Days 7-10: Ulpan, Week 1

Well, I think you can guess what this post will be about: Ulpan. Once again, Ulpan is the Hebrew-learning course that I, along with all of my program participants, am required to take. Please, let me explain to you my Ulpan adventures (with a few other things thrown in there).

Day 7: Sunday, 9/14/2014

After the concert the night before, the last thing I wanted to do was wake up early. We had some slight communication problems and I ended up waking up an hour earlier than I needed to. So hello 8am wakeup, goodbye beauty sleep. Yael and I wandered around our neighborhood looking for notebooks for our classes. Our quest was a success, and we sat down at a cafe for breakfast. We ended up talking to a man who is a trader on the New York stock exchange and lives half of the time in Tel Aviv. It was a lovely conversation, and afterwards, we headed to Ulpan.

Day 1 of Ulpan was interesting. There was only one other person in my class, a girl named Tanya. I was talking in very broken Hebrew the entire lesson, but by the end of the day, I definitely felt a bit more confident than I had to begin with. Our teacher, Ran (pronounced like “Ron”), was extremely patient and willing to help us. We were given assignments throughout the class while he was teaching the Level Bet (2nd level) students as well.

After Ulpan classes were over, we had an hour to kill before we had a meeting with the CEO of Destination Israel. My friend Deborah and I had a late lunch by the beach. It was a beautiful day, as per usual.

We then just sat out on the beach and worked on our tans. Well for me, I worked on not getting  completely sunburned. You have all seen my skin tone. It is pretty damn pale. I put sunscreen on at least twice a day. So far, no major burns, but I have gotten a tiny bit tan! Success!

We then went to go meet the CEO of Destination Israel. I can’t begin to explain to you how amazing this man was. He has been through so many hardships, and does everything with a smile on his face. It was amazing listening to him and it was just so inspiring. He then told us to turn around as the sun was setting and we were faced with this amazing view.tumblr_inline_nc224dZuGa1qzafdr

AH-MAY-ZING. That’s all I have to say. And now for some cute photo ops 🙂

Day 8: Monday, 9/15/2014

This day started much the same as the one before: Ulpan. However, we had 6 hours of class today instead of 3 and ½. Yes you read that correctly. 6. Whole. Hours. Well, okay, it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s a half hour of class, then a half hour of studying, for 3 and ½ hours, then a break for a half hour, then a 2-hour walking tour. We added a new member to our Level Gimel class, a guy named Jess, and it was a little more relaxed. I’ve been seeing my Hebrew improving every day, which is exactly what Ulpan should be doing 🙂

tumblr_inline_nc231v5B891qzafdrOur walking trip was through Neve Tzedek, a neighborhood in Southern Tel Aviv. It was really pretty to walk through, definitely. I really didn’t take a lot of pictures (sorry), but I did find this sign in an ice cream shop.

Expect to see many more hilarious misspellings in this blog. I have a BA in English, this is what I do. Get over it.

Now to be honest, I cannot remember what I did Monday night. I wasn’t feeling great, so I’ll attribute it to that. I think we played cards? Maybe. I’m not sure. Let’s move on now.

Day 9: Tuesday, 9/16/2014

Once again, Ulpan at noon. These days are all blurring together, especially when I wait this long to blog about them. So sorry. I’ll try to do better in the future. Tomorrow (from the day I’m writing this, so I mean the 18th) we’re going to the Dead Sea. That will definitely be its own post. Tuesday was a short(ish) Ulpan day, followed by a mandatory safety session for girls. Yes, just girls. And yes, it was all things I’d heard a million times before. I dealt with it.

For lunch, I had an amazing shwarma with a girl on our program named Fede. She is from Italy and speaks 4 languages close to fluently. Her secret? Disney movies in other languages. Aladdin in Hebrew, I’m going to find you online somewhere. After our safety session, my roommates and I headed to the grocery store. Up until this point, I had not gone grocery shopping for more than a few items. Absurd, I know. Don’t kill me. But I now have a stocked kitchen and am not eating every meal out. Hurray for saving money.

The next day was Starr’s birthday. Obviously celebration was mandatory, and since Thursday was going to be a busy day, we figured going out Wednesday night would not be the best idea. Tuesday it was, and we set out for “Max Brenner.” Not sure if you’ve heard of Max Brenner. It has made it to the U.S. (I know for sure there’s one in New York), but for those unfamiliar, it is a chocolate restaurant. Yes, they had other food, but it is mainly about their chocolate desserts. Diabetics beware, seriously.

From left to right: Natti, Oliver, Yael, Karen, Zach, Morgan, Aaron, Starr, Daniel, me, and Lilah
From left to right: Natti, Oliver, Yael, Karen, Zach, Morgan, Aaron, Starr, Daniel, me, and Lilah

There were 11 of us there to celebrate, and it was so much fun. We talked, laughed, ate, and had an amazing time. The dessert I got was great for about 10 bites and then I had to give up. Never thought I’d say this: TOO MUCH CHOCOLATE. What? Who am I? But anyway, it was awesome. Here’s the group photo 🙂

We ended up going to some bar afterwards, but I had an early morning the next day (read on to find out why, duh), so I ended up leaving early. The buses stop running at 12/12:30am, depending on the bus. The one I needed to catch left at 11:58, and I basically ran there to catch it on time. It ended up being late, as buses usually are in Israel, and I was all sweaty and gross looking. I obviously made it home safe and sound though, just a little shiny.

Day 10: Wednesday, 9/17/2014

So this day actually started off a lot different than the others. I was meeting with my boss for my new internship! I don’t actually start until October 1st, but I figured it would be a good idea to go and meet my boss, Adi (I know, hilarious), in person and see the offices. I also would not have wanted to get lost on the way there, as my internship is in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv, and I need to take a 20/25-minute bus ride to get there. Not horrible, but again, wouldn’t want to be the girl who is late on her first day. So I left my apartment at 8:30 and arrived just before 9 with no problems. Yay me!

I’m going to be working for a company called Debate (which is actually in the process of rebranding, so when the name changes, I’ll let you know). The company is focused on interpersonal communications, and getting information out in the most effective and efficient way. I will be working with 4/5 of their social media platforms: Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and their blog. I will also be doing content editing (in English, of course). Just hearing Adi talk about the company made me even more excited. I had a quick tour of the office, and then I left by 10am. Easy. I made it home in time to change my clothes before my long day of Ulpan classes.

Once again it was a 6-hour day. Today’s trip was to Noga, a neighborhood in Jaffa (south of Tel Aviv). I once again forgot to take a lot of pictures, but here’s a beautiful photo of Yerushalayim Blvd. tumblr_inline_nc2802QOXN1qzafdr

I once again tried to only talk in Hebrew. There was a really funny instance when we walked into 3D Printer store. They had keychains with Superman’s symbol on, but they were backwards. Being a superhero nerd, I obviously know who dons the backwards House of El symbol, but I wanted to see if the shopkeepers knew as well. Below is the exchange. Keep in mind this is all in Hebrew:

Me: Why is the Superman symbol backwards?

Them: It was a mistake in the printer.

Me: Do you know who Bizarro is?

Them: No.

Me: He’s one of Superman’s villains, and he wears the backwards “S” on his clothes.

The guys were very impressed with my knowledge and assured me they’d look him up. Proud moment.

We walked around Noga for about an hour and a half, stopping at an Arab bakery and trying Kanafa, a delicious Arab dessert made with oil, sugar, and everything delicious. Look it up, it’s wonderful. Yael and I then made our way back home from Navo, my roommates cooked dinner, and we had a great time.

Sorry this blog post covered so many days. It’s been a bit hard to keep up with, but my mom has informed me that I have fans now that I can’t afford to let down. So I hope you all enjoyed, my dear fans/readers! Tomorrow is the Dead Sea, and I’m sure there will be plenty of pictures for me to share with you. L’hitraot! (That means see you later in Hebrew!)

-Girl in Israel 🙂

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