Sara Over There-a

Location: Jerusalem, Israel

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Im tirtzu, ein zo agadah: If you will it, it is no dream.

Sadly, I did not get to go clean up and tour Talpiot. I got to the tayelet, where the group was supposed to be meeting in the parking lot, but I couldn't find the parking lot! The tayelet itself is beautiful. In English, it's translated as a "promenade," which I sort of need another English translation of, but anyhow, its a beautful green area with old stone walls and an amazing view of Jerusalem. I didn't realize it at first, but as soon as I got to the scenic view part, I recognized that on my NFTY trip in high school, they took us to the tayelet on our first full day in Israel. I remember because I was staring out of the bus window at the amazing view of the old city, and then they made us close the window shades, and I started getting really mad! Then they blindfolded us and walked us to the spot, and told us to take off our blindfolds and behold! the beautiful Jerusalem. It was cool, but would have been less anticlimactic if I hadn't already seen the view from the bus. So, I never found the group, but I got to rediscover a wonderful spot, 10 minutes from my house, where I can go to relax and ponder the meaning of life an all of that. On the walk back home, I saw that there is also a shopping center that is called the tayelet, and that shopping center has a parking lot, and I'm pretty sure that's where I went wrong. To console myself, I stopped by the health food store near my apartment and bought a bottle of eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner (shout out to Green Clean!) and came home and cleaned my apartment. In the afternoon, I finished kashering the kitchen. I learned in the process that if you put metal tongs into a pot of boiling water, they get hot. Also, my hands have finally returned to normal after the cleaner that I used on the oven. On Thursday, they were shiny and slightly orange, and they spent all of Friday peeling! Wear gloves. It is nice, however, to be able to check another thing off of the "getting settled" list. I had a very Jerusalem moment at synagogue Saturday morning. The city has a tendency to be very small and interconnected. When I got out of services, I saw that also in attendance were a few fellow Pardes students and one of my teachers, the head of admissions from rabbinical school, and my landlord! There are a million places to pray on Saturday morning, but in Jerusalem, it just isn't weird for things like that to happen. Saturday night, Deborah and I went to see Fun with Dick and Jane. It was nice to go to a movie theater, and do something that reminded us of home. There is, however, one aspect of going to the movies in Israel that I might almost move here for! An intermission! I can't list how many movies I would have enjoyed more if I only had a bathroom break. In Israel, that dream is a reality. Theodore Herzl knew what he was talking about.

Friday, February 03, 2006

What an Ethiopian Boy and a Personal Trainer Have in Common

It's Friday! I think I must finally be in a routine, because the weeks have started to fly by. Yesterday was my first day going to the tutoring program. The bad news is that my girl did not show up, so I'll have to wait until next week to meet her. But, the good news is that a father was there with his two boys, and I'm still not sure exactly how it went down, but I more or less ended up babysitting his 3 and 4 year old sons for an hour, along with two of the other tutors whose kids did not show up. It was challenging, because I'm used to speaking in Hebrew to people who know some English also, if I get stuck. This, however, was not the case with them! The nice part is that kids speak more slowly, and you don't have to say anything too deep. For me, the funniest part was that Lior wanted me to read him a story. I didn't really know how to read all of the words, or what exactly they said. He couldn't read either, but he knew when I pronounced a word incorrectly, and he was not shy about telling me the right way! I'm not sure who learned more yesterday afternoon, but I suspect it was me. After tutoring, I went to the gym, for my free introductory training session, where the nice training lady gives me a program and shows me the machines and all of that. While I had been speaking in English to the person at the desk that scheduled the appointment, she somehow decided to put me with a trainer that only spoke Hebrew. So that was fun, even though I felt bad that I had to ask Michal to repeat herself a lot. People talk about speaking in a language versus just thinking in a language, but I guess now I can say that I work out in Hebrew! I guess if after a few weeks my body starts looking really weird, then I must have misunderstood what she said. I'm off now to go on a cleaning up tour. There is a group that takes a different neighborhood in Jerusalem every week, to take English speakers on a tour, while at the same time leading a clean up effort. The neighborhood this week is Talpiot, which is where I stayed my first week here and where Pardes is located. Have a wonderful weekend, and while I don't even know who is in the superbowl, may the best commercial win!