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Posted on Jun 10, 2017

The Undertones of Change- Spring in Northern Israel

The Undertones of Change- Spring in Northern Israel

So much has transpired since we’ve last met… so much that it’s odd to try to encapsulate it. The shortest version would go something like: almost normal, blessed, family life with three teenagers. The longer version would kinda hinge on an insane juxtapositioning of words like: remarkable, unbelievable children and parental worry that we’re helping them reach their best versions of themselves; new flowers in the garden, organic winter veggies thriving, and I got an orchid!; self-induced social isolation (inward depth and introspection) and new international friends; teaching groups bringing me inspirational joy, new projects, new traditions, exercise and family togetherness; cuddly cats and reading in bed; financially living off of miracles and inspiration and doing things we’re excited and passionate about that leave us available to both be active and there in our kids’ lives and [more or less] it almost seems to work; growing, learning, loving, laughing, falling, learning that much more, and so grateful for the entire beautiful mess of our lives….

Do come inside.

Aleph

Though I was unenthused by the bumpy start, I’m now fully absorbing the nuances and frequencies of Paulo Coelho’s latest 2011 novel, Aleph. I last re-read The Alchemist when in Erika’s house in Riga, Latvia [link to our videos] and each time anew reading in general and spiritually-related books in specific bring me a deep quiet. Quiet because life pieces slide together and patch-quilt synchronicities fall from bruised chaos into some magical, spiritual order and I suddenly get why I had to go through this disappointment, this relationship, this tragedy, all of these this’s that bring me closer to my own cleaner, wiser self. It’s a slowly spiraling, logical calm that floats into my dreams and into my daily interactions. It leaves a glowing footprint of subtle signs that illuminate for me truths that help me know that it’s all absolutely, really meant to be and that everything is OK, and so it was always, and it will be. I just require constant reminders. 🙂

[I discovered Aleph during our last Tel Aviv vacation in that airbnb that wasn’t so hot, but the rest of it, including my birthday surprise, was.]

Stars of the Darkest Night 

So I’ve been having the wildest dreams lately, and I’m remembering tons of the details, which leave me breathless and contemplative most mornings. It’s as if my dreams have shifted from what they have always been into passage into deeper truths and other worlds that I’m privy enough to visit. One in particular that really stuck with me had Kobi, Dahnya, and I in an apartment in which I had just heard about a boy from many decades ago who was declared dead when he fell into some tunnel/hole/natural crevice on a trip. I suddenly knew that he was not dead and was still there waiting for someone to come and get him out of the hole. He came out of the hole/through the wall of our living room and I was consumed by how unfair this death was. Suddenly yet slowly, the entire apartment was filled with people from decades past whose lives or whose deaths were unfair and I could not accept the cruelty of this injustice. I walked around the apartment seeing faces of people who I knew from the store, someone’s someone’s mother, the neighborhood at the end of the next street, or knew not at all and as I walked around the apartment I saw that all of the technology was gone.

Gone.

[photo credit: dial-up phone]

No internet, no TV, no computer, the phone was the dial-tone type, and we had greenish wallpaper from my youth/grandparent’s kitchen. And suddenly all the walls and the ceiling was gone and in their place there was a deep darkness like the ceiling and walls were made of air of the darkest night and throughout them millions of stars.

I then I looked up and saw that near the old kitchen table was my departed grandmother. But she was a young girl in a young girl’s body and her face grew old and wrinkled, deformed, but her body stayed young. She reached her hand out to me and I realized that I cannot and am not meant to help her, nor the others… that it is wrong. Deformed. That they had their lives and their time and their deaths and that even the injustices were meant to be for that is what they were, and that they needed to go through that and to die so that life could carry on. And that that everything had an order and a reason and it was right.

And then I realized that it was the walls and ceiling that were vibrating those insights to me. It all came together that all of our technology is killing our connection to ourselves and each other and to the real meaning of life and that it is the stars that give us all of the intelligence and all of the energy in the Universe. And that only by being still with them can we absorb the intelligence and the energy of life and it touched me deeply.

As if I got a glimpse into something so spiritual, so basic, so true, and so ready for me to absorb.

And it coincides with other things like Solai yelling at me that I’ve become so addicted to my cell phone that I don’t even see it anymore and me being so hurt by her false accusation, mainly because it stung so much.

[photo credit: cell phone addiction]

Since then, I’ve quite dramatically killed my relationship with my phone, taking it back to functional and nothing more. I guess I replaced my Facebook addiction with a new What’s-Up-and-whatever-else-I-find-to-escape-to-so-that-outer-voices-can-justify-that-I’m-alright addiction. I now sit out with the stars each night. One night I even had Orazi and Solai join me, and then I whispered until I went to sleep, allowing what the stars gave to to caress all of me and lull me into sleep.

I Want Me to Know Me

That’s what I want. My husband, my children, those I work with, my cats, those I choose to let into my life, and first and foremost, me, me, me, me to know myself and honor and love and forgive and accept and be still with myself. This leads us to the social isolation of sorts.

I see people whom I work with in groups, in the non-profit I freelance for, and these amazing parents fill me with purpose and determination and inspiration… I could write books about what we’ve been through, how remarkable these people are….. books and books…. and you would cry and laugh and learn with us as we overcome what life throws in our faces with courage and love and joy….

I speak with amazing people during phone therapy calls; the handful of friends in my life, and my family members and I’m enjoying focusing on my three big stones in my life: HEALTH, FAMILY, INCOME and learning to abate my ADHD overwhelm that gets me confused and off and running into my own self-inflicted dramas.

I chose to close off from the outside world because that avoidance keeps the overwhelm and the desire for external praise from taking over. I actually visited Facebook again this week and deeply cherish my decision to exit that stage. With all the friendships I do value and miss from there, I missed me even more. Those whom I love know it and know how to find me (gabiklaf@gmail.com in case you missed it).

[photo credit: The Great Olivier!]

I’m finding me, my own intelligence, my own magic, my own observance and investment into what I value dearest. It’s lovely, sometimes depressing, sometimes beautiful, sometimes unnerving, but always fascinating and inspirational.

Todayish

So I’m writing this a few weeks later and well… as usual, our lives are changing a bit.  I’ve told you numerous times how much we enjoy growing lettuce and having cats and being home-bodies with a glorious garden that brings us endless joy.

With that safety and comfort (and perhaps over-correction) of not-being-nomadic; we’re doing a few things that are shaking up our world and making us move.

Sooooo….. we’ve become a bit social again. (I know!)

[Photo credit: Olivier Rosenthal]

We’ve fallen in love with a family of French new immigrants and a few other potential new friends. They are intriguing, funny, fun, loud friends we met from the kids’ ice hockey league and we’re enjoying this new dimension of laughter and sharing in our lives. We’re also out of the house a lot on account of our home being rented as a vacation spot in Northern Israel, so that’s forcing us (in a good way) to get out and explore more.

Which leads us to another fun thing we’re doing… which is exploring Israel and seeing all of these lovely sides of fun that I think the locals usually skip. We’re done a few sponsored and unsponsored escape rooms, a chocolate factory, and a bit of outdoor exploring worth visiting when you come to The Holy Land.

Exploring the Fun Stuff that Israel has to Offer

Here are some fun sponsored things we’ve done lately….

So, it had been a while since Teenage Turmoil and our Tel Aviv Vacation and we had sincerely missed the joys of fun, speciality things and those escape rooms in Tel Aviv…. thus…. we checked out some fun stuff and three new escape rooms in Israel:

Galil Zone Escape Room

Our kids go to school in Kibbutz Amir. It’s where we founded that lovely homeschooling school in 2009 [it’s a youtube video in Hebrew but you can see the magic of it all!]and where they’ve graduated on to the middle and high school. Kobi and I used to walk there most mornings after we dropped the kids off. I volunteered there tons. It was our second home for a good, long while. Sooooo….. when we heard there was an escape room there and they offered us a little discount on account of The Nomadic Family’s only son celebrating his birthday there with his cousins…. we went.

A bit after you enter the kibbutz, right across from this gorgeous mural….

At the entrance, we met this sweet dog with one brown eye and one blue; inside, this sweet couple babysitting the escape room while the owners were off traveling the globe.

Because we were nine people in total, we split into two groups. The debriefing of group 2…

Group 1 waiting and watching group 2 play. They even let us give them clues and push a few buttons when the appropriate effects were needed.

[Note blurry but cute girl in background window. She’s Israeli, he’s French. I love good international love stories!]

Group 2 finishing up:

So all of the pics reflect group two, but note please that it is group one (including the birthday boy Orazi, his brilliant cousin Eitan, his perfect mother, and his genius cousin Adrianna) that broke the record and finished this awesome escape room in 33 minutes. Here are our thoughts right after exiting the room itself:

Galil Zone’s website is all in Hebrew but there’s a number on the bottom and they speak perfect English.

Shulman Chocolate Museum 

So, turns out we know the Shulman’s and it’s a lovely story. Dahnya joined ice hockey again and it turned out to be this life-passion, life-saver that took her out of middle school hell into loving and knowing herself, into excelling into greatness. So we were at a game and each parent is screaming out the name of his or her kid, naturally, and the names of other kids they may know. I knew my kid and one other so those were the names I was cheering on.

Fast forward… Dahnya has the puck and is advancing on the ice and a woman’s voice behind me screams, “Go, Dahnya, go!” I turn around, surprised, and see the kindest love in the eyes of the woman behind me. Words without speaking of appreciation and love.

Fast forward to a couple of months later…. We’re in the Shulman Chocolate Museum and I’m interviewing the owner and manager in the video below and I see a those eyes again. This time behind the glass of the chocolate production facility. She’s making bittersweet soccer balls. It’s her. I love her. Mrs. Shulman.

Because we have three teenagers who now have lots of opinions, I’m weary to go to any tours and organized things that may bore them. So, when Sergie, the manager, suggested the chocolate workshop I wasn’t sure. Dahnya, who turns out had already been there five times on different school and camp events, starts squealing about how cool and fun it is. I’m all “Whaaaaaaaaat? You’ve been five times and you want to go again? Serious?” And she was.

So we arrive and it’s packed with people. I now understand why the Shulman Chocolate Museum is a popular spot for tourists in the North.  It gets you out of the heat, provides something fun for all ages, and is super sweet.

Even the tons of little kids there and the workshop instructor using that sing-songy voice especially reserved for young folk kids didn’t deter from our kids loving every moment. In the workshop they do this chocolate/mold/art activity and a truffle-making session that the participants get to take home. At the end, they literally pour soft chocolate all over your hands and you get to lick your way out of it. White chocolate. It’s harsh but it’s awesome.

Here’s a tiny peek….

Shulman Chocolate Museum’s website is all in Hebrew but again, there is this picture of a phone and they speak enough English to get by. Even without calling, there are workshops every hour from 10 – 2 so you could just pop over if you’re in the North.

Shulman’s and Sergie, thank you for having us. It was just lovely…. so much that we even purchased some goodies in your gift shop.

Escape Game’s KGB

Now that we’ve been to a handful of escape rooms, we have some grounds on which to make comparisons. We’re still unable to rate them and say that one is better than another one because each is really unique and is built on an intelligence authentic to itself. Still, one thing that was exceptionally unique about this escape room is that there is a confederate in the room with you while you play. This actor complicates the normal 60-minute challenge of focusing and getting your shit done cuz he’s in there being a pain in the butt and genuinely distracting you.

The debriefing….

And you know how much I love bathrooms and photographing all the weird and unique signs around the world…. Well, check it out …. So cute, and perfectly into the theme….

And after…..We had too much fun with the scary military Russian hats…

Again, you know I can’t give you any details so that I won’t spoil it for you, but know that the actor in there with you, in addition to the normal genius-ness we’re grown accustomed to seeing in escape rooms, adds a great element to the game. Juli who originally invited us from Escape Room, and all of the staff, were total dears.

 

Here too, the Escape Room KGB site is in Hebrew, but if you click the last tab on the left [contact] their email is there and you can get everything you need from the staff’s perfect English. Note how the eyes move in the opening banner. (I know!) Juli, darling, thank you for having us.

Escapeit Syrian Spy Escape Room

So this one is unreal fun too! You walk in and there is this sweet cinema/waiting room where there were tons of candies, drinks, and popcorn to snack on while we waited for our turn to beat the world record.

This time was also super special for us because Ram (Kobi’s youngest of his five siblings) and his wife Ayelet joined us. We adore them to death and everything we do with them around becomes exponentially more magical. They are the kind of people whom when you are around them, you actually feel your energetic vibrations go up.

So, Kobi stepped outside of the cinema room to ask a group of loud 12-13 year olds to settle down a bit and Ram and our kids thought it would be fun to lock him out, thus keeping him stuck in that hallway with the rowdy crowd. Little did we know that we would end up trapping ourselves in the room. We gorged on snacks until they saved us.

The Syrian Spy Escape Room itself was awesome! We laughed, struggled, put seemingly random things together and used all of our senses in a truly unique combination to get out of there in time. The manager said we did an impressively great job and that our teamwork was phenomenal. I don’t remember our time but I think we were really close to the hour mark.

It was lovely and highly recommended, especially when you have teenagers which is really harder to keep happy when you’re out in the big world trying to do things together as a family. We were happy costumers.

Staff interview with Aviv

Keren and the entire staff at Escapeit are lovely. Again, like in my previous three reviews, the Escapeit Website is all in Hebrew but if you click the left-most icon [“contact” but in Hebrew] you’ll see their email and they are perfect in English. Thank you Keren dear!

In Conclusion

Life is treating us well. Very well. We’re getting by in all sort of lovely ways, making dreams come true… one after another, but not smaller, more mild, gentler dreams like eating more from our own organic garden, renewing patches of the house and simplifying this corner and that room, getting in shape and healthier, bonding with our kids and helping them recognize how remarkable they are… the really important, but not globally-extravagant dreams that make us sleep soundly at night.

I hope you are well. Really well.

I hope that you can define your little dreams, your stones, and focus on them fully.

I hope you can go to bed at night feeling content with how you are spending your days.

I hope you are healthy.

Feel free to speak. I’m listening…….

From our backyard… with love….

Mwah,

Gabi

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