Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bat Yam 3

Happy NEW YEARS EVERYONE!

Wow, it's 2010! That's Crazy... I just want to thank everyone for an amazing year. 2009 was really special, and the friends that I made last year, I think are some of the best friends that I have and will have. So thank you.

Winter break was amazing and is about to come to a close. Tomorrow I have class again. So it is a bitter/sweet ending. As nice as break was it will be nice to get back into the swing of things.

Okay, so I left off last time talking about my first classes. I believe we only had one class since then. We only had the David Project one b/c the teacher for the King David was with her grandkids from the states. It was interesting class, all about the middle east region and how the Arab/Israeli conflict is a regional conflict and that it is not the only conflict in the middle east.

Oh and Jessica's friend, Lori, came in the previous day when we were on our siyyurim. Lori was with us for most of break. I went to Independence Hall for my siyyur. The declaration was signed in an art museum that was the home of the first mayor of Tel Aviv--Dizengoff. I had never been before and i learned a lot. There are so many tour groups this time of year so we were with a Birthright group as well. After I went with Katie to the Carmel Shook where we met up with her sister who was on her way home for break. Katie's sister is in med school in Ba'er Sheva. Earlier that morning we had Zman Shevet where we learned more about Shabbat, and the differences between Secualr and Religious views on it. Afterwards we made Havdallah candles. Only a few of us stayed to make the candles so it was extra fun. We melted clear wax and then added acrylic oils to the cans and dipped wicks in. I also made some finger candles...dipped my finger in, like at bar mitzah parties, and then filled the finger casing with wax and a wick. now i have a set for shabbat. hahah

Thursday was Adam Monty's bday so we all went out to a club weds night. It was a fun night until someone stole all of the coach money. so we spent about a hr scrounging up another 1400 shekels to pay the driver. oy vey.

Thursday was volunteerring and then WINTER BREAKKK!!! We (Me, Katie, Jessica, Lori, Naomi, and Ale) and others who were headed to Jerusalem took a bus to Jerusalem. We stayed in Katie's family's apartment. It is an amazing location--20 mins from Ben Yehuda, 30 from Old City or Beit Ar-El. It is one bed room with a dream bed thing by the window + an open up couch. That night Britty and Cara also stayed with us. Yep, Britty came to Jerusalem a day earlier to seee us. It was the first time we had seen her since she has gone off to sem. It was so nice to see her! We all went out to Ben Yehuda, of course. And we see Or and Mike, our old Madrichim. It was nice catching up with them and all the others that we know from Ben Yehuda. Oh, and we run into them with their parents, since it is Winter Break.

Friday, Katie and I go to the shook to buy food for Shabbat, but instead we just hang out with Cara and Moran, b/c Jeff Sidel is going to hook us up for shabbat. We make it over to the Kotel and are separated for dinner. I'm sent with Katie to a Chabad Rabbi in the Old City. It was a lovely and veryyyyyy long dinner. We left early, about 11 and they were only on the soup, b/c Katie wasn't feeling well. We meet up with Jessica, Lori, and Cara and start the walk home where we meet up with Ale and Naomi who had ran into Mike and some of his friends. We hang out for a bit and then head home. But first, Katie, Jesssica and I reinact our Divar Torah from the Keshet weekend about Joseph and the dreams. hahah

Saturday we took one of the longest walks of our lives thanks to googlemaps. googlemaps in israel sucks. we wanted to go from rechavya to east talpiyot, and it told us to go to the end up emek rafaim and then up yehuda to talpiyot. little do we know we could have just taken derek chevron. so i know a short cut to the end of emek, we walk through rechavya, katamon, baka (past Beit Ar-El), and to East Talpiyot (passing the Tayelet), and b/c google said to take the first exit in a round about so we do. and when we are walking down a hill for a 1/4 hour without seeing the street name that we need we decide to ask someone. back up the hill we go. and we needed the 2nd exit. we get to Sam and Daniel's about a hr late. Sam and Daniel are friends of Joe's. And Joe went to Aish for a little bit and is friends with all of us through the Brits on our program. Its kind of confusing how we all know each other but that is Jerusalem. We have a great time there and then Lori, Jessica, and I take a shabbat nap and then we play Articulate (like Taboo but better), and then we eat some more and walk home with the yeshiva boys. It took about 1/2 as much time walking home as it did going there. That night we all kind of split up to see different friends in town. Jessica and Lori see friends from school. I go out with the Felbers, Shawna, and Chelsea to sushi (I had, had sushi for lunch as well), and then for drinks. Naomi and Ale go watch the Joe and them at a football (soccer) match. And Katie met up with some friends from the March of the Living. We all kind of met up on our way home, since we only have one key to the apartment.

Sunday, we (Katie, Naomi, Ale, and I) go to the Old City. Ale and I bought Hadaya rings, mine says "Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, and Today is a Gift," while Naomi picks up two rings that she got for herself and bestfriend, Heather. Heather is on Birthright and so we run into her a lot and she is going to stay with us after her trip. We meet up with our yeshiva boy friends and they take us to some places we haven't been before. We find this orange tree in the middle of this quarter and we pick oranges. they are extremely sour and i actually cry from eating one. Katie's purse gets stuck in the tree during the procedure. We hang out on a roof top of a yeshiva close to Aish. We tried to get to the roof of the new Aish building but there was construction up there due to an upcoming bar mitzvah. Naomi, Katie and I head home. I detour to pick up Eitan and he heads back with us to drop his things off. He has dinner with some family friends. And I go back out with the girls to meet up with everyone else for Joe's goodbye dinner at Bar Burger (he is heading back to England). We all kind of split up, I meet up with Eitan and Bernie for a bit back at the apartment, they go out, people come home than we go out. Eitan meets up with some of his friends and his friend from camp, Daniel ends up staying with us as well. I swear, Katie's place is like a hostel. Oh and Heather finished Birthright that night. Instead of just staying in Jeru she had to go back to the airport with the group before she could separate and come back to us. So there were 9 of us there that night.

Monday, is laundry day. Yes, we brought laundry from Bat Yam to Jerusalem just to do it at Beit Ar-El, an excuse to go there plus it is much, much, much cheeper there. Oh and considering none of us have bus passes we walked everywhere in Jerusalem, its not far where we want to go but still we had a lot of laundry. We took turns carrying it. We drop Jessica and Lori on the way at Aroma on Emek Refaim for lunch with a friend. Naomi, Heather, and Ale, go get bagels and Katie and I continue to Beit Ar El to begin with the laundry. We go and look at our old apartment which only has 10 girls living in it. We hang out with Moran and Or for a while. We do three loads of laundry. Or invites us over for dinner at this Grandmother's. We walk home, he drives the laundry though. He picks us up in two shifts to take us to his grandmother's. We have a lovely time and look at pictures of Or as a little kid. We get kicked out when it is time for her to play bridge. Katie and I start walking home. But Or returns b/c we have the key. We jump in the car and shhh don't tell, but we have 4 in the back seat. which is something that israelis are a stickler about.

Tuesday is a another very long walking day. So Ami, one of our Madrichs in Bat Yam, told us about this great hike, with a natural spring called Liftah, near the central bus station. so we walk to the central bus station, through the shook where we pick up pita and lunch meat, and humus, for sandwhiches later. we walk past the station and ask directions. we start walking. we start walking down the hill from Jeru. and i think that we should stop b/c i dont want to walk up this hill. We stop by the house and look around and call Ami, we decide that we should go back up and ask some hitchhikers for directions. all the while this crazy lady starts yelling at us, crosses the busy road, and yells at us more for scaring a dog or something, we still don't know. We walk back up, we get directions, and its close by. so we start walking down the path. Its like in the valley between the two roads leading to Jerusalem. There are some houses along the path and ancient ruins it seems. We get closer to the spring and we see religious men coming up. Little do we know, we happened upon a mikvah. We turn around and start hiking up the hill. we call Ami and yell at him. He is still convinced that its a natural spring that they are using for a mikvah. We stop at an outpost and have our lunches and just laugh about we just saw. when we get back to the road and we see the people who told us the way we asked if its a mikva or a natural spring. Oh its a mikva all right. We hike back towards home. Instead of taking the path we know we see a sign for Rechavia and decide to go that way. It is a different and possibly longer path. It was a different side of Jerusalem and we passed a beautiful park that reminded me a lot of Central Park in New York. I love getting lost. We didn't really get lost, but still. Lori and Jessica didn't come with us b/c Jessica had to take Lori to the airport to fly home.

Wednesday, we pack up, relax and then I go to the Kotel for the last time for 2009 with Ale and Katie. We return home and finish packing. Jessica comes home and Boaz drives our things to the Central Bus Station. We hustle over in the rain and we almost miss our bus to Bat Yam.

Thursday, New Years Eve, I go to the Carmel Shook with Katie, Naomi, Ale, and Heather, we are looking for crazy outfits and after lots of stress and time we just end up with some cool tights. We go home and nap and get ready to go out. We go to the street party on Florentines. It was pretty fun and crazy and we ran into many people from different sections. I run into Talia and Adam Schecter. It was a pretty good New Years. So it was about 3 am and we decide that its time to go home. I'm taking care of Katie and somehow get separated from Jessica and others. We all find each other and head towards the bus stop. We are at the bus stop and see the bus but its stops at a differ bus stop. we go to that stop but first we get ice cream. we sit and wait a while for the bus. some israelis try to convince jess, katie and i that the bus isn't coming till 5. it comes at like 3:3o or so. we make it home. Katie sleeps over.

Jessica and i wake up early (9ish) Friday morning, to go to the office to get our new bus passes which we dont end up using friday or sat night. We go back to sleep and eventually get up and go to the Super Douche (supermarket) to buy food for shabbat that we are having with Nicola, James, and Daniel. Fridays are crazy at the Douche, as in there is almost no food on the shelves, especially veggies. its crazy. But we end up having a very nice shabbat meal together. Nicola and James returned from Eilat at about 3ish and we finished cooking past shabbat but whatever. It was our first real shabbat in Bat Yam, and first one of the New Year. After dinner we go to Kai, Daniel, Joel, Tomer, David and Benji's apartment. We attempt to play Articulate with a bunch of people. We watch a British tv show called the Inbetweeners, we, americans, understood most of the british humor. i mean we better after living with them for 4 months.

Today, we slept most of the day and watched Remember the Titans, well finished it, we started last night, and also She's the Man. Julia came home today from her visit back to the States. And tomorrow we have class....

Thoughts on break: too much time with anyone, and i will want to hurt them, doens't matter if they are family or not. I miss the snow, and it doesn't feel like chanukah without my family or the snow, yes i realize that i'm from San Diego. Anyways, Oh and I missed Jessica a lot. Even tho she was with us she was doing her own thing and after being with her all of the time its weird not being with her. but i did have Katie :)

Happy New Years. I wish you all the health and happiness...

love,
Rachel

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