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?