Winter Has Arrived!

The last few weeks have been so busy with teaching, trips with Bina, and many trips to Tel Aviv, so I haven’t posted in a few weeks.  But, in those weeks, Winter in Israel has officially arrived!  While it is not like the 8 inches of snow overnight Winter, like I am used to in Michigan, Winter in Israel typically means rain.  Knowing that I am living in a desert, I expected showers, or the occasional short downpour.  Boy, was I wrong!

The cool down started in November, accompanied by the occasional sprinkle.  But December 1st hit with rain I NEVER would have expected!  All day had some pretty decent downpours, and to top it off, we were traveling that evening to Tel Aviv for the weekend.  That night, we had a meeting with our pedagogical advisor, so we had packed for the weekend ahead of time, and decided to bring all of our stuff to the meeting so we could get on the first bus afterwards.  Unfortunately, as we left our apartment to get to the meeting on time, one of the biggest rainstorms I have seen in a long while decided to start, soaking not just us, but our bags as well.  This first rain also showed me that my light rain coat will not cut it this year.  Halfway through our walk, I decided to stop and buy an umbrella, as I did not have one.   We finally got to our meeting very wet and cold, and luckily none of my important things got too wet.  After the meeting, we walked in the rain to our bus stop where we then got on a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to our destination.  Of course, it was also raining in Tel Aviv.  We briefly stopped at our friend’s apartment to drop off our stuff before we ventured out to a bar where we had a reunion party from the Leadership Summit I went to a few weeks ago.  By the time we got to the bar, the streets in Tel Aviv were completely flooded, almost knee deep in some spots.  The good thing was that everyone was cold and wet, so no one really cared!  Then, of course it was still raining on my walk home, and in Israel, I have learned that rain also means wind, and quite a lot of it.  My new umbrella that I had just bought broke the same day I bought it!  Overall, while the rain was inconvenient, it was truly a blessing to Israel, as this was also right at the end of the many wildfires that plagued the country, so the amount of rain was absolutely needed.

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A picture from a taxi in Tel Aviv. Photo cred: Ben Slutzky

Since the first, there have many days with small showers, until this week.  Yesterday, the 13th, I was woken up around 3 am to the sound of thunder and another huge rainstorm.  I closed our shutter to try and keep some of the noise out and hoped that the rain would subside by the time I actually woke up for school.  Of course, I then woke up to my alarm at 6:30, with just as much rain as three hours previously.  Yesterday was also my first day working at the middle school, which is about a 15 minute walk.  So, with a not-good-enough raincoat, and no umbrella, since I haven’t had a chance to replace the first one, I trekked to school, quite thoroughly soaked by the time I arrived.  I only each for 3 hours at the middle school, so I was getting ready to leave at 11:45, when the sky decided once again to downpour.  For the walk home, the English coordinator offered me an extra umbrella of hers, but, I also decided that this was the perfect day to take a bus home.  I do not think that the rain ever actually stopped that night or into this morning.  Luckily, my teacher from the elementary school is amazingly nice and drives me to school everyday, so I did not get wet on the way to school.  The way home, though, was a different story.  My teacher had meetings all afternoon, so I walked home.  To top it off, I checked the weather this morning, which said it would stop raining by 10 am, and be fully sunny the rest of the day.  So, where else would the umbrella from the middle school teacher be, than sitting in my apartment.  Again, the amazing hospitality of Israelis helped me.  The elementary school teacher also had an extra umbrella that she offered me.  But, of course the rain was accompanied by wind.  I have never in my life had an umbrella break inwards before today.  I got back to my apartment wet and cold, yet again.

Living in Migdal HaEmek, all this rain has led to a fun game! Migdal HaEmek is located very close to Ramat David Air Force Base. My roommate and I have started trying to guess whether the sound we hear is a fighter jet or thunder.  But with all of this, I continue to remind myself daily how amazing this rain is, and how incredibly needed it is.  Israel is in a very bad drought, and always needs more rain.  But, I also have to admit, if the Winter continues like this, by mid to late January, I might just miss snow (I said might, so no holding me to anything!)

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