Friday, July 26, 2013

Sorry for the Delay!

Hi Friends!

Sorry for the brief break in updates - it turned out it was just too busy to keep up while my family was in Israel with the wedding in the same week. I promise there will be many pictures of their adventures with me - as well as wedding photos - to follow as soon as I get my hands on them!

As for right now, Sharbel and I are in beautiful Italy! After arriving in Rome, we picked up our car, which to my delight, turned out to be a...

As you might imagine, the drive was quite difficult, made moreso that we took the GPS-recommended route that took us through some crazy road that went OVER Monte Faito instead of around it! We took a picture to prove we survived:

Once we arrived at the hotel, the Mediterraneo in Sant'Agnello (Sorrento), we were informed that because we are honeymooners, we were bumped into one of the best rooms in the sister building that had the most amazing balcony literally right on the cliffs. Here are some pictures of what it looked like:

Now that you're all sufficiently jealous, I'll end with a picture of how we spent our first evening here (that's gnocchi, by the way). Next to come - pictures of our excursions to Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius yesterday and our meanderings from today!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Beach Photoshoot Teaser

Sorry to disappoint - no pictures yet, but we spent a good two hours taking gorgeous pictures on the beach today. I got a little peek at them and they look amazing!

To celebrate (and also recover, 2 hours of pictures is tiring) Sharbel and I went to another restaurant called Fatoush on Ben Gurion for some wine and cheese. It really has the best outdoor patio ever:

(I want a light like that for our house someday)

A totally unnecessary selfie:

And the coolest upside down chairs/suspended bicycle ever:

Looking forward to tomorrow and finally seeing my family!! Yay!! The fun begins :)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Party Time and the Recovery

Last night was the big party at the house, so in order to get out of the way of some prep, Shar and I spent the afternoon by heading to the gym for an hour, followed by some beach time. Once people started to arrive, here is an idea of exactly how much food there was:

And this is what it looked like all set up:

You can't even handle this much deliciousness.

It was a fun and tiring night - lots of food and dancing on the back patio. There exists some very incriminating video of Sharbel, Shadi, and yours truly participating in the epitome of North American/Korean culture (Gangnam Style.) I'm half hoping it never surfaces and half hoping it does.

We slept in pretty late today, but then went out to Douzan for some "filtered coffee" (read: Canadian-style brewed coffee):

We also stopped in at the hotel where my family will be staying to look around and take some pictures:

This is the street just in front with some pretty trees:

The courtyard inside:

And the lobby:

I absolutely love these floors:

And just to prove to my parents/grandparents that getting money exchanged will not be difficult, here's a shot of the street directly opposite the hotel with the "Change" sign ;) :

Can't wait for everyone to join us in a few days!!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Relaxation at last, kinda.

Sharbel and I managed to get in a little bit of relaxation yesterday; a walk on the beach, followed by some time to pursue some of our separate pastimes:

(By the way, don't hate on me book-snobs, it's been a super fun read so far!)

We had planned to go to the gym, but, ironically, it was flooded. It's like they knew we were from Toronto.

In the late afternoon we took a trip out to the village of Jish to visit with some family. Jish is about an hour and a bit away from Haifa, not far from Tiberius (otherwise known as the Sea of Galilee), and literally a stones-throw from the Lebanese border. I regret that there wasn't really an opportunity for picture taking there, but it really is the Arabic village you'd see in some really romantic movie. Hilariously narrow streets too. 

The drive to Jish was also a highlight as you can see Tiberius from the road as you travel up and over the mountains. I did take some video and will try to upload it at some point!

We finished off the evening chilling with Shadi and Rawan for a bit before dealing with some automotive excitement (car pretty much eats oil, apparently) and getting safely home.

As for today, after our morning gym trip, we made another stop to visit Rieta and Yuri, followed by the seamstress who fixed my shirt for me. Afterwards, Sharbel took me to the best Falafel place in Haifa. Oh. My. God. I'm completely ruined for Ali Baba's falafel back in TO. Amazing. No words.

There's going to be a party for some of Sharbel's close family and friends in his honour at his parents' house tomorrow night, so today there were several aunts/friends/cousins at the house assisting Mona (Sharbel's mom) in making waraq dawali (grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat). We decided to get out of the way and go walk on a different beach:

I thought this bit of vandalism was cool:

(Bonus marks if you know what it means without googling it! Come on, choral singers!)

We've spent the last few hours tidying up the back patio in preparation for tomorrow, but now it's done. Finally time to sleep! :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Back to normal - almost.

First of all, let me say that all of us here are thinking of our Toronto friends and family as you recover from the flood. We're beyond relieved that Muzart and our house are miraculously untouched - it was a tense wait this morning (since our 8am is your 1am) while we waited to be able to call someone. I hope power is coming back for you and that you take the opportunity to have massive BBQs to use up your frozen meats!

After assuring ourselves there was no disaster at home, we made a trip to Shafa'amer to pick up some homemade olive oil from Sharbel's Aunt. They have 2 goats and a rooster - I've never actually known anyone with their own goats! 

Following our visit there, we stopped at a store to pick up the wedding favors, and then at an ice cream store famous for one flavor - pistachio. Here is my handsome husband enjoying an absolutely gigantic cone:

I tried to take some pictures of the mountains behind Haifa while we drove, but they hardly do them justice:

Tonight, we took a trip to the main mall, called Grand Canyon (confusing, I know), to find an outfit for me for our beach wedding photoshoot. Success.

I feel like I must mention this - we passed a store on the way, presumably for pets, called Doggie Style. If you don't know why this is hilarious, I'm not explaining it further.

That's all for now - more village travels to come tomorrow (with more dedicated photography, I promise.)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Minor Setback

Unfortunately, no pictures today! Sharbel and I have had a very quiet couple of days. We both experienced a very mild bout of food poisoning yesterday (Sharbel much more than me, I have a stomach of steel!) Did anyone else know that parsley can give you food poisoning? I will forever reconsider eating tabouli at any fast-food place. Consider yourselves warned!

Aside from that unpleasantness, we managed to get out a little bit today, as well as take a short walk on the beach tonight. 

Tomorrow will probably be back to normal speed!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Lazy Day

Today was extremely relaxed for the both of us - with Sharbel's parents needing the car to go out of town most of the day, we happily caught up on sleep and watched movies.

Here's Sharbel looking dramatically out the window:

After a nice afternoon visit with Sharbel's uncle, we ventured out to visit a school friend of Shar's in his place of work - a church/halfway house called House of Grace. Beautiful place and really lovely people. Here's Sharbel outside the chapel:

After that, Shar drove us up to the top of Mt. Carmel to check out the view by the University:

Why can't UofT have a view like that?!?

We rounded off the night with a little food and drink down at Douzan:

Enjoy your rainy, muggy weather, Canada! I'm just fine here. :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Wedding Almost Planned!

We're finally starting to tick off all the boxes on the wedding planning. Here are some pictures I took outside of the photographer's studio a couple days ago:

We made it to the beach for the first time yesterday. Seriously, Canada - we need beaches where you can lie on the sand and be served beer. It's just the right thing to do.

This morning, we had a date with Goodlife, Israeli Edition:

Afterwards, we met our wedding singer (who is NOT Adam Sandler) for coffee, followed by another lovely visit with Rieta and her husband Yuri. Rieta told me today that my face in profile reminds her of Princess Diana. Love this woman.

Tonight, we had a great time with Sharbel's cousin Shadi and his wife Rawan, who took us out to a great sushi place on the mountain, followed by dessert on Ben Gurion (the main strip in Haifa):

Go figure a waitress would recognize Sharbel from the Jerusalem restaurant in Toronto. Totally weird. 

Looking forward to another slightly more relaxed day tomorrow - still not used to the fact that the weekend here is Friday and Saturday.