The air is fresh, the sun is out…and we are all being encouraged to stay inside. Let’s face it, this summer is shaping up to be rather different than our usual ones.

Throughout this pandemic, it’s become clear that circumstances have changed, and we can’t expect to live exactly as we normally would. Rather, we can embrace the spirit of special days and occasions and tweak our traditions accordingly.

With that in mind, I co-hosted a virtual Passover seder with my father, tuned into a Holocaust Remembrance Day talk by my friend’s bubbe in Toronto, and had an impromptu virtual Israeli music dance party with friends on Israel’s Independence Day. These experiences have been inspired by the usual ways I honor these days—but certainly different.

I’m lucky enough to live in Tel Aviv where things have opened up a bit, and we are currently allowed to visit parks and beaches. Despite the eased restrictions, many people are opting out of going to cafés and bars. As tempted as I am to sit in these hot spots on a beautiful Tel Aviv evening, I try to avoid them, especially since I’ve been seeing my parents every couple of weeks.

On a normal summer night in Tel Aviv, I’d go with friends to a bar or cafe. We’d order drinks, share food without giving much thought to germs and hug our hearts out. This summer, we’ve become more inclined to meet up in parks and at beaches, bringing our own refreshments and touching mainly with the occasional elbow bump as we bid each other goodnight. At times, I’ve opted to stay in with a glass of wine or beer, which has become a bit more socially appropriate, and spend the evening video chatting with friends both in Israel and abroad.

One of my go-to summer cafe drinks is limonana, a Hebrew portmanteau of the words limon (lemon) and nana (mint) that sounds like limonada (lemonade). Limonana is generally a slushy type drink made with those two ingredients, plus a good amount of sugar. If I want something alcoholic, I’ll opt for a limonarak, lemonade mixed with the local anise-flavored alcohol, arak. Both are delicious, refreshing and roll right off the tongue!

While these drinks can easily be replicated at home, I’ve decided to take them up a notch and add a twist, as I’ve done for many festive things over the past few months. I’m spending many more evenings in the safety of my home, at a nearby park or on the beach. What a perfect time for a homemade popsicle.