on israel, philosophy, politics, SEO & nutrition

First week

Posted by aviel on May 19, 2012

I was received warmly by my host family here, whom I know from back in the days when I still served in the Army. They live in Mevaseret Tzion, which is just outside Jerusalem, in a very nice and comfortable house. I have my own room and more food is available that I could possibly manage to eat. This last part is actually a kind of challenge to me since I have an “opponent” in my attempt to keep my weight under control.

Enter grandma. She lives downstairs and she’s a really sweet woman from Iraqi Morrocan descent (corrected: 2012-05-21), if I understood that correctly. And she cooks wonderfully. She took one good look at me on my arrival and said I got really thin in Sweden. And so she has decided to do something about it. Every time I see her it seems she explains to me what food there is at home and that I should really be eating. One evening I went downstairs to the kitchen and I happened upon some chocolate on a plate. I took one piece, but it wasn’t enough to placate grandma. “Eat more! You need to fatten up a bit. There’s no helping it, this is the way it is in Israel, you get fat.” The next day I was invited downstairs for lunch. She had made lots of food, including very fattening, but oh so good, “kobe”. Kobe is essentially a meat, nut , vegetable and spice mix on the inside with a flour covering fried in loads of oil. I helped myself to one of them, which I thought was plenty enough given the other things on my plate (couscous and other meats and vegetables), but she took one look at my plate and added another one. In the end I ate 3 of them and felt to full to move afterwards.

Grandma and the two daughters, Shabbat dinner

Yesterday the family invited my friend David, the hippie*from Minnesota (!), together with his girlfriend. The other grandma was also there and to listen to the two grandmas arguing, at least when they aren’t speaking in French, is one of the funniest things in the world. Orly, my hostess, said she needs to collect their conversations in a book to be published for the world. In any case, we decided we would eat outside despite the fact that evenings here are still a bit cool. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but the grandmas were complaining about being turned into ice blocks. While having dessert inside, with tea, I was asked how much sugar I want. One teaspoon. The first grandma, and my opponent, nodded with approval and said that I’m still too thin, albeit not as thin as I was when I arrived (a few days ago!). We laughed so hard, since we know she was completely serious. The truth is that I don’t know who’s winning. I went running two times this week, and I also went to the gym and swimming pool with the eldest daughter Yael. I’m not sure it’s enough though. Everyone who knows me cannot be unaware of the fact that nutrition and weight loss have been on my mind for years now, and all this is making me very worried. Well, next week I’m starting longer runs of 10-12 km every other day, so we shall see. 🙂

Eitan (the father), David (the hippie) and Shiran

Today, on Shabbat, we went to a kind of market in the town Har Adar, close to Jerusalem and with a Palestinian town just on the other hill. When people speak of dividing this land I doubt they understand much of what it would mean. Pretty much every hill in the Jerusalem area there is either a Jewish or Arab town. Any conceivable division will neither be smooth nor painless. In Har Adar I saw some really nice houses. One in particular was breath-taking. I asked Orly how much houses would cost in the area. So she started talking about the price of 1.3 million shekels (USD 340 000, SEK 2.6 million) for two houses. I thought it was really cheap. Until I realized she only talked about the piece of land you would build on. The houses themselves would cost about 2.5 million shekels a piece, or something. My new-found dream of buying such a house fell apart at the moment of take-off. 😦

In Har Adar, overlooking the nearby Palestinian town

Among other things that at this fare, there was a small family vineyard. The wines had won awards in Italy in the category of small family vineyards and I tried one, Merlot Harei Yehuda (Judean Mountains), that was pretty good. It was a bit hard to tell since I had brushed my teeth not so long ago before that. At least I got a bottle for the pretty expensive price of 80 shekel. It was more the romantic idea of the family vineyard that made me buy it rather than the price and taste. I can be a little foolish sometimes, I suppose, but maybe I’ve found a gem. I shall know by next weekend if it’s worth remembering this vineyard.

At the same place I also tried homemade chocolate with “nana” (spearmint) which just melted in my mouth. For a moment I thought I was in heaven! This chocolate brought together two of my favorite flavors in the world – chocolate and nana. I’m a sucker for nana tea and I’m definitely a sucker for chocolate. My hostess Orly, despite my protests, generously bought me a bunch of them, and mind you, they weren’t exactly your regular cheap variety of chocolate. It seems that no matter how much I protest I’m still going to be fed and driven everywhere. Ok, maybe I could protest a little bit harder and really put my foot down, but even so I’m not sure it would get me very far.

* Ok, David isn’t really a hippie, but he did come with flowers in his hair the first time I saw him this week. They got stuck in his hair on his way in somehow. 🙂


2 Responses to “First week”

  1. david said

    you’re a hippie

  2. Åke said

    Fortsätt skriv Anders så att jag kan ha lite koll på dig;)

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