There's something in the air

by AGreene / Dec 15, 2008 / 1 comments

Hi all! I would continue to apologize for my inadequate posting, but it gets repetitive after some time. Since I live in the Sunshine State, we don't really experience the seasons like most of the country. The winter here means we have sunny days with no humidity and a cool breeze.

Now before you want to start hurling snowballs with rocks inside them at me, I have experienced a cold winter. Where you ask? Well, surprisingly enough in Israel. Almost everyone I meet thinks of Israel as a sprawling desert with sparse greenery, blazing hot sun and oven-like temperatures. While this is true about some of the country, during the winter a change comes.

When I lived in Jerusalem, I was excited for winter. I looked forward to wearing my sweaters, layering clothes, pulling on tights to keep warm. The city grew colder as the season wore on and sometimes so rainy, you couldn't see in front of you. You grow accustomed to carrying an umbrella with you because the sky is often cloudy and portentous.

I once walked to work, a 20 minute jaunt usually, and had my umbrella with me because it had started to pour. Like a Girl Scout, I was prepared. I had put on my regular shirt, long-sleeved shirt, jacket and anorak so that if rain did seep in, it would not go through all my layers. I had resigned myself to walking in wet jeans and sneakers, hoping that the portable heater would be near my desk. About halfway through my walk, my umbrella broke from the force of the wind. Giving up on trying to hold it together until I reached my destination, I pulled my hood up and tried to walk faster without slipping. As I walked, I could feel my legs grow heavier as the water seeped into my jeans. I finally made it to work and received several funny looks as I left watermarks behind. I was quickly ordered to change, but since I didn't bring extra pants, I was given to shawls to use as a make-shift skirt. It took some creativity to make sure it wouldn't fall off after I sat down. I walked around the office for the next four hours in my multi-colored skirt and white socks since my pants and sneakers were next to the heater. As a random fact, should anyone ask you how long it takes for pants to dry on a heater the answer is about three hours.

This is just one example of what the weather can be like. In the north, there's Mount Hermon which opens to skiers for the winter if there is enough snowfall. Israel shares this mountain with Syria and the United Nations. It's supposed to be a beautiful sight and a fantastic place to ski. In the last week of December when I lived there, we kept hearing rumors it would snow. Snow in winter is normal for New York, but not for Jerusalem. It only snows every few years and my friends and I could not help but get our hopes up. We had several false starts, but finally, one afternoon while we watched expectantly it started to snow. The city was quickly blanketed by the cold white stuff, making it shimmer and shine.My friend and I started grinning like little kids and practically ran to the nearby gardens. The garden was covered with snow as were the flowers, trees and bushes. It looked stunning, like a winter wonderland.

Israel has more to offer than blistering sun and dry deserts. It has the full range of climate changes and there is no better example than winter. It refreshes the country with water, with wind and cold temperatures. I will tell what this winter is like when I come back in February from a trip. In the mean time, I'll post once more before I leave. I hope you're enjoying the winter and staying warm!


AGreene is the Living in Israel Editor for Wandering Educators.

Comments (1)

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    14 years 12 months ago

    A - it is so interesting to read your story - and so funny, with the drying times! It is times like these that we remember from our lives overseas, isn't it? Thanks!


    Jessie Voigts


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