Beautiful wonderful world

Yesterday the rains soaked us, again, in all her wonders. And today, the weather Gods drenched us in blue skies, fluffy white clouds & a beautiful breeze. An absolute & surprising respite for the month of May.

Took full advantage of the fab weather and went on a treasure hunt of ‘Babies – Plant babies’. And I am not dejected. Almost every plant has sprouted and a few have surprised us. Amongst the first timers we have pomegranates, mulberries, pitangas, dates, garlic, sugarcane & even a pineapple. I am beyond happy. We wanted to plant new babies and try out birthing a few new ones. So planted ginger and turmeric and jack fruit and Indian lemons.

Now, you must understand, that although, I L-O-V-E my life here on the farm, I am still a city girl. Getting down in the earth and making my hands and nails dirty is beneath me. Or so I thought. I L-O-V-E going glug-chuck-pluck-plop-wooppee!! And then when those little buds, actually bud into flowers and fruits, what a pleasure it is, to just pluck them off and eat them then and there. Nothing beats a fresh bite. Yum….

I L-O-V-E today and if I haven’t said it before, let me say it again. I am enjoying this Social Distancing thing. I am happy!!!

The temPAPERtuous affairs

What is it about books that has me all enthralled? The feel of barks of trees in his soul? Or the sweet smells (mostly) of the forests in her bosom? The dainty walks of the alphabets all written on her skin? The warmth of his hard ‘spine’ against my fingers?

I have been given to understand (by myself), that I have, a term I have coined, called “Stationery Obsessive Compulsive All In-Order” (SOCAiO). Ah-huh. That means, I’ve had this unique condition for like ALWAYS and have just recently been proudly showing it off. It is NOT a DISorder, it is an IN-Order. And it is FUNtastic!!

Each & everytime, I walk or even glance at a bookstore or anything slightly resembling one, my heart does a topsy-turvy. My heart beats like a bell gong. My tummy moves like a juicer-grinder (now only if it kept all that chubbiness off it, with all that stimulation.. Oh well..). And all these physical changes make me feel so good. So refreshed, wonderful, excited. Like a little girl with a frilly polka dress in curls tied up in pigtails & pink ribbons, with a lollipop in her mouth & candy floss in hand, walking down a candy store for some more. Add to this a reverie, like the one we experience when we in a temple, with the feel of God all around us. It’s like the feeling of trance when I hear M. S. Subbulakshmi (I LOVE HER) or Indian classical (I LOVE IT) or the gush of a rainfall. This and much more do I feel in the magical world of books and her accompaniments.

Well, I knew I was kinda crazy about all this, when ‘CROSSWORDS’ came to town, back in Mumbai & OMG, was I mesmerized. Picture this… there is this HUMONGOUS book store, that you could just walk into, take your own bloody time to browse through while sitting on poofy chairs or fun carpets that were set up frivolously and maybe read a line or two & then, even then, if you still ain’t satisfied, you could just carry whatever books you could to the in-house CCD (Cafe Coffee Day) & browse (again) with a cuppa in hand?? Really! So, okay, I SURELY would & DID. I carried atleast 10 books & had a big, over the top, westernized sounding coffee coz it sounded so exotic, reading through lines here & there & took my time. Me-time, personified. My Fun Zone.

Then life & it’s changes got in the way & ‘Crosswords’ kind of slipped into the horizon. But my saga with books ruled me & lived through me. And then, 4 years ago, whilst sunning away in Miami, “BARNES & NOBLE” happened. And voila, just like that, ‘Crosswords’ in its western avatar, transfigured in front of me. I HAD to be IN there & surely I was. That’s one PIT stop, I don’t miss. EVAAHHH.. So while browsing through (again), chanced upon this mag called “FLOW” & OMG, I had a revelation. Their edition on “Book for Paper Lovers” (bottom left hand side in pic below) miraculously appeared in my hands & that is the very first time, I realised I had SOCAiO and that I was NOT the only one to have this naive, gullible obsession with paper in all its form. It was indeed surreal, just like the day, I found out, that my parents too make poopee. EVERYDAY. I was saved coz no, it wasn’t just me who had to freshly discard this mess from my body on a daily basis. Momee & dadee did it too. Was I relieved that day. Hey, do not judge me. I used to feel so yuck coz I thought only dirty people (like me) did it & I was a sinner, okay??

On a cleaner paper… ooppss note, I feel so much cooler now knowing that there are indeed people like me in this “such a small world” kinda story. Holding a book in my hands & turning the pages with my fingers, makes me feel so important, so gorgeous, so mysterious. Adding a pen to that mix, heightens the effect.

And then, the electronic world KINDLEd into my life… Next on.. read the saga of this medium in my life…

Shalom, Namaste, Hello, Hola…

Any foreign country you visit and by foreign I mean where the local language ain’t English, it could get a bit awkward to start with. You must agree, that it’s always a plus point to atleast be able to make an effort, to speak a few words in the local language. It is always highly recommended and appreciated as well. So, Bruchim HaBaim le Yeesrael (Broocheem Ha-baeem Le Israel)!! It means “Welcome to Israel”. Yalla Yalla (kind of “lets go” or “lets start” in Arabic actually but widely used in Hebrew as well).

Before I begin, let me start by telling you this. There are many words that have its roots in the Arabic language and vice versa. And believe me, from where I come from that happens a LOT. So don’t be surprised when that happens, coz Israel is like that. Uniquely inter-twined in everything. That means, there are a LOT of anglicised words used as well. Also, genders are pronounced, written differently, so I am going to mention the easy, gender neutral phrases or words used instead. It will be fun, nevertheless… yalla yalla…

Common words & phrases:

Hello : Shalom (Shaa-lohm)

Yes : Ken

No : Lo

OK : OK/Beh-seh-dehr

Good : Tov

Bad : Lo Tov

Good morning : Boh-kehr Tov

Good evening : Eh-rev Tov

Good night : Laila Tov

How are you : Muh-neesh-maah 

How much : Kaa-maah

Where : Eh-foh

Why : Lah-mah

When : Muh-taay

What : Maah

Money : Keh-sef

Petrol : Petrol / Gaaz

Toilet : Shey-roo-teem

What is your name : Maah shem

My name is : Shem shey-lee (‘sheli’ means mine, ‘shem’ is name )

Where are you from : Mee Eh-foh Atah/Aht (Atah : male, Aht: Female)

I am from : Anee Mee ….. (country)

Hotel : Muh-lohn

Taxi : Taxi / Mooh-neet

Bus : Boos / Auto-boos

Train : Ruh-keh-veht

Restaurant : Mees-aah-daah

Water : Maa-eem

Coffee : Kuh-fey

Tea : Tey

Hot : Khaam

Cold : Kaar

Sugar : Soo-kahr

Milk : Kha-laav

Fish : Daag

Meat : Buh-saahr

Bottle : Buhk-book

Pitcher (water, lemonade) : Kuhn-kahn

Lemonade : Lee-moh-naa-dah

With these many words added to your vocab you are more than ready to go. You will surely do great and in case you get stuck, smile and speak in English. Always works. Ha ha ha.

Also, you will find some useful information on this site “Israel-Land of Creation“. Give it a glance before you come visit. And yes absolutely, you can always write or call us for the REAL info. See you soon.

Tiyul (tee-yool) Trips

View of the Haifa Bay from the top of the Bahai Gardens

Israel, as you may be amazed to see, is an absolutely gorgeous, breathtaking country and her towns can and do give a run to all the other major cities around the world. Talking of which, do you know that Israel is 473 times smaller than the USA, 158 times smaller than India and 55 times smaller than Colombia? And yet, a 7 day trip to here is very short.

There is so much to do and see and then there is always this place around the bend that is a must-visit for its food or for its taste of ancient history. We sincerely believe that no matter where you go, there are some places that must be visited to break all the bonded shackles of belief, that we have held onto after reading some lore of fantasy or of what once was. Coz, these places will surely jolt you back to real time and what better way to start it all of, than from the city of Tel-Aviv (it means ‘Ancient Hill of Spring’).

This city will make you gawk. No, no…just like India doesn’t have snake charmers everywhere (*ok ok, we do in some places but you get the drift right?*), we dont have camels on the roads here (please refer to the above *-*). This city will put the other so called cities to shame. She is cool and sexy and in your face and yet demure and charming. The financial and technological centre of the country (& the world in many cases, sshhh), she was founded in 1909 as a modern housing estate on the outskirts of the ancient port city Jaffa (Yafo in Hebrew).

And then there is always and has to be, Jerusalem. Oh, Jerusalem. No doubt, people want her as their own. She is such an ethereal, complex, magnetic, divine lady. She stands there in all her splendidness and allure, that does not fail to tempt you. She does not disappoint. There is an underlying buzz around her, a hum that draws you over. You cannot, not feel it or want it. She was always our capital and that took the US of A and her President to scream it louder to the world what always was. (Ppsstt..do you know that people always mistake Mumbai to be the capital of India instead of New Delhi?).

You will be astonished to realise, that no matter where you go to in Israel, you will see both the old and new, ancient and modern, residing and blending together in harmony. There is no confusion, no conflict. Just profound colours in all its divine flagrancy. And you cannot, not be tinted by her.

These are just 2 cities. Can you believe how many more there are in between and around these 2 cities itself? And then, there is always that well deserved soak you must take in the hot water springs in Hamat Gader or float in the Dead Sea or shop tax free in our very own favourite getaway (and tourists alike) at Eilat.

Did you know the the Dead Sea (‘Yam Ha-mey-lakh’ in Hebrew) is the lowest point on Earth? And that it is so called, as no fish can survive in its waters due to its high salinity. However, due to its uniqueness, the Dead Sea is known worldwide for its renowned health and healing properties and you can float in it without drowning. Yes, you can glide to the other side to Jordan if you want to, but try not to ok.

So, Tiberias, is less than 25 mins from us. She is an absolutely beautiful town and is known for The Sea of Galilee or as we call it – the Kinneret. Did you know, that it is called Kinneret in Hebrew, as it is shaped like a kinnor, meaning a harp? And that, it boasts to be the lowest fresh water lake in the world? Our only source of drinking water, Israel is now desalinating its sea water to provide water to its millions. Cool eh? Tiberias also has the oh so amazing hot water springs and is a treat anytime of the year.

And then there is Nazareth. Another beautiful town, she holds a dozen & more beautiful Christian & Muslim sites and is a must visit.

I can go on and on, but let’s get back to basics, back to where we will all meet and why all this is being created – Our Wedding.. Yyiippeee yyeeaaa. So, we live on a ‘MOSHAV. Its like a village. Its vastly an agricultural community with a large degree of economic autonomy. That means, compared to a KIBBUTZ, which is primarily based on the socialist ideology, where almost everything from property, production & labour is shared, we can decide for ourselves what we would like to buy for ourselves, or the type of house structure we would want, etc., keeping in mind the aesthetics of the moshav.

Our beautiful moshav is located in the Lower Galilee region of Israel and surrounded by mountains, rolling hills, green farms (can you believe that we are in a desert?) and even a stream that pushes through 12 months a year. The road to the moshav, as soon as you turn off the main road, is absolutely gorgeous. It’s such a stress buster and you can never get enough of this gorgeous winding road.

Oh and the farm… our home. The front of the house faces this flamboyant, grand Gulmohar tree. They are commonly known as the ‘Flame/Fire Tree” because of their red flowers. However, our tree, flowers luminous bright yellow blooms and so we call it our “SunShine Tree”. On the other side of the house, towers the majestic Mount Tabor, all regal in his splendour, whilst he pulls the sun in its arms at every dusk. Every sunrise and sunset, you will witness God’s paintings in all its glory and all its wonder. It’s all so unreal. We grow all sorts of trees from plantains, papaya, mustard seeds, lemon, hibiscus, jamun (an Indian fruit), herbs, etc. Our neighbours have horses, sheep, goats, turkeys, ducks, amongst others. It’s an absolutely fun place to be. Living here, is like being on a motivational, meditational, colourful vacation each day. Fun times….Few more awesome places around us….

There are so many fascinating places to go visit in such a tiny country, it is unbelievable. We live close to the Jesus trail, bang on the Israel National Trail, opposite to Mount Tavor, close to Tiberias and Mount ArbelZipporiNazareth and Megiddo (Valley of the Armegeddon) amongst other exciting places. We are just so very lucky to be able to live & love in such a magical place. We surely are blessed.

Bed, bath & beyond

So, this post was about giving a helping hand for our family & friends who would be visiting Israel with regards to their stay. We really wished that we could have let everyone stay with us on our farm. We would have surely enjoyed it. However, due to all the usual ‘balagan’ (buh-laa-gaan) ‘mess’ of building a house, we spent 2 years getting it done & we couldn’t. (We did suggest that they were most welcome to tent it up on the farm, if they were up to it…). So, here is that post…

Hey guys, now that you have decided to come visit and make our wedding more fun, let us try and help you with some ideas of places you can stay around us. (We would have loved to set up tents for all of you to stay with us here on the farm, however, we still setting it all up. A great idea though for another time, eh?).

We live in “Kfar Kish” a moshav near Mount Tabor which is close to Nazareth, Tiberias amongst other places. Ppsstt… Israel is but such a tiny little place, you can travel from the northernmost tip to the southernmost in almost 5 hours (not including the occasional traffic jam). Also, remember, that if you see a ‘word’ that is in BOLD and italics (for eg: the word “AIRBnB” below), have added a link for more info. So, be sure to check them out.

I LOVE the site ‘AIRBnB‘. If you haven’t tried this, well its time. Its an awesome way to save or splurge on a place to live while you vacation. They aren’t hotels but usually investment homes that people rent out to vacationers.

I did this on my recent trip to Goa, India with my family and OMG I was floored. As a first timer, I went with someone who had great reviews and the pictures looked fantastic. We were impressed and loved the experience. (Pppsstt… its a great idea to stick with someone termed as “SuperHost”. They have been rated and people have shared their positive experiences about the hosts & their rentals. However, there are quite a few that have not reached that level and yet have fantastic reviews and you can choose them too just like I did).

You can also try other sites ‘TripAdvisor‘ and ‘Booking.com‘. ‘Tourist Israel‘ is a great site to check out places to visit, events, hotels, etc.

You can also check in at the hotel “Pearl of the Valley“, which is very close to our moshav (just off the main road) if you intend to stay for a short period (5 days, 4 nights).

Remember, Israel is exceptionally ‘UNIQUE’. Before you book, check reviews, check the map on the site and if still in doubt, contact us. It’s very important to us, that you on the THIS side of Jerusalem and not on the side that they say it is. Oh well….we did say Israel is ‘UNIQUE’.

I have mentioned a few listings below, basis a 8 days, 7 nights stay for 2 adults & 2 kids. Found these awesome places all on AirBnB. A few are splurges and a few awesome savings. You can always change number of days, people, etc. to suit your needs.

At Poria (20 mins away), we found these 2 extremely awesome rentals held by one individual. One is a splurge and the other a save. Check them out.

Found another splurge and double saves (Inspiration HouseHome away from home) at Kibbutz Beit Keshet 14 mins from us.

Found some gems on our own moshav as well. Splurge and save.

And if you feel like living in a chalet in Israel, why not? You can rent a chalet here less than 20 mins from us.

We hope for you to have fun at our wedding, our home, our country. You will love our very own Invincible Israel. Remember, Israel, is literally in the middle of everything. After all, life as we know it began here, they say. Close to all continents, maybe you can extend your vacation and go trip on to Europe or Asia for that matter. Yyiippee..