It is hard to admit, but Israel is starting to feel like home. Timothy and I are now in a nice routine and the city is becoming more and more familiar. We have also started taking Hebrew classes. We are currently studying the alef-bet. We are learning to write in both print and “cursive”, and read! Hebrew, while phonetic, doesn’t really have vowels. This makes reading difficult, but not impossible. There are “vowel indicators” that help us to figure out words. While at a restaurant, I was able to read several items on the menu. I many not know what I am reading, but HEY! it’s a start. 🙂

Last weekend, April 5, we went to Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery and Cable Cars with our new friends the Hofmann’s from Wisconsin (We met before Pesach (Passover) at a falafel stand. The crazy part of the story is Mrs. Hofmann is a Potsdam graduate! Small world). Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery is a beautiful monastery, here in Haifa. “The Carmelites are a Catholic order that originated in the late 12th century when a band of Crusaders, inspired by the prophet Elijah, opted for a hermetic life on the western slopes of Mt Carmel (hence the name).” (Lonely Planet)  While we were there, we rode the cable cars and had a wonderful view of the Mediterranean and the Carmel Mountain side.  We also visited Elijah’s Cave. Then we had lunch on the beach and later we played a game at our apartment. We had such a nice time with the Hofmanns.

Today, Timothy and I went to Nesher Park (Eagle Park), with our neighbor Shira. Nesher Park is near our home, about a 10 minute car ride, and has several nice hiking trails that lead to 2 suspension bridges. It is a city park, so it was very crowded, but we still had fun. Plus there were so many beautiful wild flowers!

This week we are celebrating two holidays, here in Israel. Sunday evening starts Memorial Day, followed by Independence Day. So far we do not have any plans, but hopefully we will catch some fireworks!