Awake at 6:30 AM, which I hate, but knew I had to do. I helped make sandwiches, turned the oven on to preheat. Washing some dishes I called out the time, “It’s 7:05!”, some little people showed up asking for snacks to pack, drying my hands, I grabbed the smiley chocolate sandwich cookies and the pretzels, with another I opened the drawer and grabbed the box of baggies, tossing-in, tying-up, shutting the drawer with my hip. I scream, “Hurry up, its 7:15!!!!” I start the kettle for hot water, take out the yeast from the freezer, grab an apple from the fridge, wash apple, cut apple, toss apple, tie the bag, toss to a blonde child, not sure which one.
Checking the clock I scream out, “OMG!!! It’s 7:20, if you don’t hurry up, you’ll miss the bus and I cannot take you this morning I have plans!!” (like she cares). In she walks with major bed head, no hair band or headband and no shoes, I want to cry, I can hear the bus coming down the hill. I grab, she whines, water and conditioner through her hair, found a clip, grab her arm, oh the wailing, I scream, “sorry, run, sorry, sorry, sorry, RUN!”. She made it. Phew. Back to the kitchen.
I took out the bags of flour, the sifter and breathed deeply. I had a plan. The plan was for the next hour and a half I would concentrate solely on my food preparations for the Holy Sabbath. I was getting picked up/meeting my ride at 9 AM and so as my water boiled, I began making my dough for the Challah. I use this book featured on the right. I have tried many recipes looking for the perfect one and then finally I bought this book, and this book not only has beautiful photos (which I love), there is also a page for the blessing, in BIG BOLD LETTERS, which makes it easier to concentrate on while reading. Among other really yummy recipes that are dough-based like pretzels and cinnamon buns.
I worked feverishly in the kitchen with complete concentration and multi-tasked like a pro. Peeling, cutting, chopping, frying, basting, washing, mixing, pouring, poking, prodding, tasting, seasoning, and with a final glance at the clock, at 8:55 AM I dried my hands, ran upstairs, covered my hair, added some lip gloss, checked my email, ran down the stairs, out the house, down the block. The new moisturizing facial cream I used was making me glisten, but I smelled like vanilla so I guess it was okay.
I was picked up, and on my way. I was so excited to be participating in an activity that was geared to tapping in to my new creative side. The 2nd Annual Blogger’s Scavenger Hunt! With 80 posts behind me, hitting over 30 countries, sponsored by the Jerusalem Scavenger Hunts team, I was excited to meet people who blog like me, to be in and “tour” the neighborhood of Nachlaot, (I’d only done it once before). Nachlaot is full of hidden maze-like streets that have so many treasures every time you make another turn. We were split into teams of four, given a map, a notebook, a pencil, a list of items to find and to photograph, directions, and a booklet filled with factual details about the things we were about to see.
Amazing. Eye-Opening. Competitive. Fun. This is one of the most amazing challenges I have had in a long time. These are some of the things I saw:
A Sephardi Synagogue that was once a bar. (featured on the left), murals painted on the walls, a eucalyptus tree in the middle of the stone neighborhood, ancient cisterns, amazing arches, we were given some change and asked to be creative with it. We gave some of the money to charity and bought a pastry from the nearby shuk (outdoor market). We found a soccer field, yeah, a SOCCER FIELD, in this amazing neighborhood with streets that are narrow. We read about the history of certain families that fled at the time of the Spanish Expulsion. We tried to list 10 songs with the word Jerusalem ( that was kinda’ hard) and we were asked to interview a local and find out something unique. Well, did I pick a winner! I had a gut feeling and stopped this woman who (drum roll please) was the granddaughter of Reb Aryeh Levin!! In an alley where it was quiet but for the other tourists there was a very modest looking woman with a shopping cart. I asked her if she were a resident and she claimed that she was there to help her elderly mother, who was sharp in her ripe old age but needed daily help.
She was smiling as she spoke with us and after a few more questions she shyly told us she was the granddaughter taking care of the daughter of Reb Aryeh and invited us back to her home to speak with her mother to hear stories about him if we met up after she did her shopping.Where else in the world does this happen? No place that I know of outside Israel. For those interested in Reb Aryeh Levin you can read more about him HERE.
We were pumped, we were close to the end of our clues, we could feel the victory, but we saw other teams and rushed, but enjoyed winding through the streets to our final destination, where, WE. CAME. IN. FIRST. PLACE! Yeah baby! But that was not the most important thing even though the competitive girl in me was dancing and cheering. The important thing is that I met lots of really cool people, learned so much in such a short amount of time, had fun on a Friday where normally I am tied to the kitchen cooking up a storm for guests and family, which I continued as soon as I got home. I saw lots of interesting things, saw actors putting on a show, and really had an overall amazing experience thanks to Tali and her Scavenger Hunt Staffers.
I would recommend this activity to any group coming in to Israel, whether you are family or a synagogue or a summer group. The staff was helpful and found us many times throughout the search, asking how we were doing and tipping us off if we seemed lost.
All in all it was great fun, I love winning, but better than the candy prize that came with victory (which was YUMMY) was the prize I’ll walk away with forever. New friends.
The Winning Team, plus our fourth – the photographer!