It’s not yet officially winter, but the weather has taken a turn for the worse and we’ve all got our fluffy socks and boots on, the soup is on the stove and the sofa is strewn with snuggly blankets and used tissues.  As an ex-European it’s taken me a while to appreciate the unique charm of the Israeli winter and I still sometimes find myself pondering the following questions:

1. Is this it? I’ve been colder in England in August and seen more rain in Holland in July, but yep, this is it.  Soup anyone?

2. Should I leave the house? We have a tendency to put all non-essential activities on hold every time there is bad weather. There are three reasons for this national anomaly: a sunny day is just around the corner, the country’s roads come to a grid-lock every time it rains so going anywhere takes hours and, ‘lo ba li’ (I can’t be bothered).  

3. Where the hell can I buy a good umbrella?  Sorry but this makes me mad, even expensive ones from good stores commit suicide within a week. The only thing to do is view them as disposable and keep a store cupboard full of cheap ones.

4. Should I force my kids to go to school in torrential rain?  Many native-born Israelis will keep their children coddled at home and my kids will be the ‘suckers’ whose European-born mother is used to going out in all weathers and forced them to come (tantamount to child abuse in their opinion).

5. Should I bother buying a winter coat, hat, scarf, gloves? Why bother to invest in a warm coat when you get to wear it about twice a year, unbuttoned, because it’s too hot with it done-up. But fail to buy and when you need one for that European trip in April you won’t be able to find one in the shops for love nor money.

6. Can I go out in my slippers? What is that?  Why do people think it is acceptable to go out in public in slippers – and those grandad, tartan zip-up ones to boot.  My husband tries to get away with it every year without fail, but a girl’s gotta have her limits.

7. Should we take our kids to see the snow at Mount Hermon? The kids have been nagging us for ages to go, but the thought of driving for three hours to get there, then sitting in a traffic jam for another hour to get into the car-park, paying a fortune for half an hour of seeing your kids in snowy ecstasy followed by three hours of complaining that they are cold/wet/hungry/want to go now, tempers my enthusiasm (for the last ten years in fact – more child abuse!)

8. Should we go to Europe/North America? Prices are cheap, er…cheaper, skiing could be great fun, but why would we submit ourselves to the cold, rain and gloomy grey skies, not to mention the risk of broken body parts, when here it’s mostly sunny blue skies ripe for the taking.

9. Should I have an ice-cream? Iced-coffee?  I always worry that if no one eats ice-cream in winter all those yummy shops will be forced to close and then what will we do in the summer? Besides, ‘ba li.’ 

10. Should I eat that sauvgania? Hanukkah is coming and the traditional donuts are already making an appearance. Let’s face it, the thought, smell and appearance of donuts are most times much better than the taste, not to mention the guilt trip involved in every bite. Still, those salted caramel, chocolate ones do look extremely tempting…