Wonderful Shabbats with Wonderful People

The last two weeks I’ve been absent from the blogging world. Part of that is due to my laziness, but it’s also partly because I ran out of batteries and haven’t taken any good pictures to upload. However, I definitely have stuff to talk about!

The last two weekends have been particularly low key for me. Two weeks ago I spent Friday afternoon, night, and Saturday in Jerusalem with my friend Mayan and her fiance Yoni. They just got engaged about a month ago! I’m very happy for both of them. It was the first time I had ever met Yoni, and the first time I had seen Mayan in roughly 18 months. Needless to say, I had been very much looking forward to going to visit them as soon as I got to Israel. We had some nice Shabbat meals together, alone and with friends of theirs, and also went to see the movie The Artist. For those that haven’t seen it, please do. It was incredible (I thought I was going to hate it).

I returned to Haifa that night and prepared myself for my last week of Ulpan, and the final exam that awaited me that upcoming Thursday (2/16). The week kind of dragged on, because I spent most nights studying furiously for the test. But it actually went really well. As happy as I am to have finished the intensive course, I miss the atmosphere of our class. It was a very fun group of people to be with every day. But it ended and the test wasn’t actually that bad. I’m still anxiously awaiting my score though. I can only hope for the best.

After the test, a bunch of us took a bus down to Jerusalem, and I spent Thursday night there in a hostel with them. The weather was unfortunately horrible. It was cold, windy, rainy, and every now and again it would start to hail. We went out anyway, and we went out hard. I was out drinking and smoking hookah until almost 3am until I realized I had to be coherent the next day and see my family. I went home and passed out. One way to make a shitty hostel bed feel amazing is to get hammered and tire yourself out immensely. It was great.

The next day, I was off to Rishon L’tsiyon to spend Shabbat with my family there. Ezi and Illana are the parents, and they have three kids: Roy, Ziv, and Gal. Roy is a pilot for El Al, and luckily he wasn’t off flying this weekend and I was able to see him. Ziv lives in NYC and I’ve never met him before. Gal I met 4 years ago the last time I visited them for Shabbat, however at that time we were both 16 and only knew our respective languages. Now I speak a decent amount of Hebrew and he can understand English, but not speak so well. It was cool getting to talk to him a little bit despite the still obvious language barrier because he’s only a month older than I am. Had we shared a common language and lived closer than half way around the world from one another, I’m sure we’d have been great friends growing up.

To top it all off, my brother Jordan is also in Israel and he was able to spend the weekend with us there as well. It was my first time seeing him since he flew to Israel 10 days after I did, so that was great. We took him back to the Alexander Muss campus in Hod Hasharon on Saturday night, and it was my first time back to the Hod since leaving almost 4 years ago. It was awesome walking around my old stomping ground, so to speak. Seeing the campus gave me intense memory flashbacks to all the experiences I had there. I also got slightly nostalgic. Sunday afternoon (yesterday) I returned to Haifa. I completely forgot that new international students were coming since the semester starts tomorrow! There are about 30 new people that I will hopefully get to know very well during the rest of my time here.

In other news, I’m off to Istanbul in 4 days from now and damn that seemed to have crept up on me a little bit. I’m very excited for this trip. The only thing I really need to do this week is get more batteries! Thats pretty much all I’ve got to talk about for now.

Oh wait, how could I forget this one…Fuck you, Iran.

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