We had such a great time this weekend meeting up with 2 Boulder families on the beach in Tel Aviv!
It was so nice having a connection to a place half way around the world and being together on the Mediterranean for a fun afternoon with our kids in Israel (we have 8 between all of us).
One family moved to Israel in August just like us! The other family moved a year earlier. We had a great time talking about all of our interesting new experiences in this country and also the things we miss in Boulder.
We had the opportunity to meet one of the families before we both left Boulder. We haven’t met up in Israel until a few weeks ago when they invited us to their home for a Shabbat dinner.
They live in a town about an hour away from Tel Aviv. So, they have a little difference experience than us.
They are similar in that they are from Boulder, have 3 kids, mom is also writing a blog about her experiences (much more regularly than me) and her challenges of being here are very relatable.
But, they are having some different experiences because they live in a town vs a big city, they live in a house vs an apartment, their kids are going to local schools taught in Hebrew vs my kids at an international school taught in English and they speak more Hebrew than we do. They also made Aliyah. That’s the process of becoming an Israeli citizen available to all Jews around the world that come to live here. As a result, they can access services and benefits that we do not have available. That includes language classes and discounts on many things that help you get settled to live. We’ve read there are a record number of people taking advantage of this after Corona.
The town they live in, Zichron Ya’akov, is beautiful!
It’s hilly and overlooks the sea. Their home was on a quiet street and a fenced in area allows the kids to play in a confined area. There is also lots of street parking- unlike in Tel Aviv where arguments often breakout in the street over an open space. It’s full of history and nature parks.
There are also many wineries, coffee shops and stores that line the Main Street area.
They gave us a quick tour even though many of the shops were closed for Shabbat.
We had a lovely dinner that included some of the food and wine from their town. We absolutely LOVED the grape leaves! And the kids got along great! Josh was still in school so didn’t make this trip.
When it was our turn to host, we decided to make it a beach day since we live on the beach. When they arrived they quickly changed and we headed over with boogie boards, sun tent, cooler and all the other essentials for a long afternoon at the beach.
The other Boulder family lives nearby and joined us later to complete the afternoon. We ended the night with a barbecue at the apartment and ate outside enjoying the local wine again from their town and she brought more grape leaves!
The best thing about spending time with other American families, especially from Boulder, is our shared common history. It’s not big things, but some cultural norms we take for granted. Things like end of the year teacher gifts which we both mistakingly tried to give, but not accepted here. Saying something casual to another English speaker, but they don’t get it because they are from Australia (or another English speaking country) NOT AMERICA. Discussing how long it takes to wash towels because they take forever to dry here. And how Israelis treat everyone like a family member with no boundaries when it comes to sharing their opinions about just about everything. It’s something Jim and I have learned to laugh about with our daily experiences.
The Boulder Beach reunion is something I hope we can make a regular experience. It can be like my book club, but the book every month is new perspective about Americans living in Israel.
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