For all my talk about being a writer, it sure did take me a while to start a blog recapping my big adventure abroad. But here it is! And here, in this post, I’ll recap the last eight days in Israel…
Sunday, February 19- Monday, February 20
After a very long flight from Newark to Tel Aviv (thankfully it was direct), my friend Emily and I arrived around 9 a.m. and joined up with James, another student in our program here at the International School of the University of Haifa. We took a shuttle (sherut) up the coast to the school, checked in, settled into our room (Emily and I are roomies) and by 1 in the afternoon (4 a.m. East Coast time), I was barely coherent. We took a nap, then wandered around, then met up with the rest of the International School kids, where we continued getting oriented for the next day, including a tour of Haifa, a tour of the campus and lots of “getting to know you” stuff.
Tuesday, February 21 – Wednesday, February 22
Classes started. I got placed in Hebrew 2! Hooray! Adventures also ensued to the mall (Israelis love malls). Etc, etc, etc….
Thursday, February 21
I turned 21!!!! It was my birthday and my wonderful new friends helped me celebrate. We went to an Asian restaurant, then an Irish pub then a dance club. It was really really great. I made sure I knew how to say “Hayom yom hooledet shelee!” That means “Today is my birthday.”
Friday, February 24 – Saturday, February 25
Friday and Saturday can be pretty lazy around here since it’s the Israeli weekend and everything really shuts down from Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon for Shabbat. There was a trip to the grocery store and back to the mall on Saturday night, but that’s really all. It was very relaxing.
Sunday, February 26
On the first of many study tours run by the program, we went to Jerusalem! It was a very long but very informative day and it just made us all want to go back and learn more. The streets we were walking on have been there for literally hundreds and hundreds of years. That’s something you just can’t get in the States. This is a picture of the Western Wall. There are millions of hopes, wishes and prayers shoved in the cracks between the giant stones from people of every walk of life. Even if you don’t believe in a higher being, you can still believe in the power of that much faith crammed into one tiny space. It makes you feel so small.
Monday, February 27 and Today!
With a full week under our belts now, Week Two of classes has begun. It’s much less stressful here than in the States, and I have lots of free time. I’m also well-rested, which is quite a feat. I’ll post again later this week before a trip this weekend to the desert to hike and the resort town of Eilat. Until then…