2 weeks ago, we had a seminar about Israeli culture. It was awesome! Over the course of 4 days, we went to the Yitzchak Rabin museum, the deaf/blind museum, a Druze village, the comic museum, the diaspora museum, ate at Dr. Shakshuka (so deleicious!), heard from an Israeli and Palestinians who lost loved ones due to hostility, heard from new Olim and their experiences about making aaliyah, had a traditional Hina (Moroccan wedding celebration) party, and learned more about Israel in general. It was a really busy weekend! The whole weekend was pretty amazing, but one of the highlights for me was the deaf museum where they were able to simulate the experience of being deaf. We were even able to buy food at a cafe using only sign language. Another highlight was eating at Dr. Shakshuka. For those of you who don’t know what shakshuka is, you are missing out! It’s a delicious traditional Israeli dish of eggs cooked over a spicy tomato sauce. So good! Dr. Shakshuka in Tel Aviv is supposed to be one of the best places in Israel to get shakshuka, so I was really excited to eat there! I’ll definitely be going back soon!
Last week, we had the week off for Thanksgiving break. It’s a little bit ironic, since no one celebrates Thanksgiving in Israel. It was pretty tough being away from home over Thanksgiving, and I actually got homesick for the first time. But it’s ok! I was in Rome with my friend Emily over the break, so I had lots of fun! And instead of overindulging on stuffing, mashed potatoes, my mom’s carrot pudding, and pumpkin pie, I overindulged on the best pasta I’ve ever had, bruschetta, and tiramisu. I’d say it was a fair trade. Rome was beautiful and our hotel was a block away from the Trevi Fountain, so we were really close to all of the tourist attractions. My favorite part of Rome was the Trevi Fountain, but I also really liked seeing the Sistine Chapel and we found a really nice park near the Borghese Museum. As much fun as Rome was, I was definitely excited to get back to Israel. It’s funny that it took me 3 months to get homesick for my home back in America, but it took me a day and a half to get homesick for Israel. I don’t know what it is about Israel, but I just feel like I’m incomplete when I’m not here.
On the plane ride back from Rome, I sat next to a man named David. He was such a nice guy! He was on his way back from Brazil and he had just pitched his invention to Boeing. He’s a pretty big deal. Even though he was my dad’s age, I really enjoyed talking to him. He even took down my number to give to his son. Here’s what I love about Israelis: they never miss an opportunity to get dates for their children. Getting back to Netanya from the airport in Tel Aviv was a fiasco. We landed Israel on a Friday at 2 p.m. and since Shabbat starts at 5, the trains had already stopped running. The airlines sent Emily’s suitcase on the wrong flight, so David helped us deal with the airlines about that and once that was settled, it was already 3. Which meant that the last bus out of Tel Aviv had already left. Luckily, David lives in a town near Netanya, and he was so nice and he dropped us off at the bus station in his city. He gave us directions to the bus station, but we somehow got lost anyway and finally found our way back just in time to get on the last bus to Netanya. So even though our plane landed at 2, we didn’t actually get back home until 5:30. Ayzeh Balagan! (What chaos!)
A few nights ago, Shlomy, our director, organized a potluck dinner and a movie. Unfortunately, Shlomy got really sick and had to go to the hospital, but he’s feeling better and hopefully everything’s ok with him! We had the potluck in my apartment and I was able to borrow someone’s toaster to make a noodle kugel. It turned out so well! Mom, if you’re reading this, you would have been very proud! It was really fun hanging out with everyone and eating delicious food! We watched the movie “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” and it was so much funnier now that I’m living in Israel. After dinner, Emils, 2 of Emils’ friends, Tami, and I went out to a bar and went dancing. The bar reminded me of a club on 6th Street back in Austin and I had a blast! It was a really fun night!
Last night, Tami and I went to my host teacher’s house for Shabbat. It was so awesome! Rosit made the best food and I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to eat again for a week! I loved getting to meet her husband and her 3 adorable little kids! Tami and I stayed the night at Rosit’s beautiful house and it was the first time that I actually kept Shabbat in a really long time, maybe even the first time that I really did keep Shabbat. It was really relaxing and it made me think that when I have a family, I want to raise my kids more traditionally. It’s really comforting to me to think that we are performing the exact same customs and prayers that our ancestors performed thousands of years ago.
In other news, my Hebrew is getting better, and my students are the best! Shon, my favorite student, is doing amazingly well and he gives me about 3 hugs a day. It’s so exciting and it makes me really happy to get up every morning and go to work!