Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pesach, Ulpan and More

Sorry for not posting in a while, no excuses just lazy :).
So let’s see:

There was Pesach, petty big holiday - Israel half stops half slows-down for the entire week. We did not do much for the holiday. Since this is when school is out and many adults get time off of work; everyone goes on vacation, which means that to fly out of here is insanely expensive and to stay in a hotel in Israel is also expensive (and booked), and since we did not plan ahead of time we did nothing. Hung out, chilled, ate! We did prepare the Sader ourselves which was pretty cool. Did a bit of seeing the country but not much more.

There was one hiking trip that went terribly wrong. We went up north to the mountains, for a beautiful hike that started very well, however we did not plan ahead of time (are you seeing a trend here????) and ended up switching to the wrong path midway which took us in a completely wrong direction. So when the hike was finished and we thought we were back at our starting point, near the parking lot, we were actually on a different mountain! I am not joking we actually ended up on the wrong mountain. But of course at this point we had no idea, so we started walking further thinking the car would be close. Over 2 hours later, with no car in sight and with the night upon us, I forced Dima to agree to stop and ask for help (which I ended up doing anyway) and only then did we learn how terribly lost we were. There were 2 options: take the hike the same way back, which was pretty much impossible since it was dark and we would get even more lost or some wild animal would eat us, or somehow go around the mountains which would take all night if we went by foot. In the end I found some nice people who drove us to a relatively close-by gas station, and there we got a cab which drove us, for an hour, to our car. I think I lost about 5 years of my life-span during the time we were lost.

You can see Pesach pics with commentary on Facebook:

Couple of Days ago it was Yom HaShoah (Day of Remembrance), it was pretty intense. First off, unlike other holidays when inevitably some places (restaurants, stores) stay open, on the eve on Yom HaShoah EVERYTHING closes! If you did not have food at home, too bad... starve, cause NOTHING is open. We did not realize this and decided to go out to eat, it was a sad sad experience. Most channels on TV are turned off, the 5% -10% of channels that did not get turned off, broadcast only Holocaust related programs. On the day of, at 10am sharp there is a siren that goes off in the streets everywhere in the country and people stand in memory of the murdered. If you are working you stop, if you are driving you stop, if you are exercising you stop, everyone and everything stops. Very moving…

After Pesach I started the Ulpan (Gordon). Its actually very nice, the teacher is very good, the students seem cool, and it feels good to have something to do, although I could stand to have it start a little later; 5 days a week at 8:15am! What’s wrong with 10am???? But the best part is that I might actually be able to communicate with people around me soon! Also meeting new people is a nice bonus. I don’t know what the demographics of students in other Ulpans in Israel are (I would imagine a little different than this one) but here everyone is from all over: Russia, US, Europe (everywhere in EU although mostly France), South America. Overall everyone is pretty young - mid 20's to mid 30's with a few exceptions, mostly single, if married then more married women than men, and very few with kids.

So far I like it, although when the work starts piling up and I start getting behind I am sure I will change my tune.

I think now you are up to date.