So Many Snow Days!

We just got news that also tomorrow is a snow day, – that will be the fourth day the children have gotten off of school because of this snow, – and that is not counting the Shabbat we had in the middle, of course! (*Good for me I have a home-office so those things don’t throw me off completely. In the end I am having other people’s kids here as well!) They say that it has been more than a hundred years since we had a snowstorm like this one!

snow in JerusalemAnd this being such a rare happening, we are just not prepared with snowplows or snow tires or anything like that. So what happens? Everything stops, – until most of the snow is cleared away from the roads, sidewalks etc. And that seems to take a while this time, as the temperatures have stayed relatively low and we have not had any rain to wash it all away.

snow in JerusalemTo tell you the truth, – we have really enjoyed these days! The snow. The joy. The excitement. The winter-fun. The coziness inside. But it is almost so that I don’t dare saying it out loud, – because this storm has brought a lot of damages to our city, and to our country.

snow in JerusalemThe worst, I think, is the thought of 60 000 homes that were without electricity for several days! Imagine that during these cold days!! Terrible. We offered to host a family we found out were in this situation, but they had found a way to heat one of the rooms in their house, and ended up staying there in the end.

snow in JerusalemIn addition A LOT of trees have fallen over, or big branches fallen off, some of them landing on cars and stuff. And there are all the floods and leaks in houses. We had a small one here too, so we are shuffling water off of our balcony regularly. But all in all, we have been very lucky, and have therefore been able to enjoy these snow-days tremendously.

snow in Bethlehem

This is actually a view towards Bethlehem from Jerusalem. Look how close it is!

I told you about our trip to the Old City on Thursday. Now, looking at those pictures, I realize, we had so much more snow on Friday. And most of all on Shabbat. And every day it just became more and more beautiful. I think the most magical moment was just as we had lit candles for Shabbat, and the snowflakes were so beautiful, light and dry swirling in the air. It was not yet evening, but also not really the light of day anymore. We were just standing mesmerized by the windows. It was soooo beautiful!

snow in JerusalemEarlier on that Friday we had fun playing in the snow.

pool equipment in the snowHere is our daughter looking like she is on her way to the pool, but she is actually just ready for a fun day in the snow!

pool equipment in the snowAnd it really worked! We made a track, and then we could go down with tubes as well.

pool equipment in the snowHaving grown up in Norway, I had all these memories and associations coming at me as I watched my kids running up the hill as fast as they could only to slide down it even faster. I am so happy for them that they got to experience the fun of this!

pool equipment in the snow

It was nice to have abba with us in the snow now. On Thursday he was in school in the Tel Aviv area, and I am so glad he made it back home in time before the huge chaos that was on the roads that evening. (People had to leave their cars right there in the middle of the road, and about 2000 people were evacuated after sitting there for hours!)

pool equipment in the snow

Oh, and as you can see from the pictures, we have totally mastered the plastic-bag inside boot trick. It doesn’t matter if you are wearing waterproof boots, snow makes its way in anyway, and this way your socks stay dry for longer at least. 🙂

snow in JerusalemOh, how we love the snow! And I so enjoy looking at the white views!

snow in JerusalemThe kids have more of a need to actually touch the snow! 🙂

snow in JerusalemThese guys have had a continuous snowball-fight for the last few days! Fun stuff!

snow in JerusalemAfter our morning snow-outing in the neighborhood on Friday, we took a break and heated up inside. Hung our wet clothes on all the radiators, got some work done, and then we were ready to head out for more snow-fun. We have an old Jeep-style type of car, so we actually are able to drive on these snowy roads, – as long as we stay far away from the roads where others got stuck and are blocking the way…

snow in JerusalemWe went for an exciting and beautiful drive to Gilo, a neighborhood even higher than ours, where there was even more snow, and a great view of our city. We had fun building our snowman there.

snow in JerusalemAnd then it was home for a cozy and warm Shabbat. On Shabbat itself we did several short walks and built an igloo in our garden. Good times!

snow in JerusalemToday the snow is starting to melt, but very, very slowly. My husband and I did a long run around our city, and I totally LOVED the views from so many different places!

running in the snowThe slippery surface definitely slowed our running pace, but it was so worth it. I enjoyed every step of the way!

Running on Jaffa road today

Running on Jaffa road today

The bridge was different today than on our other running trips! 😉

harp bridge in snow

And, – look at the Knesset in the snow!

Knesset in snowI will end with a photo that shows how the snow really is on the highest mountains only. Like, you can see how local it is! Some mountaintops have snow, but you can clearly see those that don’t have it as well!

snow in JerusalemIt has been some wonderful snow days! I have a feeling those will be referred to for decades to come! 😉

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Disappointed.

I am so disappointed, guys. I know you don’t normally hear me like this, and really, I am normally not like this, but right now I feel like the air has just left the balloon, so to speak.

There has been this great build-up. I have been so focused. It has been so exciting. I have really been looking forward to running a full marathon in Tel Aviv. I have been training for it for four full months. It has been hard at times, but I have kept my eyes on the goal, and kept going.

On one of my many, many training runs.

On one of my many, many training runs.

Then, almost two weeks ago there was the Jerusalem Marathon. I participated in the 10K race with my 9 year old son, and my husband impressed us all with an amazing time at his first full marathon. Ever since then I have felt the butterflies in my stomach, – my own first marathon is coming up…! I have been counting days, – and hours! Really, I have!

done Jerusalem marathon

I have been limiting my sugar, caffein and alcohol to a minimum for the last week or so. Everything for the upcoming marathon. I have dreamt about pacing strategies, and that is no exaggeration. How fast should I start, what finishing time can I realistically aim for, – all those thoughts were constantly spinning around in my head.

On our way to pick up my shirt and number and everything, was the first time I heard about the temperatures expected for race day. 35 degrees Celsius! That is like the heat of summer, hot Israeli summer. Oh, well, I decided to keep a good attitude and just plan on wearing sun screen, a wide brimmed hat and drink lots and lots of water.

Then today, a couple of hours ago, – I hear my marathon is cancelled. Well, they have all kinds of options, but basically that is what it is, cancelled. And let me remind you, – I have trained for this for four whole months!!!

On another training run.

On another training run.

And now I have the option of running a half marathon, which is what I did last year in Jerusalem. But that is not what I trained for, – I was totally wired for a full marathon now… The other option is to run my 42.2 next Friday, but then as in circles in a park, and of course without the whole arrangement of the other races etc. etc. And this is the weekend we were planning on being in Tel Aviv, not next week, a few days before Pesach! We even have a nice hotel room for Shabbat this weekend, a really nice birthday gift from my in-laws. We were going to be there to celebrate that I had done my first full marathon, – what, now we will be there a week before my marathon?!? Or after just having done another half marathon?

And my bumper sticker! My 42.2 marathon club bumper sticker! I was so excited to find that in my bag of goodies when picking up my shirt and number, so looking forward to stick it on the back of our car after finishing the race!! Ahhhhh!!!!

A bummer! Such a bummer!

Sorry for taking it all out on you guys! But I just have to get it out. Ah… I am sooo disappointed!

Of course they have a very good reason for canceling the 42.2 this Friday, it was the ministry of health that did not recommend keeping it. And of course none of us want to risk our health. Would have been a memorable race, huh? The one were hundreds fainted and had to be brought to the emergency room… No, they probably did the right thing in canceling it. That is what I try to tell myself right now anyway.

On yet another training run...

On yet another training run…

And I, – I have to use this as a good learning situation. Learn to handle disappointment. Learn to cope with things not turning out the way I expected it to, or wanted it to. And then to do the right thing in the midst of it.

In Hebrew, or I guess in Jewish tradition, we have this saying – hakol le tova, – meaning, everything is for good, it all serves a purpose, kind of. And that is what I am telling myself now. Even though I do not understand why this came about the way it did, it must be for the good, for something good, somehow.

Our lives, our days, our plans, everything is in God’s Hands. He has the full control, and we just have to trust Him. Somehow that makes it easier for me to cope with situations where I feel like I have no control, – and I guess, I sort of wish I would have had just a little bit of control. Well, at least I know the one who holds it all in His Hands, – and I know He wants only the best for us, always.

So Much More Snow in Jerusalem!

My dear children, who happily sang themselves to sleep with Winnie the Pooh‘s snow song last night, came jumping on my bed at 6.30 this morning super excited: “Imma, imma, – it is NORWAY outside!!!” I got up to look out the window with them, with every intention of afterwards saying we were going back to sleep, and would go outside later.

waking up to snow in Jerusalem

But what we saw is not something you see every day in Jerusalem, not every year, and not even with every snow fall. This was so overwhelmingly beautiful, it made what we were so excited about last night seem like nothing in comparison. The trees were heavy with snow, the thick snow blanket covered everything, – and so far it was all pretty untouched.

snowy Jerusalem morning

Maybe that was what convinced me, the relatively untouched part, because gone were the thoughts of going back to sleep… now all the focus was turned to finding the right clothes for going outside to enjoy this wonderful snow!

very snowy Jerusalem street

And off we went on an early morning snow walk. It was beautiful!

palm tree with snow

Freshly fallen snow is always a pretty sight, but the combinations with the Jerusalem stone, the Palm trees, the orange trees, – it is just so unique!

citrus tree with snow

We had a lovely, lovely walk. Moments I will treasure forever.

Jerusalem snow

My snow-loving son skipping around throwing himself into the snow, joyfully exclaiming: – This is just fantastic! – This is what Real Life is like!

enjoying Jerusalem snow

He was actually born during a snow storm (almost in the snow literally!). So that may be why he enjoys snow so much that he does not seem to mind or even notice how cold it gets.

snow man

I love snow too. What can I do, – Norwegian roots…

snow in Jerusalem

This is a day that has brought a lot of joy to young and old in Jerusalem. Sort of like an extra holiday. Everyone (with the exception of hospital workers and such) gets a surprising fun day off from work or school. And we all enjoy some spontaneous fun. Snow days are wonderful blessings. My heart is very thankful!

Jerusalem snow

SNOW in JERUSALEM!!!

Finally!!!!! After looking for snow flakes in the midst of rain and hail for most of the day, it all turned into snow. Real snow! Wonderful snow! Right sounding snow! (*You know, when you walk on it.) Beautiful snow! Light and swirling snow!

our snowy garden

Oh, it makes me happy deep in my soul just to see it! To feel it. It is winter. For real.

I really feel like a little girl again tripping around here from window to window looking at the snow flakes outside. And as I mention this feeling to the children, my sweet son replies:”That’s OK. Just go ahead and enjoy. We won’t remind you that your aren’t a little girl anymore…”

snowy palm bush

Even though it was past bedtime already for the children when the snow started settling and accumulating for real, we decided to go for a little spontaneous snow-walk. So, the one who was already in her PJs, quickly changed into warm winter clothes and out we went.

snowy Jerusalem street

I know, for most of you this does not look all that special. It’s just a little bit of white stuff on the ground. But for us Jerusalemites this is big and exciting stuff! I wish the picture came with sound effects, because all around there were joyful shouts of how wonderful it is that the snow finally came!

hail snow ball

This is a picture from a few hours earlier, when most of our white stuff was really hail. But there was enough snow in the mixture to make it stick together as a snowball.

hail snowball The only problem with this hail-rain-snow-mixture was it was very cold and very wet. So much so that we had to change gloves every few minutes, leading to the fact that in this photo my little girl is wearing my big gloves.

But either way, we are really, really, REALLY enjoying this little bit of real winter! Not the least are we enjoying the coziness of being in a warm home when it is so cold outside.

hot cider with wine

Warm winter greetings to you all from Jerusalem!

Very Thankful for the Rain.

(photo credit: Yoni Kempinski, Israel National News)

(photo credit: Yoni Kempinski, Israel National News)

The last few days it has basically rained non stop just about all over Israel. We are still in the first half of our rainy season (and I remember years when we had hardly had any rain at all by this time), and in Haifa they have already had as much rain as they get during an average year!

raindrops keep falling

It is pure joy to just watch the raindrops pouring down like an abundance of blessings! Yes, it has made some trouble several places in our country. Here at home we have had electricity gone for a couple of evenings, and I hear of people who have had it gone for much longer. Major roads have had to be closed down, and some places people had to be rescued from flooded areas. But still, –  in general, as a people, we are really EXCITED about this storm! We are just so HAPPY for all the water we are being blessed with!

(photo credit: Yoni Kempinski, Israel National News)

(photo credit: Yoni Kempinski, Israel National News)

After many years of drought, rain is something we have learnt to be thankful for. We pray for it several times daily. And we thank God, our Provider and Life-giver, for rain when He brings it. The Sea of Galilee, our most famous water source, has been in danger of loosing its fresh water status as the red line kept being moved lower and lower as we desperately needed the water. And now it is receiving water faster than people can remember ever happening! Just during 24 hours its levels rose with 22 centimeters! We have already reached levels we haven’t seen in ten years! Praise God!!!

Sea of Galilee rising. (Photo Credit: Spirit of Israel)

Sea of Galilee rising.
(Photo Credit: Spirit of Israel)

At Mt. Hermon and at the Golan Heights the snow is falling, and here in Jerusalem we hear the snow is soon to arrive as well. I’m telling you, – we are more than ready for it!!!

Snow on the Golan Heights. (Photo Credit: Spirit of Israel)

Snow on the Golan Heights. (Photo Credit: Spirit of Israel)

Stormy Weather in Jerusalem.

While all over the world you guys have snow and below zero degrees, here in Jerusalem we have had beautiful clear sky winter days where the temperatures wouldn’t drop lower than about 12 degrees or so (Celsius that is).

So when this week came around, and Sunday showed us only 8 degrees, we were all talking about how cold it was! The children came home from school and told that they had been kept inside during the breaks because it was too cold to go outside! That type of thing makes the Norwegian in me really laugh, – because growing up in Norway we were always told to go outside no matter what weather, because fresh air is good for you and you need it! And hello, 8 degrees!?!

Anyway, today, Monday, the temperatures have dropped to 3 degrees, and we have the strongest winds I can remember having had in Jerusalem. Listening to the strong winds outside, we enjoyed hot chocolates for breakfast inside our warm home. Cold and stormy days being such a rarity makes us really want to enjoy them and make the most out of them!

hot chocolate for breakfast

Taking the children to school, I could see several road signs and trees that had been knocked over from the winds. And only when I came back home (*YEAY for home office on days like these!!), did I notice that a big branch of our tree-house-tree had fallen down in our garden!

tree branch fallen down

The various clocks on the microwave-oven and the cooking-stove showed signs of the electricity having been gone for at least part of the night. This is a real storm. And yes, we Jerusalemites are quite excited about it! What we are most excited about of all, are the forecasts of SNOW!!! I had to smile to myself as I listened to the morning news and they encouraged people from other parts of the country to make it up to Jerusalem by Wednesday, so that they could enjoy the snow that may fall here that afternoon!! It is a really big thing, – snow in Jerusalem! May we not be disappointed!! The forecast says we will have around zero degrees temperatures on Wednesday and even minus one on Thursday morning, so there should even be chances of the snow accumulating a little bit. How exciting!!!!!

But yes, it really does feel VERY COLD outside, so these are the expressions my children had on their faces as I said good bye to them at school:

cold weather expressionsAnd my princess asked: – “So, is this what it is like all the time in Norway in the winter???” Up until now it had always sounded so tempting to spend a winter in Norway some time, but it could be that she is about to change her mind…

I shall be back with more updates about how this stormy week develops here in Jerusalem. Meanwhile I will try to get some work done as I keep dreaming of a white Jerusalem!