I can’t believe that 2014 has come and gone so quickly. This year has been filled with so many amazing experiences: graduating college, a safari in Africa, and living in a foreign country, to name the highlights! How is it possible that all of these wonderful things happened in the span of a year? But all good things must come to end, and now it is time to say goodbye to 2014, and a big cheers to a happy and adventure-filled 2015!
Day 113: Monday, 12/29/2014
Thankfully I woke up feeling much better than the day before, so I was able to go to work. And big news flash on the travel front: I BOOKED MY ENTIRE TRIP! All I have left to do now is change my ticket back to LA and I will be all done! I felt extremely accomplished.
That night, I went to dinner with Myriam, our weekly ritual. Obviously Rebecca joined us, and so did Daniel and his friend Olivia. We went to a kosher sushi restaurant called “Atza.” Yes, you read that right. Kosher sushi. And remarkably, it was pretty good, and inexpensive. Double win! Afterwards, we went to a live jazz bar by the Shuk HaCarmel, whose name I didn’t catch. It was packed! Apparently there was a famous musician who was playing that night, one whom I had never heard of. We had some hot cider with wine (aka mulled wine) and talked as we could barely hear the music. It was a very nice evening.
Day 114: Tuesday, 12/30/2014
Work was fine today, nothing too noteworthy. When I got home, I had a few hours to kill before our weekly enrichment. This one was in the poorest part of Yafo at the Peres Center for Peace. It took me 45 minutes to get there on just 1 bus. Ugh. We arrived and heard about a few of the projects that the center does to bridge the gap between Jews and Arabs. It was okay, but boring to listen to. Not as boring, however, as the next speaker, who talked about the history of the creation of Israel and the current Israeli-Arab conflict. I have heard this speech many times in my life, as I attended Jewish day school AND was a Religious Studies minor. Believe me, I know about the conflict. I do not need to hear someone speak about it for over an hour. So I didn’t. 40 minutes into this guy’s speech, I left to go get dinner with Rebecca at a reasonable hour. Good thing I did, because the group didn’t get out for over an hour after I’d left.
The 45-minute bus ride back was fine. 2 other participants left with me, so I didn’t look weird AND I didn’t feel totally sketched out walking in a pretty unsafe neighborhood. I don’t understand why they insist on having us go to these parts of town. These events would be perfectly fine were held in more comfortable locations.
Finally, I arrived at “Nonno Angelo,” a kosher pizza restaurant near my house. It was delicious! I had been there once before with Deborah and really enjoyed it, and I figured Rebecca would enjoy it too. She spent the day in Haifa, so she told me all about it. I miss the days where I had free time in Israel to do fun things… We then stopped at “Nola” to get dessert to bring back to my house. She packed up her things and I headed off to bed. Her flight left at 6am, so the taxi picked her up at 2:45am. I had such a great time with her this past week! It was sad to see her go…
Day 115: Wednesday, 12/31/2014
The last day of the year. Can’t believe it. For my nostalgia, please refer back to the intro. I had an extremely productive day at work, actually. I created a really cool graphic for the company, read and edited the entire website’s contents, AND applied for 3 jobs back in LA. What. I guess 2014 is going out with a bang!
That night, I went with Amy to a bar just a few blocks from my house. They were having a special: 99 shekels for all you can drink and a food dish. Amy and I each got a sandwich and split them, along with a few drinks (okay, maybe a little more than a few). It was a blast.
The bar was empty when we got there at 9:30, but about 15 minutes later, it became PACKED with Birthright people. Lots of girls who were “white girl wasted.” It was quite the show. Daniel showed up at around 10:30 and we marveled and laughed at the silly Americans. No, no. Don’t be confused. We’re practically Israelis now.
After Daniel arrived, both Amy and I needed to use the restroom. We asked multiple employees where it was located, but none of them gave us a clear answer. Finally, one of them actually walked us to this sketchy-looking alley that featured the bathroom from hell! Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but it was scary! And it was smaller than an airplane bathroom. We joked that it sobered both of us up quickly (I wasn’t even drunk to begin with, but I’m just trying to get you to understand the creepiness. I hope it worked).
Since Birthright has a curfew, they all left at 11:30, thankfully. Deborah came shortly after that. The bar was still packed, but now just with Israelis. We were all talking and then Deborah said, “Only 5 more minutes!” Everyone started to get ready for the countdown, and when it finally arrived, it was in English! It was very strange ringing in the New Year without seeing the ball drop in New York. But obviously it hadn’t happened yet, so…
The clock stroked midnight and we all celebrated! Cocktail napkins flew throughout the bar and camera flashes were going off left and right. It was a very fun experience.
We ended up staying out pretty late, much later than I was intending, as I had work the next day. But it was a super fun New Year’s Eve and a great way to start off 2015!
Day 116: Thursday, 1/1/2015
Waking up was a bit of a struggle, only because I didn’t have enough sleep. Don’t worry, no hangover. I’m responsible. I had another productive day at work and returned home to promptly take a long nap. Happy Day 1 of the year! It was glorious.
I’m looking forward to seeing what this year has in store. Happy 2015, everyone!
-Girl in Israel 🙂