Originally posted May 28, 2010
Hanging on the back of my door for the past few weeks has been a calendar. I made it one day when I was procrastinating and it’s helped me keep things in perspective. Every night before I go to sleep I cross off yet another day. Some of my friends don’t like the idea, thinking that I’m counting down to leaving. While I’m still battling feelings of wanting to leave and not wanting to, it helps me keep in mind how much time I have left. Bumps along the road that may have seemed like real problems once are now much more trivial, but then again sometimes I put things too much into perspective and forget that I still have 16 days left in Israel. It’s not long, but not as short as I make it out to be. Part of me is definitely ready to leave, and part of me is still in denial that I am leaving. I’ve suppressed thinking it for the most part and I’m focusing on getting through it one day at a time, which is working pretty well.
Let’s see, I last wrote before our last hike of the semester. It was a good one, a lot of my friends were on it and it wasn’t too difficult. We left early Friday morning and went up North to the Golan heights-area, and even saw Syria briefly from the highway. We started from Tsfat, which I’ve been to so I sort of ignored the lessons (I heard the exact same ones during the study tour). We bused to a nice park area and started hiking for a while. It was a lovely day and the view were nice, and it was also a bit of a relief to be back and hiking in the forest.
From informally polling my friends, I found that people who didn’t hike often preferred the Eilat hike, very desert-ous and arid, while people like myself who have been hiking for a while prefer forests and mountains with lots of plant life. We camped near a Druze holy place, I can’t remember the name, and it was a nice evening. Dani, Merav and I decided that we would be of more use not cooking than cooking, so we kept up the comic relief while other people worked on dinner, though we did our part in the clean up after.
Sleeping was a little more comfortable than Eilat (fewer rocks), but still pretty cold though we all seemed to sleep okay. We started bright and early, packing up everything onto the bus and then heading out from where we camped. We hiked down for about two hours, basically all downhill with rocks to slide down and branches to swing from. Finally we reached the lowest point, and started going up. Not a gradual incline, but straight up we went! It was exhausting, much more than going down, so we stopped more frequently. It was enjoyable, though wow was I sore the next few days!
We hiked all the way up to Nimrod’s Castle, which was quite cool. We took some pictures, and loaded onto the bus again to go to a cool waterfall. Also another important historical site or something, but clearly my attention was lost by then. Finally, we bused to a nearby pond and picnic area. It was beautiful, and swimming after two days of hiking and no showers felt amazing. The water was freezing cold but was clean (ish) and I didn’t even burn from the sun.
The next week was a fun one indeed. Wednesday night to Thursday was Yom HaStudent (Student Day), which meant two huge concerts at the Technion in Haifa and little desire to do work (well, less than usual). I went with a bunch of friends and when we got there we went to the huge concert going on. I forget who was playing, but we all formed a human chain and snaked our was right up to the front. It was so fun! We were probably 40 feet from the stage, and we started all the way in the back of the crowd. After we wandered around a bunch, and I went up to salsa a little while. We got home quite early and I fell asleep to the sounds of the concert still going strong.
My second class on Thursday afternoon was conveniently cancelled so we went to the beach the next morning, a beautiful day to fall asleep in the sand and jump in the waves. Then that night was the 2nd concert, which was fun though packed with thousands of people. The concert was fun and salsa was good, and dancing around was great. The week after that, actually last week, was a weird one. I volunteered at Leo Baek on Sunday morning, an elementary school in Haifa, and then had class Monday and Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday were Shavuot (it means ‘weeks’ in Hebrew, when Moses got the commandments), so there was no school. It was a weird, school-less week with so many days off that it felt like one long vacation.
Then Friday morning I went to Jerusalem to visit with relatives. I had such a good time with them, I can’t even fully explain it. It was great to see the Abramowitz-Silvermans, they’re wonderful to hang out with and really include you in their family. My aunt and uncle were visiting and it was great to see them, they’re traveling for a total of six weeks around Europe and the Middle East. I could tell that’s exactly what I needed to get me through these next two weeks, some love and support from family. Oh and my very exciting moment of the weekend was when at the synagogue I realized that I could follow along the written Hebrew, whereas last time when I visited in October I didn’t understand anything.
Sunday I volunteered at Leo Baek again, basically teaching English using my limited and broken Hebrew. It’s an interesting experience. Fun, but frustrating that they give me the kids who don’t know any English rather than those who could actually benefit from talking with a native speaker. Ah well, only one more week of it, and I know they really appreciate having me there.
This week we had a full week of classes but I haven’t been studying much more than last week.This past week went by very quickly, even though I had all my classes. It’s scary how fast time is going, as I am still fighting to convince myself that I am actually, really, truly leaving in just a few days (12 to be exact). One more week of class, a weekend and a few days of packing, cleaning, writing, beach-going, salsa-ing, and sleeping, then flying home.
Some days I can’t wait to get home, other days I can’t bare leaving. I must say, my Israeli roommates have helped make me want to go home, they’ve gotten into the habit of stealing lots of communal pots and pans, leaving piles of dishes in the sink when they leave for the weekend, and being quite unpleasant overall. I am really looking forward to having a full kitchen once again, and even a microwave. I will miss a lot of things, people, and places, but who knows, I could be back in just a few years. This will probably be my last blog entry for a few weeks, so when I next write I’ll be home sweet home! לאחל לי הצלחה עם הכל (wish me luck with everything) להתראות (see you later) קייט- (Kate)