Wow! I am absolutely in awe at how awesome the past week has been. I started the program (Destination Israel) and I am so excited for the next five months.
Our program began on Monday with everyone moving in and getting to know each other. I am in an apartment with nine others (boys and girls mixed) and we share two bathrooms. My personal bubble does not exist anymore and it’s very different from what I’m used to. But you know what? I’m okay with it. I think that being in an apartment with so many humans is an opportunity that will develop character and help me work on my patience.
On our first night, we went out to a bar (Cofix, where everything is 5 NIS..amazing, I know!) and schmoozed with the locals. My friend and I met a deaf couple and interacted with them in Hebrew sign language and it was definitely something I will never forget. We took pictures and even have a video of us singing in sing language with them!
On Tuesday we did ice breakers, had an Ulpan evaluation and walked around Tel Aviv. We have such a diverse group and it really makes me so happy. We have people who came from all over North and South America; we have participants from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, etc. Everyone has such an interesting story and all of the people in our group just mesh really well. I’ve already become so close to several of the participants who are absolutely amazing people.
During the Ulpan evaluation, I was placed in the second to highest level with three others. We do our best to study every day in order to improve. One of my main goals, while in Israel, is to be completely fluent in Hebrew. It’s definitely very hard and challenging, but if it’s not challenging, is it worth doing?
Wednesday was one of my favorite days of activities. We had a street art tour of Israel. Our tour guide was an Israeli street artist who walked us around Florentin showing us the most famous street art of Tel Aviv. He gave us the history of the art, the artist and meanings of the art. Of course, I did my best to take artsy fartsy pictures good enough for my Instagram account… I know so white-girlesque. It was absolutely mind blowing how beautiful and meaningful some of the art was. The street art was based on Israeli-Arab politics, vegetarianism, religion and feminism. It was AMAZING!
And the last day of programming was dedicated to internships; how to dress, how to act, what to say, what not to say, learning the business environment of Israel (which, believe me, is a lot more different from America) and how to interact with a completely different environment that we’re used to. We learned that in Israel when someone says something, they mean it. There’s no need to analyze things. People place a high value on honesty. What you say, is what you mean. If you don’t like something, you say it.
Ready for the plot twist? I had a change of mind and decided to switch my internship for the third time. Third time’s the charm right? I have interviews set up with a couple high-tech companies next week and I’m hoping to find a new internship that fits me perfectly!
Tonight (Friday) is Shabbat and we are all getting ready for a “family shabbat” in our new apartment here in Tel Aviv. Everyone is bringing one dish and we’re going to have a potluck shabbat. Can you guess what I volunteered to make? If you guessed Persian rice, you’re right… HAH! Tonight will be magnificent, I cannot wait.
For now, Shabbat Shalom and happy weekend from the holy land!
P.S. I’m looking for a pen-pal! If you’re interested, send me mail here:
PO BOX 11185
Tel Aviv, Israel