WINTER IS COMING……(well actually it’s here.) Winter in Israel is NOT winter in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin winter: Lots of snow. Lots of cold. Lots of layers. Winter Jackets. Negative degrees. Everything is frozen, I mean everything, your car, your hands, your body, your heater, your bed, your floors, your hair, EVERYTHING. You don’t want to go outside ever until the sun comes back into your life and you can actually go outside without freezing
Israel Winter: Rain. Lots and Lots of rain. 70s/80s during the day and maybe the 60s at night aka Fall and Spring mixed together. It is beautiful. I love it so much!!! I am probably not going to miss the snow. Instead of nasty grey snow, I get Rainbows. So I call that a win. (I am going to miss the four seasons… I know that but I am really okay without snow this year, at least the amounts that Wisconsin is predicted to get)
What else has been going on you ask?
Well let’s see, some friends and fellow ITF (Israel Teaching Fellows) from the youth villages came to see what Ashddo was like. We of course showed them the beach and took them to a restaurant here in Ashdod. They are wonderful people and we had lots of fun! Later that week I got to spend sometime with some OSRUI alumni and Deerfield folks. Mike Frazin, Roy Splantsky, and Eric Schor were in-town for a wedding. So they invited some people that they knew were here for dinner at Dr. Shakshuka. It was nice seeing seeing them as well as meeting/re-meeting people I might have lost touch with. The food was quite amazing and the restaurant had an awesome atmosphere.
We were supposed to have a walking tour of Tel Aviv this past Sunday, but remember how I said winter has arrived, yeah It showed true on Sunday when it was pouring and and super windy. We started our tour at the Shalom tower and then started off down Rothschild. It started to get worse, so we called the bus and went to the Serona market. It was this cute little area that had buildings that kind of looked like you were in a different country and then there was this huge market with all of these different food vendors and a really great environment. We then went to the Palmach museum, part of what the IDF used to be before it was the IDF. The museum told a story about one of the platoons and the group of friends that they turned into. Well everyone wondered back to Ashdod and Ramla, I stayed in Tel Aviv and saw my friend Talia who made Aliyah here. It was so nice catching up with her and hearing about what her life has been like here in Israel. It was like nothing had changed between us and we were still great friends. We laughed and acted crazy together. It was so nice being with a familiar face from Milwaukee (Minnesota)!!!!
The next day, this past Monday, we went to the this big huge MASA event. There were 4,000 people there!!! It was crazy. There was these amazing dancers, a dj, and an Israeli performer. Not only was it an event to get us pumped up about the year, but the Prime Minster wanted to come tell us how important it was for us to be there. Yes that is right the Prime Minster was there. Okay I know there are many different opinions on the Prime Minster, but we aren’t talking about politics, we are talking about how he took time to come talk us even though he is super busy. I think that is super cool that he believes in the MASA programs so much that he would actually come and take time to talk to us. MASA is such an amazing organization, that it makes it possible for so many people to follow their dreams of coming to Israel.
This past Wednesday we went to a community center to see some options for our volunteering opportunities. The first class that we went into was a group of kids who come everyday after school for 4 hours to do homework, play games, and have a meal before going home. These kids were very sweet and very cute. I helped some girls with their math homework. They thought I was crazy, I could see the look that I was getting from them, when I used the box method for multiplication. They had never seen it before, but they really appreciated my help. The second class we went to was an excellence class for English. There were a couple of girls from the school I teach at in this class. They were so excited when I walked in. They were playing a game where the letters were scrambled and they had to figure out what words the letters made. They were getting so excited every time that they got a word. It gave me some ideas to bring into the classroom.
This Shabbat and last Shabbat, my co-MASA teacher and I went to my English teachers house for Friday night dinner. Both weeks were really nice to have Shabbat dinner with them. My English teacher is an excellent cook and even better baker. She makes everything homemade. This week for dessert, she made cream puffs with chocolate drizzled on them and homemade ice cream. If anyone who knows me, they know that dessert is one of my favorite things. Trying these delicious cream puffs reminded me of the state fair. They were that good of quality cream puff! It was very nice getting to know my English teacher besides in school.
School is great, I am still loving teaching. The kids are still having a great time. The 6th graders are learning about fairy tales right now. So I am having them together make up their own fairy tale that I am going to record and then put together to make their own mini movie. (Hopefully I can add it to my blog so you can all see it). This past week was the remembrance for Yitzhak Rabin, was a prime minster that was assassinated. On Monday at school we had a ceremony to remember him. As the kids started singing this beautiful song to remember Rabin, it started to rain lightly. It was a beautiful moment like Yitzhak Rabin was listening and started crying because these kids were singing so beautifully. Ulpan is going well. I want to start learning more phrases, so I think I am going to make flash cards with different phrases and practice with the teachers in the teacher lounge.
Happy 2 month anniversary to me. I know there is more adventure to be had, but for now I am going to go finish streaming the Badger game and hope for a big WIN over Rutgers today!!! LET’S GO RED!!!!
(4,000 MASA people waiting to get in….We were Israeli and made our way to the top of this craziness)