I knew this first birthday as Israelis was going to be a good one. It all started off with a good omen from the post office last week when I drew the ticket with my birth date on it:
I want to take this time to thank many of you for the birthday greetings and wishes. Most of all, I want to thank Matt for making, not just my birthday, but the whole week a special occasion. Everyday this week Matt came home with a different book in a series of Israeli guide books in Hebrew so that we could plan fun trips while also working on our Hebrew. The presents culminated with a pasta maker, (made in Italy!) which I had been coveting ever since we starting watching Master Chef. I can't wait to start making pasta! (after Passover, that is)
My birthday celebrations also included a yummy shakshuka breakfast at the cafe on our corner...
(for those who don't know what shakshuka is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakshouka )
...and an evening of roaming around and enjoying an urban architecture festival in downtown Haifa, which also included dance performances, live music, and a skate park (Matt enjoyed a little nostalgia watching the skate boarders skate to the live punk band).
All-in-all a great birthday.
Even though it was Birthday Week, the main focus of the last few days was preparing the house for Pesach/Passover. For whatever reason, we feel pretty calm about the whole cleaning and kashering this year (probably because we're not really going to be home much for the holiday). We made a schedule, have more-or-less stuck to it, found 21 shekels, 5 US cents, an earring, a lego and a pair of scissors in the cleaning process and have finished all our food shopping (thanks to a friend who graciously called to let me know she was driving to the big supermarket and invited me to come along). It definitely helps the preparation process that the whole country is also in Pesach mode. Everyone at work is making preparations to take the week off and kids are all home from school, which started a week ago and means that there have been kids of all ages wandering the streets and going with their parents to work (this became clear to me when a 10 year old boy was clearing tables at the cafe near my office). Everywhere you turn, you are reminded that Pesach is coming - from signs up on the street, special sales at the grocery store and, my favorite, the bus wishing me a happy holiday.
So Chag Pesach Kasher v'Sameach/Happy Passover,
Stef and Matt
P.S. For anyone that missed this Passover related news item from a couple weeks ago, locusts swarmed Egypt and southern Israel reminiscent of the 8th plague in the Passover story: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/locusts-invade-israel-s-negev-after-plaguing-egypt.premium-1.507240