Monday, June 1, 2009

Final Thoughts...

It's finally over, I will be home tomorrow. I wanted to just wrap up my experience somehow...

It's no secret that I haven't been completely happy here. Every day here I got a little more...jaded, i guess. Everyday life here is nothing like a Birthright trip or family tour. It started out beautiful--I remember walking down the street with Emily, giggling and saying, "WE'RE IN JERUSALEM!" and being so incredibly happy to start this adventure. But then real life set in--unexpected costs, fighting with bureaucracy, classwork, friend drama, homesickness...And it less fun. More like, just school but in a different location. Not special. Yeah, there were moments. I will always miss going to Goldy's with the girls, walking Ben Yehuda on Yom Ha'atzmaut, chilling in my room til the wee hours with em and our friends, movie nights, grey's nights, shabbos dinners in the kfar, going to the old city on a whim, buying fruit and meat and bread at the many things. most of all i will miss the friends I met here...Emily of course, and Sarah, Margot and Leah, Sarah N, Tammy and Tessa and Uriel and Hebi, our Israelis Uri and Ofer who picked us up at a bus stop on Yom Ha'atzmaut and have been an integral part of our life since then, and so many others. It hurts, leaving them. I am so ready for home; I'm ready to get away from the drama and the lack of customer service anywhere, the rude people...the lack of good stores...the high prices of food...not having things from home that i want...being 5000 miles from my boyfriend and family and best friends...the utterly disgusting bathroom that smells like mold and is full of bugs...

I was going to make this an organized list, but it is what it is.

I'm glad I came. It was most assuredly a life-changing experience. I have never been away from home so long, I have never lived so independently, I've never been in THIS long of a long-distance relationship...And I have come out on the other side of all the hardship and depression, stronger and wiser. I know myself a lot more than I did before, in a lot of ways...and in just as many, I am more unsure of myself. I have come to many realizations about Judaism and the way I relate to it, and not all of those realizations are good. The hypocrisy here, the orthodox monopoly, the judgement I get automatically if i mention that i date goys (they'd rather I date a completely secular Jew than a completely secular non-Jew; how is that anything but racism?), the belief that this is right and nothing else...I can't stand it. It makes it hard for me to want to be Jewish...not saying i'm not going to be, but so many things about it just aren't working for me. What does work, though, really works. the community is the main thing. I love being part of a community of people, connected to communities all over the world, who have a history that goes back thousands of years. I love studying Jewish culture and philosophy and ethics and history. it's all so rich and interesting and i love it. but i just don't love halakha (law), i don't particularly care for the Oral Torah (a bunch of sages' opinions on what every line of the Torah really means), I feel like a lot (most, actually) of it is taking an inch and turning it into a mile. *sigh* I could rant about this all day. But back to my point.

My point is, I've done a lot of soul-searching in the past four months or so. I'm still inconclusive as to where I want to go with these feelings, but I know that i never want to lose the connectivity i've felt here. I always will celebrate the major holidays, and try to make shabbos a little different than normal days. I will follow the rules of Pesach. I will go to Shul on occasion. I will send my children to Hebrew School and to Israel. But if they decide it's not for them, I won't push it. They will always have choice.

Israel has changed me. I'm still me, but like i said, i'm jaded now in ways I wasn't before.
I've had times i will never ever forget, and times that I wish i COULD forget.
I've experienced love and hate.
I've met so many people that have had an impact on me.
I know so much more than i could have imagined i'd ever know.
I can navigate Jerusalem. by myself. know what bus to take where, and how often it comes.
I can handle myself with pushy vendors. brush 'em off, humor them, and keep my wallet.

I can't wait to go home.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

-catch up on my Hebrew hw
-write a paper for my Jesus class, topic still to be fully decided upon...due before i leave (STARTED!)
-go to the Zoo (today!) (not gonna happen :-()
-go to see the Chagall windows (also not gonna happen...they'll still be here next time i guess)
-buy presents
-write JESNA paper, due June 9
-go to haifa (this weekend) (can't justify it with all this work, among other reasons)
-sign up for MTELs
-try to see Mara and Evy (guess they really dont want to see ME, since they never ever respond to ANYTHING)
-try to enjoy the little time I have left with my friends here without fretting about getting HOME already
-get around to posting lots of pictures
-not die of heat
-Jesna response
-hebrew quiz, oral, final
-stay awake
-not fail
-figure out how to pack my life here into two and a half suitcases.

There's not much to report, right now. I'm almost done. Tomorrow at 8:30am I have my Hebrew final. I'm scared, very scared, but i'm hoping my brain can pull it off. Monday, I have my art final at 8:30 and my archaology final at 12:30. Emily leaves around 12. It's going to be a tough day.

This past week...finished classes. Went to a pool party and said goodbye to the madrichim (counselors). Was lazy. Finished my Jesus paper, which i do believe is pretty darned good. Studied. Yeah. not much else.

I'm going to be working on a wrap-up post. I started it in my head last night. You'll see.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Holy crap on a stick

it's been a long time since i've really posted! i'm sorry! really!
First, an updated to-do list:
-blog about the past week +
-catch up on my Hebrew hw
-write a paper for my Jesus class, topic still to be fully decided upon...due before i leave (STARTED!)
-go to the Zoo (today!)
-go to see the Chagall windows
-buy presents
-write JESNA paper, due June 9
-go to haifa (this weekend) (can't justify it with all this work, among other reasons)
-sign up for MTELs
-try to see Mara and Evy
-try to enjoy the little time I have left with my friends here without fretting about getting HOME already
-get around to posting lots of pictures
-do my DITL from Sunday
-not die of heat
-Jesna response
-hebrew quiz, oral, final
-stay awake

i'm making progress, really.
Kay, so. You haven't really heard from me since before Itay's hair cut! Wow. That was a lot of fun, got to meet a lot of the family I hadn't before (Anat and family, and Michael, and Ossie's sisters). Emily was a little overwhelmed i think. the ceremony was really cute, Itay was very good, and the food was really nice. Good times.
Next big event...Eilat! Last weekend, I went to Eilat with Sarah and Adrienne, and we met up with Leah and Margot and other-Sarah there. It was a loonnnnngggg bus ride but get this, the girl i sat next to on the way down was also named Shaina! it was funny. We stayed at a pretty nice hostel, only about 66 shek a night (200 for the room split btw three). The most memorable thing from Eilat was the HEAT. it was between 93 and 100 degrees the entire time we were there--even at 2:30am, i was sweating in my tank and short skirt. I went in the water the first day there, it was great. cold and SO clear. i also managed not to get burned! yay! anyways, we walked around a lot, ate a lot, drank not a lot, met some of adrienne's friends, got henna tattoos and ice cream and good stuff like that. eventually, someday, all of my pictures will be on the internet. i swear. by the end of june. that's a promise.
Lets see. then on monday, we had a huge 4-hour tour for my archaology class, partly in the old city for the Ecce Homo arch and some old collection pools, and the rest on the mount of olives. lots of churches. I couldnt go into a bunch of them because my shoulders and knees were uncovered, which was a pain, especially since it was 95 degrees out. oh man was i wiped. got home from that, showered, and then headed to a panel for my JESNA class, with three interesting Jewish educators. Left a little early from that with leah because it was her birthday! her grandparents gave her money to take her friends out to dinner. I still ended up having to pay some cuz we went over, but it was really fun so it was worth it.
the rest of this past week...not very eventful. drama. girl-drama. i'm so tired of girl-drama.
speaking of drama, me and em finally are almost caught up with grey's, thanks to watching four episodes on thursday night, three yesterday, and two today. three more to go! yay.
I was supposed to go to haifa this weekend, but because of said drama as well as financial reasons, it didn't happen. it's okay. because last night i got to have dinner with my friends. yesterday morning i went to the shuk all by myself to get fruit, because my "assignment" for dinner was fruit salad. I got peaches, nectarines, bananas, strawberries, apples, and oranges. Then i wanted a treat, so i headed to Marzipan, and on the way bumped into my friend Adam, the one who went to Hebron with me and Adrienne. He was visiting his friend Alyssa who lives close to jerusalem. got myself a little over half a kilo of rugelach, and promptly ate a few and even gave some to two american girls who were passing by and said "those look so good!". i'm nice like that. headed home, showered and watched some ANTM with Em, then headed up to Margot's for more grey's...around 7 we started prepping for dinner. I made my fruit salad on plates for lack of a bowl; i had this grand idea of how they would look in my head but they turned out kind of different. also, the peaches and nectarines werent so ripe, which made me sad, but people still ate all of the cut ones. the plates were a hit, and i still have lots of fruit left over which is good.
dinner was at Sarah N's place, because her boyfriend was in for the weekend (he's in the Israeli army) and she wanted to impress him. It was them, me em margs and leah, our friend Uriel, Sarah's roommate Keren from Australia, and this kid Jared who i can't stand but everyone kind of feels sorry for. He has Asbergers, is very socially awkward though brilliant, and while i should be okay with that because of my cousin Ben and because i want to be a teacher, something about Jared in particular just rubs me the wrooooong way. ugh. but anyways, it was a really nice dinner, lots of good conversation.
Today has been a lazy day of getting work done and watching more grey's with em before she left for her cousins' for the night.

I'm not sure if the zoo/chagall windows is gonna happen, unless i go by myself. and do i really want to go by myself to the zoo? while it might be cool, i'd rather go with someone. ah well; same as with haifa, they'll still be here the next time i come back, G-d willing. I'd rather finish my work and hang out with my friends than be going all over the place like a crazywoman these last 11 days or so. It's getting so close...while i am so so so incredibly ready to be home, i'm starting to think about the things i will miss--my friends, the shuk, israeli chocolate, public transportation, Hebrew.
It's going to be a tough next two weeks, i can tell you that.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Updated list

-blog about the past week +
-catch up on my Hebrew hw
-write a paper for my Jesus class, topic still to be fully decided upon...due before i leave
-go to the Zoo (today!)
-go to see the Chagall windows
-buy presents
-write JESNA paper, due June 9
-go to haifa (this weekend) (can't justify it with all this work, among other reasons)
-sign up for MTELs
-try to see Mara and Evy
-try to enjoy the little time I have left with my friends here without fretting about getting HOME already
-get around to posting lots of pictures
-do my DITL from Sunday
-not die of heat
-Jesna response
-hebrew quiz, oral, final
-stay awake

...Yeah. One of these days.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My to-do list

-blog about the past week +
-catch up on my Hebrew hw 
-write a paper for my Jesus class, topic still to be fully decided upon...due before i leave
-go to the Zoo (today!)
-go to see the Chagall windows (today?)
-buy presents
-write JESNA paper, due June 9
-go to haifa (this weekend)
-sign up for MTELs
-try to see Mara and Evy
-try to enjoy the little time I have left with my friends here without fretting about getting HOME already
-get around to posting lots of pictures
-do my DITL from Sunday
-not die of heat

...Yeah. One of these days.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I need to write, A LOT. I have A LOT of things on my to-do list. although, i have A LITTLE will to do any of it. Most of us here are feeling the same--we're just DONE with school...except for the fact that we're not. Papers and presentations and homework abound, while willpower is nowhere to be found. Le sigh. 

Last week, GO!
Sunday...normal day from what i can remember. 
Monday...field trip to the "lower aqueduct". We walked through a mountain, actually really close to where my cousins live in Talpiot. it was pretty cool. Refer back to my friend Ira's blog (he's the one i linked to for the JESNA field trip) for the history and stuff...he takes notes. I don't. lol. 
Tuesday...Went to the Old City to order my Hadaya bracelet! I picked it up today...It says, "Lech Acharei Ha-Lev, Gam Im Zeh Koev", which means, "Follow (lit: go after) the heart , even if it hurts". It has extremely personal meaning for me, in regards mainly to the relationships I have had and especially the one I am in right now. It reflects a lot of what I feel about my trip here. On the inside it says "Jerusalem 2009"...Now i'll have something from this place with me always. I love it. When i got back, I studied because...
Wednesday. Two quizzes. Hebrew first, which I know I did well on, because when I went to gather my stuff at the end she was looking at it and as i left she told me "tov me'od", very good. Archaology next, which i think i may have passed. we shall see. dunno how she expects us to know anything, since we hadn't had class since march--just field trips. *sigh* 
Thursday...ALL DAY FIELD TRIP. Got up at 5am. Got to the meeting place on time, only to find that they'd sent us a too-small bus, and we had to wait half an hour for a bigger one. then it was off we went...we went to six historical sites, two churches, four temples. Looked mainly at mosaic floors, although some carvings as well. It was a LONG day, and very reminiscent of Birthright--stop in one place for a talk, then back on the bus and half an hour to another...dozing on each bus ride, groggily pretending to listen to our guide explain things in her heavy Chicago accent (listening to her speak hebrew was a real treat, i tell ya). Lots of pictures...someday i'll be caught up with all my pictures online. probably when i get home. sorry. 
Friday...Headed to Ben Yehuda with some of my friends. Splurged on hot chocolate with sabra at this famous chocolate shop. went to the shuk and got socks :-) Then headed home, and packed up...and then i was off to Tel Aviv! I got there around 4, i think...rode a TA bus to adrienne, went to her apt, dropped my stuff and changed into my bathing suit top and packed a bag for the beach...went to the beach and sat in the waning sunlight and watched the waves, got some food (i had my first falafel of this trip...shameful, i know, but oh well. it was yummy!), read books, chatted. i love my adrienne. then we went back to her place...and my friend uriel texted me! he was in TA also, and the people he was staying with were all off on a trip with their program for the night. We met up with him at what he would say is a normal dinner time, 9:30pm. He's Argentinian. It explains a lot :-P. We got a cab to Yaffo, the old city that is right next to TA. Wandered around in search of food. Got the worst shwarma i've ever had. :-( bought my bro and Meryl a house-warming gift from a nice street vendor. Walked a hell of a long way to this gay bar adrienne swears by. it was AWESOME. and we had cake. not as good as Goldy's, in Jlem, although Adrienne said it was. still good! Um. Walked Uriel home. Went home ourselves, and adrienne conked out while i was talking to kimo online. Went to bed. 
I woke up probably around 11, read in bed (her bed is HEAVENLY) until A decided to rouse herself...had some special K for "breakfast", then headed out to meet Uriel again, this time with a friend of his, Sharon. Walked all the way down the beach to was reeeeally crowded but gorgeous. lots of babies. um. yea. got a croissant at a famous bakery, then we headed off into the city. stopped at these two houses that were having open houses, why i'm not really sure, but whatever. then Sharon headed off, and me and A showed Uriel Rabin Square, which he'd wanted to see. then we went back to "his" apartment, hung out there for a while, then headed to dinner, which again was disappointing. Grar. Eventually headed back to adrienne's, then i got on another bus to their central bus station, and made it by the skin of my teeth onto a bus to Jlem. at our CBS i got a taxi with some random other people who were also going to Mt Scopus; it was 11:30, cold, and i was exhausted, and if you share a taxi it's really worth it--only 10 shek each. and one of the guys i shared with was italian. he seemed really cool.  Got home and crashed after calling Adrienne to let her know i was back and Kimo to say goodnight. didn't even turn on my computer!
Today, had class and internship, then walked the 20ish minutes from the YMCA to the place to pick up my bracelet. when i finally got back to my normal bus stop, apparently my bus must have just come because i had to wait half an hour in the cold wind before the 30 showed up. i was pissed. roar. got back to reznik, went straight to the store for food, back to the room, computered, showered (FINALLY), talked to my mommy (happy mother's day!), and yeah. that's all pretty much. did a lot of hebrew hw tonight, though i think i may have to do a lot more this week--i think i have my oral presentation either tues or weds :-( i'm going to talk about the kibbutz where i went for that shabbaton weekend in march. tis all i can think of. 
Tomorrow should be a normal day, then tuesday my little cousin (really a second cousin once removed i think...something like that--his grandma and my mom are first cousins) is getting his hair cut for the first time. in the orthodox tradition, boys don't get their hair cut until they are three, and there's a little ceremony for it. it should be fun. i cant wait to see the kids again, and to finally introduce emily to my family!

that's all, folks. 

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Yesterday was a very emotional day. It started early with a JESNA class field trip to Mt. Herzl, which had an amazingly striking twist near the end. I was going to write the whole thing out, but my friend Ira was taking notes and wrote an amazing post on the trip, so I've decided to just link you to his post instead. You can find it HERE (his other posts are also really interesting; he's a pretty good writer and a really nice guy.) It was a really neat field trip, despite the sadness and the fact that it was super-early and I had a headache. The professor, David Mendelssohn, was really great, really interesting. I really enjoyed it. 

After that, I pretty much just lounged around the whole day...Watched House with Sarah, had some emotionally-charged bonding time with my bf, and yeah. That's about it. As I was getting ready to go to bed, I called my brother, too...Haven't talked to him in a while, and now he's moving into his new place with his gf and I just wanted to check in. It was nice.

Today, got up late, made pancakes, etc...Again, just taking a nice lazy day for myself. Had tentative plans to go watch a movie with Leah, but I've had a headache again, and i'm just so lethargic...I need a crash day once in a while!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ready for my second weekend this week...

Hokay. So. On Yom HaZikaron, we got up early and were outside at the bus stop when the 11am siren went off. I wish we'd gotten on the 4-A so that we would have been on a bus when it did! Because in my area, there are a lot of Arabs and apparently other non-observers, so in my video (which hopefully will work for you--outside link is there are a lot of cars still driving by. But to the "left" you can see across the street, people at Aroma (the cafe) were standing, a bus was stopped, and on my side of the street there were a bunch of people standing proudly outside the hospital. Down to the "right", if you could see what I saw, there was a taxi stopped on its way up the hill. After it was the siren, which almost brought me to tears, the bus started up and went on its way with a screech, and our bus soon showed up. 
Em, Sarah and I headed downtown, we wanted breakfast and needed a pharmacy stop on Ben Yehuda. Got bagels and some gelato, then did the pharmacy thing, em had to buy some wine, then we headed to the shuk. Sarah didn't really need anything there, so she headed home and Em and I kept going. Our main stop was Marzipan, which is THE place in Israel to get rugelach. they are OUT OF THIS WORLD. We were planning a picnic for weds night (last night) and i'd promised some of this...$8 for a kilo, it's totally worth it. We walked through the shuk a little bit, because I'd promised Kimo i'd take pictures of the gummy-sellers so he could choose what he wanted me to bring home for him :-) Then em had a headache, so we headed home. 
We chilled out and watched Queer as Folk for the rest of the afternoon, then Em had to get ready to go over and cut this guy's hair, so she did that...I had dinner...then me and Sarah decided that we wanted to try and see the fireworks and meet up with Tammy, who was in town already. And here starts the fun! We went outside at around 9:10, and waited at the bus stop, hoping that the busses were still working. There were two Israeli guys there, and I don't remember who initiated it, but somehow we got to talking. Their names are Uri and Ofel, they also live in our dorm complex, and they're really sweet and funny. They kind of attached themselves to us! It turned out to be a good thing, because a) they know their way around and b) they are army graduates and are good at pushing through crowds. And OH MAN Ben Yehuda street! It was a different world than earlier that day! There were people doing capoeira (sp?), selling noisemakers, big inflatable squeaky hammers, cotton candy and hot dogs, and shaving cream...they use shaving cream like american kids use silly string, except it's MUCH harder to clean up when it gets on you! We were lucky enough not to get slimed, but when we finally got to the top of the street and met up with Margot, Tammy, and Leah, they said they had. So yeah, we met up with them, dithered about what to do for a while, and after much craziness ended up heading to our favorite bar, Goldy's. I ain't gonna tell you how much I/we had, cuz you don't wanna know! Suffice it to say, we had a great night. So much fun, and we got two awesome new friends out of it!
Yesterday, we slept in, then Em headed out with her friend Larissa and I stayed in and did some very necessary HW. Around 6:15, we all headed up the Kfar, where we met the other girls (Margot, Leah, and Margot's cousin Maddie) and started setting up a feast...i mean picnic :-) there was a lot of food! Pita and tuna and pasta salad and regular salad and hummus and other stuffs too. You can guess what I had! We were joined by a bunch of others who came and went, including Uri, one of our new Israelis. There was singing and chatting and general fun. When it started to rain, some people went home, and the rest of us went up to Margot's apartment, and continued to hang out and have a general good time until after 11pm. Ofel came and joined too :-D we had a lot of fun. The conversation just flowed, massages were given, wine was drunk, rugelach were finished. Good times. 

Today was a blechy 3-class day. I was zonked. no fun. made it through though...then i had a little downtime, then Aran came over and we started work on our presentation for our Art class, which we have to give on the 17th. We're talking about the Iconography of Ruth. It's quite interesting! Glad we got started though, there's a lot of text in our source article that we need to get through...Now i'm just hanging out, reading...Em's out to dinner with Margot, I may or may not go to meet up with them, depending on how lazy I am/whether i want to go out when I really don't have money to buy even one drink. :-/ we'll see. 
Adrienne is coming to Jlem this weekend, so hopefully i will get to see her one of these days! Em will be gone though this weekend, I may just hibernate. Hehe. after last weekend I think i'm allowed!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A special note on erev Yom HaZikaron

A little over half an hour ago, a siren went off across the entire land of Israel. Everywhere, cars stopped, people sat or stood in silence. My friends and I paused our DVD and sat quietly until the last echos faded away. 

As some of you know, I've been feeling kind, lately. I want to come home. I am done with this semester, I am done with Israel for the time being. The culture is different from home, from anything familiar, and basically nothing here has been like I imagined it. Part of that is, of course, due to the fact that I'm away from my boyfriend for five months, which is a long time by anyone's standards. But there are so many other things I miss about America (my fam, my biffle, my bed, Target, Stop and Shop, etc), and sometimes lately I've been losing sight of how much I really have always wanted to be here, how much I've always been connected to this land and its people. 

But the Yom HaShoa (Holocaust rememberance day) and Yom HaZikaron (Rememberance day for fallen soldiers) sirens kind of bring me back. Can you imagine the entire country of America stopping at the same time? People taking a one-minute break from their day, stopping in their commute to work or back, being a minute late to pick the kid up from school? I didn't think so. But here, with very few exceptions (Palestinians, others who are not directly connected to this State or who don't believe in it), everybody is so, I don't really know how to put it. But there's just this unity of spirit that is unlike any other country in the world. Such fierce dedication to the preservation of the state, and such respect for the amazing army that makes it possible for me and for thousands of others to be here in this land, safe and sound. And on Wednesday, the entire country will party it up, much like Purim except with the sole purpose of celebrating that WE ARE HERE. We have made it another year, Israel still exists, we are strong, we are determined to stay. There will be picnics and fireworks and dancing in the streets. Just like the 4th of July, actually, except in America, it's just not quite the same. Nobody denies that America exists and has a right to (or at least I don't think they do). 

Days like this make me remember that yes, I love Israel. I believe in its utter right to exist, although I know that is a broad statement and does not encompass the many, MANY issues that I and many other have with HOW it exists and what it has done to other peoples who also have claims to this land. It should exist. Maybe not precisely as it is now, or has been in the past 61 years. But in some form or another...and I believe it will. Am Yisrael Chai, the People of Israel Live. 

I love this country, even though right now, I have come to realize that it is a vacation spot for me, a place to come for a few weeks, and that it is not a long-term home for now. It will always have a spot in my heart, and I hope to come back often in the coming years. But I am not like my friend Tammy, who plans to make aliyah next year and join the army. I need America too much, I want my children to grow up in a Western system of thinking, to have discipline and order and cleanliness and a really truly good education. Someday though, I may return to this, my second home, for good, when I am ready to go with the flow and relax. We'll see. 

Tomorrow, the sirens will go off again at 11am. I plan to be outside, near the street or on a bus, with my camera in hand and recording, so I can share with everyone how eerie, heartbreaking, breathtaking, and truly powerful it is. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Adventure! Real adventure!

So! Wednesday didn't really have anything exciting. 
Thursday, classes, blah. Was getting sick. Yuck. Then! around 6, Sarah and I headed up to the Kfar to have a planning session with Tammy. We hung out in her room and figured out the most amazing plan for the weekend...I had looked earlier online for a hostel and found...........MONGOLIAN TENTS. Yes, you heard me. Mongolian tents. In the Golan (the mountains in the North of Israel). Sweet. We called the lady, got info, called some boys to invite them to come with us so the price would be lowered...and got a tent! and a plan! And then we listened to Tammy read her amazing amazing novel in progress to us, and it is amazing, and she should be published like NOW even though it's only four pages long. the girl's got talent! and an amazing reading voice. anyways. after we left her we were supposed to eat with Leah but she cancelled on us, so Sarah and I went by ourselves to Domino's and got cheesybread (me) an
d pizza (her). Then we walked home. And watched the first two episodes of House, season 1. Happiness.
Friday morning I got up, showered, packed, ate...Sarah and I caught the 11:15ish bus to the Central Bus Station, although the others missed that one and caught the next one. We got to the station and bought Challah for Shabbos, then walked around a little and then found our platform for the bus. We waited and waited...finally Tammy, Uriel (Argentinian) and Hebi (Chinese) showed up, though there was no sign of Tessa (Australian...ain't we a multi-cultural bunch?). The others left me with the bags and went to buy tickets. Then I went to pee. Then we got on the bus, but still no Tessa!!! She was coming from 
Talpiot and I dunno what happened, but basically the bus was supposed to leave at 12:15 and somehow Tammy made them wait and Tessa got there at like 12:16. It was scary! But crisis #1 was averted, and we all settled in for the ride. 
A few hours later, we passed the sign for Givat Yoav, where the hostel was located, and I was kind of worried, so Tammy called the lady and basically we had missed our stop. We got off at the next one and the lady, Sara, was super-nice and came to get us...All six of us piled in, Tammy on my lap, Tessa in the trunk with the to the tents, Sara showed us around and then took everyone but me and Sarah to the supermarket to buy foodz for the weekend. like i said, she was super-nice. They came back, we settled in and munched on food and read our books. Then Tessa went in search of internet for a project, and the rest of us headed off on a walk. it was AMAZING. There was the most spectacular view of the Kinneret, or the Sea of Galilee, and the sun was shining in such a way as to make a piece of the lake SILVER. here, look!

It was...just...wowwwww. I took maybe 20 pictures of it. most gorgeous thing i've ever seen everrrr. we kept going for a while, then turned back and found Tessa. Hung out for a while more, singing and just chilling. Tessa and Hebi started cooking, but the main stuff--the barbecue stuff--had to wait til after 9, when one of the barbecues was free. Then we dug in! the center of the tent, the table and floor, were covered in was amazing and happy and great. After dinner we cleaned up and sang and I brushed Tessa's inSANEly long hair and it was amazing and happy and great. Eventually we went to bed around 1am. I didn't sleep very much, because the pillows were too hard and tall and people snored. Oh well. Around 9am we all started moving...Got up slowly, sat outside with our books and had a simple breakfast...well, all except Uriel and Hebi, who had eggs and eggplant and such. We then got our act together, and headed out on the trail! We hiked for a good four hours...We went off the real beaten path and waded through some weeds/wildflowers...Tammy and Tessa broke off in search of a distant path we could see, and the rest of us made our way back to a more beaten path. We ran into some other hikers, including this guy leading a group of kids who had a bucket full of ice water and let us dip our hats! so nice. We wandered, made some random decisions on which way to go, stopped and had lunch, got more lost, saw SPECTACULAR views...eventually, when we were running out of water and getting really tired, we found our way to the highway! From there it was easy to get back to Givat Yoav. There was a convenience store open, even on Shabbos, which was seriously heaven-sent. We had soda and used the facilities, then the other girls called and said they were back so we headed back to the tents. Once there we just hung out more, rested, ate some snacks, and figured out how to get home. At 8 o'clock a taxi came and picked us up and drove us to Tiberias. Even though it was dark, there were certain points on the way where i was like, oh, we saw this from the mountain today! it was surreal. we got to Tiberias and found where the bus to Jerusalem on with no problem...i sat with Hebi, who told me a lot about life in Shanghai. It was really interesting, I didn't know a lot of what he was telling me. He's a really cool guy, not even Jewish but decided to come to Israel because he liked the spirit. he got here last february, spent a few months on a Kibbutz, then started at Hebrew U...and he's already in level Heh (5)! He's quite amazing. He wants to go to college in Canada next year (he's only 19, hasn't gone to college yet besides this), because it is cheaper than the US, and unlike Uriel who got a scholarship to Yale, Hebi for some reason does not qualify for enough aid to make it possible. I listened to some music for the second half of the trip. We got back to the CBS around 11:15 i think, caught the 23 bus home, and yeah. Crashed. loaded pictures. ate a can of tuna in like three minutes flat. Talked to Kimo. then sleep.
Today I woke up late because I hadn't set my alarm right...Em came in from being at her cousins, and was like, shaina are you going to class? it's 9:53! and i'm like...guess not. I felt/feel like shit anyways, cuz i have a shitty cold. i called my boss at work and told her i couldnt come in, and she was very understanding. so i basically had a weekend day! I made banana pancakes which i'm sure were very yummy but i couldnt really taste. I took a shower, which hurt my sunburn. I wrote my midterm that's due tomorrow. I talked to the boy and the parents. I hung out with Sarah and made chicken and cheese sandwiches in her roomie's panini maker. i loaded my pictures from yesterday. good times.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I swear I have been meaning to post!
Highlights of the past week...
-Dinner on Monday at Em's sponsor's house, along with a soldier named Ethan from Peobody who knows people I know from school. Twas fun.
-Dinner on Tuesday at my cousins' house in Talpiyot, with a lot of people! Including a girl from my program, Aliza, who I only vaguely knew, but it turns out her fam is really close to my cousins, and that i actually met her brother Shai when I was here after Birthright. Weird! She is really nice. We talked all night. We went to shul (synagogue), because religious Jews celebrate the last day of Passover just like the first day. I got a blister from my shoes :-( I like their temple though; even though they're very religious, they're not orthodox, so the men and women are not separated. It's gorgeous, too. Yeah. and then at the end of the night, I walked with the Romirowskys (the other fam) to catch me a cab...they were walking home, because they're also conservative and that night is considered like shabbos. The wind that night was INSANE. i thought Aliza was gonna blow away! Eventually we found me a cab. 
-Wednesday night Em and I broke Pesach at this place called the Focaccia Bar. I had almost an entire medium-pizza-sized focaccia by myself...SO GOOD. mmmmmmm. 

didn't do much the rest of break, i don't think...just kinda lazed around. lame, but there it is.

Sunday Em came back, and I got to meet her mom. She's really nice :-) Sunday night she took us out to dinner after our Yom HaShoah rehearsal. Then Em, Larissa and I got some hot drinks, then met up with some friends whose birthday it was and had a drink at this bar called Egon. Got home pretty late.

Yesterday...classes...quick fooding...back for more rehearsal, 6-9. Went really well. Then just hung out with Sarah, who is back from home and we're so happy she is! yay. 

Today had to get up absurdly early, had a 7:45am call for the Yom HaShoa ceremony. It went off realllly well, everything was beautiful and went seamlessly. LOTS of people came. It was really nice, very moving and meaningful. Then i skipped Hebrew, cuz, well, i was tired. Did laundry, lay outside for a little, then tookk a real nap in my bed. Now we're just hanging out. OH! today i finally got the package my mom and bro sent on FEBRUARY 19!!!! it made me happy. and i also checked our mailbox and there was another letter from my mom! and later this week i should get a letter from the Kimo. it made me really happy today, even though it's Yom HaShoah, which is a somber day :-/.  

Gonna cook up some chicken tonight...we have lots and i'm a worrywart and worry that it's going bad, so i'm gonna just pop a lot of it or all of it into some water and boil it deaddddd :-P then we can just save it for later and use it in sandwiches or quesadillas or whatevs. 

oh! another note: it's HOT OUT! like, 80+ every day this week! going outside at 8am and being warm in a sweatshirt! i love it. :-DDD

kay, that's enough. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chag Kasher v'Sameach, everyone!

Hello! So as I'd predicted, monday and tuesday this past week WERE pretty tame. i slept a lot, spent a lot of time reading and going on the internet...A few things happened of note, though. Monday, I found out that my friend Sarah was still looking for a third to share her apartment next year. She lived there last year with three girls I am not on good terms with, who are luckily all moving out. Moving in will be this really cool skater-chick named Kelly who's friends with Sarah and whom I've met several times, and...ME! It took me a while and a lot of arguments before I convinced my parents that this is SUCH a good deal--less than $500/month, EVERYTHING, and i mean everything, included. big room. kitchen. 1 bathroom with bathtub! I'm sooooo excited. now i just gotta find a bed over the summer, and i'm set to move in in mid-late August. 
Also on Monday, i discovered that Jaime's ex-girlfriend Nadja was in town with her family for the holiday. We made plans to have breakfast the next morning. So tuesday i got up early, and headed down to the King David Hotel (ZOMG so amazing) and met her in the lobby, then we walked to Emek Refaim, a big shopping/food street, and got breakfast at HolyBagel. I got yellow cheese on a whole wheat bagel, toasted...and omg i need to not think about that during passover! anyways. you can see my DiTL (photo blog of that day) over at my other blog, Tuesday ended kind of crappy, as you can see from the DiTL, but all is well now. 
Wednesday, I got up pretty early to eat and prep for our few days at Emily's cousins' house. Made pancakes as my farewell to chametz...:-( She got back around 11:30 from her trip to Cyprus (which by all accounts was fun but very unorganized, and with its fair share of drama, so i'm almost glad i didn't go), and a few hours later we called a taxi to take us to her cousins'. Once there, we hung out with the family--her mom's first cousins Debbie and Shelly (who lives in Tucson), Debbie's husband Alon and their kids Avigal (21), Guy (20), Gil (16ish), and Shai (13). They are really, really nice people! Around 8, Alon's mother and sister showed up along with his sister's "boyfriend"...what interesting people! his mother is fine, really sweet actually. His sister...well. she's unique. let's leave it at that. and her boyfriend didn't even acknowledge me or Em. We eventually sat down for Seder...They're pretty secular Jews (Alon's sister, Dvori, said at one point: "you come to my house for seder, i give you bread!"), so they kind of zoomed through the first half, not even really doing some of the parts like Karpas or Urchatz (dipping green veggies in salt water, washing hands). After the meal, Alon's family left, and we never finished the seder. we just hung out, i think we watched a movie...The next couple days were just relaxing. i did not put shoes on for three days! we just hung out, read, watched tv and movies (including "Penelope", which i STRONGLY recommend for anyone!), played with the dogs...Alon's niece Shelly came over on thursday with her two dogs, bringing the house total to 3 teeny lap-dogs and one REAL-sized dog. she's pretty neat--taking into account her mother (the odd sister from seder), she's surprisingly cool. yeah. fun. That's...about it.
Yesterday, we got up and had breakfast and all, hung around some more...then around 5 or so we called a cab to take us back to school (Debbie paid both ways, which was really nice). Got back, chillaxed some more, watched "Blue Crush"--we borrowed about eight movies from Debbie :-) 
Today we went to Ben Yehuda street, because emily had american money to exchange and stuff she needed from several places around there. Then we went to the HUGE Mr. Zol that is there, and got some more supplies for Passover. chicken, cheese, fruit, etc. also in the department store we got new pans, which is very exciting because our old one is pretty disgusting. they were on sale if you had the store card, but the nice lady gave us the discount anyways, which saved us around 150 shekels (around $35)! sweet! um. yeah. then we stood outside in the sun waiting for a bus, but they just weren't coming...for some reason the traffic today was HORRIBLE--maybe cuz of easter, or maybe cuz of more construction. dunno. eventually we were geting worried about our perishables, so we took a cab home. now we're just hanging out, waiting to make dinner plans and such. think we're having chicken tonight :-) 
That's it. Might go to my cousin Judy's on Tuesday, haven't decided. hrm. we'll see. other than that i'll just be relaxing all week, as well as trying to get some homework done and such. 
The End.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Follow-up to my tweet and such...

I know those of you who saw my facebook status or twitter today will probably be wondering what the heck I did today, so I figured I'd update.
Yesterday was a completely lazy day. Made pancakes for breakfast with my new Aunt Jemima mix, but my batch turned out completely odd. They were like, wayyyy too bubbly and the bubbles started to burst the second it touched the pan, yet they took a while to cook, and came out kind of rubbery. I have no idea what i did wrong, I just made them like we normally do at home. hrm. may experiment again tomorrow. Mommy says maybe the pan was too hot. We'll see.
Anyways, after breakfast we pretty much just hung out in our PJs all day, watching Queer as Folk and Boy Meets World...then, at night, Adrienne came!! We hung out til 12:30, talking about the randomest stuff in the world, cuz that's Adrienne, listening to Sarah's songs, and generally having fun. Eventually we needed to go to bed though! Adrienne slept on the floor, which couldn't have been comfortable but she said it was the same as a bed in a hostel, so oh well. 
Got up at 7:30 this morning, got all ready for the day, and headed out around 8:15. we didn't have much time, so we caught a cab to the Central Bus Station, where we met up with our friend Adam, who goes to UMass with me and is at TAU with Adrienne this semester. We grabbed breakfast at the Holy Bagel there, which turned out bad for me cuz the knife he used to cut my plain bagel with butter must have been used on an onion bagel, and it was ICKY. I ate it anyways though, since I didn't have much of a choice, as the bus was coming very soon. We got on the bus to Hebron with no problems, had some very fun conversations on the way, and eventually found ourselves in Hebron. Hebron is a city in the West Bank, which has a long, contentious, and bloody history. I don't know all the details, nor do i want to type them all up, really, so you can go here: and read all about it. Today, it's kind of a run-down place, bullet holes and bombed out homes all over the place, children running wild, soldiers at every corner and sometimes even in-between corners. I did not realize until I got there that it was in the West Bank, nor did I realize what a hotbed of conflict it is--I probably would not have gone if I had known, but I am glad I did. It was quite an experience, and I took many gorgeous pictures. I didn't like the feeling of unease I had the entire time, though, knowing that just past that barbed wire were people who hate me and my people, that one step into the wrong part of town could get me stoned, that a bomb could come in at any moment...But I got to see the tombs of my ancestors, which was pretty surreal, and it was also just a gorgeous day. My favorite part by far though, came at the end. We went to one of the small Arab-run touristy shops near where the bus stop was, and the wonderful man who owned it, Abed, and his teenaged son Mohammed made us Bedouin tea and sat and chatted with us for a good 25+ minutes. They were so nice! Their English wasn't so good, but their Hebrew was wonderful, and I could understand most of the conversation, although Adrienne did most of the talking since she's in a higher level than me or Adam. And oh, that tea...I remember getting it in the Bedouin tents on Birthright, but that was only a small glass...this was a big, full cup, and it was just HEAVENLY. I don't even know what was in it, just that I want more :-) 
We had a little issue getting home, since the first bus did not stop for us (which was really, really annoying since we were standing at the right place and waving our arms wildly--the driver MUST have seen us) but while we were waiting for the next one (luckily only 20 minutes later) we met a guy who had been there for shabbos, an American from Pittsburg named Brett who goes by Mordechai here. He goes to Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and was a pretty nice guy. The next bus stopped, luckily, and we hopped on and snoozed our way back to Jerusalem. Back at the bus station, we ran to the bathrooms, then walked around the mall a little bit so Adrienne could buy magazines and ice cream, then they caught a bus back to TA and I indulged in some McD's fries while I waited for my own bus back here to school. After talking to Kimo and Gabs for a bit, I just crashed in my bed with my book, and now I'm just fooling around on the internet, biding my time until bedtime. 
Quite an eventful day, a good start to my break I think! The next two days I think will be pretty tame;  I'm going to attempt to clean our fridge a little bit, get rid of as much chametz (leavened bread products) as I can, although without a broom it's pretty much impossible to get rid of it all. We'll see. Other than that, I will probably read a lot more...Tomorrow I get to sign up for classes...I have emails to write and applications and assessments to fill out...yeah. break. :-) 

Friday, April 3, 2009

LONG week

Oy. Sorry for putting this off so late. but it's been a long week.
Saturday was loads of fun! We headed out pretty early; I got a taxi to mom and Jaime's place, they hopped in, and we headed to where the Sherut taxis pull up. We had to wait a little bit for our taxi to fill up, and then we were off...Got to TA, waited on the corner and watched the incredibly multi-cultural mix of people coming and going in the busy intersection by the bus station while we waited for Adrienne.  She eventually showed up, and we headed to a neighborhood called Neve Yaacov, wandered around, found our way to the beach, and walked along it for a good long while, watching the waves, feeling the wind, seeing people wind-surfing and working out on these funny outdoor gyms that TA has all over the place...ran into a bunch of people doing Israeli folk dancing, must have been a class. It was fun. We finally got to our destination, HaYarkon park, which is a nice park by a river that separates Tel Aviv from Ramat Aviv, which is where TAU is. We were exhausted by the time we got there, so we just sat and rested for a while, and also called Adrienne's cousin John who is one of my brother's best friends from home. Then we headed to Adrienne's apartment, which is itty bitty but HERS, and she gave me a key so if i need it I have an apartment too :-D. She packed up some stuff, then we went to find dinner. We ended up at a place called Bar Gurion, where Mom and I got shnitzel, Jaime got a sandwich he got to "create", and Adrienne got some pasta. Then we caught a taxi back to the bus station and got on a sherut which left very quickly for Jerusalem. Got back to the city, caught a taxi home...Um...I don't remember what we did on saturday night. Not much,  I don't think.
Sunday, Mom and Jaime were a lot later than I had hoped, so we just grabbed a take-away breakfast at Aroma before heading to school. We went the outdoor route, and I got to show them the botanical gardens and such. My class was pretty boring, but they had books and food, so they just sat in the back. Then we headed out to my internship. I brought them to the YMCA and showed them the Gan (preschool) where I work, showed them my boss' frog-filled office although my boss wasn't there, then they went off to do their own thing while I worked. Just a normal day with the babies...when i got out of work, mom and jaime had been down to Emek Refaim, had ice cream, and were back waiting for me. We stopped at the chocolate shop near the YMCA that i've been wanting to check out and I got two small chocolates, then we headed to the Old City again. Turns out it's really easy to get to the Kotel from King David street! So yeah, we did that whole deal, had it started to get dark, we headed back to my room. On the way home, we made plans to meet our tour guide from our first trip here 10 years ago (August 1999!) at Aroma. We had a little bit of time in the room first, then we went and met her. She is still wonderful, and even invited me to seder! It was wonderful to see her again, she really made that trip memorable. After about an hour with her, mom and jaime had to head back to their room to pack and rest up for their long day of travel, and Francis was nice enough to offer them a ride. After several long hugs, I had to say goodbye to my family :-(( it was such a nice week! I was super-sad to see them go.  
The rest of the week was...blah. I had midterms. things just dragged. midterms were okay though. Oh, and I had another field trip, this time to the Israel museum, where they have a scale model of Jerusalem in the second-temple period. It's cute. and really detailed. and i met a couple from Newton (about 40 minutes from my hometown). Yeah. Other than that...Nothing really happened until last night. I had this program for my education class on something called BiblioDrama. it's where you read bits of a Torah portion out loud, and then the facilitator asks you questions that you have to answer as if you were a certain character. AKA "You're Moses. how does it make you feel that _____" and "would you rather be an Egyptian or an Israelite right now?" (if you can't tell, we were doing a Passover themed BiblioDrama). It was actually pretty interesting, and I can definately see how Hebrew school teachers of mine used elements of it, and I can see how I could use it if I ever end up teaching Hebrew school. 
After that, I went home, and then Emily, Sarah, Bekah and I went up the hill to Burgers Bar, a chain restaurant that a lot of people love. I got shnitzel. it was pretty yummy, although the garlic-mayo dipping sauce i got made my tummy hurt. We also went to Mr Zol while we were up there, and I got some matzoh, some apple chips, some pesadich (kosher for passover) cookies, and some rice cakes. I also discovered that they DO have a cheese counter, and they even have semi-decent cheddar! dunno prices, but i'll figure it out. I will pay almost anything for cheddar! 
Eventually we headed home...watched some QAF then went to bed. 
Today, we went to ben yehuda street so that emily could get some sunglasses and sunscreen for her trip to Cyprus this coming weekend (although the prices on the latter were so obscene that i convinced her to just take my huge bottle of 15 instead), and so Bekah could pick up some last-minute gifts for home. She is not coming back to school after the break. Sarah and i got bagels for breakfast...real bagels are such a treat and so welcome! Then we met up with a friend of Sarah's. I got a crepe, we walked around and tried to find her friend some nice shoes, Sarah got a crepe, em got a milkshake, and we headed home. Gathered some stuff, put on sunscreen, and went outside to lie on the (gross, prickly) grass for a while. it was HOT. I stuck it out longer than em and sarah, but eventually felt like i was melting alive and came inside and crashed on my bed instead. And yeah. that's pretty much you, up to date.  I promise I won't let it be another week, okay? 

Friday, March 27, 2009

more family time...

So on Wednesday, mom and jaime came over for breakfast, which was nice, then I headed out to class and they headed off to catch the Egged bus 99 double-decker bus tour of Jerusalem. they had a really good day, stopped off at Yad Vashem (hugemongous Holocaust Memorial) for a few hours...then they met me at Aroma when I was done with classes at 4. We then called my great-aunt, and decided to go to her place in Ramat Rachel for dinner and such. Headed out, barely caught the 19, which then proceeded to get caught in traffic and I almost got seriously motion-sick cuz i was sitting backwards. We then had to transfer busses, but managed to get seats on the super-busy #8, and find our way to Aunt Leona's apartment. We had a nice evening of chatting, looking at SUPER-old pictures (we're talking pictures that were taken on a Kodak Brownie, from the turn of the 20th century; i saw my great-great aunts, great-great grandparents, etc.); my other cousins Dvorit and Howard dropped in was nice.
After that we just headed home, mom and Jaime had a little adventure cuz the taxi driver from my place to theirs didnt know their street and so got lost; they did eventually get home and got a good price too.
Yesterday, Mom and Jaime headed off to Haifa pretty early, had fun times while i was stuck inside in class, then after work I ran home, switched bags and grabbed a small snack, then ran out the door to get the bus to the central bus station, where I met up with my cousin Adina, and then we walked to the stop where the Superbus to Adina's son Ariel's house. We got on right away, it was a nice cozy bus. 45 minutes later, arrived in Hashmonaim, a tiny little town between Jlem and Tel Aviv. We waited a few minutes outside for Ariel to come get us; my mom and bro arrived on the train almost exactly at the same time as our bus, so he got us on the way back from getting them. Their house is...inSANE. three floors. spiral staircase to all. echo-y walls. and five children, ages 10mos, almost-3, 5, 8, and 10. it is LOUD. and MESSY. but AWESOME. and we had a really nice dinner, pasta and burekas (puff-pastries that are generally filled with cheese or potato) and bread and there was sole and salad and such. it was fun. baby Zohar is SO cute, and the oldest girl totally loves me, and so do the older boys...Itay, the almost-three-year-old, is just insane. lol. it was a wild and crazy and fun family night. Ariel drove us home, and yeah. 
Today, i got up early and showered and then waited for mom and jaime, who again had an adventure cuz they accidentally took the 4 instead of the 4A, and had to walk...but they made it. they got some breakfast at Aroma, ate in my room, then we got sarah and headed out. We went to Ben yehuda and got presents and bagels, then to the shuk and got the fixings for dinner (chicken, lafa, cheese, etc.). it was craaaazy, as the shuk always is on fridays, and i'm amazed that nobody got lost, but it was all good. spent lots of money though...oh well. i got cheddar cheese! and that makes life good. Came home, sat outside and snoozed for a while til it got too windy, hung out inside, watched some Jeff Dunham, made a delicious dinner, watched Juno, then mom and jaime left, and this time got home in like 5 minutes, as they should. 
tomorrow we head to Tel Aviv to hang out with my friend Adrienne...should be a lot of fun! Will let you know how it goes. sleepytime now...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

yayyyy mommy and jaime are here!!

So yesterday was a pretty normal day, other than that i was excited for mom and jaime coming and dead-tired from very little sleep. i also had an advisor meeting which was okay, just a mid-semester check-up, nothing special. at night we did homework and watched Captain Planet on YouTube, which is SO MUCH FUNNNNNN. epic win.
TODAY. my body woke me up 7:30ish, and then i couldnt fall back asleep cuz i was waiting for jaime to call saying they'd landed. got that call around 8:30am, then laid in bed for a while longer, finally giving in and getting up around 9. went to hebrew, which was total craziness because we hadn't been informed of a room change, and then we had a lecture which my teacher had was basically about Jerusalem in the 2nd temple period, aka the exact same stuff i'm learning in archaology now. it is kind of fun to listen to a lecture all in hebrew and be able to understand almost kind of blows my mind a little bit!
after hebrew FINALLY ended, i rushed off to my room, dropped my stuff, did some last-minute straightening, then got on the bus to head up to ramat eshkol where my fam was staying. i accidentally missed the stop, though, and ended up having quite a strenuous uphill walk to their b&b. finally got there, got loves from my mom and jaime, then sat with mommy and chatted while jaime showered. their room is really nice, two COMFY twin beds in on half, a nice little closet, a second room with a kitchenette including sink, fridge, microwave, electric kettle, hotplate, coffee, tea, a table...sweet. and a private bathroom with a nice shower and all. it's actually kind of better than our room here, lol...add a little more storage space, and i wish we could just move in there! after we talked and such a little longer, we headed down to my dorm with the suitcase full of stuff they brought for me :-D ended up taking a cab, cuz the weather sucked and the bus wasn't coming. it was only 20 shek ($5). took them up to my room with no problem, sat for a few minutes while jaime used the computer to email his gf, then sarah joined us and we headed to Aroma for lunch. mom and jaime fell in love with the hot chocolate, as i knew they would! hehe.  then we headed back to the dorm so i could run up and get coupons, then we walked to school so mom and jaime could see some of it and get money from the ATM at the forum, then back to meet up with emily and head to the old city.
we went through the Jaffa gate again, like i did with sarah over purim; wandered our way through to the market place, where we were greeted with the sight and sound of some greek-orthodox monks making their way back to their monastery. so cool! then we walked through to the Kotel; there was an army initiation going on in the plaza, which was pretty neat. we did the whole praying thing, then after jaime took LOTS of pictures we finally headed out of the plaza, up and out of the old city, then as it started to downpour again (the whole day it was sunny for ten minutes, downpour for five, sunny, rain, sunny, rain...couldnt make up its mind!), we got another cab to ben yehuda street. walked around a bit, looked at some pretties, then went to a restaurant called the Focaccia Bar. After much deliberation and a table-move to a table closer to the heating lamp, Jaime ended up with some linguini in tomato-cream sauce, mom and emily both had HUGE salads that came with teriyaki beef strips, I had some linguini in olive oil and herbs, and we all had parts of a focaccia that was piled with tomato slices, arugula salad, and mozerella balls.  we ended up taking home almost more than we ate, it was a LOT of food, plus mom and jaime are pretty jet-lagged so their appetites weren't quite up to snuff. after dinner, we slowly made our way up ben yehuda, with one stop at a store for mom and jaime to get some yogurt and juice for the morning. the 4A, the bus we wanted, came pretty fast, and dropped jaime and mom off first and then me and emily. since then we've just been chilling in the room, i took a shower, etc. 
it was a wonderful first day with my family, despite jet-lag; i missed them so much and it feel so natural to be with them again! oh, and plus they brought me goodies--peanut butter, gushers, fruit-leathers, easy mac, tank tops, capris, and ROMANCE NOVELS zomg. happiness. 
soon we're going to bed, EARLY for once, cuz we're tiiiired. yup. i don't know what's going on yet tomorrow, except that jaime and mom are coming for breakfast and then i dunno what after that. :-)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

*sigh* okay, daddy.

my father insists that there are LOTS of people out there waiting for me to update, so update i shall. 
This week was pretty...normal. 
Monday had hebrew, blah, a quick siesta, then another Archaology field trip, this time to the Hinnoam Valley and the tombs there and up Mt. Zion to see some ruins there. It was pretty neat, other than the CLIMBING UP A MOUNTAIN ON A GRAVELLY ROAD part. but the road was covered in ancient shards of pottery, and since my tour guide happened to be my teacher who's a real live super-smart archaologist, some of us picked up some things and showed them to her to get them dated. I found something from late Babylonian-early Muslim time period (um, late first century CE, i think) and my friend Tammy found something from the Second Temple period (between 500something BCE-70CE). it was cool. 
Tuesday and Wednesday, nothing special except that Weds night we went to Margot's room and watched some Grey's Anatomy--she has every episode from this season so far on her laptop. we watched three. it was wonderful.
Then it was the weekend...again, nothing much special. lots of talking to both mom and boy. Friday Sarah and I watched three movies: "Happy Gilmore", "Yes Man" (which i actually really liked) and "She's the Man". It was fun. I made pancakes friday, eggs saturday...yeah.
Then today, we had another Art class field trip, to the Wolfson Art gallery. we were there specifically to look at their exhibit on the Binding of Isaac--you'd be amazed at how many different interpretations there are of the story, not to mention midrashim (stories the sages wrote to make sense of certain unclear Biblical stories). The art was pretty and all, but i've been having some serious problems with my back for the past week and was in so much pain throughout the tour (even after taking three advil beforehand) that I couldn't really appreciate it. Got back to school with very little time to spare before my first bus to work, but decided that I really needed more advil which was in my room so i took my time and caught the second bus instead. I was thinking that I would go to work, talk to my boss, then maybe tell her I couldn't work today because I was in so much pain. However, she of course wasn't in her office when I got there and I didn't want to just leave, so I stuck it out, and luckily the two additional advil kicked in and it wasn't too bad. Got to play with my bebes, be disgusted all over again at the very low standards of cleanliness at the preschool, got to change diapers for the first time--this last is actually more exciting than it sounds, because it means that i have some trust. And even when they're disgusting and poopy, changing diapers is kind of fun for me, because i get to really connect with the kid, weird as that may sound. it's not just holding them or playing with them, it's taking care of one of their essential needs, which makes me more than just a casual playmate. And i get to make faces at them to make them not cry, and blow raspberries in their little tummies, and yeah. Also I got to go outside with them, for the first time, which was really nice cuz it was gorgeous out today. And I made conversation with one of the moms, who is originally Canadian but has lived in NY for the last six years or so, and is here for three years while her husband gets some sort of degree. She was really nice, and we chatted about the preschool, Jewish education, school, and life. Her daughter Isabel is the one that i posted a picture of a few weeks ago. 
After work, headed home, almost fell asleep on the back to the room, said a quick hello-goodbye to kimo then headed out with emily to the big supermarket up the hill, Mr Zol, for things we can't get at our small AM:PM that is close to our dorm. We got all sorts of goodies, bread, butter, juice, etc, but the ones i'm MOST excited for are REAL pancake mix and REAL (well, sort of) pancake syrup! Sure, they were each about $4, but totally worth it. My from-scratch pancakes haven't been bad, but it's so much less work to "just add water (or juice, as my family does it)", and more consistent as well. and SYRUP! WOOOHOOOOO! :-) Let's see...then came home, talked to kimo until he went to work and Skyped with my mom and aunt and uncle and dad, then took a much needed shower. after the shower, we both made dinner, although mine was done way before emily's (she made rice, which means waiting like ten minutes for water to boil, i just made a tuna melt). Then we opened up a bottle of lovely White Riesling that Emily bought earlier today and said a l'chaim and have been drinking while doing homework. don't freak, dad, we're not getting drunk or anything. We're just relaxing...emily had a really bad day, and mine was pretty painful, so this is good. :-)
I'm SO EXCITED that mommy and Jaime are coming soon! they leave from our town at 9am tomorrow morning their time, and arrive at 8:15am my time on tuesday :-DDD Hopefully the "chance of rain" will be more like "no rain", so that we can really enjoy our time in the Old City on Tuesday...then Weds i think they're gonna do a bus tour of Jerusalem, Thursday they might be heading to Haifa and then at night we'll be going to dinner at my cousin's house. I'll update in a few days, mkay?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Desert Spirituality

So. Thursday night we did indeed go out, with Bekah, her boyfriend Zach, me, Sarah, Emily and then our friend Aran joined too. We started out at Goldy's, which is quickly becoming our favorite bar, and I spent my entire budget for the night (read: all the cash i had left) on a HUGE mango margarita, which tasted good but completely failed at alcoholicness. *sigh*. live and learn, i guess. I wish i liked beer, it's about the only cheap alcohol here! Ah well. Anyways, when we got tired of Goldy's we went to check out another bar Zach remembered that he liked when he was here last, called Zoli's. They had free popcorn. and hookah, which i of course didn't do. Sarah and I left before the others' drinks had even gotten there, cuz we had to get up the next day, and we wandered a little bit before finding our way back to Ben Yehuda and familiar territory. Unfortunately, my emergency pee stop at McD's cost us the last 19 bus back to school, and we waited until after midnight for a bus to school; Em and the others actually got back faster because they took a cab, which confused the heck out of Emily when she got back to an empty room! Got back eventually, packed, talked to a very tipsy roommate, waited up for the boy before giving up and calling it a night around 2am.
Friday morning, got up 9:30ish to do final packing and brekkie and such before heading out with Sarah to the North Gate of the Student Village, where we waited and met some people before our bus showed up. Finally, we were off to the Arava Valley, and Kibbutz Yahel! It was a VERY long drive, with one half-hour and one hour-long stop, for food and such. I got to know two of the girls, Kyle (yes, Kyle's a girl, long story) and Tessa (Aussie! I love Aussies!), really well during lunch. they are awesome!
Finally we arrived at the kibbutz, and didn't even get off right away--instead, a guide and his young daughter got on the bus, and we proceeded to drive out to the pomelo fields. On the way, the guide gave us a talk on the history of the kibbutz (it's the first Reform kibbutz in Israel, founded 1977, RIGHT on the border with Jordan, etc) and then we got off the bus and learned about pomelos! They are quite an interesting fruit. And the field literally is bordered by a patrol road, a sandy road (to pick up footprints should anyone try and come over illegally), a barbed wire fence, then there's no-man's-land, then there's Jordan. He told us stories about throwing pomelos to the Jordanians over the fence, and some other cool things as well. Then he cut open a bunch of pomelos for us to try (and yes, i tried it! Not bad, though not something i'll go out of my way to have) and sent us off to pick some for ourselves if we so desired. Then we got back on the bus and headed back to the main kibbutz. We got our room assignments--I was with Sarah, Kyle, and a girl named Michelle--and after a little mix up we picked beds (top bunk, woot!) and i took a super-fast shower (a shame, cuz it was the nicest shower i've been able to use in a while) and then got ready for Shabbat. We had some mixer games first, including the human knot (very difficult in skirts...oy) and party quirks (a la Whose Line) and human bingo. Finally we headed off to the kibbutz synagogue, and had services led by Jessie, another Rothberg student who was on staff, and Harrison, one of the Hebrew Union College students on staff. The service was nice, similar to what I was used to at Hillel. After what felt like forever, we got to go to the dining hall (or cheder ochel, as they say here) for dinner. I was worried that there wouldnt be food for me, but i ended up devouring challah and two big pieces of chicken as well. After dinner, we had a little time to change into warmer clothes before our nighttime activity. I had packed unwisely and did not have much warm stuff, so i took a blanket from the closet and used that to keep myself warm! And a good thing too.
The night activity was a walk/hike up one of the smaller mountains in the desert outside the kibbutz. It was gorgeous albeit cold and a tad steep in places. the moon was so bright, you could almost not see the stars! On the way back down, they had us stop and put blindfolds on. The staff had us get into a long line holding hands, and led us down the hill a little ways more. Then we stopped, and the staff led us each to a spot on the ground and we sat down and Sydney, the other HUC student, led us in a thought exercise about G-d, spirituality, etc. After a few minutes of almost complete silence, Sydney had us take off the blindfolds and gave us another few silent minutes. Then we gathered in a circle to talk about how we felt with and without the blindfolds, how being in the desert made us feel, etc. It was very spiritually moving, very peaceful, and very awe-inspiring--the desert is such an amazing place, and the people make it flourish.
After that, we headed back to the kibbutz, had a few minutes free, then we had a bonfire. it was the HOTTEST bonfire i've ever experienced, and our sticks were so short that we couldnt even get close enough to melt our marshmallows without feeling like our hairs were being singed off. Must've been all that fresh air! it was fun, i had a great talk with the HUC rabbi, who's called Gingy for his red hair, about Ukraine and Boston and life and such. And i hung out with some people i hadn't talked to, and listened to Sarah, Harris, and Gabe play guitar and sing. Yeah. eventually went to bed.
Got up for breakfast at 9, had bread with chocolate spread and cereal and SHOKO B'SAKIT! aka the most delicious chocolate milk in the world, and completely worth the gastronomical side-affects it has on me due to my lactose intolerance (even WITH the pills...). After breakfast we had Shacharit, or morning prayers, and we had some chevruta (small group) torah study as well. This weekend was Shabbat Parah, or the sabbath of the cow, which tells the story of Moses coming down the mountain and finding that the Israelites were worshipping the Golden Calf. After services, we had a Q&A session with the HUC peeps, which was interesting, hearing about their very varied backgrounds and paths to rabbinical school. Then we had lunch--shnitzel! real shnitzel! Mmmmmmm...After lunch, we had menucha, or shabbos rest. i sat in the sun for a while and then took a nap in my bed. Then we headed out to see the cows--yes, you heard me, cows. Kibbutz Yahel not only grows dates, pomelos, peppers, cantaloupes and other veggies and fruits, they also have about 300 dairy cows. Gingy actually has a masters in...bovine something or other, and he taught us a lot about the cows we saw. We toured the milking shed, and got to pet some very new calves--so cute! Then we had meditation, which would have been better had it not been SO COLD. I couldnt focus on anything but how chilly i was. oh well. Finally we headed to dinner, which i wasnt really hungry for so i just had some bread and such, and then we packed up, did havdalah (closing ceremony of Shabbat) and loaded onto the bus for the ride back. I sat next to my new friend Tova, who is on Year Course (gap year before college) and is totally awesome. Talked, snoozed, etc...Wish i'd brought my iPod, but i forgotted. We had one stop for the bathroom, and eventually got home around 10:30. had to walk from the Kfar in the cold! no fun. Stayed up talking to Kimo and such until em got home around 11, went to bed around midnight and thus ended the weekend.
Today was a normal sunday, Art class talking about Abraham, a quick lunch, then off to my internship...except i missed the bus i normally take. it was cold out and i was not feeling good, so i treated myself to an Aroma hot chocolate (zomg best HC EVERRRRRRR) and waited 20 minutes for the next bus. my boss wasnt even there today, so it didn't matter that i was like 5 minutes late. I helped out in the baby room again, had a pretty good day, talked to that mom again about potentially babysitting right before Pesach (Passover), chatted a bit with some tourists from Oregon on my way out of the building, and was generally in a good mood. Got home, my computer had farted so i had to deal with that, then i spent a few hours talking to Kimo and my mommy, then took a very welcome shower and did some homework. V'zeyoo.
The end. Talk to you in a few days...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Babies and Purim and Jlem, Oh My!

Yo. So. I left you on friday afternoon...didn't do much Friday night, I don't think. Saturday Em was off with the people from her home on a tour all day, and I just slept in and then did some homework and THEN i went out and sat in the sunshine for a good hour and a half, did some reading. Didn't have sunscreen yet though :-( so i couldnt stay out too long. but it was like 80 degrees and I was out in shorts and a tshirt and sandals and couldn't have been happier. I don't really remember much that I did for the rest of the night...hrm. Sunday was gorgeous out again, had a class field trip for my art class to the Italian Jewish Museum, which was very pretty and fun. Got back with time to spare, went and reported that our room has no screen in the window (very necessary as it gets hotter and we want AIR but not any buggies in our room!) although they haven't come and put one in yet...bah humbug. Then I took a nice 15-minute rest in the sun :-) Then it was off to my internship...I got put in the younger baby room this time, because one of the other teachers had to go on a trip or something. it was really fun, they're so adorable and little...the teacher spoke ABSOLUTELY no english, just hebrew and russian, and kept answering her cell phone--seriously, it must have rung a good 15 times in the three hours i was there. but we muddled through, and i really enjoyed the kiddos. at the end of the day, i got to talking with one of the moms who has twins, Amit and Gaia--the youngest in the class. The mom spoke perfect english and was really nice...She asked me to help get the kids down to their stroller, since Amit was kind of attached to me, and two one-year-olds can get heavy! I gave her my number for babysitting if she wanted :-) that would be nice--i could really use some extra spending money!!
Monday was a normal day of class...and then! Monday night we went into Tel Aviv, all dressed up for the holiday of Purim, which celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people in Shushan by Esther, when the evil Haman tried to have them all killed. It's basically Halloween and Mardi Gras put together, at least here...and believe me, if these Israelis take no other commandment seriously, they sure do take the celebration of Purim to its fullest extent--especially the commandment to get so drunk you can't tell good from bad! The night actually ended up being pretty sucky, because we spent half the time there waiting for our friends, and the other half shoving our way through the inSANE street parties LOOKING for our friends. I was not a happy camper, especially since i had to pee the entire night but couldn't find a bathroom til the very friends parked behind a parked car in an alley and in a construction zone but well, my bladder is shy. no can do. I was looking for Adrienne the entire night, but things were just so chaotic i could not find her. one of emily's camp friends did show up with some of his friends though, eventually, and Em and i stayed after most of our friends left to go find ice cream with them, although the place was closed. they were nice people. we eventually got home at 4:15am, tired and kind of bummed and not at ALL drunk.
Tuesday we obviously slept in, then em went out for the day with her best friend from home and his family, and I just hung out, being lazy and fooling around on the computer...the best part of that was that i found my mom and brother a place to stay when they come on the 24th--less than two weeks from now! It's a B&B, although since the lady is closing up at the end of the month there is actually no breakfast. But it's only $40/night, which is worth it :-D! Not much else happened exciting.
Yesterday I went into the old city with Sarah, and it was so fun. we wandered through the armenian markets, got HU sweatshirts and I got sunscreen and sarah got more shirts, went to the Kotel and did that whole thing, had BAGELS for lunch--zomg i missed them so much--and then randomly ran into Margot and Becca and people. Everywhere in the city people were dressed up, singing and dancing randomly. it was fun. Margs came with me and sarah to ben yehuda...we wandered around, sarah bought a new capo she needed, and Margot and i indulged in some McD's fries and cokes. then home...then last night I signed up for housing at UMass, which i'm pissed about because i had NO chance to get the dorm i wanted because the system messed up, but i'm in a 6-person suite on the short hallway of the dorm i was in last semester, which shouldnt be too bad assuming i get nice suitemates. then we went to emek refaim to meet Adrienne and her boyfriend for dinner, which was very nice even though my food gave me indigestion all night :-(. It was wonderful to see her though, and her boy's pretty sweet. oh, and i got free wine cuz the waiter spilled the first glass he brought to me and gave me the new one free of charge--a 31 shek glass of Reisling, too! It was WONDERFUL. mmmmmm.
Today was just a normal class day...wasn't feeling good, but c'est la vie. Then i went and sent an important fax, got some money for the weekend, and yeah. Skyped with kimo before he went to work, then just hung out and watched QAF and had dinner with the girls.
we're going out to a bar soon, methinks, just to hang out. i only have 40 shek to spend, so i guess i'm only having one drink, lol. Then this weekend i'm doing a reform Shabbaton at a kibbutz in the south which should be fun! i'll update after that.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I've been here 7 weeks...wowwww.

sorry it's been so long. here goes.
it's been a pretty normal week--second week of classes, y'know. Saturday I went out in the hail and rain and hung out with Adrienne and her daddy for a few hours, which was great! Sunday had the second day of my internship, which was a lot easier than the first since i, um, KNEW WHERE I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE. lol. it was cool. I took really cute pictures of the kids--like this one: Isabel, my little English-speaker. she's adorable to the max. i just wanna eat her up. Yeah. It was fun, although again I left feeling grubby and germy and spend the next few days taking Airborne at least two times a day to fight the baby-germs. i need to buy some vitamin C. yup. Monday started normal and cold and bleh, and then I had a field trip! We (being my Archaology of Jerusalem class) went to the City of David, or Ir David. It was...long. and cold. but some of it was pretty or interesting, though by the end i just wanted to get back to school and to my next class--we got back 1/2 hour into the next lesson. Roar. Luckily my teacher is cool about it. Yeah. Um. Nothing else really exciting happened this week, until today, I don't think. Um...Yeah. I sat in the room a lot, didn't really do much exciting at night. Made pancakes again last night--best batch yet, although they persist in being kind of wet inside, not underdone, just wet. I think maybe cuz of the oil? Maybe I'll try it without, next time. Hmm. It's fun to make my own recipe, tweaking it a little each time :-D
So anyways. Yesterday when the day was over it was like FINALLY. Weekend! Went back to the room and hung out, Em had a thing so I was all alone, showered, made pancakes, etc...Then Sarah downloaded/YouTubed the movie "Liar Liar" and we watched that. I ended up not getting a lot of sleep last night, because I didnt really get to bed til like 11:30 and then Em came in at like 12 and yeah. Oh well. but then...
Got up at 6:30 this morning, got ready in the semi-dark to go on a field trip to Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea. Sarah and Bekah and I walked up together, to the North Gate of the student village where we met up with Leah and got on Rotem's bus. Rotem is one of our madrichim, counselors, who is SO AWESOME. of course we had to be on her bus! And it was doubly lucky we did, because we met a new friend--Josh, from Sydney, Australia, who just arrived here yesterday after a THIRTY-FIVE-HOUR flight. Including a stop in Thailand where the airport put El Al at the same gate as Iran Air...smaaaaart. hehe. but yeah, he studies law in Australia, so they put him in the grad school here, and he's fluent in Hebrew so he didnt have to come to Ulpan. He just came today to meet new people--and found us! He's pretty cool, and hey, ACCENT. Then we went to Ein Gedi, which is an oasis in the desert near the dead sea. We hiked a gorgeous path, saw ibex (mountain goats), hyrex (little rodent things), birds, waterfalls, rock formations, etc etc etc. it was SO hot. some people went swimming under one of the waterfalls, until one guy ruined it by jumping in from a ledge which he had been told not to do. i put my feet in. cooollllld. But anyways. Thennnnnnn we went to the dead sea! We went straight down to the water, which was only a problem because it meant i had to change into my bathing suit bottom in public (the changing rooms and bathrooms cost money...heck no!). I managed. May have flashed Sarah a little, but that's it. Then we trekked down to the MUD! As you can see, I (and Bekah, L, and Sarah, R) got pretty covered. It was soooo one of the other girls put it, we grow up being told NOT to play in, step in, touch the mud, and then you get here, reach in to the holes and grab some mud and and go *SLOP* and it's SO FUN. We walked back a bit, then ventured into the water--it was COLD. But once i got past the freeeezingness and got all the way in, it was pretty fun. I floated out a bit, and had fun "standing" in water where i could not actually feel the ground. hehe. eventually Bekah and I got out, because, well, certain parts of a lady start to hurt when exposed to super-salty-mineraly water. Yeah. Oh well. Got out slowly but surely, showered off quickly in the outdoor pull-shower (ALSO COLD!! GRR) and then sat in the sun (did i mention it was like, 80 degrees out? WOOT) with Leah and Josh for a while and just chatted. Took some more pictures. Today's a DITL day, so everything from this day will be up on my other blog in a few days. Get this--today's optional theme is "natural". um DUH how perfect could it get?? Lol. So that should be fun to put together later! Anywho. When we got bored of sitting on the beach, we walked up to the main entrance area, where sarah and bekah were sitting. I bought ice cream because, well, it was hot, i'd had a long hike, and i WANTED IT. it was delicious :-) So we sat and ate and talked until it was time to go. Then mostly snoozed on the way back. Got home, showered almost immediately to get the rest of the salt and mud and sunscreen (which i think worked and i didnt get burned!) off, and now we're just chillin'. Em was watching a movie when i came home, so i watched with her for a bit. And now i've blogged, daddy I hope you're happy :-)
Plans for the weekend/week: Tomorrow Em's busy allll day, so I'm gonna sleep in, do my homework for the week, and just relax. Maybe go outside if it's as nice as today was! Sunday I have class and my internship, which sucks cuz i gotta miss the Purim carnival at school. But then afterwards, my cousin (mom's first cousin) Adina is going to come meet me at the YMCA and take me to coffee or something. which will be nice. and i MAY go and make Mishlochei Manot (baskets of goodies that are traditional to give to friends/family/needy ppl on Purim) tomorrow night with Rotem and people. Haven't decided yet.
Monday's a normal day, and then we have tuesday and wednesday off for the holiday. I think the current plan is to go to Tel Aviv monday night, which is apparently THE thing to do. I still need to work out my costume--I wanna be a tiger, but need face paint at the very least. Tues and Weds, who knows? We'll try and search out parties with people, i guess. purim is a BIG deal here, like halloween at home. except maybe even bigger. hehe. Thursday is normal classes. and next weekend i'm going to a shabbaton--a retreat thingy--with a bunch of Reform Jews, at a Kibbutz. I'll update again after Purim, ok?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ok, Ok...

I've been procrastinating writing this long enough, I guess...not for any particular reason, just cuz. I'm boring. Lol.
So. Wednesday. More classes. Same ones as Monday, just all in a row instead of having a break after Hebrew. I have discovered two things. A) I need to chew gum to stay awake in Archaology and B) I am gonna have to figure out some way to not tune out Dr. Revelson, my Jewish Jesus teacher. I love him, i really do, he's great and he's even a red sox fan--grew up with Youk's father! But i just...can't seem to stay focused on him, especially when there's such a pretty view out the window. *sigh*. I think it'll get better once we're off of the background stuff that i already learned with Jay Berkovitz at Umass. :-D
After class I did laundry--hooray! It sure. and then i went to a "girl's night in" for Rosh Chodesh Adar (the beginning of the hebrew month Adar) and made a pretty painted chamsah (the hand design popular in a lot of middle eastern art) and ate chocolate and hung out and decided that i'm gonna be a tiger for purim (i makes sense cuz i already gots the stripes ;-))
Thursday, another long day, but it was a DITL day, so that made it a little more interesting. It was also super-sunny and very warm, which was totally nice. no jacket! whee! I had my Art class, then hebrew, then my first class for my internship. We had a guest leader named Mark Lazar, who does seminars and such all over the place to help teachers be better. We basically played games the entire class--starting with "color tag" (touch someone in your group wearing...) and "body part tag" (touch two diff ppl's...) and the mirror game (have to mirror your partner's movements), and ending with skits where we had to reinterpret fairy tales (we had the 3 little pigs) in a different genre (ours was western) and using things from israeli culture (ours was religious differences). we also had to make "human machines" for various purim-related things and have the rest of the groups guess, some people put on a mini "blind-date"esqe play about the diff jewish factions in the time of Yochanan ben Zakai...It was really fun. At the end we talked about why he did all these things--to show how informal education can really be valuable and fun for everyone. Then we did some business, and that was it. oh, and there were cookies and pretzels. i ate soooo much :-)
After class, i just hung around the room, because i was SUPPOSED to meet up with Margot and Leah and go somewhere. They stalled and stalled and then finally told me that they were planning to go dancing but not til like 11-11:30. i was like, meh. I hung around, had some food. Watched a movie with Sarah and had some drinkies cuz hey, we has FREE alcohol, why go out and pay for it? hehe. Went to bed 1:30ish i think.
Yesterday I got up late, hung around the room, made pancakes again for me and Sarah for breakfast--this time they turned out just about perfect, and i even had 3 leftover for breakfast this morning (yes, father, i ate REHEATED pancakes, the world is going to come to an end!). We watched the rest of the movie from the night before cuz we hadn't finished it...I talked to people online...And just stayed in all day because, well, the weather was frightful and i only have the one pair of sneakers. It kind of sucked cuz i wanted to go to Leah's to watch a movie. oh well. had a very restful night instead, although my back is yelling at me for sitting at the computer so long--i was up til 2, playing a game Kimo got me addicted to and talking to him and my friend Vince.
Today i got up at 2. yes, i'm lazy. also my shade was completely closed so i couldnt tell the time by the brightness outside. reheated my pancakes, had some cereal, some pb on bread...Did some much-needed cleaning, then started to do my hw. i'm all done with hebrew, now just have tons of readings to do for various monday classes. Tonight, Adrienne (my friend from Mt Holyoke who is studying at Tel Aviv U) is coming into the city with her daddy, and we're supposed to meet up in a few hours in the city. Then tomorrow after i'm done with my internship we're gonna hopefully meet up again. yay!

The End. :-D

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Classes, classes, classes...

So. First classes of the semester! Oh, I already told you about the art class. Monday I had Hebrew, with a new teacher and new class. It was okey. Then I came home, attempted to sleep a little but it was very cold in our room so i couldnt. :-( had a little food, then went to Archaology of Jerusalem. Lots of people I know in it, like Margot, Leah, and Ariana. yay. it was a bit...tedious, but interesting. Reminded me a LOT of my Greek Civ class last year, which means I should do fine :-) plus there are lots of field trips...should be fun. After that I had what is so far my favorite class, From the Jewish Jesus to Christianity. The professor is HILARIOUS, has a story for everything and everyone. There are people from Germany, England (two gap-year students, one going to Cambridge in the fall and the other going to Oxford, OY!), Canada, and French-Canada. Plus of course a bunch of us Americans, including one of the only (if not THE only) African-American at this school, a guy from Texas who's apparently not even Jewish yet to boot. He seems really cool. Oh, AND. AND. MATTHEW SCHULTZ. AKA Matty Schultz, who I went to elementary through high school with, but havent been friends with really since about fifth grade. He has been here since August, and I just saw him here for the first time on sunday, and then whammo, he's in one of my classes. It's a tad awkward. Cuz we don't really know what to say to each other. Hopefully that'll get better. But anyways. the class looks quite fascinating too.
After class my friend Sarah and I went to try and buy the course reader, which is all the readings bound up together. Of course the stupid printing place closed at 4. Jerks.
Then...Um...what did i do? i don't remember. Um. i think i just hung around in the room for the rest of the day, Em and I made spaghetti and shnitzel for dinner. yeah. that's about it for yesterday.
Today I got up a little early, since i wanted to get moving early because i didnt know where my class was. for some reason, on tuesdays my hebrew class is in a totally different building than most Rothberg classes, so i had to find it. it took a while, but i made it, and yeah. Apparently they also combined two of my level's classes into one, so it was yet another new class. new teacher too--we have two, who switch off days. Today was Tali, yesterday was Batya. It was pretty good, I have a really easy time understanding Tali.
After class i went again to order my course readers. They were at least open, but they told me to come back at three to pick them up--they print them to order. So i went home, futzed around, did some hw for tomorrow, went back and...guess what? there was a "problem with the machine". roar. so i have to go back tomorrow. blargh. went home, fooled around some more, then went with Em to the big supermarket, Mr Zol. got lots of goodies :-) like milk! and laundry detergent! yay! came home, dug into our fresh pita with some nutella (HEAVENNNNN), then hung out for a bit. I made a grilled cheese for dinner, since we now have margarine :-) Then once emily was done with her homework, we watched "Sliding Doors", an old-ish movie with Gwyneth Paltrow, that was kind of wonderful. Now we're just watching some QAF before bed. The next two days may be kind of hellish, for some reason i made my schedule so that i go 10:30-4 on W, Th, and Su (if you count my internship). Ugh. funnnn timeeessss.


Sunday, February 22, 2009


just found out i got a 90 on my final exam. SHAWEEEEET.

Why are weekends so short?

Even though this was actually a pretty long weekend, it still seemed short for some reason.
Thursday night i made pancakes! it was interesting. i had a sort of guideline of what to do from a place online, but i was mostly on my own. started with an egg, then some peach juice (no orange, no milk, i dont do water in pancakes that's lame), a little oil, baking powder, and then flour until it was the right consistancy. and then of course, chocolate chips as they were baking. they tasted a little...odd...but not too bad. we didnt have any syrup though :-( i hung out with sarah while i did all that, then kicked her out for some skype time with kimo, then just played around on the internet until i couldnt keep my eyes open. fridayyyyyy we slept in a bit, then i did laundry with my friend sarah which was fun. except i only did the absolute essentials--sheets, towels, underwear. so i still am severely lacking shirts. but i need to buy my own laundry detergent soon so i can do the rest and not steal sarah's detergent. ummmmm...then i was pretty much bored all afternoon, em went to the student village to hang with our girlies and cook dinner...hung out with becca a little bit and then went up, had dinner with awesome peeps, headed home, chilled out...yesterday we slept til 2, then aimlessly hung out most of the day, because we had no homework and it was disgusting outside. like, thunderstorms, hail, wind, rain, the whole shebang. sarah and got domino's cheesy bread for dinner. it was yummilicious. and we watched QAF of course. went to bed eventually...
today was the first day of classes. i had to buy notebooks and such first, so i went to the academon. i mistakenly got a five-pack of the 5x5 grid type notebooks instead of normal lines. which kind of sucks, cuz it's harder to read. but oh well. they were a steal. ummm...class was ok. Biblical figures and stories in Jewish, Christian and Islamic art. i'm not a huge fan of reading a lot of shite into paintings. but i have like...5 friendly people in the class, including em, so that's good.
we got out early, which was nice, cuz i could actually go back to the room and breathe before i had to run to my internship. caught the 12:20 bus, actually got there early, but my boss wasnt there and nobody spoke english and i couldnt remember my classroom teacher's name and everything was confused until i managed to figure it out. then i spent three hours helping to corrall kids that i couldnt understand with a teacher who doesnt speak english. her name is Wejdan. or something like that. she's Arab. very nice lady. the kids are adorable. it was just a little overwhelming. it'll get better as i start to pick up more easy hebrew stuff though. hopefully!
had to wait forever for the bus home, but eventually i got home, went shopping with em...then back to the room, dinner, hung out, etc. no homework yet, really, which is sweet :-)
but hebrew starts again at 8:30 tomorrow morning. urgh.

sleep time soon!