Friday, July 4, 2008

catching up

i'm back, and i realized that although i posted a few notes on facebook, i never copied them here. and because i know some people are blog readers over facebook, i am going to add it here too. so here are the few notes that accumulated over the last month.

June 8: Israel - desert, dun, guns & boobs
shalom everyone! it's only been a couple of days but already winnipeg
seems so long ago and far away. everything has been amazing so far.
here's the summary:

arrived to glaring sun and 38 degree weather, woohoo!

we've spent some time with shabi's family, who were so wonderfully
hospitable. when we arrived they had bottles of juice, water and
platters of fresh fruit and cakes for us. we also had shabbat dinner
with them which was a great experience. his parents don't speak
english, but with all the smiles and kisses and handshakes, we all felt
welcomed to the family.

yesterday was a busy day. we went on a hike through desert mountains in
about 40 degree heat. luckily there was a beautiful waterfall and pool
to swim and cool off in. Absolutely stunning! it was pretty
awe-inspiring standing atop this jagged cliff, rust coloured mountains
behind us, the dead sea stretched out below and the dry desert breeze
gently blowing past.

after a lunch of challah and hummus, we headed down to the dead sea to
cool ourselves. the rocks that line the shore have a crystalline
coating of salt, at least an inch thick. everyone knows that you float
in the dead sea, but experiencing it is truly something else. i mean,
it's not just that you float, it's an effort to get your legs beneath
you! so cool, just bobbing along. and the water is so oily you can see
swirls in the sunlight. we found a good spot to dig up the coveted dead
sea mud and smeared it all over ourselves. we were caked from neck to
toe, mud monsters!! fun fun :)

anyhoo, i'll wrap this up now. plenty more for other days. oh, a couple
of other observations. it's odd going through metal detectors and
having your bag searched just to go into a mall. and seeing soldiers
with huge machine guns everywhere from malls to cafes to the waterfalls
(yep, dude with nothing more than his swim trunks and gun). and
finally, all the girls in israel have huge boobs. i don't feel special
at all, haha!

June 11 - and also...
a few other things i thought were worth mentioning:
unisex bathrooms seem quite popular. i wasn't sure what was going on at
first when there was only one door with a "0" on it. luckily no urinals
out in the open
most restaurants have guards at the doors. when your bill comes there are an extra few shekels for security fee.
nobody jay walks here!
that's it for now, more sightseeing and wedding stuff to come.

June 13 - the mikvah
(i know this is a long one, but it was too incredible an evening to skimp on words. please continue...)

the mikvah is a jewish tradition where the bride-to-be goes through a
spiritual purification process. i've never been to one, so the whole
thing was new to me. what a great experience!

jennie was given a whole big basket of toiletries because everything to
be used for the cleansing is supposed to be new. she was also given
some new pjs and clothes and shoes to wear after the mikvah (all in
white). the room where it was all kept was strewn with dried rose

my mom, shabi's mom and myself escorted jennie to the mikvah. the drive
there we had georgian music blasting away and shabi's aunt who was
driving us was clapping and singing and swirling her arms to the music.
when we pulled up a group of women on the street realized we were on
our way to a mikvah and they all rushed up to jennie to congratulate
her and to be blessed by her. brides are considered purer and closer to
god, and therefore people like to be blessed by them. it was very cool.

inside jennie was shown her private room where she was to shower, brush
her teeth, trim her nails, etc etc. basically give herself a head to
toe deep clean. after about an hour or so, she goes to the ritual bath.
it is only her and the woman who oversees it and approves it. she steps
in to a small pool, dunks herself underwater, says a blessing and dunks
twice more.

during all this, my mom and i waited, members of shabi's family showing
up (all women) as well. when she was finished, jennie walked out, wet
haired, all shiny and clean and glowing, dressed in white satin pyjamas
and white flip flops. all the women shouted and cheered; we threw candy
at her and placed a flowered wreath on her head. babies were placed in
her arms and all the women went up for kisses and blessings as they
clapped and sang and danced. so much joy! my mom leaned over to me and
said "it's like we're experiencing a different culture". "yeah," i
replied, "and it's ours."

everyone then made their way to shabi's aunt's house for the party, mom
and i escorting jennie back again. inside the house they had lively
georgian music cranked up, and everyone was dancing. it was all
georgian style with the hands and arms twisting and people joining
hands, turning about and laughing.

and the food. holy shit, the food! they were actually piling plates on
top of other plates. breads, cheese, olives, blintzes, pastries stuffed
with various things, lasagnas, pizzas and probably things i'm
forgetting. then came the desserts. cakes and meringues and chocolate
nut clusters and cream fillled pastries and profiteroles and bowls and
plates of cherries, figs, fruit fruit fruit and so many other things!
the most amazing thing about this feast was that it was all homemade.
ALL of it.

it was one of the happiest, most festive parties i've been to. i can't even imagine what the wedding will be like!

okay, i'll actually give you a break and add the rest later!

1 comment:

Jade said...

I love you in this pic, really pretty!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...