Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jo Walks Tel Aviv

A few months ago Amit and I decided to take his Canon 5D camera with us for an afternoon stroll through Tel Aviv. The stroll lasted a few hours, we show you what Tel Aviv looks like on a Friday afternoon, and we met a few friends along the way. So here is a glimpse of our city, through our eyes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cleaning floors, Israeli style

This country is incredibly dusty. There is more dust here than I have ever experienced in Australia. It must be blowing off the Sahara.

All this means that our apartment gets dirty fast - dust covering everything and that lovely grainy feeling under your feet as you walk on the tiles. Now if I were in Australia I would fix this with a quick dust, a vacuum, and a mop. But no, that's not how it's done here!

So here are the amazing steps to cleaning your floor in Israel.

1) lift everything off the floor. Not just chairs, but everything. Pile chairs on top of tables, couch chairs on top of the couch, computer off the floor, cables off the floor, everything.

2) fill a large bucket with hot soapy water

3) throw the water all over every floor in the house. Puddles are required everywhere.

4) get a water scraper thingo and push the water into every corner of the house so it makes the dust and dirt soggy. Lift up every piece of furniture, beds, giant bookcases, everything. You must catch all the dust and dirt with the water!

Amit cleaning the floor - notice the furniture piled up!

5) scrape the lovely dirty water from all over the house into the hole in the floor, which is usually located up a slope, in a tiny corner of the bathroom.

6) drape a piece of cloth soaked in fresh water over the scraper thingo and use it as a mop to get the rest of the water of the floor. Somehow you are supposed to manage to keep this piece of fabric draped over the scraper. I've no idea how! I ended up standing on the cloth and shuffling around the house.

7) put all the pieces of furniture back, plug everything back in, and you are done. It only took us (2 people) over an hour to complete.

Needless to say, Amit and I have only cleaned the house in this way once. I tried an improvised version (partially throwing water around and scraping it into a whole, partially shuffling around the house on the cloth, pretending I was a mop).

Finally a few weeks ago we bought a mop. Now I'm sweeping and mopping, and not using the Israeli scraper, which I was obviously not born to handle!

Here are a couple of blogs that share my experience with cleaning Israeli style.
You have got to be kidding
Lesson 5 - this is a mop

Monday, July 26, 2010


A few weeks ago, Amit and I went on a one week trip to England. I lived in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne four years ago for 15 months, so the main aim of the trip was to go and visit my great friends there.

The first thing that struck me was that I could understand what everyone around me was saying! I was flooded with voices, other people's conversations, advertisements on walls, shop signs. I'm used to turning off all these distractions in Israel, easy to do because they are mostly in Hebrew.

I just loved walking into Boots pharmacy and seeing all these familiar brands, and so much variety! Israel has most things of course, but it is a small country compared with the UK and Europe so it doesn't quite get the variety.

The architecture in the cities really shocked me as well. I'd forgotten what it looked like, all the intricate details make it so interesting to look up to from the street. I have talked before about how I love the buildings in Tel Aviv, in all their dilapidated glory and minimalist lines, but seeing English architecture reminded me of my love for living history, as seen in buildings that line the streets of London and Newcastle.

Amit on Grey St, Newcastle. Beautiful buildings. From England

We had fun shopping in the mega clothes stores, eating the delightful English cuisine (sausages, bacon, pies, sausage rolls, roast lunch, curry), drinking beer, seeing all the greenery, walking till our feet hurt, and of course seeing friends.

There is nothing quite like seeing old friends. It's like those four years never really happened, and we've been transported to a meeting where we still know each other super well, but we've had all the experiences in between to make our conversations even more interesting! Amit loved meeting my old friends too, as we're both all about the people, and he didn't mind that I dragged him around England meeting 20 people in 7 days.

Nita and Ken took us on a road trip through the Northumberland countryside to the beautiful Belsay Hall - a fantastic mixture of historic house, castle and gardens, with an amazing art exhibition exploring the impact of scale.

Enjoying the green at Belsay. From England

It was a strange experience going back to somewhere overseas that I once lived. I remember when I thought that the culture there was normal, it was part of my everyday life. I remembered the streets I walked on everyday, I remember the music I was listening to, I remember the people I knew there. All sorts of things. But in those four years since living in England I've experienced so many things that have led to me living in Israel with my man. Walking through the streets of Newcastle four years ago I could never have predicted moving to Israel! I also felt that I am living in the right place. Tel Aviv is the place for me.

Upon returning to Israel two thoughts dominated my mind:
1) I need to eat some Israeli salad!
2) I missed hearing and speaking Hebrew, strangely enough. The trip made me realise that speaking another language is an exciting thing, and I've been spurred on to study more Hebrew now.

A slide show of our England photos...