Monday, January 19, 2009

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

Israeli houses, like Israelis themselves, have a whole set of idiosyncrasies. Designed to combat the heat that is present for most of the year, they can be a tough experience during the winter months.

Heating houses which a) don’t have a heating system pre-installed, b) don’t have carpet, c) are open plan, d) have stone floors and e) have draughty windows, is both difficult and expensive.

Having been shocked at our electricity bill last year (which, I might add, was despite our efforts to be as economical as possible,) we decided that this year we would try to avoid an excessive bill. We bought a few heaters and these go on early morning and sporadically throughout the day but, alas, are not constantly pumping out the heat.

We have taken to old fashioned remedies. We use hot water bottles, we layer on our clothes, we shut the curtains at night and we eat lots of porridge. I would love to report back that all of these things have made a great difference but in truth, we are all still cold.

We are still cold inside the house that is. Many days, we venture outside and are shocked to find that it is 21°! We look around us at all the Israelis in their T-Shirts and jeans and feel a little foolish in our coats and scarves!

However much I get caught out, I still forget next time around. It just feels so cold that I automatically pile on layer after layer of clothing only to peel many of them off when I leave the house. My kids too are fed up with me making sure they wear their coats before they leave for school (zipped up too!) Israel just seems to be one of those places where you actually wear more clothes inside of the house than outside.

Maybe next year I will finally find a way to deal with winter in an Israeli house. Still, the phrase, 'cold hands, warm heart' springs to mind. In Israel we certainly have cold hands at the moment. The phrase also rings true for Israelis themselves, whose sometimes cold, tough exterior more often than not conceals the warmest of hearts.

Sharona B


Gillian said...

Just thought I'd say hi and that I'm enjoying reading your blog. I came upon it rather randomly, being neither Jewish nor ever having visited Israel! However, it's fascinating to read how you and your family are adjusting to the profound changes in your life. You write with such honesty and sincerity.

I wish you all peace, health and happiness.

Gillian, Edinburgh.