It was a quiet night in Tel Aviv which came as a nice relief after hearing the sirens that evening. My story left off at Stephane's house where we went over exactly what to do in case a rocket attacked happened during the night. Luckily our sleep was uninterrupted and we woke up to discover that Israel intensified her air strikes on Gaza during the night. The morning passed without any interruption. While Stephane's little brother was at school we were home watching the news to keep informed on what was happening. Let me tell you, watching the news in a language that is not your own is not the easiest, but I followed easily enough. The situation in the south is deteriorating by the minute, it seems, which is very scary because all of Stephane's family is in the South; I can't even imagine how worried his mother must be.
Morning turned into afternoon without any sirens leaving us with the hope that it would be a quiet day free of attacks on Tel Aviv. At around 1pm I decided that I should get ready to go home because I had planned to cook a big, fancy, romantic Shabbat/Birthday dinner for Stephane, and I wanted to give myself enough time to get everything prepared. I'm not the most experienced chef in the world so I need to factor in at least an extra hour to make up for any mistakes that might occur :-). At around 1 or so Stephane's mom returned home from picking up his little brother (who is really one of my favorites) from school, and before I left I was obliged to play a little football with the boys. I feel like I have become an integral part of play time at the Fitoussi residence when Michael is home :-) It was a beautiful day outside and it was a pleasure that I could stay a little longer to be with the boys, until it sounded... about 5 minutes after we started playing the air raid sirens went off. Stephane's little brother was running to get the football and I just remember Stephane yelling at him to run back to us, I thought to go get the ball so that he wouldn't try and go back for it, realized the ball will be fine and we all made our way back inside and straight into the stairwell. We decided it would be safer to go down into the parking garage and hide under the stairs there because we would be protected should anything fall. My heart was pounding so fast and I was mainly concerned for Michael because he is so little and seemed to be scared. The first thing he said was "why every time I want to play the bombs come?" (or something along those lines). I felt so heartbroken. What 10 year old should have to worry about things like this? But this has become our reality these last few days and the most important thing was to stay safe. Afterwards I discovered that a rocket had hit in Tel Aviv, and Hamas had the gall to fire at one of the holiest cities in the world; a city that is sacred for all three of the major monotheistic religions which includes their holy Islam... For the first time EVER a rocket was fired at Jerusalem thus showing that these people, these fanatic Islamists, hold nothing sacred or holy. In my opinion war was declared the second they fired on Jerusalem.
After about 10 minutes in the stairwell we felt it was safe to come out. I decided I should head home immediately or I might never make it back. I said goodbye to the boys and prayed the sirens wouldn't go off while I was en route home. Thankfully I made it back with no problems and set off on my task of preparing a big meal for Stephane. It really is a testament to how much I like him that I cook for him! I don't even cook for myself most times, and I consider a fancy sandwich to be gourmet! Steph's two favorite foods are salmon and spinach (random but healthy) so I decided to combine the two and do something special. Now, I am not a fish eater at all and I've only had salmon 2 other times in my life, so I crossed my fingers and hoped this would work. I found a great recipe for a lemon pepper salmon with a light cream sauce, thought it looked really tasty, did my shopping, and set to work. The food was easy enough to prepare, I didn't burn anything down, and managed to cook a healthy, tasty meal for a very special person! Accompanying the salmon was a spinach salad with lemon vinegarette, cranberries, and walnuts. It was quite delicious :-) I wanted some privacy from the 4 boys I live with so I decided to make the balcony nice and pretty, set the table outside, and have a nice, private, space to eat the food. Thankfully it was a beautiful night, I just prayed the sirens wouldn't go off in the middle of it!
The dinner was a success, the food was delicious, and we had a really wonderful night uninterrupted by sirens. When we woke up today we decided it was a perfect Shabbat to be lazy so we bought some food from one of the corner markets open on Saturdays, and spent the day watching movies. It was a perfect Saturday until the sirens sounded again at around 4:30. Luckily there is a bomb shelter in my apartment so we made our way to the room immediately. I was just about to take a shower so the timing was not ideal for a siren to go off, but in that situation what can you do... Luckily I had a towel handy... This time two rockets were fired at Tel Aviv, and though one was intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome device to blow up missiles mid air, the other one hit although I don't know where. My roommate heard the explosion which we were spared from hearing since we were in a sealed bomb shelter. After that the rest of the evening was quite and as of now (10 pm) no sirens have sounded. I am hoping tonight will be another quiet night, and I can only hope and pray things don't escalate while we are all sleeping. I have alerts set on my phone to get any news updates as they happen.
Stay tuned for more posts about the situation here in Israel and in Tel Aviv.
Until we meet again, ya chaverim, pray for the safety of Israel, her citizens, and the innocent lives being affected by this tragedy <3,