Originally posted December 13, 2009
I can’t believe the semester is almost over! It has flown by so quickly; I’m definitely glad that I decided to stay for another one, I can tell my time here is not done quite yet.
The last few weeks have been pretty normal, going to class, learning interesting things (like the past tense in Hebrew!) and really enjoying learning in a non-stressful environment. Sure, around midterms everyone started to get a bit nervous, but they came and went, I didn’t stress and did fine, and life went on. I hate to say it, but it sometimes does feel like a fun vacation and not really school, though I do school work, I promise.
My weeks have been pretty consistent, with irregularities here and there. A bunch of my friends have had birthdays, so I’ve been quite the social butterfly at times. Last Friday was an adventure; Niall, my Canadian friend, has a roommate whose parents live in Haifa and they were gone for the weekend so we invaded and took over their kitchen. First we went shopping in the Druze village nearby for baking supplies, which was more difficult than we’d expected. For example, who knew it would be tough to find sour cream in Israel? And shortening? And chocolate chips? I actually had to call Mom for some ideas of what kinds of substitutes could be used for ingredients we couldn’t find. A few hours later and with some help from a nice woman from North Carolina, we were off to bake. We made cupcakes, a cake, cookies, more cookies, and I made some brownies. We made a mess, but cleaned up well. Oh, and for shabbat dinner we had pancakes. It was nice to hang out in a house for the evening, just relaxing and listening to Glee music on youtube (Glee is a popular tv show about a high school glee club/show choir and they sing very well and it’s very dramatic with little plot, which makes it a lot of fun to watch). I made Mom’s delicious brownies, and they went over very well.
Then Saturday night I had a girl’s night at my apartment, with Rachel, Sarah, Lenka and Anna. We had a great time, hanging out, watching Pride and Prejudice and eating brownies and mango. It’s definitely going to become a weekly ritual, though Anna is away this week so it may be pushed off until next weekend.
This Wednesday was a very long day, starting with Hebrew at 8am and ending with Terrorism at 6pm, and then with salsa 9:30-11:30pm. It started earlier than usual cause 10am-1pm (which turned out to end at 2pm) there was a conference given by UN representatives all about applying for and working at the UN. Two of my friends here, Anna and Lenka, are very interested in working at the UN someday so we have a running joke that we’ll all meet up in 20 years in the head quarters. We’ve even called dibs on different departments (I think I called the humanitarian rights, though I may switch over to something related to international relations). It was a very interesting conference, and I really felt like I got a good idea of what the UN was like, and what it would mean to work there (I would probably be abroad, not many people work in the headquarters, for example). I ended up not having psychology, so I did get a bit of a break, but it was still a very long day.
That night at salsa, I was about to start the lesson in the intermediate class like usual, when suddenly I was grabbed by two fellow dancers and lead away to the advanced group! Apparently they needed another follower, and they decided to move me up. It was a bit different being in the class with a new teacher and different dancers, but I got used to it. As usual, the instructions were in Hebrew, but at least I sort of know left from right (שמאל and ימין) so I don’t get too lost. I also prefer to dance with leads who are more experienced than I am, I feel like I learn faster, so I didn’t mind too much, and it was a smaller class, which I also prefer. I’m still breaking my feet in to my dance shoes (a pair of great, classy, black heels) and I think that maybe next week I won’t stumble home with blisters, just maybe.
Thursday was a relaxed day; after Hebrew I went shopping down in Hadar as I had little more than peanut butter and jelly (no bread or pita even). I stocked up and did homework back at the university before a second night of salsa! I went to the Spider club downtown, a really great salsa club. I’ve been once before, but it was a while ago, so I was happy to find the place without a problem. The lesson had already started, but I quickly jumped in and even recognized some people there, and they recognized me too. The lesson was good, and I actually knew one of the instructors. I danced with a few people I knew, and later, talking with the instructor (Kelly), she encouraged me to go out and ask people to dance. I’m used to doing that in contra dancing, it’s very common for girls to ask guys to dance, but I didn’t know if it was okay in salsa. She assured me it was, and to go “seek and destroy!”. So I did. I asked a few other people to dance, and had a great time with them. Some of the leads are all about showing off and seeing how many moves you can do in a short amount of time, but these leads were much better and I really enjoyed myself. I missed one of the buses and ended up waiting a while for the next, but I amused myself with dancing to the music on my MP3 player when no cars were around.
Throughout this time I’ve been juggling daily necessities (like food and hygiene and homework) with long term preparations and plans for my travels around Europe and my parents’ visit. More about that later, but all is going pretty well.
חנוכה שמח! (Happy Hanukkah!)