Hello Israel

שלום ישראל

I made it to Israel! A few weeks ago I got a bit of life altering news that I would not be moving to Sacramento to be closer to my boyfriend, Josh, but rather, I would be traveling across the world to Israel. A land that I had so little knowledge about. Honestly, I could not have told you where it was on a map, what language is spoken there, or what food they eat. All I had seen or heard was the “Israeli Palestinian conflict” and the “Gaza Strip.” Nervous would have been an understatement, but the opportunity for adventure and a change to routine felt necessary.

I am here to be alongside Josh as he pursues his professional soccer career in Haifa, Israel. He was transferred to Maccabi Haifa, the oldest, most respected team in the Israeli Premier League. This is an exciting move for Josh, one that pushes his outside his comfort zone and forces him to become better each and every day. Yes, I am that girlfriend that drops everything to follow her guy. will accept that. Yes, in high school I probably said that I would never do that. I was wrong. But who cares. Im in a new country, one that I already love. I am learning, experiencing, growing, becoming more me. If following someone lets me do that, then I am all for it.

The journey to Israel was not an easy one. I thought driving 6 hours up the 5 wasn’t very fun. Try sitting in a plane for 14 hours next to someone who “claims” you fell asleep on their shoulder. I assure you I did not. I would take the smell of dairy farms and the middle of no where over that. But I made it. and so did my bike, Charlie. Only one little scratch that made for a slight panic attack at first.

Thanks to my dad and his bike packing skills, Charlie made it safely to Tel Aviv, where we were reunited at the oversized baggage claim area. Of course it took me way too long to find because apparently most signs in Israel are in Hebrew.

Jet lag and the time change just about killed me. It took a few days of waking up at 2 in the morning, completely disoriented, to overcome. It’s okay because those early mornings made me go for walks to explore the area and led to some breathtaking sun rises. I also discovered I am capable of taking naps.

I cannot put into words the beauty of Haifa. In so many ways it is just like Santa Barbara. There are mountains, there is ocean, there is beach, there is sun, and there is community. I was a little worried when people on the streets didn’t smile back as you walked by, but I was reassured by Josh that people don’t do that here, and that is really only a Santa Barbara thing. Who knew… Haifa is port city built on the Israeli coast that extends from the Mediterranean sea up to the hills of Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel is a ginormous mountain range that houses part of the city of Haifa and the neighboring nature reserve. Believe me, I am so excited to explore the trails and roads of Mount Carmel. I have found a few so far, but each and every ride I find new and exciting miles to cover and destinations to be astounded by. I always brag about Santa Barbara’s mountains and oceans that are unlike anywhere else. Well, I was pleased to find that Haifa has both too. With just a bit more humidity.

The apartment is located on the southern end of the city, right across the way from Sammy Ofer stadium, where Josh and Maccabi Haifa call home. I get to see the sunset over the stadium everyday, and the sunrise over the hills behind us. Not to mention the pretty sweet ocean view. It will definitely take some time getting used to taking an elevator 12 floors up to get to your home, which is quite a change from Santa Barbara and anywhere I have lived in the past.

Charlie and I adapting to the apartment lifestyle

Haifa seems like it has so much to offer. It defines itself by its cultural diversity, from the Arabic population to the Jewish population. Living together as one community. Its Israeli food that in tradition is a melting pot of cultures that extend throughout the middle east and through Europe. Its beautiful sandy beaches covered in shells and sea glass, its mountainous surroundings, and its incredibly kind people who forgive me when I can’t speak Hebrew.

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them”

– Ernest Hemingway

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