More of Carmel Market and the surrounding neighborhood.

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Our favorite candy stand at Carmel Market in Tel Aviv. The gummies are amazing.

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This Tuesday was Israel’s 59th Independence Day. They have had several observance days as they recently had the Holocaust Remembrance Day, and also Memorial Day. They have sounded the sirens several times for moments of silence (ironic, as the sirens are loud). Colin and I were out the other day on a walk when the sirens went off. I was very impressed by the show of patriotism. I knew everyone stopped for the sirens, but everyone driving stopped and got out of their cars, and everyone on the bus close to us stood up. I cannot imagine one of our large cities stopping like this. The sirens make such an eerie sound. The opera had informed Brian there would be several rounds of sirens and not to be alarmed. I probably would have been unsettled if I had not know what was going on.

To celebrate the Independence Day, we watched the closing mega-mix to some Israeli celebration spectacular on TV. We did not know what they were saying, but we assume it had something to do about the holiday. And we listened to distant fireworks from our apartment.

It has been nice because physically we do not stand out too much in Tel Aviv. (Most of my travels have involved more than 2 and a half years in Latin America, where I stand out terribly.) People keep asking Brian for directions in Hebrew and I was approached in Hebrew by some reporter on the street doing street interviews. When I said “English” we just smiled at each other and I kept walking. I have been asked if I am British and Swedish, but no one seems to assume American. I was asked for the first time if I was Jewish today and I felt so bad to say I am not. The man was very nice all the same and gave Colin a balloon. I see a lot of the same people on the street when I am out with Colin. I have talked to an older lady a couple of times, and when we ran into her in a very different part of the city, Brian was very surprised to hear her call our baby by his name. Colin is giving lots of kisses these days, loves to sit the wrong way in his stroller, and enjoys playing with the produce we get at the market. We love Israeli produce. It is cheap and very flavorful. The bell peppers are sweeter than any we have ever tasted, and great avocados at around 4 for a dollar.

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Beach Baby

Colin loves the beach. It was a little windy when we took him yesterday. It looks a little funny for him to have his jacket on with his little swimmer diaper, but I do not think Colin minded a bit.

Hummus, etc

Lucky for us, Colin is a baby who does not mind his diet to be based on garbanzo beans. He does really well eating hummus and takes bites of our falafel. We also got him some of his other favorites foods: black beans, soy beans, and yogurt. He is a bean-based boy. Brian and I are also enjoying some new foods, although we mainly just get food to go that fits in a pita and we usually only do this one meal a day. We live down the street from a great gelato place, and it is hard to not want gelato dinner.

I was embarrassed the other day because at most of the little kiosks we walk by, they have this round, donut-shaped bread for sale on poles. I thought to myself “what would that bagel-like bread be?” And as soon as I thought it, I realized it is bagels, real bagels. The American bagels threw me off. We have had some very excellent breads, mainly pitas. They put what we call pitas at home to much shame.

We went back to the large market in Tel Aviv yesterday afternoon and it was crazy because we went a couple hours before sundown on the beginning of the Sabbath. It was like shopping on Christmas Eve. I think the market is closed on Saturday, even though a lot of the vendors are non-Jewish. Rotten and bruised fruit that was being discarded kept getting caught in Colin’s stroller wheels and a couple times I got the gross water from cleaning that was on the street in my sandals. But we did find some great strawberries and some very delicious gummy candies. Anyway, it was crazy.
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We walked along the sea to Jaffa yesterday. We have this great new lifestyle where we walk where we need to go. It was quite a warm day but it was nice to see something different. Brian was glad because Jaffa feels much older (maybe because it is, the cedars of Lebanon arriving there for the Temple and all, and we saw some Egyptian ruins.)

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Tel Aviv

We arrived to Tel Aviv last weekend. The trip went very well, considering we were traveling with a 14 month old. He even was great with a more than two hour delay on the plane in London. Colin seems to have adjusted well to the seven hour time change, while Brian and I were up in the middle of the night for a while last night. We watched the end of Shindler’s List in the middle of the night because today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. This morning at 10am the sirens went off and everyone stopped. We are on a very busy street but everything stood still.

We are in a very comfortable little apartment that is two blocks from the beach. We have gone to watch the sunset the last three evenings. It is beautiful, and Colin loves to be outside. He loves the sand and found out quickly it is not so good for eating. There are lots of little playgrounds around and we spend a lot of time outside. We are happy to be in 70 degree weather instead of the 30’s like it was in the Midwest when we left.

We made it to Church on Saturday, since they hold meeting in accordance with local customs. We walked to the meetings, which proved to be quite an adventure. I am very happy to know there are people to help us if we need, and hopefully we can help out too. I translated Sunday School and Relief Society for some Spanish speaking sisters. My Spanish feels a bit rusty but it is fun to have an outlet. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming.
To the handful of people who understand the joke of Brian's shirt, Skipper has made it to Israel.

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We are off to Israel, so we may be difficult to contact for awhile (cell phones will be suspended while we are gone). We are reachable via email and will give more details as we have them.

Happy Easter

HAPPY EASTER from the Stuckis.

In Winston-Salem there was a huge cemetery affiliated with the old Moravian Community there. We went for a long walk through it one beautiful warm evening and Ann went just a little crazy taking pictures of the epitaphs. Here is a selection of them appropriate to the Easter Season. The "meet me in heaven" is kind of a joke, since we thought it sounded somewhat threatening (if you say it in a gravelly voice, slightly drawled). The stained glass came from someones very elaborate memorial. I guess they felt they needed a little Parthenon-like structure to spend the afterlife in. It was pretty impressive to see some of the dates on the stones, especially since America is such a baby country. The oldest one was dated 1775. --Brian

I loved seeing the words of hope and faith on the epitaphs, especially with our family's recent loss of Kirsten. Faith in Christ and the hope of resurrection are the only ways to find comfort with such a tragedy. --Ann

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