Rock on!

Dome of the Rock

John and I were very lucky to go on a tour inside the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Muslim quarter of the Old City, something that most non-Muslims don’t get to do. They are both very ornate and beautiful. After the tour, we walked through the Old City with a couple of friends and stopped to have lunch at a well-known little diner – we were squeezed into one of the four tables in the tiny space, and really enjoyed our hummus and pita bread. Click to see more photos.

On the way back from Tel Aviv, we stopped in Abu Ghosh for lunch at Rama’s Kitchen, a place that our Jerusalem friends rave about. It was delicious and a very pleasant environment. It’s basically an outdoor restaurant out in the country on a hilltop with a gravel floor, winterized with space heaters and temporary walls. Neighborhood dogs mingled with guests’ dogs under the table, and yummy dishes were scooped out of the open oven.

On Wednesday, the American Citizen Services group took a road trip to Bet Shemesh for a passport outreach. There’s a large American community there (almost 5000 people), and they were so happy for us to be there. It was a good trip and nice to get out of the office.

While we were on the road, the Embassy held its semi-annual awards ceremony, and I am happy to report that John got a Meritorious Honor Award for his outstanding work as the Ambassador’s staff aide! I was especially proud because he has only been in that role for five months, and already has improved the constant and complicated workflow of information for the Ambassador. Good job! We went out to dinner to celebrate.

Thursday night we went to the Ambassador’s holiday party at the Residence – John and I volunteered to tend bar again this year. The house was brimming with people; when we arrived, there were kids running all over the place, then the party transitioned into an adult’s cocktail party after the kids went to bed. The Ambassador and his family do an excellent job of making folks feel very welcome in their home, and this party was no exception.

This week has been a lot of fun because we have been helping to cat sit our neighbor’s kitten. She  is so cute and playful, and just makes us laugh with her tumbling and running. I’ve been bringing her to our house in the evenings and on the weekends – she is just a hoot. (Flavia is not so thrilled and appears to be intimidated by her – she pretty much runs to hide when she sees the kitten.) Here she is in a quieter moment:

Tikka in a quiet moment





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