April 2006 Archives


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We're going on pilgrimage! Many of the people joining us (roughly 200) may start traveling today, so our 'trip' will be to head up into the Merkaz (city center), plop ourselves down at a comfy cafe and read, read, read in preparation.

I am sooooo excited to be going on pilgrimage - mainly because it is so very special, but a small part is relieved to have 2 weeks of vacation. We were originally scheduled to leave the Baha'i World Centre now and I think we just really need this break before we dive back in for another year of work here.

A little bit about Baha'i pilgrimage: at its very essential, pilgrimage consists of visiting the Shrine of Baha'u'llah, just outside of Akka, Israel. However, there has developed, over the years, a formal program of pilgrimage which graciously allows us to visit the shrines and other holy places over a period of 9 days with the help of a guide, who may know a few more details than ourselves (hence the reading!). There are a number of guides, so we don't do everything with all 200 other people (i.e. no hoards of people crushing us). The places we are visiting are all associated with the Baha'i Faith due to the banishment of Baha'u'llah from Adrianople (Edirne, Turkey) to the 'prison-city' of Akka as it was at the time. So we will visit the prison as well as the eventual residences that Baha'u'llah lived in during the gradual relaxation of His imprisonment, as well as the Shrine where Baha'u'llah, His Son and His Forerunner are buried - not to mention the site where His wife, daughter, daughter-in-law and other son are also buried - which is on the grounds of our workplace.

2,088 Days

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This is for all of you who may be inclined to ask us how many days Mark and I have been married.

I know, I know, crazy, but it really is accurate give or take a few days. I calculated it last night.

Anywho, remember the photo of our dear friends Takhmina and Amir who recently got married? Well, we apparently resemble them (we think it's the happy smiley Filipino-ness) because yesterday we got asked "how many days have you been married now?" Hahahahaha! I don't think anyone ever confused me and Taha before her wedding!!!

Life - Interrupted

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I wandered onto a woman's blog the other day - a woman about my mother's age, with her own gaggle of grown children - and read as she spoke of memories of her children, gardening, the Baha'i Faith and just random moments in life.

Suddenly I found myself feeling all sorts of odd emotions - anger, frustratrion, resentment. I wanted to scream "that's my mother's life!" You know, the one that has been hijacked by cancer. You know, the one we were all enjoying with her. You know, the one we were all taking for granted and didn't know we'd miss so much. Oh, to recapture the feeling that life was simply 'normal'.

I went back to my mother's blog, surfing in different directions and found this gem. In many ways it embodies so much of who my mother is to me.

Now we're in a new place - not completely unrelated to the old place. A bit more tenuous, but then maybe that's just realism that we were all simply ignoring before. My mother's no less alive than she was before - we're just all that much more aware of mortality. Life, life, life. Tricky thing, it is.

[that night I actually dreamt that my mother knew this woman and she threw us all in the car and we drove out to see this woman and her family. when we got there, I thought, "oh! they even know each other!" The woman didn't know we were coming; my mother simply said "I had to get away, so I decided to visit you!" and we all crowded into their house to crash on their living room floor. Huh.]

Chag Sameach!*

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Happy Holiday! Pesach (Passover) started yesterday evening.

I didn't think about it particularly. In fact, I was trying not too think too much at all as I recovered from a migraine. Mark wanted to pick up a fuse for our lightning-struck computer, so I stopped off at the Clothing Exchange whilst he did his technical duties. Lucky me! I found several summer items (hallelujah) and ran into Ana Gerda (the 'crazy Brazilian' as my family fondly calls her). So we tried on and swapped some clothes and then I headed home for dinner. Mark got home shortly thereafter and we settled in for some yummy leftovers.

Then, rather unexpectedly, our doorbell rang! After looking quizzically at each other, I went to see who was at the door [sometimes people will come to random doors in Israel to try to get you to open up so they can steal stuff, etc. - no seriously, I've had people try it on me before - and no, I didn't open the door]. Well, wasn't I in for a surprise!?

It was our neighbor! And he had flowers?!

You know - the one I have complained about rather relentlessly for the past month or so? Yeah, that one. Yeah, mean ugly dog. Yeah, snatching flowers. Well, Mark spoke to them and they apologized.

And for Pesach they brought us flowers and wished us Chag Sameach! And the world was wonderful! And I feel bad for being for wretched.

It's so nice to have my faith restored in humanity. (at least a little bit) :-)

Oh my goodness! And now I can't get "Good neigbhors come in all colors..." out of my head!

*(or, for the Anglos, phonetically speaking it sounds like "hog samek" to me)

Taha's Wedding!

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Kristen & Mendon aren't the only Dornbrooks to go to a wedding last weekend, although Rahmat topped us all by actually getting married (Congrats, cuz!)!

We attended Takhmina and Amir's wedding, and Mark also served as their photographer (ahem, with the help of his skillful and talented wife). Takhmina is from Kazakhstan and Amir is from the Philippines. Both of them were able to have relatives come for the wedding - it was so beautiful and touching to see the families together.

I really love this photo, especially as it's not one you usually see - despite the number of weddings that happen at this locale each year.


Congratulations to two beautiful people! We had a blast (and were exhausted) photographing your wedding! Mark has posted a few more (very touching) photos, so check out the Fojalicious Flickr Fotos to find out which one is his favorite photograph!


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If there was a day I hated our flat, if there was a day I was fed up and just ready to throw in the towel, well, I think it would be today.

Today, we discovered there is mold growing on one of our bedroom walls. We presume this is from when our back room flooded due to the neighbor's boiler exploding (repeatedly). It just so happens that the wall it is growing on is behind cupboards - which is why it took us so long to find. I kept smelling it and thought I just had to keep the windows open and the fan on and everything would air out and be fine. Drr. Summer shoes? Molded. Every last pair. Every last pair!

And this might explain headaches and exhaustion despite increased sleeping (for both of us).

On top of this, we live upstairs from a nasty bulldog we have to bribe with treats in order to get past and I just discovered our neighbor has been helping herself to our calla lilies. I want to scream. I want to go on vacation and have it all gone when I return. I want to change my name and move to Australia.

On the other hand, we spent a beautiful morning with Melanie (and others) for her birthday, got our hair cut, and have just two weeks until pilgrimage. Life is gorgeous...sort of.


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Ever since Mark and I got word that we would indeed be staying in Haifa for another year, we've been, well, the only way I can really describe it would be 'out-of-sorts'. I'm sure plenty of others have experienced this - a bit of buyers remorse, I suppose. It's not that we have some other fancy plans we've ditched along the way. More that I think we'd just set our minds on "next". I do remember thinking after we found out that of course we were staying - how absurd to think otherwise. It's just, it has somehow sapped our energy a bit.

In any case, in an attempt to abate this a bit, I thought I'd first mention some of the things I miss from "home" [referring to the States, mostly] and then state some of the things I'd miss from "here" [being Israel].

Okay, let's just get the obvious out of the way: family and friends, yeah, duh!!

The little/silly things:
Pizza - what I'd give for some Adriaticos!!!
My clothes - seriously, I sent so much of it home thinking I wouldn't be here next month!! Agh!!! [believe me, being clothes-less in Israel is serious - yikes!]
A flat surface that lasts more than 50 feet. Living on the side of a mountain can get old.
English-language ... well, I was going to say libraries, but really - English-language anything at this point!!
Central heating - what a luxury!
Our car - sigh...
Snow! I really enjoyed the snow we had while we were home in November. Yay, snow!
My clothes - did I mention my clothes? Lest I forget, my clothes!

Again, obvious things first: the Baha'i Shrines and the best freaking work environment with the best co-workers and the best boss I've ever had, and of course, all of the lovely friends I've made here.

The little things:

Admittedly, most days Fresco Pizzeria & Gelataria make up for a lack of Adriaticos (most days)
My dear pharmacist - the only one I've learned Hebrew from!
My view of the bay
An extraordinary community - a real experiment in sustainability
The ability to go to a restaurant and never be distracted by another table's conversation - because I don't understand them! [I found myself very frustrated back in the States! I just wanted to tell everyone to shut up! yikes!]
The continual blossoming of verdure year-round
The fact that everyone is aware of the Baha'i Faith in this country - and in some cases there are discounts just for being a Baha'i! Rock on!
And along that line - the occasional taxi driver who says, "you are Baha'i? I grew up next door to Ruhiyyih Khanum. She told me the history of the Baha'i Faith. You want to hear it?" heeheehee
The olives, loquats, kumquats, mandarins, pomellos, avocadoes...mmmmm
And finally, Fattoush, for without Fattoush I would not have discovered two things:

1. hummus with hot paprika is the best!
2. chocolate ginger rooibos tea is so good I am willing to hunt it down on the Internet, pay a silly price for it and have it shipped to me. Yes, it is that good. Chocolate mint is yummy, too - as is Mexican Winter rooibos, but I digress.

Miracles Can Happen

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I know; I've seen it happen a time or two.

In other news, Mark has posted the photos of our Galilee camping trip! Click either here or on the sidebar for his Fojalicious fotos!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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