Friday, August 18, 2017

365

We live on a really beautiful street.

About six months ago I was talking to a random stranger and when I told her where we lived she remarked, "That's my favorite street in Tel Aviv!"

At the time, the comment struck me as a little odd. I didn't see anything out of the ordinary that made our street worthy of favoritism; it was just another street. But that comment then made me more attentive, and through that I realized that it really is a pretty cool street.



The trees are huge and shade-bearing, which I have an extra-special appreciation for in the heat of August with two dogs to walk. The apartments range from super old to very new, and they're all unique and quirky. There's a school on the corner, our vet is across the street, and three mini marts and cafes within a five minute walk from us. We are pretty centralized within the city; I can get to the beach in 12 minutes if I speed walk, 5 if I ride my bike. It truly is a really great street.

Today is our one year anniversary of living in Israel. 
It. has. flown. Even when it felt like it was dragging and days were repeating and things weren't getting easier - none of that was true.

I remember landing at Ben Gurion like it was yesterday, and nervously pacing in the airport waiting for Kai's crate to come out. I remember wandering around that first night trying to get our bearings, and the several days of confusion that followed.

I did stupid stuff, a lot of typical tourist mistakes, yet it felt a little extra painful because I wasn't a tourist. I tried to pay for a coffee with the equivalent of ten cents, I consistently bought the wrong foods. Which still happens by the way, just yesterday I tried to buy seasoning for fish instead of chicken and the (this is a rarity) kind lady at the check-out pointed out my error.

These past 365 days have been honestly nothing I ever thought I would see or experience in my lifetime. If you would have told me when I first met Andrew at age 18 that ten years later we would be living in Israel together, well... I might have believed you, but I'm not sure I would have been enthused about it.

It's been hard, beautiful, painful, confusing, enlightening, refreshing, exhausting, and that's just scratching the surface.

And we have days where it's still really hard. Or at least we think it is, relative to first world problems. We knew going in that it was a feat in itself moving ourselves thousands of miles across an ocean - away from our closest family and friends - ripping our support system out from under us like an unneeded band-aid that actually wasn't ready to come off.

Yet what happened more easily than I predicted, was that we also quickly got adopted into new families here. From other Americans who had also been transplanted out here, to our gracious gym community, we are eternally grateful for each and every person who has come alongside us the past year. And I mean that.

So to bring this full circle... my goal this next year is to be more intentional. And for it to not take 8 months to finally realize that we live on a beautiful street. I like to think that I've got most of "it down" now; our schedules, where to go for what, a handful of words I need to know, when jellyfish season is, when certain produce is in season, how to cut in line at stores, etc. My hope is that with the anxiety of the extreme unknown during our transition period now gone, I can try to be more observant, less stressed, and intentionally grateful.



Easier said than done of course. In the 'go go go' of the Monday-Friday, little appreciations are too easily overlooked. My bike commute to work/the gym in the humid afternoon heat, with my shirt clinging to my back and my quads burning is annoying at first thought, but I know one day I will deeply miss riding/walking/running along the Med every single day.

So I'll try. Here's to the next 365 days, and seeing more good. Even the ones that feel crappy. 
Thanks for following along with us and supporting us. To to our Western Hemisphere friends for dealing with the excessive time differences, and to our Israel friends for dealing with our pretty much non-existent Hebrew.

Cheers - 
Kait

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Offended

I saw a quote awhile back that was something along the lines of:

"2017, the year everyone was offended by everything."

It's stuck with me, and while I internally laughed at it at the time, it has continued to resurface throughout the past few months as I realized how frequently offended I let myself become. 

Because that's the thing - I let myself be offended. It's a mindset. I think summer has highlighted it a bit more because honestly my patience wears thin when I'm constantly sweating out of my mind, and if someone on a corner so much as looks at me wrong I feel myself getting pissed.

However. That's not really the best way to go through life - letting my blood pressure skyrocket on a daily basis because of some random interaction with a stranger. Which happens WAY more here than it ever has in the States. It's more common for someone to randomly offer advice to you, make a comment, bluntly ask you out on a date, stare at you for long periods of time - than I've ever experience anywhere else I've lived. 

This past month in general, here are some examples of when I was given unsolicited feedback:

- I was accused of not picking up the dog's poop, when I religiously do so.

- I was told that we should not have Huskies in Israel, they belong in Alaska.

- I was told I don't plank correctly.

- I was told I don't backstroke correctly.


To be fair: it's not. It's just not something I really cared about.

However my 'lightbulb' moment with my chronic offended-ness was while - of course - grocery shopping.

I walked into the store down the street from me last week, and an employee was washing out the deep freezers in the frozen section. I looked into the freezer and what I saw grossed me out a little bit, and the thought crossed my mind that this should be a task done when the store is closed, not open.


Then, I got partially sprayed in the face with the dirty freezer water.

Walking home, I was fuming to myself at how absurd that situation was, and how zero shits were given by any of the store employees. How offensive, that is no way to treat a customer.

As I stalked home, I realized two things.

1. I sounded like a bratty diva and simply have to get over the brashness of Israeli grocery stores.

2. I could either let this annoying experience ruin my day, or I could get over it.


So many of us love to get offended; sometimes I almost feel like we seek out opportunities to do so. 

Yet the more I think about it, the relationships I value the most in my life are the ones I truly know I can bluntly speak to - and they will do the same back, without getting offended. So why should I not try to mimic that across the rest of my life?

In summary, I'm trying to care a little bit less, and put the word 'offend' on the back burner. And that means across all outlets of my life - social media, real life interactions, emails, you name it. This summer heat causes me enough to sweat about, so if some random old man wants to tell me again that my dogs belong in Alaska, well maybe I'll just smile and thank them for that beautiful piece of advice. And then carry on with my day.


Cheers - 
Kait