Full disclosure, I am writing this post three shades darker and with an arm that looks like it was mauled by a cat. Despite my better judgment, I went on yet another hiking trip. This week, for our last group trip, we went to the North and it was amazing, exhausting, and beautiful. We did two hikes, visited the Syrian and Lebanese borders, went rafting, and relaxed by the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret).
Side note: I was close to meeting more Persian Israelis but it didn’t happen. According to our hiking guide, Northern Israel is home to one of the largest herds of Persian fallow deer. An Israeli brought four of them from Iran on a special mission right before the Iranian Revolution. Not seeing one of my fellow furry friends - pun very much intended - was disappointing but I called myself “Chaleesi” (ch because we’re in Israel) throughout the hike anyways.
Lastly, this is my first Passover in Israel. Growing up, Passover was my least favorite holiday and it didn’t help that my birthday usually falls on it (or that we lived in Reno, Nevada). I still remember explaining matzah to my classmates and carefully rationing the kosher for Passover snacks my mom ordered from LA a month in advance. That being said, I’m excited to experience it here.
1) After making s’mores as an international group, we’ve established that Americans are elitist about their marshmallows – pink (and any other color but white) is not acceptable.
2) It’s hiking season so it will be more difficult to find a “bathroom bush”. Not only are they occupied by youths, but also by cows (apparently they also need their privacy). [Based on a true story/the life of Bronwen]
3) How to get me to hike two days in a row – promise to end with a visit to a chocolate factory.
4) Note to self – the profession of chocolatier exists.
5) While rafting, sing Broadway musicals and Disney songs at your own risk…you might get whiplashed by a tree branch if you're not paying attention.
6) In my opinion, the Kinneret is the best body of water in this region and some resorts combine the beauty of Lake Tahoe and the elderly people of Florida.
7) When it comes to dress code, Israelis have a different understanding of “fancy”. To your Israeli cousin, a fancy outfit for Passover seder involves wearing the jeans he wears every week but switching from his usual black polo to a white one. Be sure to call a non-Israeli to confirm your outfit choice.
8) Passover seder on Shabbat means the twice the food and it feels a lot like training for competitive eating. The reason you’re at the table for 4+ hours is because you have to eat what feels like the entire animal kingdom.