We’re all pretty much settled in in Akko right now! Our house is still being renovated, but our landlord, Nizar, is a wonderful man and is working very hard to get everything organized. Below are some photos of what is already finished. I’m leaving out images of our balcony since everything is scattered out there to clear space for us. Here are a few images:
|We have fish!|
|Our den mother, Ella, hung up some herbs from her garden for us!|
|The hill on the other side of the bay is the city of Haifa!|
|Fully stocked kitchen!|
|So much character|
|The sculpture shop below us.|
|This view will never get old.|
|The ruins of the Templar castle on the port.|
|The girls' bathroom! We also have a washing machine!|
|My room that I share with Yvonne, from Ireland!|
|Whenever Nizar finds something nice to hang up, he does.|
After a week of introductions to all the important people of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, the Old Akko Development Company, the Italian Embassy, and a slew of other people, we went up to visit the northern border with Lebanon! This was my third trip up to the boarder, but my first time down to the sea caves!
They had a kitschy video about the legend of a woman who was going from the Akko area up towards Beirut somewhere who was forced to marry a man against her will. When she reached this area with the sea caves, she jumped from her horse and threw herself into the sea and was never seen again. The video went on to play the sounds of a woman softly singing while showing images of the waves caressing the rocks and filling the sea caves. Haha. The sites were amazing, though. There was flint imbedded in the rock, and the rock itself was a gorgeous, pure white sandstone.
|View from the border, looking south along the Mediterranean coast.|
|The shortest and steepest cable car in the world, apparently. It was scary...|
|Caves, so pretty...|
|Here are two of our program leaders: Alison (left) and Ornit (right)|
|Fossils and flint!|
|Man, I forget what these little guys are called, but they're like groundhogs but are actually distantly related to elephants. Bizarre...|
|These are a protected winter flower in Israel. At one point there were rarely seen but now they're everywhere! So pretty...|
We had Shabbat dinner with some local families Friday night and it was so amazing! The families were so warm and welcoming and willing to do anything for us. They of course invited us to come any time. The specific family I went to visit had three children and the eldest was married and had three children of her own. She had all boys and they all got wonderful noisy presents for Purim! Haha.
Sunday is Purim, a unique celebration in Judaism. It’s kind of like Halloween. The people read the scroll of Esther and participate in the “blotting out” of the name of Haman, the Persian king’s right-hand man who wanted to exterminate the Jews, but Esther stops him. They do this with noisemakers and they dress up in costumes, probably traditionally as the opposite gender, to show that outcomes can be the opposite of what you expect, just like in the story of Esther. We’re going to a secular Purim Party Sunday night and I am so excited! It’ll be fun!
Monday is the start of our classes and workshops and I absolutely cannot wait! All our introductions got me so excited to get started, and especially to start getting involved with the community. So many changes have happened to this city only in the past 5-9 years to rebuild it and get the community involved in the history of where they live. The city is just too amazing to put into words, but I hope to share with you all what I learn and the experiences that are to come!
Also, it may seem like I am posting a lot, but please don't expect this many! Once I get used to a schedule, I think I will pick specific days to post about the week.