my job situation will be, I see my basic responsibilities as:

1. Settling us into our new home - this includes stocking up on groceries which has been incredibly daunting so far.
2. Training our dog. At 9 months she is well-trained but we would love to consistently have her off leash; therefore I spend a chunk of every day working with her on that. 
3. Learning basic Hebrew. It very quickly became clear that I should know at least the basics out of sheer politeness.
4. Figuring it out. Let's dig into this one.

My sense of direction has been absolutely turned upside down here in the Holy Land, outside of knowing which way the beach is. Therefore I would define figuring it out as literally wandering around. Slowly learning where the nearest grocery store is, the best cafes, which juice stand is the cheapest. Observing. Plugging my headphones in, throwing on my backpack and simply trotting around with a dazed American look on my face. 

One thing I quickly observed, and fell in love with: Israelis seem to give very little sh*ts about rules. 

Exhibit A: The Beach

From what I can tell, dogs aren't allowed at the beach, unless you're at the specific dog beach.  I started laughing on my morning run earlier this week as I witnessed dogs literally everywhere.  Granted, it was earlier in the morning and I'm not sure that would fly during prime hours, but in short people seem to take their dogs everywhere and anywhere, regardless of what the signs actually say.

However we did find the actual dog beach and Kai has never been happier


(& I absolutely cannot read Hebrew, but I'm thinking a dog with a big X through it means no dogs)

Exhibit B: Scooters

Traffic within the actual city of TLV is kind of insane and once our car gets here (which at this rate most likely won't be until December) I'm not sure I would even be brave enough to drive it within the city. Drivers are aggressive and horn-happy, but beyond that, the scooters are TERRIFYING.  They do whatever they want, always.  On the sidewalks, going the wrong way, weaving between lanes, you name it.

Exhibit C:  Socializing

In summary, it seems that any hour is happy hour.  I'm constantly finding myself questioning if the entire country is on vacation ALWAYS, as bars restaurants and cafes are fully populated at ALL hours of the day and night.  I see business men in suits sipping on beers at 11 AM on a Tuesday, and just this morning while letting Kai out at 6 AM walked past several girls on their way home from bars/clubs.

Walk by any beach any night of the week, and there are enough BBQ's and picnics going on to make us wonder if it's a Jewish holiday we were unaware of (which is not outside of the realm of possibility).

Exhibit D: Graffiti

It's everywhere; it's like a social norm for there to be graffiti on a building, not a big deal at all.  It's grown on me quickly - I'm a big fan of some of the quotes I've seen so far...



I'll stop with the examples, but have plenty more if you're interested.  In short, my observation is that there are simply less sh*t's given in this country - certainly less political correctness, no tip toeing around, more laid back about a lot of stuff.  You say and do what you feel... and I kind of like it.

So the point of why I'm babbling about this observation is; I think that I need to somewhat apply this Israeli mindset to myself as I wander around Tel Aviv trying to figure it all out.  If I hand the cashier the wrong amount of money (which I have) or order the completely wrong kind of drink at the cafe (yesterday) - oh well.  Drink it, move on.

One cafe gives you chocolate every time you order  :)
Happy Friday, hope you had an awesome week!  And if you didn't - forget it, and move on.

Cheers -
Kait


Monday, August 22, 2016

Adventures


It's been awhile huh?  A little too long.

Jumping right in; I wouldn't really consider myself the most adventurous person.  I can talk a big game and will try new things etc., but my comfort zone will forever and always be my favorite place - whether that's in my daily routine, the people I keep company with, the place that I'm living, etc.

Baltimore slowly but surely became one of my most favorite places.  The little city of a half million people is full of spunk and life and team spirit out the ass.  I learned to find a ton of joy in the places and the people who surrounded me there.

Yet Andrew and I decided early this year to consider something new. He's done the overseas thing twice now without me, and every time it's been hard. Really hard to be honest. And last year when he fell in love with Israel, and started ranting about the country's beauty, the slower pace of life, all of the things to do, I quickly put my guards up and told myself that I wouldn’t do the same.

Turns out, it only took a few days visit out there to quickly change my mind.




So, to get to the actual point of this post - last week, we started a new adventure. More specifically, as of last Thursday, we are now residing in Tel Aviv for the next two years.  Leading up to the decision, there was crazy amounts of discussions and tears and debate in regards to moving overseas in general. And it's not going to be easy, believe me we know. But I do know this gives us both the opportunity to go after things we are super passionate about, in a pretty cool country.

We'll be back and forth a lot.  This is a crazy time of life (when is it not?) and there will be weddings and holidays and babies that we absolutely cannot and will not miss.  We've already grown accustom to flights to see both of our families at this point - and so our mindset has simply shifted to, a flight is a flight.  Whether it's 10 hours or 2, when we need to be back to the States, we will get back there.  I just may need to keep some extra Advil PM on hand for that Tel Aviv – Newark non-stop flight, with a 7 hour time change.

So, after over four and half years of living in Maryland/Baltimore, we headed East. 5,000 + miles east to be exact.  Come visit - you've got a free place in Tel Aviv to stay if you want to book that Middle Eastern vacay you never could pull the trigger on. You'll just have to deal with a furry husky who likes to give kisses and occasionally wakes you up howling at 2 AM.

(Don't even get my started on the process of getting that puppy over here, that's a whole separate blog post)





It's going to be hard – change is so hard for me (Just this morning I tried to pay for my $1 coffee with a coin that was only worth 5 cents). But we're ready for it, mostly because we are doing it together.  And I'm thinking it should make for a pretty good story, so as of today this blog is back up and running (excuse the pun). Follow along, we can learn some Hebrew together.


Cheers/L'Chayim - 
Kait