Do they have monarch butterflies in Israel?

August 22, 2011

The countdown entered single digits this weekend. I leave for Israel one week from today.

As my departure draws near, I’ve gotten an amount more sentimental. I’ve spent time, both alone and in the company of friends and family. I sit and relish each ordinary moment as it happens. This seems to be the way I act in anticipation of any large lifestyle change.

This feeling reminds me of Leo Lionni’s children’s story, Frederick. You know, the one about the mouse that, instead of helping his family harvest food for the winter, sat and made memories. The memories he made were put to use to warm his family’s hearts during the cold winter. Well… I hope to be more productive [packing] than Frederick was during the harvest. But I also want to make sure I remember the little things about living here so that I may better be able to compare my new experiences against them.

I saw a monarch butterfly at the end of my run the other day. I haven’t seen one of those in years! Then I wondered… Do they have monarch butterflies in Israel? I went on to ask what kinds of wildlife existed. And if there were any public fountains to sit near. If street performers hung out in touristy spots. If lovers hold hands in the streets. What traffic sounds like. What the banter of a crowd sounds like. If strangers smile at passers-by. If they even look you in the eye. If people go running outdoors!

The answers to these questions and many more are only one week away…

What questions do you have?


  1. I have recently been really interested in Japanese culture and more specifically their art. In my opinion and after much research (I did a presentation about this in one of my dance classes) I find Japanese art very clean and “perfect,” and their art showcases their expectation of perfection and uniformity within the human experience. The Japanese even have a very well known proverb “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down” and I think it’s so interesting how their art really reflects their society.

    You can look at this in American art as well where we have a very big emphasis on self expression and the human experience. It parallels our constant quest for individuality and the idea of personal liberty that has been so important in America since the Deceleration of Independence was written.

    An interesting question I always have when I study cultures that are so vastly different than my own is “How does this culture perceive art and how does this parallel their society?”

    • Seth, what an inspiring question. I’ll keep it in mind during my stay abroad.

      It seems silly that I hadn’t even thought to study the other arts in Israel. When I’m choosing classes in the next couple weeks, I’ll try to find an Israeli art history or anthropology course. Brilliant…

      Thanks for your insight. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted as I learn more…

  2. Follow-up: There are no squirrels in Israel. Just plenty of cats.

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