Top 10 Takeaways of My Time in Italy

When we walk into a new place, meet a new person, or encounter a new situation, we go in with preconceptions. Upon arriving, we make snap judgments to gain a sense of control and organization of the world in our mind.

I can’t explain in words what my preconception of Italy was before traveling there, I only know now that my senses were shocked in the best way by how wrong I was compared to the beautiful place, rich culture, and incredible people I encountered there. Continue reading “Top 10 Takeaways of My Time in Italy”

The Soul Behind ‘the tall girl’

“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” ~C.S. Lewis

How can you know there’s a real person behind the words on an impersonal screen?

You can’t see me, you aren’t in my presence, you don’t know who’s really behind the blog, telling of her experiences.

Many times when I see a blog post or any social media publication, there’s a hint of doubt about its origin and the author’s intent. It often seems detached and soulless, like a news story to be read and tossed away. That being said, I wanted to share my travel confessions so you know I’m a real, living and breathing human, and not a robot pumping out lifeless posts. Continue reading “The Soul Behind ‘the tall girl’”

26 Things To Know About Israel

The nation of Israel is so unlike anywhere else I’ve been. I mentioned in my last post that I’ve experienced the most culture shock here, and I believe that has translated to learning the most lessons as well.

I’ve promised myself to never stop learning. Having that degree on the wall (or stuffed away in the closet, really) doesn’t mean my time as a student is over. The only way I know I’ll keep improving as a person and able to help others in this journey called life is by being informed and experienced.

Israel has broadened my mind, even my soul, beyond bounds that I never knew were there. I hope you’re able to visit the Holy Land some day, too, lovely reader. It truly is a life-changing experience.

City of Jaffa, Tel Aviv

Disclaimer: Some of these are opinions, observations, or ideas, while others are true facts and I’m not putting any bias into the statements.

LESSONS ABOUT THE PEOPLE, CULTURE, ETC.

1) “Die” is an expression for “Wow!” or “No way!”. If you tell an Israeli cool or shocking news, and they exclaim, “Die!” that doesn’t mean they want you to literally die.

2) To be a “frayer” in Israel is their worst nightmare. It translates roughly to sucker, or a naive person who can be manipulated. They avoid being a frayer by making others a frayer…a.k.a. tourists.

3) Israeli’s value the character trait of honesty above most others.

4) Dead Sea mud in Israel is $1.50. It’s $250 in America. (‘Cus we’re frayers;) ).

5) Israeli men are intimidated by the Israeli women. The world is intimidated by Israeli women.

6) Although Israeli’s can be aggressive and pushy at first, once a relationship is built, they become family. From an Israeli himself, “Everyone here is my brother. I would do anything for them, and they would do anything for me, too.”

7) The very attractive, swole guys at the gym…are more than likely gay. 3 sources told me this.

8) Tel Aviv is one of the most outspoken cities for gay pride in the world.

9) Young Israeli’s are some of the most fit people I’ve ever seen because of their time in the IDF when they’re 18-21 (Israeli Defense Forces).

10) Israeli’s are innovative and bright when it comes to new ideas and advancing technology, medicine, and miscellaneous inventions. At times, however, they lack the implementation and marketing piece in order to make their innovations known to the world at large.

11) This drive to improve comes from their culture of “talmud”. Talmud means they question and argue a status quo in order to rise above it.

12) Tel Aviv’s name literally means “old-new” to show the new innovation and growth of Israel while never forgetting its history and foundation as a Jewish state.

IMG_8149
Panorama of Tel Aviv.

LESSONS ABOUT THE POLITICAL NATURE IN ISRAEL

13) Israel could demolish ISIS in 10 days. (Valid source on this statement.)

14) ISIS hides out underneath and inside hospitals, schools, mosques, etc. They use their women, children, and elderly as a shield because they know Israel won’t attack innocent civilians.

15) Israel realizes they are thought of negatively in most of the world. They also know if they went on the offensive and took out extremist groups attacking them, media around the world and then people everywhere would believe Israel is the bad guy. They are always on the defensive and will avoid killing innocent civilians at all costs.

16) Israeli’s are pro-American.

17) The majority of Israeli’s are not pro-Obama. They’re still bitter he skipped visiting the country on his first tour after he was elected. Beyond that, and from their mouths, this administration has tightened the immigration process so much for Israeli’s that even if most of their family is in the states, they wait 8-10 YEARS before being approved. These aren’t terrorists trying to come to America. They are businessmen, educators, and families, who want a better quality of life.

18) Israeli’s are proud to serve their country in the IDF. It’s not all of their dreams to make military their career, but they serve, and patriotism for their homeland is strong because of it.

19) Israel is the size of New Jersey. In America, 6.9 per 1000 capita are serving in the military. In Israel, 78.3 per 1000 capita are currently serving. Republic of China with a population of 1.357 billion has 80.9 per 1000 capita serving. (See footnote). Just for a bit of reference and to understand how prepared and ready Israel is for outside attack.

20) Shepherds along the Syrian border of Golan Heights are spies.

Looking
Looking out over the Syrian border.

21) Good things have happened between Israeli and Palestinian relations, but it’s never reported on.

22) From an Israeli journalist I met: “If ISIS brings down Hamas in Gaza, we will miss Hamas.”

23) Palestine is being funded by the international community – American and European tax dollars are going to them. The mosques and media in Palestine send constant anti-American messages to their people. Seems like America may be a “frayer” in this relationship.

LESSONS ABOUT FAITH AND RELIGION

24) In John 2:1-11 there’s the story of Jesus turning water into wine at the end of the wedding festivities. In the text it says this happened on “the third day” which would have been Tuesday. Also, in the Old Testament, Tuesday was the only day God blessed twice. Weddings and bar mitzvah’s are commonly held on Tuesday’s in Jewish communities because of the belief that it’s an especially blessed day. I guess we’re really going up, on a Tuesday.

25) The Hebrew word “gethsemane” translates to olive press, where olives are crushed and grinded to become oil through a process of 3 methods. Jesus retreated to the Garden of Gethsemane when he knew his time to die on the cross was near. In Matthew 26:36-46 it says Jesus was pressed and crushed, like in an olive press, and he prayed 3 times to God to remove this cup (responsibility) from him. Everything God does is so purposeful to show us He’s living and active.

2,000 year old stone road where Christ walked on his way to Golgotha.

26) Reading the Bible comes to life after a trip to Israel.

There is so much more to learn and understand about Israel that only a trip yourself will really reveal to you. So, shalom and nesi’á tová!

stay lovely,
the tall girl

References
Active Troops Source

How Far a Smile Will Go

I’ve taken smiles for granted.

A smile makes you feel welcome in a foreign land.
A smile excuses you for your broken Hebrew asking where the bathroom is. (“Ei-fo ha-she-ru-teem?” Just imagine a tall blonde with an American accent pronouncing each morpheme at a snail’s pace like the server wouldn’t catch it otherwise.)
A smile breaks invisible barriers in place from years of politics and misconceptions, language and cultural differences.
A smile makes you human. A smile lets your guard down, and it allows someone else to do likewise. Continue reading “How Far a Smile Will Go”