Friendships, they’re funny things.

Do you remember your first best friend? I do. We were in grade 1, and I’d just moved back to South Africa. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but our friendship lasts to this day. I don’t see her much these days, as we live in separate cities, a couple of times a year, but whenever either of us are in the other’s town (she’ll be in CT more often than I’ll be in Joberg) we’ll meet up.

Do you ever see on Facebook those people who are friends with the same group of friends from High School? I always have a little bit of a laugh. On the one hand I think it’s really sweet, and really nice.But sometimes also a little strange. Out of my group of friends in High School, I don’t think I see any of them anymore. Not because of any fall outs, but they’ve all moved elsewhere. Are you still friends with the same crowd from High School? I wonder what keeps certain groups together after so many years. What is it that doesnt change, or do they all “change” in the same direction?

I’m happy to say that I haven’t “lost” any friends. I’ve never had such a fall out with someone that I can say “I used to have this friend” and only have nasty things to say about a relationship gone unfortunately sour.  Anyone I’m not friends, or in touch with anymore, is mainly because of distance. Sometimes when you don’t see each other anymore in the environment that first brought you together, you just tend to go your own way. And I truly believe that’s perfectly ok. Sometimes the things that bring us together, won’t always keep you together. Yet distance won’t always separate friends. You’ll have friends you don’t see for months, or years, and still consider one of your closest. It might range from the weekly Skype call, to whatsapp conversations or even sporadic emails.

I have so many of these friends. My best friend from primary school is one of them. My friend in Joberg who came down for my wedding, who I’ll only have seen once before celebrating her wedding later this year. A handful of close friends who have moved to live in Joberg. A friend from school living in Israel, who isn’t so good technologically and we send each other an email every other month to catch up. A friend from New Zealand who I Skype a couple of times a year. My friend in Sydney who came for my wedding, and is currently updating me via whatsapp on the plans for hers. Too many friends in Israel. Too many. It’s tough having so many close friends scattered across the world. Not knowing when you’ll see them again is literally soul destroying.

It’s starting to sound bad isn’t it? That I have so many friends far away. It’s hard. But thankfully, every year that friends have left (it’s been too frequent to count) we land up making new friends, so you don’t feel as lonely. It’s like an ebb and flow of the sea. Being married, husbands are awesome company. But they’re really not the same as your girl friends.

I find it so funny how since school has ended I’ve bumped into so many former classmates. So many who were in my grade since grade 7, that I mostly never spoke to all the way up to matric. Your inner 17 year old thinks it’ would be so awkward, but seriously, High School was so 6 years ago. We’re all adults now. I’ve landed up working with two people from school. Another was the HR manager at a job I was applying for.  I bumped into someone at a wedding last week, and I reconnected with another over twitter. And none of these encounters were awkward in the slightest.

Twitter. I’ve found it so wonderful how “twitter” friends, can become your actual friend. To date I’ve met two people who originally I met on twitter. I’d consider them friends. I’m sure if I met more of these people in real life, they’d become my friends too. People on Facebook don’t understand how the local twitter “community”, if I may call it that, is just that – a community. It’s not a bunch of weirdos who sit and live on their computer. Who knows, maybe it’s just my industry and interests. And the blogging community. I’ve recently become fascinated by the concept of communities, and how they can form over something so seemingly random. Like covering your hair. I know, right? But through my 365 project, and some groups on Facebook it’s like I’ve discovered another world of people who feel like my friends.

For me, it was refreshing to get out of High School and making new friends. That’s probably because I came from a Jewish school. At university people were all so different, yet brought together by their interests and their choices of study. My friends from university all hold such a special place in my heart. Most I haven’t seen in years, some since my wedding, or even graduation. I’ve bumped into a few in and around Cape Town. How can you forget the friends that you spent hours in the sun on Jammie steps, had you laughing through 1st year English or got you through some boring lectures. I miss my one friend, who we’d have wonderful discussions about life and our respective religions, the type of conversation that really enriches your soul. She flew in for the day for our wedding, and it hurts me that I can’t return the favour to be at hers. Though it’s been years since seeing these people, I know if I had an afternoon with them, the conversation would never stop flowing.

Naturally, the people you spend the most time with are also ones that you’re likely to develop friendships with. My parents always tell me how lucky I am to have had such great colleagues. Colleagues that become friends. One of my closest friends, started out as a colleague. I definitely saw more of her in an average day than I saw Greg, and I didn’t even mind so much. Even since starting a new job everyone has been so lovely, and while it’s only been a short time and we haven’t hung out outside of work, as time goes by, I could definitely see this happening. I really felt this the other day when I bumped into a guy I used to work with. It was just so nice to see him.

Sometimes it feel like all my closest friends are leaving. 2 of my friends are moving this week (and more to come), and while sometimes it’s pretty easy enough to get caught in the downward spiral of misery wondering where all my friends have gone, I like to keep things positive by focusing on who is actually still here. I have a theory, that every year people leave, and every year new people move in to town. It’s not easy when your friends aren’t a short drive away, and you won’t replace them, but it’s nice to know you won’t be lonely. So I’m quite excited to focus more on certain friendships and nurture and cultivate them. Kind of like growing a plant (except, I really can’t do that. I’d be much better at growing friendships).

My friends, and the concept of being a good friend are both very important for me. Even though so many of my friends live so far, I feel cornily lucky to have them. May the friends and friendships you have, the friends you hardly see and the friends you’ll make in the future continue to enrich you all and make your heart as full as my friends do for me.

Israel Part 3: What else did we get up to?

Aside for the Bar-Mitzvah and eating, we managed to do lots of little odds and ends in our 9 day stay. Most of it included shopping and seeing long lost friends: and it’s meeting up with friends you haven’t seen in years that really is the greatest treat. Naturally we also did a small amount of travelling and touring to some common tourist hot spots.

We were based in Raanana, a city rather North-ish, which is where I used to live as a kid. We managed to visit the metropolitan city of Tel Aviv and checked out those markets I was so super excited about. I took a whole bunch of money, and naturally hardly spent a thing. I met up with a friend currently on her gap year and we also met up with Greg’s friend from his gap year. The last time we were in Israel Greg actually landed up going to their wedding, so for me it was really great to meet Simon. Truth is, it was a lot of walking and crazy humidity. We also didn’t have a cellphone (well, sim card or wireless) which made it difficult to split from my family. It was also our first day, and managing public transport was a bit of a frustration. So we had a great time in Tel Aviv, but I was glad to go home back to our air-conditioned apartment.

A note about the heat and humidity: you wake up in the morning hot and sticky and go take a shower. You come back in the afternoon from whatever you’ve done – hot – and take a shower. And for good measure, you know to take another shower before bed just to cool off again. Cape Town summer heat is a treat in comparison!

The next couple of days we spent in Jerusalem (actually, we stayed there for half of our trip at a very good friend of ours. The last time I saw her was at our wedding, which she flew out for.) and we met up with plenty of people over that time. You see, various Jewish organisations send Israeli’s to different parts of the world every year so over the years we have made a fortune of friends who have come and gone from Cape Town. On top of that, there have also been so many of our friends who have “made Aliyah”, which means they’ve moved there.

I met my close friend from High School that I’d only seen once since graduating, Greg met with a friend/ex-colleague. We met up with my brother in the Shuk (market) and went out for supper the three of us, which was such a chilled, relaxed and different atmosphere than going with your entire family. Just siblings. My brother is currently in the Israeli army, doing a commanders course. It’s tough, but he loved it. And doesn’t he look great in uniform? 😉 I met up with a friend from my gap year – he’s originally from South Africa, moved to New Zealand as a kid, recently moved to Australia and was currently on a semester abroad in The States – where he was going on a tour to Israel. Our tradition on our gap year (among many) was to go for ice-cream on Ben Yehuda, so naturally that’s where we met up. Also met up with my friend Lisa who’s getting married in 5 short weeks.

We had an incredible Shabbat spent with past shlichim (those guys who come to Cape Town for a year). We hadn’t seem some of them in 3 years, and they’d gone from having 1.5 children to 3. It was crazy to see how their youngest had grown. It was so natural being with them, and so sad saying goodbye (as it was with every old friend we saw) because at one point in your life, they were with you all the time for a full year. It was always so natural to say “cheers, see you tomorrow!” and again it just had to be “cheers, see you next time.” With Israel, there’s always almost a “next time”, except now I tell people it’ll be when my brother gets married one day.

We did plenty of shopping while we were in Jerusalem (aside for eating and buying food stuffs of course). We literally took a bus into town in the morning, and back to where we were staying later that night. So it would usually be about 9+ hrs of walking the streets in the heat. At least it wasn’t humid like Tel Aviv! Anyway, my main shopping mission was to buy new headscarves and a couple of accessories I wanted to keep an eye out for, as you can’t get most of what’s available in Israel, here in SA. Greg was looking for a Shofar, which is a ram’s horn that gets blown in shul services during the High Holy Days (practically the whole of September this year).

We spent a lot of time walking up and down Mea Shearim, a really religious area (I mean, if you think I’m religious by reading this blog – that’s nothing in comparison to these guys) looking for this Shofar and trying to decide if Greg oculd afford it (very pricey). As an example of how frum (that’s Jew speak for “religious”) these Chariedim are (the Ultra-Orthodox who live in Mea Shearim) let me tell you a little story. We’d gone to Shofar man’s shop 3 times (including the time Greg had to run all the way back because he’d left his wallet, iPod & debit card just lying in his shop). Anyway, in trying to convince Greg to buy said animal horn, the man said to him “Your wife, her sleeves are a bit short (I was wearing a tshirt). Now, it doesn’t offend me, but you don’t want her to come again in case some people throw things at her. Like tomatoes.” See, so considerate? I did a lot of observing of the Ultra Orthodox as we took a lot of bus lines running through their areas, it’s interesting how it’s just such a different world (and if it’s a different world to me, I can only imagine how foreign it is to you.)

Anyway, I am happy to say that I was very successful on my hunt for new scarves. I’ve come back with a great new collection and it’s really made my day-to-day dressing up a lot more fun 🙂

We did go on one epic day trip with our friend Liat. She took us all the way up north to the ruins of Caesarea. This port town was built by King Herod and later destroyed (as it is with ancient ruins). I think what was so beautiful about these particular ones, is that is right by the sea. We watched a short clip about the history, we walked the old ruins and took many, many photos! I mean, could an ancient city even be in a more beautiful location. We popped to a beach nearby which showed the ancient aqueducts which brought water into the city. We also went to Zichron Ya’akov, a beautiful little town known for it’s wineries (where of course we stopped and bought a bottle to bring home with us).

The only last bit of touring we did was go back to Tel Aviv to see the old city of Yafo. As far as my memory serves me (from grade 10 Jewish History – because that was a class we took at school) it was the first port city in Israel. It’s really old and beautiful. Kind of like the Old City in Jerusalem, but less charming I guess.

It was a great trip with all the important elements: family and special times, friends, food, shopping and some sight seeing along the way. As much as I’m dying to travel to other places in the world (yet if I struggle being in a country with a language I understand, I don’t know how cope with a language completely foreign to me) there’s something so comforting and familiar about being in Israel. You almost always bump into people you know on the streets. It’s kinda great.

And just like that it was home time. A trip we had waited and looked forward to for a whole year, 9 days just passed by so quickly. I guess that’s the thing with travelling, you plan and prepare and save and wait, and then it goes by so fast. The great thing of course, is that the memories always last. You seem to be able to make so many morewhen time is short, and the memories are mostly what you bring back. Don’t you agree

Dream shelving by IKEA.

So in all the browsing I do on Pinterest (I admit, it’s not as often as I used to be. I really only use it for work. Yes, I use Pinterest for work, I’m cool like that) I’ve come across some awesome pieces of furniture by IKEA. As far as I know they’re pretty run of the mill, staple furniture supply place in the States. I’m pretty sure you buy the pieces and construct it together at home.

Either way, I’ve seen some really cool things you can do with their stuff and so many creatives thing you can do with a simple bookshelf/ves.

These are 3 1x4 shelves, the one turned on it's side and painted with chalkboard paint.

These are 3 1×4 shelves, the one turned on it’s side and painted with chalkboard paint.

This 5x5 shelf is amazing. I love how they use baskets for storage, there's space for books, ornaments and you can even make custom "doors" out of art.

This 5×5 shelf is amazing. I love how they use baskets for storage, there’s space for books, ornaments and you can even make custom “doors” out of art.

I like the variations they have. 1x4, 2x4, 5x5 - it just allows for so many options.

I like the variations they have. 1×4, 2×4, 5×5 – it just allows for so many options.

Two book shelves on their side, with a custom pillow thing made and you have some great benches with storage underneath!

Two book shelves on their side, with a custom pillow thing made and you have some great benches with storage underneath!

They used some coloured canvases on hinges to make doors. I love the colours!

They used some coloured canvases on hinges to make doors. I love the colours!

Aren’t they awesome? I was super bleak you can only get them in the states until  I saw that in fact you can get them here in SA, imported by Nevada Furnitures! And they’re hardly even expensive.

We kinda recently got this big old school wall unit from my parents (because you know, they were upgrading, and by upgrading they of course mean minimizing ) so this isn’t in my near future. But I hope to one day when we eventually own our own place and have plenty space to be able to buy one/some/many/all of these awesome pieces.

Have a look at what I’m lusting over:

ikea expedit 1x5, 5x5 Ikea lack shelves

I want, I want.

Life. In Musical Form. (You’ll thank me for this)

So I really love musicals. And shows. And plays. Greg and I try to go see shows whenever we can (read: can afford). We particularly loved Grease, Phantom of the Opera, as well as the Addams Family Musical when we were in New York a few years ago.

So naturally, when I found this feed of youtube videos I fell instantly in love.

These are just a few of my favourites (the procrastination one particularly had me laughing at my desk). But look out for 50 Shades of Grey, Hipster Santa, New Instagram, First World Problems, and so many more!