Last year, I travelled to Israel with four women from around the globe with not-for-profit company Vibe Israel. It was an incredible experience. I interviewed each of the women while I was there with the same four questions, and before I left Israel, I answered the questions myself.
- What is your greatest parenting challenge at the moment?
- What is your greatest parenting joy at the moment?
- What don’t you miss when you’re away from home?
- What do you miss the most when you’re away from home?
What is your greatest parenting challenge at the moment?
The greatest challenge for me right now is logistics. Just trying to manage four people and myself…just knowing where everyone needs to be everyday and what they need to be doing. And also, the kids emotional wellbeing. So they are the two challenges: logistics and managing the children’s emotional wellbeing.
What is your greatest parenting joy at the moment?
The greatest joy for me right now with parenting is — my kids are getting older now and they become their own people. Of course they are going to be their own people! But I think as a parent it’s so exciting to see them emerge through life as their own people. People with thoughts, and dreams, and values. I remember my eldest daughter coming home one day and telling me about this program about reading to underprivileged kids and how she wanted to join because reading is a real strength for her. I thought — wow — here is this person (who happens to be my daughter) making decision for herself and helping others. I can’t tell you what a joy that is as a mum, to see that — so that would be my greatest joy.
What don’t you miss when you’re away from home?
What I don’t miss…I think it comes back to the challenges I mentioned before, and that would be just trying to managing everyone, everyday. It’s gotten so busy with people needing to be here and there, and mum taxi…it’s in service big time now. That’s what I don’t miss: the logistics of managing everybody.
What do you miss the most when you’re away from home?
I would say the physical contact with them. The hugs and kisses. My son, he’s my youngest (he’s 9) and he wakes up really early in the morning, and often comes in and says, “Mum you’re so beautiful.” It’s so sweet. He gives me hugs and kisses and I really miss that. And my three girls, I’ve missed them coming home and talking to me. They usually come home in the afternoons, and there’s chatter, and they tell me about their day — and I miss that. I miss my husband too. He’s a calming influence on me. Just by his presence, I find he calms me, and regulates me.
Travelling on My Own
After the tour with Vibe Israel, I stayed on in Israel for an extra three days because I wanted to explore more of Israel and surrounds before I left. There was still so much I wanted to see (I especially wanted to go to Petra in Jordan, but I didn’t have time — next time!). Below are the highlights.
Ancient city of Masada
Masada is an ancient fortress built by King Herod in the year 30 BC. The stone walls behind me are thousands of years old, and that is incredible! You can either climb to Masada (keep in mind, it can be very hot), or catch the cable car (which I did). You can also opt to catch the cable up and walk down (or vice-versa). Absolutely worth the visit. The history behind this great fortress is fascinating.
A visit to the Dead Sea was a bucket list moment for me. It was surreal. You really can float on it. Just be really careful not to touch your eyes or get your face wet because it’s so salty and it will hurt!
Jericho & Bethlehem
Jericho and Bethlehem sit outside Israel in Palestine. Visiting Jericho was one of my favourite things to do. The first image is the dessert on the way to Jericho, and second is a view over Jericho city. The city is surrounded by desert and the air is dry, but there are delicious underwater springs that feed the city. It’s an oasis that thrives with tropic fruit (ate the most delicious lady finger banana) and medjool dates.
Jericho is considered the oldest continuous city in the world. The second picture is the view view from Mount of Temptation. You can see the Jordan River snaking along the outstkits, and out to Jordan. I asked our guide where his favourite (non tourist) place in Jericho was, and without hesitation, he said, “My home.” That resonated with me so strongly. There’s nothing quite like home.
I spent the last day in Israel exploring the Sea of Galilee and the surrounding region. It’s so beautiful!! I found it special to see where Jesus had lived and walked, and I felt more connected to this area than Jerusalem. The images below were taken is in a valley below sea level and it was very warm (traveled in April). Yet in the distance , you can see snow capped mountains. The variance in the terrain is fascinating. What struck me — unlike Jerusalem which was destroyed and rebuilt many times — there is a continuance of historical record from one generation to the next. I took the first image from the banks of the Sea (a lake) of Galilee.
I visited Mary, Joseph and Jesus’ homes, the town work areas, (Simon) Peter’s residence and the synagogue. It’s all within walking distance and make a lot of sense in terms of historical record when you see it laid out in real life. I particularly noted the community aspect of the ancient villages. There was a common court yard where everyone cooked and worked, and then many rooms (some still standing) surrounded the central area. Communities are still very strong here in Israel and I find that inspiring.
In the second image, the black basanite volcanic rocks walls mark the rooms around a courtyard. Just behind this village is the Sea of Galilee. I can imagine a bustling community living here.
My visit to this region was one of the highlights of my life. I plan to take my husband and children back one day.
Amy from MomSpark
Margarita from Margarita Wyld
Lynn from BLUNTmoms
Jennifer from Cherish365