Days 91-93: Getting Back in the Groove

Okay, so I’ve finally rebounded from my Thanksgiving funk, and now I’m planning my Europe adventures! It’s getting me extremely excited. I am definitely going to Switzerland (Geneva, to be exact) and to France (for Disneyland in Paris, because I’m a dork, but also to Versailles) with Deborah! The other locations in Europe (because I’m also going to travel the US a bit) that I’m going to are Belgium (Brussels), UK (London and Cardiff, for Doctor Who purposes, duh), Czech Republic (Prague), Austria (Vienna/Salzburg – haven’t decided yet), and Hungary (Budapest). Let me know if you have any suggestions! Okay, blog time…

Day 91: Sunday, 12/7/2014

Today was a good day at work. I had my office to myself (the other intern wasn’t in and we usually share an office) and got a good amount of work done.

Example of the menu at Mex&Co
Example of the menu at Mex & Co

I went home and relaxed for a few hours before grabbing dinner with Daniel (as per usual). We stumbled across a restaurant called “Mex & Co,” which was basically like Chipotle. You’re given a menu and you take a stamp and choose what you want to eat.

Results! Please excuse bad lighting. They wrote Daniel’s name on his burrito. My bowl, unfortunately, did not have my name…
Please excuse bad lighting. They wrote Daniel’s name on his burrito. My bowl, unfortunately, did not have my name…

The food was good, not as good as real Chipotle (which I’ve been really missing lately), but definitely passable.

After a little while, Myriam and Aaron ended up joining us! They didn’t eat with us, but after dinner, we walked and got smoothies at this chain called “Tamara.” I’ve had their smoothies a few times and have always found them very refreshing. My friends enjoyed them too!

L to R: Myriam, me, Aaron, and Daniel
L to R: Myriam, me, Aaron, and Daniel
Aaron enjoys messing up my cute photos. Thanks, Aaron…
Aaron enjoys messing up my cute photos. Thanks, Aaron…

We took our smoothies and walked to Gordon Beach. We found some stairs and just sat and talked while looking at the ocean. It was super relaxing and really fun to hang out.

I headed back home, put on pajamas, and got ready for bed…but not after a few Skype calls! All in all, a fun evening.

Day 92: Monday, 12/8/2014

Well, I have officially been here for 3 whole months! I arrived on the 8th of September. Omg, wow. Okay, I’m over it now. Work was okay today. My fellow intern and I both felt really tired today, so we bonded over that. I told him about my travel plans, and he said it sounded fun, except he had no idea why I would want to go to London, as he is from London. Um, of course I’m going to London. It’s LONDON. Enough said. Gees, stop being so pessimistic and let me be excited…I’m still excited. Duh.

I went home and relaxed for the rest of the evening. Yael and I had a great talk about life and many different topics that I will not share, because it was pretty private. But be assured that it was meaningful and nice to get things out in the open.

Day 93: Tuesday, 12/9/2014

I had a shorter day at work today, as we had an early activity with the group. I may or may not have joked to you all about how one of the group apartments (Levinsky) is in the sketchy part of Tel Aviv. While it’s not the prettiest of places, their apartment is definitely NOT the sketchiest part of Tel Aviv, and I now know that for sure. How do I know this, you may ask? Because I have now been to the sketchiest part of Tel Aviv. And my program brought me there. Without a guard. What.

Our activity was in Southern Tel Aviv, in a neighborhood whose name I have chosen to forget so that I do not have to go there again. And don’t worry, any of you who come to visit Israel at any point in your life, no tour guide in their right mind would take you here. We were meeting at a secular Yeshiva that was by the central bus station. After introducing us (poorly) to the Yeshiva and what it does (a Yeshiva is typically where one goes to study Torah), we took a tour–yes, a tour–of the area. The area is a pretty prominent to the Ethiopians, as well as other black minorities in Israel. It is an extremely poor area that smells like stale pee (whether it’s cat pee or other remains a blissful mystery to me).

Saying we stuck out like sore thumbs is an understatement, but I’m not clever enough at the moment I’m writing this to think of a more radical simile. We were eyeballed by all of the locals in a way that made me feel very uncomfortable. I was happy I wore my sturdy, over-the-shoulder purse. After about 45 minutes of sketchiness, we returned back to the Yeshiva to listen to an asylum seeker.

The man we listened to was named Dawil and he was from Eritrea. His story was insane. After fleeing Eritrea with his friend to avoid jail, he was kidnapped by Arab Beduins, tortured by them, and held for ransom. He was held for 2 months until his family was able to pay to set him and his friend free. The two of them were then taken to the Israeli border in the Sinai desert, where Israeli soldiers let them into the country, held them for a month, and then gave them visas with the words “CANNOT WORK.” He now cannot leave the country due to his illegal status, but he is also not really wanted in the country. He definitely had an animosity towards Israel when he spoke. It’s a very confusing and sad situation that I’m not sure how I feel about yet. Either way, it was very interesting to hear him speak.

Afterwards we had a discussion about the situation. My usual go-to for group discussions is to sit quietly and just listen to what others have to say, and I stayed true to that this time. I was just too conflicted to really state an opinion, although there were many interesting comments being shared among the group. We finished after 3 hours total. I definitely could’ve done without the tour of the area. That creeped me out, if you couldn’t tell.

I was very hungry at the end of the activity. My friends Erin and Amy were heading to a cool area called Serona for dinner, so I tagged along. We ended up eating at “Tal’s Bagels,” a chain restaurant with American bagels! Normal bagels are surprisingly hard to find in Israel, and they were delicious.

Erin and me enjoying our ciders! We both agreed that mine tasted better. I will be coming back at this bar to order this cider again
Erin and me enjoying our ciders! We both agreed that mine tasted better. I will be coming back at this bar to order this cider again

When we finished eating, I went with Erin to meet her fiancee and his friend at a bar down the street called “Porter & Sons.” They have a super large selection of draught beers, but those of you who know me should remember that I do not drink beer, and neither does Erin. They did, however, have a delicious bottled pear cider that I got and thoroughly enjoyed.

I headed home and straight to bed, because I, for some reason, slept horribly the night before.

I can’t believe I only have 2 more months left in Israel… But that means just 2 more months until I get to travel Europe! Please give me any suggestions that you may have, and please keep in touch with me! I think I’ve done my part in this relationship by telling you everything about my life on a regular basis.

-Girl in Israel 🙂

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