Life in Lockdown

Yom Hatzmaut celebrations in lockdown

Things are slowly starting to get back to normal here in Israel and this week some schools will reopen, including my boys’ high school. I know I should be happy about this, as my children have been off school for nearly 2 months and are starting to climb the walls, but I’m not happy. The thought of not having them hanging around all day makes me a bit sad.

I’d managed to convince myself that we’d all be together, 24/7, until September. I’m not ready for our  little routine to be disturbed…yet. We’ve all spent so much time together and have made so many memories. It sounds absurd, but none of this would have been possible were it not for the lockdown.

Collectively we’ve planned and executed some bonkers schemes (see previous blog). We’ve housed a litter of kittens, fashioned a pergola out of the old conservatory, cut down and disposed of next door’s tree, painted the house (inside), cleared out cupboards and rearranged wardrobes.

We’ve also spent countless hours  sitting in front of the TV watching Sky News as well as various films and shows on Netflix.

Dog walking has taken on a new dimension…I’m sure the mutts will be only too happy when all this is over!

Previously hidden talents such as cooking and baking have been discovered and a love of reading has been ignited in the children, something which had been previously dismissed as nerdy and boring.

TikTok has also featured significantly during this period as my daughter often spontaneously bursts into one of her routines. It can be quite scary at times. She reluctantly agreed to letting me join her in one of her videos, however, sadly we both realised that I had absolutely no capacity for learning dance moves. It was completely beyond me and I was promptly dispatched to be replaced by one of her brothers who has slightly more rhythm than me.

I’ve also taken up Hebrew lessons again, this time with my eldest boy as my teacher. I think he’s starting to regret it and can’t wait to go back to school just to be relieved of this burden.

Some things have been difficult during this period as they don’t easily lend themselves to being isolated from family and friends. My daughter’s 15th birthday was one of those occasions. All of her plans were dashed as the party which she’d been planning for months had to go by the wayside. She wasn’t able to see any of her friends and had to make do instead with us, zoom and a homemade cake. Although she approached the day with some disappointment, it was a birthday which I’m certain she’ll never forget. We all made it extra special for her; a real family affair in which each of us wanted to make sure she felt special.

Seder night, on the other hand, was a rather strange affair, as, like so many others, we were joined by family 3000 miles away on zoom. Again something we’ll never forget.

More recently, we celebrated Yom Hatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. No flyovers, no street parties, no parties of any kind. Instead, a BBQ at home with just us. In the end it was a lovely day. We decorated the house, played music and ate too much.

Other significant days have also been commemorated during this lockdown period, namely, Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron. Although, thankfully, we haven’t been directly affected by either, many others were left feeling bereft by the fact that they were unable to visit the graves of their loved ones on Yom Hazikaron, the day on which Israel remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their beloved country.

And now, as this period of isolation slowly comes to an end, I’m left with mixed emotions. I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to spend huge swathes of time with my teenage children, something which I’ll probably never have again. I’m particularly grateful for this as my eldest boy will be joining the army in a few short months and the time that we’ve spent together, learning Hebrew, walking the dogs or just sitting together watching telly has been really special. It’s a time which I’ll always cherish.

Although we’ve been left relatively unscathed by the virus here in Israel in terms of the number of deaths, I’ve been deeply saddened by the havoc wreaked by it across the globe, especially in the UK my place of birth and home for the first 46 years of my life. I’ve watched from afar as the virus has claimed the lives of so many there, bringing tragedy to so many families, including that of my good friend. It’s been utterly heartbreaking.

And so, as each of us looks back on this unique period in our lives, it will undoubtedly conjure up different feelings and memories for each of us. For me, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions and sadly, I know it isn’t over yet.

About the Author
I’m a British lawyer from Manchester. I made aliyah in 2016 and now live in Netanya with my husband, 3 children and 3 dogs. As I wasn’t able to pursue my legal career here in Israel, I started a small business editing English language papers for academics. I also write short stories or ‘blogs’ about the trials and tribulations of my new life.
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