For you Mama Ethridge…
You would think my first day on the job would begin a new reality, but thanks to this beautiful Jewish state I’m living in, I go into the office tomorrow for my second day and then have the next two weeks off for Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
God Bless the Torah.
This past week has been exhausting. Since the beginning of my time in Tel Aviv each day has felt a bit like the Birthright trip I took four years ago. After those 10 days I was beat and needed a whole lot of America and sleep. New twist, Birthright 2.0 is ending, but I’m not leaving. There’s no suitcase full of dirty clothes or sand spilling out of old gym shoes. Instead, the mesh bag hanging from my shelf in Florentin is full of sheets, towels and too many tops and my apartment floor is covered with sand from the beach, dirt from the street and pretzels from last weekend’s pregame (currently waiting for a broom and dust pan to magically appear at our door).
Laundry was something I needed to check off of my list of firsts in a foreign country. Same with grocery shopping, taking the bus, turning on a hot plate, and watching the sunset. Happy to announce that all of those boxes have been successfully checked and I’m already missing drying machines and dairy-free yogurt, a lot.
Another check, that was not on my list to begin with, is learning Hebrew, also known as Ulpan (Hebrew lessons) here in Israel. I just finished three straight days of intensive Ulpan, which totaled out to five hours a day with two much needed breaks every hour and a half. What has been confirmed from those 15 hours is that I never want to go back to school. My motivation to keep going are the people in my class who made the time go weirdly fast, the cookies I can buy from the gorgeous, air-conditioned, music-filled market three minutes away, and the idea that I will one day be able to understand the conversations my coworkers are having two feet away from my desk.
For now I point, speak English and say slicha (sorry/excuse me), a lot.
The next two weeks look like the beach, finding a yoga spot. Kanye West, visiting family, camping on the beach, Bon Jovi, swimming in springs in the north, trying to cook, doing another load of laundry, celebrating birthdays, spending too much money, red wine, nights on balconies, and hilarious conversations in broken Hebrew and lots of English.
I’ll let you know which ones actually get checked off the list, hoping for all 14.