Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Learn Your Lessons Well"

Hey All,

So this past week was CRAZY!!
I had my last week of Ulpan, which means Final Exams. Tuesday was my oral exam, which actually went really well. I had to have a conversation with a girl in my class about which was better; the Shuk (an outside market) or the Supermarket. It was an entire 5 minute conversation between the two of us asking what each place and if what we wanted was expensive. Then we ended with giving each other directions to the two places that we wanted to go to. The second part of the oral exam was just the Teacher and I. She would ask me questions about a specific text that I had to read and memorize. I ended up forgetting half of the words that I needed to use, and she could tell that I was getting frustrated. At this point she stopped me, and started over with just asking me questions about myself (things that I like, do, eat, and drink). That part actually went really well, and I ended up getting an 80% on my oral exam. Thursday was my written exam, which I was freaking out about the whole week. When I finally got into the exam I took a minute to relax and finally decided that it was not worth getting stressed over. I just needed to do my best, and what ever happens, happens. I started the exam, and I felt really good about it. There were parts that I REALLY didn't know, and then there were parts that I breezed through. The last page of the test (5th page) was me having to write an essay (all in Hebrew). I started writing and it actually went really well, I found that I knew more then I thought I would remember. I finished early, and went back to my room with Shaina and took a "congratulation Ulpan is over" nap.

When Shaina and I woke up, we went out with our friends Sarah, Margot, and Leah to the Shuk so that we could go shopping for Shabbat dinner at Margot's apartment. It was a lot of fun, and ended up being a really nice day out. After the Shuk I came back to my room, cleaned up a bit, read, and got ready to meet up with my friend from camp, Neta. Neta and I haven't seen each other in two years, and I was so very excited to see her again. I met her at the central bus station and we took another bus to Ben Yehuda Street for dinner. We went to a restaurant called Foccacia Grill, which was kind of like a Tuscan grill, which served everything you could possibly think of. Neta and I talked about old times, and caught each other up on the things that we were doing now, all of this over two amazing salads, and a dessert cup of chocolate mousse. After dinner, Neta and I met up with some of her friends at a bar that was down the street. When we sat down Neta told them that they should speak in English, and I immediately cut her off and told them that they should speak in Hebrew, and I will let them know if I need them to stop and go back to English. They were really nice, and told me that they wanted to practice their English, and that if it gets too hard for them they will just start speaking in Hebrew. I didn't care either way, I loved hearing them speak in Hebrew, even though I didn't understand most of what they were saying. Then around 1am Neta and her friends left and I met up with my girls Ariana and Leah. We walked around the larger bar and club area on Ben Yehuda Street called "Crack Square" (you guess is better then mine). We went to another small bar just to have some girl time, and ended up staying for a good hour, we got back to our rooms around 3am.

The next morning I woke up extra early to go to brunch with my nest friend from home Andrew (who is going to Tel Aviv University for the semester). He came in the night before to see his friends from Camp Ramah that go to Hebrew University, and we had been in touch during that week so that we could make time to see each other. I met up with him at the student apartments, and took him to a great bakery right next to the student village. We sat for a good hour and a half to two hours talking about our experiences so far, our birthdays, and what we are really looking forward to when the semester actually starts. I miss him so much, and I was so happy that I got to finally see him, even if it was for just a little bit. I hope that once we both have our semesters figured out we will be able to maybe see each other a little bit more (aka me traveling to Tel Aviv). After I left Andrew I went back to my dorm to get ready for Shabbat. Shaina and I and a bunch of our friends met up at Margot's apartment and we made ourselves a GREAT Shabbat dinner. It was really nice to cook, and hang out with my friends again in a more relaxed setting. The rest of weekend consisted of sleeping in, watching movies with my friend Sarah, and snacking on what was left (which was not very much) in our closet for food.

Then the semester started.....

Sunday morning (this morning) was my first day of the spring semester. Shaina and I got up early to get ready and scrounge around for some kind of breakfast, and then walked to our first class (which we had together), Biblical Figures and Stories in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Art. This class was great. There are about 13 people in the class, and we just started right away the biblical stories that we knew the best; Cain and Abel, Jacob's Ladder, Jacob wrestling with the angel, and the binding of Isaac. We looked at different art pieces that were telling these stories through the eyes of Jews and Jewish artists, and Christians. They were all very different, and very interesting to compare. We then looked at one Islamic art piece, and out teacher told us that Islamic art is normally not allowed in society for people to see, and that if there were biblical art pieces created they were only allowed to be put inside the palaces. Our teacher told us that throughout the course we are going to be comparing a lot of art pieces between Jewish views of biblical stories, and Christian views of the New Testament stories. As well as looking at Islamic art and thinking about how they portray their own views on these biblical stories.
My second class of the day was Religious Foundations of Judaism 2: Intellectual Trends and Ideological Development. It was again a really small class ( about 9 people), and the Professor basically just started us out with where the Jews were practicing in the middle ages. He said that we were going to start out in the middle ages, and move on through medieval times, then the Renaissance, then move into modern views of Judaism. I am really excited for this class. I have a feeling that it parts of it are going to be difficult, and a lot of it is going to be class discussions on the different areas of Judaism, and how it can be argued with the New Testament. We were also told that the class will be going on an all day field trip to the North, to explore the different areas that Judaism first started, and the different movements with in those areas.
Other then that I have had a pretty easy going day, and cannot wait for the rest of my classes during the week. I'll take notes during the week so that I don't forget anything for my next post. I know that some of you are truly interested in the classes that I am taking. So I will hopefully be as detailed as I can next time.


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