Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bus "Fun"!

The bus system in Israel is the largest in the world. This is because while most large cities have a public bus system, the main bus provider here, Egged, serves the entire country. There are hundreds of routes that criss-cross all over. Usually the buses are half full of Israeli soldiers carrying automatic weapons, either going or coming to their base, so in a way you have a an armored escort!

Maggie and Levi are becoming experts on the public transportation/bus systems.  I don't think I rode a bus until I was an adult but these kids are figuring out bus routes and tranfers to travel all over Jerusalem. They can tell you where and when a bus picks up, where to transfer lines, and learning how to wait!  Remember, we don't have a car, so most of our traveling wherever we go, consists of buses, trains, taxis', Dolmus (Turkish mini-buses) or just plain walking.  Emma (10) is now requesting her own bus card so she can keep one in her wallet. 

The other day we were riding the bus home and Zoe (4) went straight to the back.  She likes to sit back there because the seats are higher and she can see out the window. Lily (6) sat quietly next to her. I had to stand up by the stroller with Miles. Only five minutes into the bus ride, Zoe had the whole back 2 rows of teenagers and adults intently listening to her. She was telling them all about herself and our family.  She had explained that we lived on a boat and then went into all her favorite movies. She then began to quote funny lines from each one. I was laughing and I was nervous at the same time!  Sometimes you never know what she might say.  I could hear people laughing at her from where I was standing. Guess what........we were the last stop..........It was a long ride home.  ;)  


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hezekiah's Tunnel

One of my favorite things in Israel is Hezekiah's Tunnel. It is located in the city of David, near the Old City in an Arab neighborhood . Hezekiah's Tunnel was dug to get water to the city when Israel was under attack by the Assyrians. you can read about it in 2 chronicles 32, in the Bible. The Tunnel is a long, narrow, under ground cave you hike through. It is full of cold water up to my waist only at the beginning and end. The rest of the tunnel the water level it is only at my ankles. It's pitch dark and you must have a flashlight. if you don't bring one you have to buy one at the front check-in. They are 4 shekels each. Which is about 1 American dollar. I have hiked it 2 times with my family and friends and I still want to go again. It is so much fun :) 


Homeschooling abroad part II "no books"

OK,  so I addressed the issues I have faced home schooling abroad concerning books in my last blog, but what about schooling with no books?  Can it be done and what options are there?

Recently Maggie enrolled in an online school for some extra classes while we were hanging out in Israel.  This seemed to work out great.  She only needed the computer and time!  She took a Spanish course and a Baking 101 class. She loved it!  There was every class available to choose from.  Anything from Math to Art courses. She was able to log on any time of the day and work at her own pace.  This was also nice for me because it gave her someone else to be accountable to.  She would do her lesson on the computer and then test at the end of a unit.  She would then wait for the teacher to correct and grade her then email/post her results.  This particular school would send a certificate at the end of the class.  This might be helpful for college if you needed the records. There are many online schools now and  this can be done anywhere. This might be a good option for older kids if you have consistent internet.  It would definately be one I would choose. 

I need to remember that this incredible journey we are on has been school in itself, without books. When we moved to Costa Rica they had automatic "Spanish Immersion". Actually every country we have been in has been a language immersion in itself. We are learning basic vocabulary in every country, and learning to recognize different alphabets.  So far we have had introductions to Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Russian, Hebrew, and "British English". Levi is getting good at remembering and figuring out familiar words that he hears a lot. Maggie seems to have a knack for figuring out alphabets.  She was reading most words in Turkey and Greece before we left.  Ever tried shopping in Greek? You can double your time in the store trying to figure out what is what!

Speaking of shopping,  this brings up money and exchange rates.  Our children have now been exposed, taught and educated in Greek, Turkish, and Irsaeli money.  Which by the way is...the Euro, Turkish Lira and the Shekel. They have had to learn the exchange rates in every country. Non-stop math going on in your head at all times. Some days after shopping my head hurts! The other day Lily (6) saw a U.S. quarter and said "What kind-of money is this?"

We are learning geography and cultures up close.  Not only identifying and becoming familiar with these countries on a map but experiencing them. They have rode a camels in the Turkish desert, eaten a Turkish Kofte and a Doner Kebap, and bought spices in the Turkish Bazaar.  Not to mention swam in the Sea of Galilee, eaten an Israeli Felafel, and touched the Western Wall, in the Old City, during Sukkoth.

This is just a touch of what they are learning just by traveling. In all these things, I know it is giving them independence and confidence just to try new things and problem solve.  They are experiencing things that so many kids will never get a chance too...I am grateful for this opportunity and this is part of the reason we took  on this adventure to begin with.

So there you have travel-schooling at it's finest!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Highlights of the past year ~

We are now getting close to sailing away again in the spring. Which will bring more places and more memories.  I like to look back and remember all of our favorite things this past I asked for highlights and favorites among all the family members.  Here is what we came up with........

Lily and Zoe are the same vote because whatever Lily says...Zoe says!

Favorite Island                                                    Favorite food
Dad - Leros                                                 Dad - Greek Salad
Mom - Rhodes                                              Mom - Gyro
Maggie - Kalymnos                                       Maggie - Apple soda
Levi - Kalymnos                                           Levi - Iced coffees
Emma - Kos                                                 Emma - Gyro
Lily & Zoe - Leros (it had a jump castle)          Lily & Zoe - Pizza (jump castle)

Turkey -               
Favorite Place                                                     Favorite food
Dad - Ephesus                                             Dad - Pimento olives
Mom-Caccidocia                                           Mom- Wraps and village bread
Maggie - Istanbul                                         Maggie - Apple Tea
Levi - Gomisluk  (just kidding Levi)                 Levi - Baklava
Emma - Kas (Sea caves)                                Emma - Doners
Lily & Zoe - Izmir (went to the zoo there)        Lily & Zoe - Turkish Delight

Israel - 
Favorite place                                                      Favorite food
Dad - Hebron                                               Dad- Hummus / felafels
Mom- Dead Sea                                            Mom - Dates
Maggie - The Old City                                    Maggie - Donuts at Hannakah
Levi - Zion Square                                         Levi - Shwarmma
Emma - Hezikiah's Tunnel                               Emma - Shwarmma 
Lily & Zoe - Beach (any)                                 Lily & Zoe - Pitas

The biggest highlight for everyone last year was adding Mr. Miles to our family! :) We love you big boy! :)

Can't wait to see next years list!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


new kitchen floor
While we've been sitting here, (not sailing) for the winter, I wanted to put wood flooring in Mehari. So that's the latest project, and it's been a doozy! Levi and I have travelled by bus back to Ashkelon for the last three weeks and have spent many hours on the project.
You know how you picture one thing in your mind how something might go together? Not So! It takes......we learned......about an hour per board! by the time you measure, measure again, make the first cuts. Then you see where you need to cut more, and then you try to fit it again, and again, and again. It takes an average of 4-5 trips to cut the board, and if you're lucky, you don't have to start over with a new one!  So, it's a long process to say the least, but the results will be much worth it. The boat will be cleaner and easier to keep clean. Using a vacuum at sea it not really an option and with Lily, Zoe and soon Miles eating over the carpet, the choice to do it was pretty simple!

Here's a photo of the progress and more when it's DONE!!

Homeschooling Abroad! "books"

Hello, this is Rachel and I'm going to try and answer some questions we've had about the challenge of schooling on the go. It will hopefully be an ongoing addition to the blog. I want to start it off by saying, "YOU CAN DO IT!"
Maggie planning our route

Almost everywhere we travel, the most common questions I am asked is...."How do the kids do school?"  It is funny to think back at how many times I have been asked this question.  And even funnier to think back to the different responses I have given.  I even remember shopping in Costa Rica and being heavily questioned while trying to defend myself and my childrens' education to a man that stocked shelves in a grocery store. I was answering questions about testing,  my education, accountability, socialization, college, and PE. Yes, I still shopped there after that incident...hahaha

First of all, it helps that I have been homeschooling since the beginning of our kids schooling.  Maggie is now in the 11th grade and has never been to a public school.  I have been doing this long enough to know and understand all the "myths" that come along with homeschooling in general.  Two of the most common being.....What about their socialization? And (my favorite) What makes you qualified to teach YOUR children?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Emma's Friends

While we've been traveling this past 3 years, I have met a lot of friends from all over the world.  Since I have been in Israel, I have met more friends!  One friend I have met here is Rachel.  She is originally from Uganda,  but grew-up in England. We both have DS's and we love to play doubles, we also love singing with our brothers and sisters. Our favorite thing to do is play cards (Nertz and speed). Even though we speak the same language there are many things we say different :)  Here are some of the differences :)

             what we say.(American English)          what they say.(British English) 

          1.we call the trunk of a car                                  1. they call it the boot 
          2.we call it pants                                                     2. they call them trousers 
          3.we call them diapers                                          3. they call them nappies 
          4. we call it a toilet                                                 4. they call it a lou
          5.we call it dessert                                                  5. they call it pudding                                                                                                                       
          6. we call it Jello                                                      6. they call it jelly                                                                                            
          7.we call them rubber boots                                7. they call them wellies 
          8. we call it a stroller                                              8. they call it a pram 
          9. we call it shopping cart                                     9. they call it a trolley                                                          
         10. we call a trash can                                           10. they call it a rubbish bin 
         11. we call it a passifier                                          11. they call it a dummy                                                     
         12. we call it a hair-tie                                            12. they call it a bobble 
         13.we say that someone is moody                      13. they say maudy 
         14. we call them cookies                                         14. they call them biskits 
         15. we call them comercials                                   15. they say ad-verts 

Rachel and Me :) 
Here are some of the other friends (around my age) I have met while traveling ......... 
Mia  S/V "No Limits"  ~  Spain
Hannah ~ Germany 
Jordon S/V "Zacharia" ~ England 
Chelsea S/V "Connect-4" ~ Australia 
Atayla ~ Israel 
Carolina ~ Russia
Yonit ~ Switzerland
Asya ~ Turkey
It's amazing to meet friends from all over the world!! Thanks Rach for being my "Nertz buddy" :)  


Monday, January 10, 2011

Electrical games

This week I spent a few days on the boat, changing and upgrading the wiring in a few critical areas.

We have a big 1300w inverter which changes our 12v battery bank to 220V for charging the computer, ipods, vaccuum, etc. THe inverter has never been working, so we're using a very small, one appliance at a time inverter (the kind you plug in your cigarette lighter) for EVERYTHING. Kind of a pain. 

So, we had it repaired last year in Turkey for the winter and have been hauling it around, because it is not a small job to run the large cables from the battery bank, through a 100A breaker and get it all in nice an neat! SO, with no on e on the boat, it was the perfect time to rip and tear into it. 


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hello All! 

Thanks to everyone who has followed and prayed for us this year! It's had a lot of challenges and a lot of joys! We look forward to a great 2011 and look forward to meeting many new friends. 

God Bless!

~ Hems