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Israel is a beautiful, warm, and delicious place And, most importantly, it is home. You wouldn't believe how great it feels for our little Dekel crew to be back visiting (for a lengthy amount of time, I might remind you!) - spending each and every day here with mine and Noam's parents, siblings, and cousins. It's been two weeks since we got here and in just 2-3 days after landing, I already felt the NY energy fade away and the chill mood of Israel come over me.

Unlike many of the East Coasters reading this (sorry, friends!), each of our days in the Holy Land have been filled with sunshine, swimming, and appreciation for the outdoors and all of the greenery around us. Each year, at the beginning of our trip to Israel, I don't even really leave my parents' house for the first 3-4 days... just eating good food in pjs in my parents' garden 24/7 is our favorite activity. And, I can't say I missed that 1 degree weather you all had to tolerate last weekend! :p

One of my favorite parts about being back in Israel is the ridiculously tasty food. In fact, not only are the eats delicious, but they're also healthy. Mediterranean diet, for the win! We've purchased fish fresh from the port nearly every other day this week, have tasted tens of varieties of fresh-made halva (my favorite!), loaded up on the fresh hummus , and have devoured olives and greens to our hearts' contents! Since I grew up on this food, I tended to take it for granted. But, now that I'm living full-time a world away in America, I most definitely do not take it for granted when I'm back home. Especially not when it's my mother who's cooking!

(Her Labaneh is ah-mazing. I wish there was a way to successfully transport some back home!) Plus, getting to share each meal with family - taking our time to sit down and talk- well, that's most priceless of all.

While most days were so far spent in my parents' neighborhood - hanging out in their yard, cooking with my mom, really feeling like I am at home - we have also ventured out on day trips and adventures all around the country. Last week, we took a day trip to Acko and spent time pining over Arabic sweets at the outdoor Acko Market. Another day we went to Emek Hama'ayanot and took the boys to the Amal River. And, yet another of our fun day excursions involved a trip to a nearby farm. It was Ori's first time seeing cows face-to-face. He got to feed them and my was this little guy happy feeding those cows! He did get a bit frightened by their big tongues, but happy nonetheless that he got to watch them eat.

It's hard to believe that two weeks have already gone by! This means there are only two weeks left to our trip. But, hey, what's the point in thinking too much about the end of our adventures while we're still here? My goal for the remainder of my trip is to be present - soak in the sun, my family, my time off - in the most beautiful place on earth. So, yeah, I'll see you in three weeks, New York! But, not a minute sooner ;)

XX= neshikot





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