Thursday, June 26, 2014


More already?

Thomas was out of town last week, then the day after he returned we spent a night at the Dead Sea. We stayed at the Kempinski, which is super nice. We've been staying at the Marriott when we go, but now I think we may switch. They upgraded our room because we were with an embassy group, and it was pretty fancy. Benjamin had a little area to himself with his camp bed, and the bathroom was lovely, with a huge tub and great shower. I considered moving in permanently...

Dead Sea view.

Lovely breakfast.

Silly face.

It's hard to believe a year ago we were in South Carolina visiting family and friends. I was pregnant and tired, now I'm just mildly tired. It also seems strange to only have a year left here, we have so much left to see and do. It'll be okay if we don't do everything but Lord willing, if we don't get evacuated, we'll get most of it done.

The Swing

By Robert Louis Stevenson
How do you like to go up in a swing,
   Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
   Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
   Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
   Over the countryside—

Till I look down on the garden green,
   Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
   Up in the air and down!

Had to document both pairs of camo shorts.

Sweet brothers.

All-time favorite look.

The boys are doing well, Daniel is crawling and starting to make more sounds. He's lots of fun and Benjamin is a super big brother. We're spending lots of time at the embassy playground and pool now that it's getting hot. Ramadan starts on Saturday so it'll be a little different, restaurants won't open until around sundown and people will be consistently cranky. Driving will be even hairier than usual in the late afternoon. Here's hoping it goes by quickly!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Israel for the Second Time

Hello again,

A couple weeks ago we drove to Israel and attended a wedding for two friends from our church. It was a fun little trip, only three nights away. We used airbnb for the first time, and had mixed feelings about it. But first, the drive. We had a smooth trip through the border and drove through the West Bank without incident. We stopped for lunch at McDonalds in a small town, Bet She'an. It was about $40 for the basic nuggets, happy meal, and burger. Yikes! We drove to our little town, Kfar Hittim, and all told it was only about a four hour trip, driving time.

Strange first sight in the town.

Benjamin is so excited to see a big truck!

We had some trouble finding the house, our host didn't give us any directions after telling us where the town is. So Thomas asked a neighbor. It was the upper apartment inside a house, not exactly what I'd pictured. It was perfectly adequate though, despite lacking substantial curtains. Thankfully the boys did fine in their own bedroom, except for waking up at 5:30am with the sun. Groan. We ate dinner at a little pizza place on the main tourist strip in downtown Tiberias. Surprisingly good, and nice to be in a different environment, even if it felt a bit seedy in spots.

Pizza dinner makes everyone happy.

The main reason for our trip was the wedding, which started in Tur'an at the bride's family home, then moved to Nazareth for the ceremony at the church. It was wonderful to see an Arab wedding, the first part at her family's house involved the women sitting in the house while the men hung out on a patio. The ladies danced together or sat and visited, caterers brought sweets and drinks, and it was a big party. Then the men of her family escorted her to the waiting car and she was whisked away to the church. The ceremony began two hours later, then after that the reception. We skipped the reception, knowing the boys would completely freak out. As it was, they were in bed at 9pm, much past their regular bedtime. But it was wonderful to celebrate Brennan and Abla, and have such a cool experience.

Waterfront in Tiberias


More Tiberias/Sea of Galilee

The next day we did some sightseeing around the Sea of Galilee. We visited the Church of the Loaves and Fishes, Benjamin's favorite part were the fish in the pond outside.

Loving the fish pond.

Church of the Loaves and Fishes

Hot as blazes.

We also saw Capernaum. We attempted to visit the Church of the Beatitudes, but sadly it was closed for a few hours and we needed to keep moving. The Sea of Galilee is pretty and it was great to be near a body of water. We'd like to go back and spend more time close to the water, but it was a fun jaunt. The trip home was equally smooth and made perfect by some delicious gas station coffee. It was the real deal, made with a Lavazza espresso machine. They even heated my chocolate croissant. A great end to a nice trip.

In Capernaum.

Thomas getting fancy with filters.

There you have it! Second time in Israel, a success. Now to plan to see Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho, Tel Aviv, Haifa....