|This was Gary and Stephane's birthday present to Israel! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!|
The amazing thing about living in a Jewish state is the amount of time you get off from work and school for holidays. This round of holidays consisted of Yom Hazikaron (remembrance day for Israel's fallen soldiers) followed directly by Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Israel independence day), which, by the way, is probably one of the biggest party days and nights in Israel... Think 4th of July but better :-) Tuesday night at sundown brought the beginning of the second round of "siren" holidays. The week before I experienced Yom Hashoa where the whole country sounded a siren to commemorate the 6,000,000 Jews and 11,000,000 people who died in the Holocaust, and I would experience this phenomenon twice more for Yom Hazikaron; the day we remember the brave men and women who died defending and establishing this amazing country.
Tuesday evening around 6:30 I met with my girlfriend Susanna and we walked over to Rabin Square (a large square in the center of Tel Aviv) to hear the sounding of the first commemorative siren and to see a memorial service and concert for the fallen soldiers of Israel. It felt like it took only seconds for the square to spill over with people filing in from all corners of the city, and at 8pm sharp everyone was standing in complete silence as a siren wailed out to signal 2 minutes of silence in honor of the fallen soldiers. You have never heard silence like this before; the silence of an entire country ceasing to breathe. It was just as overwhelming as the day I heard it on the streets of Tel Aviv only a week before.
Leave it to Israeli planning, but after the siren range there was a 45 minute gap until the concert and service started. As much as we wanted to stay, we had heard music before hand, seen some memorial videos they were playing, and really didn't want to wait in the cold for 45 additional minutes. It had been a long day so we decided to head to our respective homes.
|Yizkor ceremony at Rabin Square|
When I arrived back home I had time to eat some dinner before going back out for a night walk on the beach to end the somber day. I think at that point I just needed to get out of the apartment, and a nighttime beach walk with Frenchy seemed to be the perfect way to end the day. The next day I made sure I was awake to hear the siren sound one last time at 11am, met Susanna for a quick coffee afterwards, and then headed back home to get ready for Yom Ha'Atzmaut, and a rooftop party that was sure to be the event of the season!
Seeing that I live with the only boys in the world that take longer to get ready than I do, I decided not to wait for them to go to the party but instead I met with Susanna around 8pm for a quick dinner so that we could go to the party together. When we got to the apartment where the party was taking place I was blown away by the atmosphere. First of all the host is amazing and probably the best party thrower in the world, the apartment was stunning, the music was loud, there was a hot tub and an open bar, props, costumes, and a whole lot of people ready to celebrate Israel's birthday the right way! After a few minutes the boys arrived and then the fun began!
As fun as the night was the real entertainment began when my two favorite French men (one of whom I live with) decided to put on a little show in honor of Israel's 64th birthday! Leave it to these boys to know how to command the attention of a party! After seeing what they had planned I have no doubt I will be recruiting their skills for my future birthdays :-)
At around 4am I decided to call it a night and I said my goodbyes and headed home. The next day is a notorious BBQ day in Israel where everyone is out with friends and families ringing in Independence day with good food, good company, music, games, and a number of other fun activities. It was the picture perfect day for a barbeque, we had accumulated some very tasty food, took two makeshift grills to the park right behind our apartment, and it was really a perfect afternoon spent with great friends. Other than the fact that most of us were a bit hungover (what can you do) it really was the most amazing holiday.
|Me and my roommate Gary (he actually has clothes on here)|
|Relaxing with the boys!|
|Perfect day and place for a BBQ|
After the BBQ the boys went to see a movie, I took advantage of a quiet apartment, and then everyone came back home for the night. I think we were all dead from the crazy night before and really needed a quiet night at home! The next day I spent the day catching up on some school work and spent the night working on a big paper due in a few days. I'm not so productive on the weekends so I forced myself to stay in and get some work done.
The next day I was left with the apartment to myself again so Stephane (frenchy, I decided I might as well just use his name already) and I decided to experiment with some more cooking! This time we decided to try to do homemade chocolate chip cookies completely from scratch. Now, when it comes to making cookies that are already prepared I'm pretty excellent, but doing everything from scratch was a whole new story. Not only were recipes in grams and cups and American measurements that don't exist anywhere else in the world, but we didn't have measuring tools, and had to improvise with the baking soda ingredient. However, with that being said, I think we fared remarkably well! When we mixed all the ingredients and the dough actually looked like dough I was more than satisfied!
|Homemade cookie dough!!!|
Though I think I might have overestimated the sugar and butter a bit (which really isn't the worst thing ever although I thought Stephane was going to die when he saw all the butter used) we had a lot of fun making them and they turned out very good, which was evidenced by the fact that my roommates ate most of them!
|Stephane was very proud of his creation|
|He's being so domestic!|
|First batch! please disregard his little creation in the corner... Boys will be boys :-)|
After our baking extravaganza all the roommates came home and then we all went out for a nice Italian dinner to end out the holiday break! The food was absolutely delicious and it was great having a meal where we could all be together (minus Morgan who was in Italy! We missed you Mo).
|Gary and Steph waiting for their food! They look so cute and innocent here|
Lilah Tov ya asdeqa <3,