Thin Indian filled with seasoned onion…
Three week mark exactly? Damn behbeh.
I’m really excited for what’s coming up in the next few days. On Thursday, a bunch of people are staying overnight in Jerusalem for the Beerfest, complemented early Friday with an OSP food tour of Jerusalem. Then I will be spending Shabbat with mah best friend Steph’s family in Rechovot.
All I can say is that Ulpan hurts my brain. I am in class constantly doing fist pumps in my head when I understand what the teacher says, then I get out into Real World Israel and basically make the “Scream” face and freeze whenever anyone talks to me. I think I need to relax and maybe the words will be translated like magic.
Last Sunday, we had a tour of the Old City (עיר העתיקה) in Beersheba. There’s some nice history there, and I hope to be back to visit the art gallery and “Abraham’s Well” (I’ve heard some skeptics) when they reopen, as well as to try some authentic eats and do some shopping. I had heard there was a coffee shop that ground its own coffee for sale, which obviously got my heart pumping, but it is now called Café Lola under new management and though my bubble burst momentarily, it was a beautiful café that made a mean cappuccino (my hot beverage of choice when Turkish coffee will upset my stomach and the only other option is Nescafé). It was fun hanging with Clarissa, Zoe and Francesca. I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time here!
Afterwards we had our Pub Night at a Tapas Bar down the street. This was my first time ever having tapas, and I must say that while I will give it one more shot in NYC, I have no doubt it will be any less expensive. Despite the indubitable deliciousness of my raviolis, I 90% regret paying the equivalent of $10 for 4 tiny ones. However, they had an impreeeeessive beer selection.
Our head counselor Sarah also organized a rat race for us to get to know Beersheba. A rat race is when you get an envelope full of clues/actions that you need to carry out, taking a picture of yourself while doing so, and need to return with the fastest time. While in hindsight this night is hilarious, it gave me fodder for a list I will one day make about “Most Mortifying Moments of my Life.” Yeah…
My partner was Nisha. Our *adventure* started with finding a machtesh in the Daled Neighborhood, at which we eventually succeeded! Our next challenge was to test the hospitality of the locals by finding free glasses of water. We asked and received (that was rather easy) at a nearby pizza place…then we opened our next clue: “Find a grandmother to give you her favorite recipe.” We approached an older women and in my broken Hebrew I tried to communicate to her what we needed: “The food you like best…can you write it down for us…how you make it…?” She didn’t speak any English and didn’t understand us, telling us to wait for her daughter…who also didn’t speak English. We tried repeatedly to communicate without any results, at which point we were starting to attract the attention of everyone else in the surrounding area. A man who must have owned/worked at the pizza/convenience store looked right at us and said: “Have a nice day! Goodbye!” At which point I apologized to our traumatized strangers and we peaced the hell out of there. Long story short: we did not win this competition, especially after we stopped at a (very cool!) vegetarian shwarma shop.
On Friday OSP drove an hour to do a hike at the Nitzanim Dunes, a beautiful system of sand dunes ending at the Mediterranean sea. While hiking uphill in sand is torturous, the views were approximately 2936% worth it, especially when Sarah, Francesca and I rolled down a sand dune and when we finally got to jump in the sea, which was like a huge wave pool. …too bad I slept for like 3/4 of the time we were at the beach.
That was one of the greatest showers of my life. That night, Shoshana and Ilana prepared a really awesome Shabbat meal that Doug, Lea, Shoshana’s roommate Cherry, and I joined. We also went Saturday afternoon for a Shabbat lunch at Rakefet’s apartment, which was delicious. We played Taboo this time and maybe next time I will learn how to play Settlers of Catan! One of my favorite things about Shabbat here is that it’s like time is set aside and, in fact, intended for you to just hang and talk with people you like.
Unfortunately, I also had a bit of a stomach bug this weekend and have ever since been experiencing what I have dubbed “Grandpa Syndrome,” which makes one feel tired, grumpy and crotchety and disposed to saying, “Eh, sonny?” (I did not do this).
Here are some of my favorite places so far:
the BIG Center
Little India (הודו קטנה, Hodu Katana)
Today was the first day that I got up the nerve to cook in my room (and there were no cockroaches)! I made lentils (shout-out to Steph) and REAL COFFEE THAT I GOT AT EDEN TEVA (shout-out to Kareem).
On Sunday, I went to my first yoga class in Israel…taught almost entirely in Hebrew. I caught the names of body parts and “right” and “left.” But I’m sure it’ll improve as we go! It’s of course different than what I’m used to: a little less than half was meditation and the rest was some slow asana. The environment and energy of the 11 yogis all in a circle was amazing; the class took place in this small treehouse-like upper deck of the teacher’s house, and because it was open-air, I may have actually meditated for the first time in my life, just closing my eyes and listening to all the SOUNDS (dogs, cats, birds, wind, airplanes, banging noises, etc) and smelling her lovely incense and breathing. Also, 4 classes (you pay per month) are 140 sheqelim, like $35, which is nuts. At the end of class during savasana, Ayelet came around and placed a heavy stone on your heart shakra and banged a gong. That part was interesting.
Peace and wellness til next post.