Car Shows and Furniture Hunting

As I’m getting increasingly settled in Boston, I’m trying to find balance between fun playtime activities and all the logistical stuff that needs to get taken care of after a move. Lucky for me, a lot of the logistics stuff has turned out to be pretty fun too.

To start…a trip to a car show! No, this was in no way part of moving logistics since I am not in the market for an extremely expensive classic car. But it was fun! Throughout the summer, the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline has been hosting car shows. Each week, there is a different theme and cars are displayed on the museum’s lawn. Noah likes cars and I like it when he tells me things about cars, so we went to an Italian car show there!

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There sure were a lot of cars! There was a whole section of Ferraris that seemed to be getting a lot of attention…

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I recognized the name of this car right away from doing crosswords…

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I was interested in the crazy door action on this car, but Noah said he prefers a more classic look:

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There were a lot of Fiats at the show as well, but this one caught our eye in particular:

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This car was built for Gianni Agnelli, the chairman of Fiat. The car was designed because Agnelli wanted a car that he could carry aboard his yacht, so he needed something small, light, and that could be easier lowered off the boat and used for transportation on land. This car – a Fiat Jolly – was the result, and less than 400 were made between 1958 and 1969! They were sold only briefly in the U.S., so they are very rare here. Check out the inside!:

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We also went furniture shopping! This was, obviously, a matter of necessity (#no furniture #movingin5days), but it ended up being a lot of fun. :) We went to two stores (so far), but we’re planning on going to at least a couple more places before making a decision. For this shopping excursion, we ventured out to Natick because there were two big furniture places we wanted to check out there: Bob’s and Jordan’s.

We went to Bob’s first and spent about an hour sitting on various couches and asking sales people information about delivery, fees, etc.

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Bob’s had some stuff I really liked (especially this extra wide chair that was soooo comfortable)…

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…but there was also some stuff that was pretty gaudy. Leather couches with cupholders? No, thank you.

Jordan’s, however, was quite the experience. First of all, the store is on top of a big hill that seems to overlook the rest of the town, so even when we were at Bob’s, Jordan’s was literally looming over us. When we made our way up the hill to go to the store, even the outside was way beyond expectation. It kept going…

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and going….

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and going….

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Noah said it best, “This is the Taj Mahal of furniture stores.”

Inside, there were more surprises:

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What is that?!?! 

It seems as though the inside of this Jordan’s has a New Orleans theme. And an IMAX Theater. And an escalator where paintings of paparazzi “take” your picture (complete with camera flashes and shouting). No big deal.

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After the initial shock of our surroundings, we looked around at furniture. That endeavor, however, proved to be no less overstimulating.

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Wow – what a store. The search for furniture continues, but I think it’s pretty likely we’re going to return to Jordan’s furniture warehouse (cheaper priced furniture) for a couch. Stay tuned!

Celebration of love – 60 years strong!

This weekend was a special occasion…Noah’s grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary! We were lucky enough to get to go to Vermont to celebrate the day with them. And it was a celebration indeed! The festivities focused around a wonderful dinner.

The main event was a grilled trout that was stuffed with herbs and scallions and marinated for about an hour (we speculated that longer marination might have resulted in an even stronger flavor):

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The fish was a bit startling to look at – (EYEBALLS!) – but the yummy smells got going as soon as the fish was cooking. Getting the fish on the grill required a somewhat involved process of moving the fish from the pan to the grill without letting all the herbs and such from the inside spill out:

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Success!

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Meanwhile, the indoor preparations were also underway: setting the table, preparing a cucumber/radish/yogurt dressing side dish, and cooking a “salad” of sauteed peppers and green beans over lettuce:

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Soon enough, the fish was done!

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Everything was delicious, and it was really nice to see three generations of the family there!

The happy family – 60 years strong!

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Plus, there was lemon cake with passionfruit filling for dessert so…who could ever complain? :)

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<3 <3 <3

Boston Highs and Lows

I’ve been in Boston nearly three weeks now, and – my – what a whirlwind it’s been. Here are some of the highs and lows…

High – finding an apartment!

After a relatively painless few days of apartment searching, Noah and I have our own place! We’re moving September 1. Yay!!! (side note: photo below is to trick you and is actually not of the apartment we’re moving to…)

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Low – stolen bike :(

My beloved bicycle was stolen while it was locked to a bike rack and I was at dinner. Major bummer…but in optimistic spirits, this can become a high…

High – a new bike!

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I got a new, beautiful, Trek FX Disc 7.2. I love it. :)

High – exploring the city with Noah!

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One of the highlights of our explorations so far has been an architecture cruise on the Charles River with the Charles Riverboat Company. The cruise lasted about 90 minutes, and we got a Groupon deal for it so it was pretty cheap! We went up and down the Charles, getting some great views of the city skyline, learning about the prominent buildings and history of the city.

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High – a visit to Martha’s Vineyard 

We spent a lovely 5 days on Martha’s Vineyard with Noah’s family, and it was the perfect relaxing vacation – lots of reading, game playing, bike riding, and delicious fresh fish!

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Low – sleeping in too late!

I’ve been enjoying my lazy schedule a little too much and have been sleeping in! This has, unfortunately, meant that I haven’t been getting up in time to go to the November Project with the full group. I have, however, still been going to the Harvard Stadium once a week to run the steps on my own – my time has gradually been improving!

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High – learning the little things

One of the most fun things about moving to a new city is learning the little personality traits of the place. I’ve really enjoyed learning little things about Boston and its eccentricities. For example, we’ve seen some of these solar-powered Soofa benches that have been installed throughout Cambridge recently. The benches have hook-ups for you to charge your phone while you’re out around town!

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Here’s to many more “highs” during my Boston years. :)

Visitors are the BEST

My much-alluded to 5 weeks in California this summer were hot, wonderful, and in the business of happiness. Unfortunately, however, they were not spent with my best bud…BUT he came to visit!

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(picture taken at Noah’s Bagels in LA)

Noah visited for a weekend, and we spent Shabbat at camp and then took Sunday to go out on the [heavily-trafficked-and-sprawling] town [of Los Angeles].

Happy day.

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The day started with a momentous occasion…the renting of my first rental car!

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First stop was The Grove, an outdoor shopping center/food market in LA with a fun downtown-y feel.

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We enjoyed some time walking around the stores and stalls, looking at the various treasures:

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Eventually, it was time to get down to business with the food, so we went to the Farmers Market area:

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The Farmers Market is basically a large collection of restaurants, food shops, and specialty stores. After looking around for a little while, I got a vegetable crepe with cheese from the Crepe Company:

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After The Grove, we drove to Santa Monica for some beach-walking and more window shopping.

California sunshine:

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The beach was crowded! And there appeared to be some sort of anti-war installation:

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Overall, a great visit and day out and about. :)

Closing a Chapter

It’s now been almost two months since returning from my year in Jerusalem, but it doesn’t feel as though I’ve really ended that chapter yet. This may be due, in part, to the fact that I was only in Boston for one week before heading to California for 5 weeks and then coming back to Boston only recently. Since I haven’t really felt settled anywhere else and I haven’t had much time to make a new “home,” I feel like I need a little closure (I’m thinking of Friends now, for anyone who gets the reference).

As a step along the way, here are some memories and pictures that I didn’t get a chance to blog about during the year…

On one of our Friday adventures, Noah and I visited the Bible Lands Museum (across from the Israel Museum) where we learned a lot about archaeology and the connections between archaeological finds and the historic time period of the Bible…

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on our way home, we walked through the Wohl Rose Garden – flowers weren’t really sprouting yet, but we still got some great views looking out on the city!

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I passed this little piece of ‘graffiti’ everyday on my walk from home to Pardes – always a good reminder in the morning. :)

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Secret from my past: I used to be a total RENT-head, and I’ve seen the show 17 times. <3 As fate would have it, dreams were realized when an amateur production of RENT happened in the holy city last spring, making it my 18th showing and Noah’s first!

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My excitement before the show was immense, and I made Noah this nifty chart to help him learn the characters beforehand:

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In our final weeks in Jerusalem, Noah and I wanted to go back to the Old City to do some last-minute touring and also to take advantage of being only a 30 minute walk from so many amazing/holy/important/fascinating places. On our last trip to the Old City, we visited the Hurva Synagogue, a historic synagogue in the Jewish Quarter that is still used for worship and study today:

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For our last Israeli meal, we went to a lunch restaurant in the shuk that we’d wanted to try for a while. The restaurant is called Azura, and it’s a meat restaurant serving various types of traditional Middle-Eastern meat dishes and a killer hummus:

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And there you go…final moments from a year to remember. 

אם אשכחך ירושלים תשכח ימיני – if I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget.
Psalms 137:5

One Week in Boston

My blogging has been in a bit of dry spell, but it’s because I’m in the sweltering Simi Valley. Simi Valley, in fact, is in a dry spell of its own as the area is experiencing a severe drought. We’ve been asked to cut water usage to 85% of regular levels.

I’m in California for 5 weeks working at a Jewish summer camp program (for young adults!), and I have 2 weeks left. Before I came here, I had about one week in Boston. One week to “settle” into my new home…but I think I’ll really do the settling once I return to Boston in mid-July. Nonetheless, in an attempt to stay connected to the blog during these crazy California work weeks, here are some highlights from my first week in Boston:

1. American coffee in all its forms
Featuring Starbucks, 1369 Coffeehouse, and Bloc 11 – all in the Cambridge/Somerville area

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Although I’m a huge fan of coffee in Israel (and especially the fact that coffee there is served in reasonable sizes!), the coffeeshop menus in America go way beyond the scope of Israeli coffee menus. In Israel, basically the options were Americano or Cappuccino. I missed the milky-madness and sugar-bomb variety of American coffeeshops. :)

2. Fitness!!

Running was a big part of my time in Jerusalem, but I didn’t do any group or organized fitness there – no gyms or yoga classes! So, I was extremely excited to get my yoga groove on when I got to Boston. Within my first 24 hours, I bought a yoga mat and signed up for a trial week at Be.Yoga in Union Square:

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I also had my much-anticipated return to the November Project. For those who aren’t familiar, the November Project is a grassroots fitness community that started in Boston and has spread throughout the country (and beyond!). The group has no cost, and it is centered around fun and relationships that are formed by sweating together. The group meets three times a week – Wednesdays are the classic November Project workout: running all 37 sections of the Harvard Stadium steps.

You start at the last section:

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And 48 sweaty minutes later (if you’re me), you get to the beginning!:

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Holy cow. This workout is amazingly hard, but it’s really no wonder that it’s so popular. By the time you’re running up only the second set of stairs, you think there’s no possible way you can get to the end..but then you do. And it is so empowering! I am already looking forward to being back in Boston in a of couple weeks and returning to the steps to try to break my 48-minute time!

3. New restaurants!

Obviously, I love going out to eat. A big highlight of moving to a new city is re-starting the game to find the place’s fun/unique/delicious foods. In the week I was in Boston, I somehow ended up finding myself at Clover three times:

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Clover started as a vegetarian food truck, but it gained such popularity that it now has several storefront locations around the Boston area. There are a few right in the Cambridge neighborhoods, so it is a convenient and delicious spot for any meal of  the day. AND….EXCITING NEWS!!! Clover recently announced that they will be going certified kosher. Woohoo! This is definitely a big win for Boston kosher restaurants. :)

I also went for lunch with a friend at a bakery/cafe near Central Square called Flour. Flour has the typical cafe/bakery assortment of salads, sandwiches, pastries, coffee, and soup. But it also has some interesting extras like stuffed bread and homemade pizza! Everything on the menu looks delicious, and I would definitely be happy to go back there again in the future:

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4. Seeing the sights!

Noah and I love exploring. For the Sunday we had together in Boston before I went to California, we went to the Boston Science Museum:

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I had so much fun! There were a lot of really interesting exhibits – photography of food, the human body, electricity…the list goes on. The highlight of the visit for me though was watching an IMAX movie on humpback whales – it was so cool! It turns out that humpback whales were almost killed off by human hunters, but when a recording of their whale songs was accidentally discovered and released as a recording, they captured the hearts of the public and were ultimately saved by a series of conservation and protection laws. Also, baby humpback whales are 14-feet long when they are born – CRAZY!

All in all, I had a great week in Boston, and I’m excited for the adventures to continue when I’m back there in another couple weeks! See you soon, Boston. :)

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City of David tour and Hezekiah’s Tunnels

Noah and I are back in the United States now! Wow, what a year in Israel. I’m going to try to put out a post or two about the first days back in Boston soon, but for now, here’s a final recap of the last days in Israel.

A couple weeks before we left, Noah and I finally took a much-anticipated tour of the City of David. We had been wanting to do a tour there since last fall, but schedules were always busy and we wanted to reserve a spot on an English tour in advance. Eventually, the end of our time in Israel was approaching so we knew we needed to go! We went on a Friday afternoon tour through the city and the water tunnels. In total, the tour was about 3 hours long. We got there early to look around the area before the tour started:

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The tour started with an overview of the area (which has a great overlook into East Jerusalem) and explanations about some of the ruins found in the area.

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The highlight of a tour to the City of David, however, is a trip through the water tunnels. King Hezekiah built these tunnels as a way to defend the city from the approaching Assyrian army in the 8th century BCE. Today, the tunnels still have some water (about knee deep, sometimes a little higher).

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Unfortunately, our trip through the tunnels wasn’t the greatest. We were behind a group that was singing very loudly and, it turned, included several blind people. It was great that the group was enabling some blind people to walk through the tunnel, but it made the trip through the tunnels very slow and I started to get sort of frightened after being in the small space for so long! I was definitely glad to see the sunshine when we got to the end!

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Besides the City of David tunnels, there were some other final activities and restaurant visits that we wanted to make sure to get in before leaving the holy city. A few highlights include…

birthday dinner at my favorite Jerusalem cafe, Kadosh:

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a final trip to the Old City to see the Tower of David Night Spectacular:

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a waffle from Waffle Bar:

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Saying goodbye to our beloved Jerusalem apartment:

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And a 4:00am trip to Ben Gurion airport for our departure flight:

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Goodbye, Israel. I will miss you so dearly.