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What I’ve Been Reading – 7/24/2015

The Year I Embraced Minimalism and Completed a Yearlong Shopping Ban I also added takeout coffee to the list of things I was not allowed to purchase. I’ve been drinking coffee for 15 years and, by the time I started the ban, I was buying $5 lattes at least 4-5 days/week ($80-100/month). That’s not...

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Chillin’ like villians at the playground

West Jerusalem has some really great playgrounds. The Israelis have a strong culture of outdoors and activity, and we are taking advantage of it while we’re here. Last weekend was jam packed, but somehow, my husband carved out a couple of hours to head down to a local playground and let the kids run...

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Grace’s Baptism

The day after Bertrand returned from Cotonou with the girls, the monks from the monastery where Bertrand attends services called to remind us that we were baptizing Grace on Pentecost. We hadn’t yet found godparents, we hadn’t made any plans for a reception. Hell, we didn’t even have a dress for Grace to wear....

Solo Travel to Akko, Israel

Old City Akko is a tiny fishing village slash crusader fort, about half an hour outside of Haifa. Over the past thousand years, there has understandably been a great deal of development outside of the ancient walls, but the tourist attractions are all in the Old City itself. I rose bright and early to...

More Solo Travel in Haifa, Israel

Haifa’s a neat town. Traveling alone, I wasn’t looking for bars or a music scene—just beautiful scenery, the sea, and museums. Given that, it’s possible to see everything in a day, provided you’re traveling alone and don’t have to worry about potty breaks and naps and mealtimes like you do when traveling with children....

Visiting the Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa, Israel

Traveling alone is a surprisingly communal experience. After years of relying on Bertrand’s charm and ability to make instant friends, I found is startlingly easy to find good company and conversation while exploring Northern Israel on my own. When Bertrand abruptly left for Benin with the girls after his father passed away, I found...

Easter in Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

On Easter morning, we got up before dawn, dressed the girls, and drove downtown for Easter Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. What could be more spiritual than Easter in Jerusalem, supposedly on the spot where Jesus was crucified two thousand years ago? Well, a lot, actually. But it was a good...

Happy Easter from Jerusalem

  The photo above is of Jasmine skipping down the narrow passage ways of the Old City on our way to mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as the sun rose above Jerusalem this morning. Easter is my favorite religious holiday.  I find it beautiful that Christians all over the world are today...

Our first trip to the West Bank — Biblical Bethlehem

Over the weekend, I woke up early and dragged our family out to Bethlehem. Like Ein Karem last week, it’s a quick inexpensive excursion that didn’t require a lot of advance planning.  It was more of an adventure than expected—both Google and Apple Maps failed us completely. No route available to get from our house...

Raising kids as expats — the “new” normal

My husband and I worry about the effect of the expat lifestyle on our kids.  Will they grow up rich with experiences, polyglot, and appreciative of all that they have?  Or will they grow up spoiled and entitled, used to having the world at their feet?  We hope the former, and fear the latter....