Days 36 & 37: Ulpan Graduate

Sorry I’ve been so behind on these blog postings. I once again have no excuse. I’ll try to catch up as much as I can. Here are my last 2 REAL days of Ulpan. Long story short: I graduated (as made evident by the title).

Day 36: Monday, 10/13/2014

Today started off a bit rough. I saw that a different bus than I normally take to Ulpan left closer to my house and put me in the same spot, so I waited for that bus instead. After 15 minutes of waiting, I gave up and walked toward my regular bus. No more than 2 minutes after I started walking, I saw the bus drive past. Just my luck, right? To make matters worse, I had to run to catch my regular bus, so I arrived all sweaty and gross.

Ulpan was very empty today. Apparently a lot of people were sick, both physically and mentally. Today was a long day, meaning we had a field trip to go on. It was just 3 of us (Jess, a random girl who isn’t on our program, and me) instead of our usual 7. We went to the Shuk HaPishpeshim (Flea Market) in Jaffa, and it was really cool!

My favorite part was an antique store called “Palestine,” where everything in the store was made before Israel was established as a state (aka pre-1948). Here are some cool snapshots:

Daniel and me doing our best “Californians” faces
Daniel and me doing our best “Californians” faces

After our tour of Jaffa, I headed back home. A few people were planning on going out to party, but I decided to opt for a quiet night in. I invited my friend Daniel over and we talked and watched YouTube videos for hours! We had such a fun time! We had a bit of trouble opening our bottle of wine (it took about 15 minutes with our terrible corkscrew), but it was well worth it. Gotta love that Moscato, am I right? Our favorite video that we watched was the SNL skit “The Californians,” as he is from the San Jose area. We bonded and drank “real California wine” (kidding, it was Israeli, but if you’ve seen the skit, you’ll understand).

After a night of fun, I went to bed, eager to finish my Ulpan lessons.

Day 37: Tuesday, 10/14/2014

I finally made it to my last day of Ulpan! It was a rough road, but I’m so happy I got there. Pretty much everyone was there for the last day, obviously. It was a relaxing day in class, just talking about fun things. Each class had to pick a skit to perform in front of the rest of the group. Tanya, Jess, and I chose a funny situation from our book about a guy who randomly proposes to his girlfriend while at dinner with her parents. Trust me, it was hilarious.

We had about a 2 and ½ hour break from the time we finished classes to when we needed to perform our skits. My class and half of the level above me ended up getting North African food at this restaurant down the road called “Gueta.” It was DELICIOUS. I got some stew and couscous, incidentally the best couscous I’d ever tasted in my whole life. I will definitely be making the trip down to Jaffa again to have that delicious meal.

Look at Gimel’s smiling faces! Jess, Tanya, our teacher Ran, and me, holding up our diplomas!
Look at Gimel’s smiling faces! Jess, Tanya, our teacher Ran, and me, holding up our diplomas!

Now it’s time for the skits. The basic levels went first. Their skits were hilarious to watch. Many of the students had not spoken a word of Hebrew before Ulpan, so it was cool to see their progress. Our group went up, nailed it, and sat back down. Not much more to say, and no, there isn’t a video, thankfully. My acting skills in Hebrew are not the best, especially since I was stumbling through the English-to-Hebrew translation. After it was done, we had graduated!

Obviously, it’s time to celebrate now, right? Deborah told me about this charity event benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. While this would have been enough to convince me to go, the real kicker was that it was an all-you-can-drink wine event. Done and done. The price was a little steep, but hey, it was for charity, so I didn’t feel bad paying the entrance fee (included in the fee was a crystal wine glass, though!).

The event was so cool! About 20 different wineries came to showcase a few of their wines, as well as there being an artisan cheese shop selling delicious cheeses. We obviously paid for a plate, because wine and cheese is the greatest pairing in the world.

I think we tasted about 15 different wines from 13 of the wineries. Small tastes, don’t worry. We had such a fun time! I was so glad Deborah had suggested this event to me. She is kind of a wiz at finding awesome events in Tel Aviv! After tasting our fill, we headed home.

I would definitely say I ended Ulpan on a high note! Now to get back into a routine. But first, Simchat Torah (another Jewish holiday. There seems to be no end to them, am I right?).

-Girl in Israel 🙂

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