We've had such a great time during Batsheva's visit :). She has quickly and seamlessly fallen right into the family schedule--she goes to ulpan in the morning and works in the afternoon through late night. She's in the 4th level of ulpan, so (boo) she's not with me because she's too advanced (Shalom Shachne's 5th level class meets with 4th twice a week. She says it's very interesting to see her father as a student!).
We've gone on a lot of "tiyyulim" (trips). It's been great to have the impetus of her visit to "make us" take days off of school/ulpan, rent a car and see more of the country. It was wonderful to explore our local area and see all the incredible sites we live near. There is a famous hill nearby, Givat Haturmusim (Lupine Hill), that is covered in beautiful flowers of many colors. Being a city-ish girl, I can't tell you the names of any of them, but they sure were pretty! I don't think I've ever seen a lupine before (Monty Python doesn't count) and they are just lovely.
|"Hand over all the lupines you've got..."|
|snails aka "getting jiggy with the macro setting on the phone"|
We also explored the amazing nearby archaeological site of Beit Guvrin. The area is huge--over 1200 acres--so we only saw a small part, but it's unbelievable to see what people in the past did with the area. According to the Israeli National Parks website, the caves "consist mainly of chalk overlaid with harder rock called nari. For thousands of years people have been cutting into the rock beneath the nari as quarries, burial caves, storerooms, industrial facilities, hideouts and dovecotes. They dug small openings into the nari, normally no more than two meters thick, and expanded the caves into the softer chalk beneath. Hundreds of such caves were dug at Bet Guvrin and its surroundings, creating subterranean networks of unparalleled complexity."
We visited the nearby area where David and Goliath fought and also saw the incredible stalactite and stalagmite caves.
We celebrated Ilana's birthday a month early (so Batsheva could be here) by going to Be'er Sheva (oftentimes transliterated locally as "Beer Sheva". Only sorry that we couldn't get a can of beer for (Bat)Sheva to hold near one of those signs....). Ilana and Shalom Shachne had a really fun visit to Carasso Science Park in Be'er Sheva on an ulpan field trip and she wanted to celebrate by going back and fully exploring the museum.
It was an hour's drive through really gorgeous areas. The fields were so green and lush they almost looked fake ("Hey, this looks like the beginning of 'Teletubbies'!")
The museum was terrific (we stayed until closing time) and had a really fun outdoor park. Batsheva quickly learned to play "Happy Birthday" on this....rock thingie