I don’t know we will ever quit two jobs again for a family sabbatical, so I treat this year as “once in a lifetime”. I set myself goals for the first six months [link], leaving the second half open to incorporate first half lessons.
When we came to Israel, three months ago, I decided to focus on:
1. Parenting a Spirited Child [and a newly minted Teenager]
2. Moving our Family towards a Plant-Based Diet
3. Learning Hebrew
So these are strictly speaking not my month eight learnings, but the learnings of my three months (months 7, 8 and 9) in Israel:
I read a large number of parenting books. I learnt to play and listen to my children [link]. Relative calm returned to our family after months of outbursts on the road, largely due to the return of a strict routine. Still we choose for “feeling homework” instead of regular homework to develop the lagging social skills of one of my children. At the same time, World Trip Girl aged four years in Israel. The freedom she enjoyed in Israel, catapulted her into a new era. She “Said Goodbye to Childhood” and “Found herself a New Tribe” [of friends]. We are still getting used to this new normal, but it is great to see your children grow up before your eyes.
Plant Based Diet
I wrote about my struggles in the kitchen [here]. I discovered that I still don’t like cooking and that Metro Man is addicted to restaurants. So if we are going to continue to eat healthy, home-cooked meals after returning to the USA, we will have to find a creative solution. Perhaps I need to sign-up for a meal-delivery service, of which I know there are many. Fortunately, we made progress with eliminating sugar and processed foods from our diet and I believe it contributed to the return of relative harmony in our home. I wrote about it in “Letter to my Son: Why I don’t want you to eat Sugar?”.
When my husband and I met in Japan, I was busy learning Japanese and twenty years later I was still using that as an excuse not to learn Hebrew. In solidarity with my children, who were attending a local public school, I signed up for an intensive language course at Ulpan Neve Tsedek [link]. Unfortunately, after three months, I still speak little Hebrew. When I try to use my Hebrew at home, Seven gets very upset. The last thing he wants is to hear after a difficult day at school is to hear more Hebrew. Since most people in Israel speak excellent English, I rarely need Hebrew anyway. I learnt to read and write, which makes it easier to use Google Translate. Still, the Ulpan wasn’t a waste of time. I met immigrants from around the world, from teens to retirees, and somehow this made me feel more at home in Israel.
Metro Man doesn’t believe in goals. He is very good at Carpe Diem. I can learn a lot from him. Still, he embarked on a sabbatical project of his own. He watched many documentaries, concerts, plays and musicals, sometimes three times a week. I joined him for some of these, including Matti Caspi (singer), Machina (band), Hair (musical) and an Israeli play, but for him this was just the tip of the iceberg.
The Children: School in Israel
The children had their own experience in Israel as they attended a local public school. For all three of them there was more growth and learning in these past three months, than in any of our travels so far. I will write about this separately.
I will write about our plan for the last three months separately.