Archive for June, 2011

Good times

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Katie, Howie, Petite, Mike at Herbert Samuel's

This was a pretty busy week for us, starting with volunteer work last Sunday night at a home for teenagers who are estranged from their families. The New Professional Association goes there about once a month to cook a meal for the kids – we had a lot of fun chopping vegetables for a big stir-fry and chatting with our co-workers and some of the kids. It’s a big old house with lots of common living areas, then separate sleeping sections for the boys and girls.

Monday night, we were at the Deputy Chief of Mission’s house for a going away party for our Consul General. It was a nice night to be out in the backyard enjoying the evening.

Next week I am transferring to the American Citizen Services section, and to get my feet wet, I joined a small group who went to Safed in northern Israel for a passport outreach. There are a lot of Americans in that area. We were in an educational center in the old city – very pretty with cobblestone alleys and lots of art galleries, jewelry shops, etc. – unfortunately we didn’t have time for much sightseeing. The area is beautiful – high altitude with gorgeous views. Click here for more photos from Safed.

We got off work a little early on Friday, and a big group of us went for happy hour across the street from the beach. John and I came home and got caught up on some episodes of Mad Men after that.

Yesterday I went to the office to get my desk cleaned off in preparation for the move. Mid-afternoon, a new girl at post, Rebecca, came to the house to visit and to have one of John’s famous lattes.

Last night, Howard, Petite, Mike and Katie brought over sangria, then we went to Herbert Samuel’s restaurant for a delicious meal overlooking the ocean.

Johnny working on a passport for an American couple

With Nadia at Safed

Summer season

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

We’ve started the summer transfer season at Post – most folks come in or out in the summer months. We’ve had two new people come into our section recently, and the head of the section will be transferring out soon. I made a run to the airport on Wednesday to pick up one of the new girls, and on Thursday night after work, several of us sat on Beth’s balcony upstairs for a little happy hour to welcome her to town.

We can also tell it’s summer here because the beach is a lot more crowded and there are more tourists on the street. And it’s starting to get hot. Since we weren’t here last year, we really don’t know how hot it will be – but folks keep saying it gets pretty uncomfortable.

Yesterday I went into the office to get some things done – seems like there’s never enough time in the day to do everything. Last night we went to a great party at Ben and Jen’s apartment – they are wonderful hosts and we had a really good time.

John’s parents, Pete and Ginger, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this week – congratulations! Wish we could have been at the party!

Fun with Ben and Brian

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Brian, Martin, Ben, Mary, John, Ramona and Liz

Our friends Ben and Brian came to visit Tel Aviv and to celebrate Gay Pride here – the biggest Pride celebration in the Middle East. We had a great time visiting with them in between the parades and parties they attended. We especially enjoyed meeting Liz and Mary at an outdoor restaurant on the beach at the Old Tel Aviv Port on Sunday afternoon – it was a mini A-100 reunion. Click to see more pictures.

We were off work on Wednesday for a Jewish holiday, and were released early on Tuesday as well. My manager had our weekly staff meeting at a nearby ice cream shop on Tuesday, which was nice. I stopped on the way home for a manicure and pedicure.

Mom’s doing better after her fall but still sore…

At the port

Getting around

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

John and Richard overlooking the Sea of Galilee

Last weekend we made an encore trip to the Golan Heights and the Galilee area with our friend Richard. We stopped for a Middle Eastern lunch at the south tip of the Sea of Galilee, then stopped at Château Golan winery for a tour. Then we headed to Vered Hagalil, our favorite cabins overlooking the lake. We enjoyed the view and had a nice dinner before setting out the next morning. Richard introduced us to a little chocolate factory, De Karina, in a village near the Syrianborder, where he had visited on his last trip to Israel. After tasting chocolate and taking a tour, we walked to Pelter Winery and sampled some of their wines. We spent the  rest of the day visiting other wineries: Galil Mountain, Dalton, and a new one for us, Adir.

We were off on Monday for Memorial Day, so we had a nice breakfast at Benedict’s, then took a walk through Neve Tzedek and the market. Tuesday we said goodbye to Richard, as he headed to Jerusalem and to Petra, in Jordan. It was great to have a visit with him! Click to see more photos from our trip.

Thursday night was book club at our house, which is always fun. This month’s book was “Deadly Embrace,” about America’s relationship with Pakistan.

Friday afternoon we had happy hour with a lot of co-workers, then John took me out for dinner for the second time this week at Whitehall.

Saturday we welcomed our friend Billy, a co-worker from Jerusalem. We walked down the beach for a nice dinner at Manta Ray, then enjoyed another Benedict’s breakfast with him this morning. After a nice stroll down picturesque Rothschild Boulevard, he headed back east.

Seems like folks in Hot Springs aren’t doing so well. I found out that Mom fell last week and got pretty banged up – luckily nothing is broken. I really appreciate the cousins keeping an eye on her while she heals up. Then I learned that Cousin Annette broke her arm – hope everyone is recovering!

Cool octopus kite flying outside our window