Sunday, August 16, 2009

Two of My Favorite Things--the Beach and a Clean Playroom!

This past week was the one week of the summer that I had both kids home all day every day. I was originally looking forward to it because my sister and brother-in-law and their two boys were supposed to be here. But, sadly, plans changed because of my grandfather's death and my sister and her baby didn't come. My bro-in-law and nephew were here for a week (the first part of which I missed because I was in Boston), but they left early Tuesday morning. So we had to fend for ourselves for the rest of the week. We did a variety of fun activities and overall I think the kids had fun, but I know they were happy to start camp again this morning. They do much better when they have routine.
The week ended on a high note with a weekend visit from our friends M&A and their 3 boys who live up north in the beautiful Golan Heights. We met them on the beach in Herzliya on Friday afternoon for some fun in the sun. I LOOOOOVE the beach and have gotten over being annoyed by all the sand that gets tracked into the house after a trip to the beach!
Here is Big and his friend S hard at work building in the sand:

It is interesting to note how 2 kids growing up in TOTALLY different environments can be SO similar. And how 2 adults who grew up in very similar environments can be so different. S's dad, M, and I grew up together outside of Boston. We went to the same school from Kindergarten through 12th Grade and lived in the same community. He is now living out his dream on a Kibbutz in the Golan Heights and working as an archeologist. He lives with his wife and 3 boys in a temporary caravan that is more or less the size of a postage stamp. While he and his wife are both American, their kids were all born here and are much more comfortable speaking in
Hebrew than English (although they understand English perfectly). They are truly integrated into Israeli society, with the only indication of an American connection being that their kids (thanks to grandparents) are fully decked out in clothes from GapKids, Children's Place, Gymboree, Old Navy, etc.
I, on the other hand, am totally shocked that I have ended up living in Israel (whether or not it's a permanent move is irrelevant...I never thought I'd be here for any significant amount of time!) The community that we have chosen to live in has a huge Anglo population and I find it easy to maintain an American identity while still living here. It is a HUGE priority for me that my kids speak English properly and without an Israeli accent and that they learn to read and write in English as well. While they do ocassionally switch into Hebrew when talking to each other, so far both of my kids are more comfortable speaking in English.
So, Big is growing up in Israel but in a clearly "American" home. His friend, S, on the other hand, is growing up in a completly different part of Israel in a clearly "Israeli" home. But the 2 of them are 2 peas in a pod. They always have been, from a shared obsession with Thomas the Train to Hot Wheels to Transformers and Legos, they are always into the same thing at the same time! It's great because although we don't seem them often, when we do, those 2 just run off and have the best time together.
In other news...I spent hours on one of my favorite activities--organizing the playroom! Even though it only takes about 30 seconds for all my hard work to be messed up, I get tremendous satisfaction from organizing the toys and putting everything in its place. What do you think about the results?


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