SO a lot has happend int he past couple of days since my last entry. I have a feeling that the last one was just to let you all know that I am alive, which is always good, but not exactly what you want. Wagner sent me some questions to answer first, and then I will get into the good stuff...not that Wagner's questions are not informational and fun, I just have a lot on my mind and I dont think that those questions will cover what is up.
So here you go Wagner!!!...
1) After a week in Israel my first impressions are the same as they were when I got here. AMAZING..I wish that I could use a better word, but I can't, everything is just so incredible that it can't be described any other way. I say to my friends on facebook that I feel free, and that everything that I left in the states can't touch me here. Everyday is a new experience, and it never gets old. I walk outside with my roommate and all we can say is that we are just two college girls walking around in Jerusalem, going to school in Israel. The people here are welcoming and wonderful, and I have already had offers from communities in the area that want to have me over for shabbat dinner, which is extrordanary. It truely makes me feel excepted and at home.
2) The things that I love about my new home is everything visually. I look out my schools windows and I can see ALL of Jerusalem, like I am on top of the world. Plus, the weather is always BEAUTIFUL so you feel like you can see until forever, as if you are looking into an endless desert. I also love that you can walk practicly everywhere. If you go to the Shuk (market) in Jerusalem, you can walk for 10 minutes and be in Ben Yehuda street which is one of the most popular shopping/bar/resturant/etc. area in Jerusalem (SOOO MUCH FUN!!!).
3) The food is GREAT!...I love being a jew in Israel and haveing no problem eating the best Hummus, pita, falfel, shwarma, etc. in the world. When I went to the shuk the other day I went to the bakery with a group and they literaly take out a steaming hot batch of rugula and serve it to you right there. You bite into it and feel so warm and happy, it's doughy and choclaty and amazing all in one. The food at school is good too. We have several cafe/cafateria's on campus and right next to my dorm room. Cafe Aroma has great coffee, which I pretty much get EVERY morning. The cafateria's on campus are seperated between milk/meat/and parve. So if you keep kosher you are in great luck, these places also have a lot of differnt things so you are never stuck with the same choice every day.
4) Honestly, I dont think I dislike anything. If I dont like something in the beginning I normaly like it later. I let myself try new things, and I WANT to have new and crazy experiences.
5) I made a great group of girlfriends that are american (Shaina my roommate, Sarah M., Sarah, Ariana, Nicole, Becca). They are great and we hang out everyday. I also have a lot of friends that are Israeli. I go to a jewish overnight camp during the summer so all of the Israeli's that work there during the summer are planning on getting together with me A LOT. They all mostly live in Tel Aviv but some of them have cars, and it is not expensive to take a shuttle bus there (takes about 40nis (10 dollars) to go from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv), and about an hour to actualy get there, sometimes less depending on traffic.
6) At the moment I am takeing Ulpan, which everyone is required to take before starting classes. Ulpan is a hebrew language intensive, I have class every morning for about 3-4 hours. It is a little bit hard but I am working hard and figureing things out as I go. My roommate knows a lot more then I do so she can help me with anything that I might need. It also helps that I have Israeli friends that can help me. Always fun!!
7) Many funny things have happend. Mostly silly things during the course of each day, such as; counting and nameing all of the cats/kittens that we see EVERYWHERE in Israel. Seriously they just run around free, and it isnt like a couple in different areas, it's like 10 cats everywhere you go, they cross your path, get into your garbage and sometimes enter your building and hangout outside your rooms just for fun (mostly because people forget to close the main entrance to our bulding. My friends and I have also had some fun moments exploring our area. We went for a walk last Friday to find the market to get food for the week. One of my friends Becca said that she knew the area and that she could take us right ot the market we were thinking about. We ended up walking in a circle for about a half hour and passing the market on our way. It was so funny, we got to the market and colapsed in front of the market and had to take a moment to regain out strength, both of body and sanity.
OK!!!...now that I have answered some Wagner questions let get to some fun stuff that I did in the past week.
I started Ulpan, which I said earlier, and I have finaly gotten a handle of where everything is on campus. We start registering for semester classes in the next couple of days so I am really looking forward to that. My roommate Shaina and I have really just been chillin, doing homework, and getting to know each other a little bit more then we probably should...hehe...I love her, we get very silly together, especially before going to bed everynight. Then on Thursday my Cousin Debbie who lives about 20 minutes away from my school picked me, Shaina, and Ariana up and took us to her home. We had a birthday dinner with her, her husband Alon, and children; Shai, Gil, and Guy. Their oldest Avigal works in the airport so she could not be there, but I am sure I will see her soon. It was really lovely, we made dinner, did our laundry, and watched some television.
THEN THE FUN STARTS!!!...Friday was my 21st Birthday!!!!...we slept in on Friday went out for a birthday breakfast, went food shopping for the week and went back to our dorm. Around four o'clock we started getting ready to go out. Since Jerusalem is mostly dead during Shabbat, it is really hard to get a bus from place to place. we had to get a taxi to take us to what is called a Shirut service (Taxi Bus) that takes you from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, which is compared a lot of the time to New York (how wonderful for me!!!). We got to Tel Aviv and took another taxi to my friend Aviv's apartment to put my our stuff away before going out for the night. We went to two bars, and a club, and ended our night around 3am. OY it was a night to remember, I had sooo much fun, and I can't even imagine how I would have spent my birthday in the states.
My friends and I came back from Tel Aviv the next morning the same way that we got there. We got back to our dorms around noon and fell asleep until around 4pm. At that point my roommate and I just hungout did our homework, had a quick dinner, watched a movie, and went to bed.
I am haveing the the best time, and I know that there will be so many more amazing times to come. Have fun checking out theses great pictures (there are many more but there is only so much I can put onto one page). I love and miss you all sooo very much and I hope everyone is healthy and happy. I know that I am!!!
B'Shalom and Blessings,