Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy New Year!

I have been very remiss in posting to my blog as of late. So this post will be a catch-up of everything that has gone on up until now.

In September/October I took a trip to Paris and Israel. I spent 3 days in Paris and stayed with my Aussie cousin Toby and his wife Leesa. Leesa is working there with the Australian consulate and they have a gorgeous 4 bedroom apartment in the consulate complex overlooking the Eiffel Tower. It was really nice to catch up and spend some quality time with them. Our other cousin, Steven is also living there and we actually all got together with a bunch of other Aussies for a "pre" Rosh Hashannah dinner, which was really nice, because even though Toby, Steven and I all grew up in Melbourne, this was the first time we were able to celebrate a Jewish holiday together. Coincidentally, Steven's father, Marcel was also visiting, and it was nice to catch up with another person from home.

I have been to Paris before, so I wasn't really up for doing the usual touristy stuff, just to exeprience the city like a local. Having arrived in Paris from New York, it was really apparent to me just how much more refined and beautiful Paris is by comparison. Paris really does hold its own as the style capital of the world.
Another thing I was impressed with was the bicycle system. Paris has a system where there are bicycle stations every few blocks and you can pick up and then drop off your bicycle at any of these stations - very cool! I must admit it was quite scary driving down these small streets with a car driving right next to you but I managed to survive!

My next stop was Israel. I had arranged to do an apartment swap with an Israeli couple. They were staying in my apartment in NY while I stayed in their apartment in Tel Aviv. It worked out really well! I felt a little like I was living the movie "The Holiday" as I ended up spending a lot of time with the guy that let me into the apartment! I had a really nice time in Israel, visiting with family and friends and enjoying the Tel Aviv nightlife. And I fell in love with Israeli breakfasts!
A funny thing happened whil I was in Israel. I was speaking to my mother on the phone and she mentioned that her cousin John and his family would be visiting Israel. But she had no details on when, where and how long, but said "I'm sure you will run into them" and I said, "Israel is not that small!" So one day I am sitting on the beach in Tel Aviv (each day I went to sit at a different beach) and I hear this Australian accent (living away from Australia my ears are finely tunes to the Aussie accent) and I look a few metres away, and there is my cousin John and his two kids!! It was nice to catch up with them.
So that was my Paris/Israel trip. At the end of November I returned to Australia to visit with my family and to meet my 2 new identical nephews. Very cute! Not much has changed in Australia and while I had a nice time, I found myself looking forward to going "home" to New York. I returned to New York to "enjoy" the onset of winter. It is now snowing and we just survived a number of days with highs around -9 degrees celsius! I think it is actually the coldest weather I have ever been in! This winter is definitely more severe than last winter.
Until next time....

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