Ok, if you don’t think I’m Israeli…look again

24 Jul

Here’s some of the fun stuff I hadn’t mentioned earlier…mostly bc I either forgot to write about it or it didn’t fit at the moment.

Let’s talk gift shopping…My dear dear Romachka, I went shopping at least 10 times to find your t-shirts that you asked for. AT LEAST 10! You must be kinda special. Mind you, at the beginning of the trip my Hebrew was rusty so I kept having to explain that, “No, I’m not looking for clothing for me, it’s for a friend.” and, “Not the v-neck, not this fabric, not this style.” Yup, I looked so weird – but all in the name of luv :)

I was in the shuk one night and found a present for 2 friends…But I didn’t want to get ripped off, so I pretended I didn’t speak English, only Russian, and Nicole pretended that she only spoke Spanish. We pulled it off – I got the necklaces at a decent price. 

On my last day at the kotel I was dressed super tsnius and getting ready to go pray. The lady at the entrance yelled at me and wanted me to put on these poncho-like things they give people who aren’t tsnius. I was so upset – and to make matters worse it’s bc I have a big chest. Really lady?!? Annoying.

I learned the russian word “nu?!” is actually Israeli. Yup, everywhere I went, I would use it and people assumed I was Israeli. Typically when trying to get by, or get someone’s attention, or to catch a bus…Nu?

Beach…oh beach. Dear Tel Aviv beach goers, thank you for allowing the gigantic rip-off of the lay-out things. These “thugs” are such a rip off. Ok, venting done.

Ah, my phone situation. Not only did I get SUPER lucky that my friend lent me his phone, but I also got an Israeli SIM card. Albeit 2.5 weeks late – bc hey, who cares if I pay through the roof the first 2.5 weeks and have ZERO contact with people…

Ok, more stories to come…

 

PS – a HUGE shoutout to my lovely Roman, you are an irreplaceable friend. mwah!

I’m like a real Israeli…

12 Jul

Jenna asked me to babysit one night for a couple she knows well. She couldn’t do it, and entrusted me. AWESOMENESS! Plus I get to pick up some extra shekel…I should probably mention that I used to get TOTALLY lost in the Old City – where the couple lives. This paired with the fact that when I needed to mail something, Jenna gave me semi-poor directions – I was uber nervous. Well, I left work at Sha’are Tzedek, and headed to the Old City. Did you know that the Jaffe Nof stop is one away from Mount Hertzl – and it is where the train stops near my work…? Well, I hop on the train to head to the Old City – and I hop on the wrong train. I get to the end of the line, realize my mistake and run to the train headed back…Whoops – and here I pride myself on being good with directions. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone :)~

I also arrive late – how embarrassing! But I’m not actually late, because they need me to start later. Since I’m already there, I figure I will get to know the kids. It was UBER fun – and I would have done it for no pay…But I appreciate the funds :)

Later that night, Jenna comes over and hangs out with me. The kids are asleep, well all but one, and we chat for less than 30 mins. The parents come home, and Jenna and I head out. It’s party night in honor of Victoria’s imminent departure. Since I’m dressed super frum (to be respectful of the family), I ask Jenna if we can stop by and then head home. As we walk by New Deli, Jenna and I decide to grab a bite first.

Mega yum!! Hint hint Chicago! Get a New Deli please!!!

We run into the group, and take a few pictures…I tell them I gotta change and will come back out…Jenna and I try to take a bus home and head to the stop.

We wait and wait and no bus is coming – we missed the last bus. There’s a guy that approaches and asks us if the bus already came. We tell him we’ve been waiting for 30 mins w/o seeing it – and we need the same one.

As we’re making small talk, the guy says we prolly have to walk. I offer him the unique position of carrying me home. At some point in the conversation he asks if we’re from Neve. I turn beet red and we continue to talk/flirt. (Ok, I think it was flirting…I think he’s mad cute, but Jenna doesn’t agree. Better news for me :] )

At some point a taxi shows up and we all take it together. We drop him off in Gevat Shaul, and head home. I don’t end up meeting up with the girls, but Jenna and I have a great time chatting… :)

 

Bowling Outting

11 Jul

Bowling night with the girls was fun. I got 1the 2nd highest score :-) but it cost me 3 broken nails…ugh. (nana you feel me?)

Our team was perfect: Jenna, me, Nicole, Victoria, and Alex. We got beers, pizza, and popcorn…again no judging on my food choices :-)

We took so many group pictures. I think that as time flies by we realize our time together is limited. I think thats what makes us bond more. We also hit up the arcade, and Jenna and I played basketball. As we’re gettin ready to leave, there’s a dance club and we go inside to just dance. After 20 mins, we get on the sherut and head home. Fun night!

I wanted to go out…needed to change first though. I got back, talked to a friend on the phone, and zonked out. Dang!

Off to the Greek Islands for the weekend!

9 Jul

Greece is BEAUTIFUL. We land on Crete and are taken to our hotel. What a view! Right away we know we have to book a tour to Santorini and I tell this to the tour guide in our hotel – who is RUSSIAN! (Side note: I spoke more Russian on this mini-getaway than I did in Israel.) Well, she doesn’t wait for us to put our things away, she leaves. So the front desk sends us to the main road in Hersonissos, the city we were staying in. We stop at one place, and try to book Santorini for Friday but the girls take too long deciding so the list closes for Friday. Nicole and I run around town like crazy looking for a different place that can still book us for Saturday – come on y’all it’s SANTORINI!!!

(I will mention that the other two girls went to the pool while Nicole and I tried to book our tours. And when we found out that we need to leave ASAP to change and go into town to book, they took their time. So I got annoyed and told them that they can do their own thing – I’m leaving them. I mean, come on!  It’s not like I’m the only one that wants to go on the tour – why do I have to do all the work while they play?? I think I make a valid point…must reconsider my verbalization of said point for the future.)

We find a Russian tour place, and my Russian pays off. (Shout out to za mama that helped me keep my Russian, THANK YOU!) We’re booked!

We head back to the other girls and book a day trip to Spinalonga for Friday. It’s going to be a packed weekend, but I’m excited! As Nicole and I walked back we noticed that there are a lot of cute shops – so we agreed to visit them later.

We all head back to the hotel for our free dinner, and then decide to go out. Where do we go? An Arabian hookah place. Yup, not some Greek local thing – an Arabian place. Ah, the funny moments in life. So this entire trip, I have been so good about NOT smoking hookah so that my lungs are clear for our runs, and I don’t cough and sound like a man – but this is different. And so I take a puff – shit! not only does it taste kinda bad, but I start coughing like a rookie. Ooooops! One drink, 3 puffs, and 3 hours later and we’re headed back to the hotel. We have to be up early for our Spinalonga tour.

Spinalonga!

The bus picks us up and we’re off to the pier. Onto a boat for English speakers, and a fun ride to the beach of Spinalonga. The water is so nice, and the beach is small – perfect for our group.

The water is absolutely amazing. As most of you know, I love being in the water, I just hate the process of getting in. It takes me forever…The girls tease me about this, but overall it was WONDERFUL. From the boat to the beach, there is a mini-rock climbing portion. Not by choice, but to  get to the small beach we must get through some shrubbery an d rocks. In the water, the four of us goof around and start singing old songs. Most of the people look at us like we’re crazy, but some either sing along (Thank you British girls!). At some point we see people taking turns jumping off the side of the boat. I really want to do this. So Nicole and I head back to our boat and jump off the side. It’s my first time jumping off a boat. It’s exhilarating – but not like sky-diving at all (Ahem Nana.). We take a bunch of photos…just not very good ones – so you won’t see them. J But just pretend you can see me jumping off a boat. Now that you’ve taken a minute to picture me in your mind, please make sure I look svelte doing so J

After the beach and lunch on the boat, we head over to the demolished castle to explore. It’s a really cool experience! We learn the significance of the island, and the fact that exiled people were sent there to live. I kinda wanted to mention that the Jews weren’t even given a place to live when exiled – but I figured I’d keep quiet since we are in Greece, and don’t really want to ruin relations…

Ok, a little history on Spinalonga…Thank you tour guide and Wikipedia.

Originally, Spinalonga was part of the island of Crete. During Venetian occupation, the island was carved out of the coast for defense purposes and a fort (you say fort, I say castle) was built there. During Venetian rule, salt was harvested from salt pans around the island. The island has also been used as a leper colony.

Kosher wine should not be spilled…

9 Jul

Before I write about my time in GREECE!!!, I wanted to jot down a few notes about my time after GREECE!!!

The girls have decided that we’re celebrating Julia’s birthday at Waffle Bar. Awesome! I make an effort to be home in time to go out with everyone. The Egged takes forever to get to Jerusalem – or so it seems. I finally make it back to our dorms! Jenna (madricha) and I had already spoken, and she told me she’d wait for me to get back and shower so we could go together. The other girls are SUPER hungry after the fast (17th of Tamuz) and go to our cafeteria for a quick bite before leaving. I get to my room to unpack and quickly shower. Jenna and Nicole (who has decided that she doesn’t want to go out because she’s tired post-Greece) make eggs. We sit around and enjoy each the company and good food before heading out.

Jenna and I walk over to the bus stop, and as luck would have it the bus we need is waiting there. We run, because if you know anything about Israeli buses they will leave without you. Yea! We made it onto the bus. We head over to Tachana Merkazit to hop on the train to get to Ben Yehuda. The train doors close and leave right as we get to the station…We end up walking (20 minute walk…not bad – and quite healthy). Along our walk we have some funny moments – the guy that’s peeing in a corner where “nobody can see him”, the cockroach that I kill (yup, one less roach in Jerusalem thanks to me!). and Jenna stepping in weird looking puke – it could have been a food spill maybe.

At the Waffle Bar, the girls are in full fun mode. Jenna and I agree to split a waffle (half the calories!!) but the toppings she puts on it are insane…ok get this! We spent 53 shekel on a waffle with dark chocolate, berries, vanilla ice cream, whip cream, and oreo cookie crumbs…For my calorie-conscious friends – please DO NOT tell me how bad this is for you, I know. But, YOLO (you only live once) and thus I couldn’t pass up this magnificent opportunity to try a delicatessen…plus Jenna chose the toppings :)~

We decide that a bottle of wine will go really well with our waffle. We get a nice bottle of red, and by the time we return the rest of the girls are gone. We laugh, and decide to enjoy the bottle and waffle together. The “Waffle Queen” tells us about the waffles she makes, and we enjoy the evening together. One glass (realistically speaking it’s a plastic cup…lol) of wine each and half a waffle. Well, some random girl decides that the way they made the waffle isn’t to her liking so they have a leftover waffle…You guessed it – we ate the half of the waffle with the whip cream and berries. No, I’m not going to feel bad about it, and no I didn’t die from sugar overload…Jenna and I split the half waffle, so really we each had 3/4 of a waffle…not too bad.

Jenna puts the wine, corked, into her purse and we head out to the train station…time to go home and sleep. Jenna sits down and all of a sudden there is something red dripping from her purse. LOL. She quickly opens it to find the wine bottle has come uncorked and everything is wet. She’s quickly removing everything from her bag and I can’t stop laughing…see, just minutes before I told her that I hope the wine doesn’t spill…Back to the story at hand…

This guy sitting next to Jenna on the train thinks we’re absolutely nuts. The wine is all over the floor, I’m holding an semi-filled open bottle of red wine, and laughing a lot. Then the guy turns to me and reminds me that I can’t have open containers past 11pm. Oooops? This makes me laugh even more – especially since I don’t particularly want to have the wine in my hands, but have no choice. The entire train car smells like wine, and the floor is covered in it. Imagine the scene in your mind for a moment and you too will laugh. I laughed so hard I needed to pee – you know it was intense ;)

At the Central Bus Station stop we get off the train and laugh at the mess we just left. We get on the bus to our dorms and 20 mins later we’re back home. All of Jenna’s stuff smells of wine, and we just can’t stop laughing.

 

Winegate 2012!

This is how we Greece it…

9 Jul

Before you go thinking to yourself, “what the hell is she doing going to Greece,” you should know that airfare (and other costs) are WAY cheaper from Israel to Europe than from the States…and you know I love to travel.

A little backdrop on how this came about…

Approx 2 weeks ago, Nicole comes back to our dorm saying that she’s definitely in for Greece. I’m like, “What? When?!?” And then she tells me that Sheba is planning a trip. I hightail it to her, and immediately burst out saying, “I’m definitely in.” And from there we move forward. I’m not very informed about the research for the trip, nor the websites being used. (I know, I know – I’m not sure how I gave up control on this one…)

It all comes to fruition on the Monday before we’re supposed to leave, July 2nd. Except we can’t book yet because the prices are still high and two people aren’t sure if they’re going…Tuesday, it’s all decided! Nicole and I are rooming together, and Shani and Maayan are going together. We almost get the best deal @$269 Thursday, July 5th through Sunday, July 8th. But alas, the girls take forever, and we only find out last minute that you MUST have an Israeli ID and credit card! OMG, what are we to do?!? Ok, breathe…I call Misha (za step-bro) and asked him if we can use his. He agreed – so kind of him, right??!? I promised that the girls would ALL get me the money, and we’d pay him asap. (MORE on that later…no joke – I’m such a dummy for being so trusting.)

OMG, we’re booked for Greece. Anything that happened that sucked, our response was, “We’re going to Greece.”

As always, I overpacked for Greece. The airport in Tel Aviv is AMAZING. Those that have traveled through there know what I’m talking about…Off to Greece! With a status update on FB stating that, “Off to the Greek Islands for the weekend.”

Week 3 cont’d – It was epic. It was legen–wait for it–dary!

1 Jul

Oh Thursday…what can I tell y’all? It was epic. It was legen– wait for it–dary!

So I start this post off where I finished the previous one…

For a few days the girls were talking about going to Layla Lavan (White Night). It’s a HUGE party in Tel Aviv. Look at the following links to see what I’m talking about:

http://www.telaviv4fun.com/events.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIwOK2h9OT0

http://www.touristisrael.com/white-night-tel-aviv-june-28-2012/1147/

I hadn’t planned on going for a few reasons – that weekend we had a mandatory Shabbat and I wasn’t really sure I’d wanna spend that much money on one night, plus wake up in time for Ein Gedi/Dead Sea trip that Friday. But!!! Nicole’s aunt was in town, and went to lunch with her. Afterwards, Nicole calls me and says that her aunt has a room in Tel Aviv in one of the hotels and invited us. It’s supposed to be an amazing cultural experience and party. How can I say no?!?

We agree to meet in the room after her internship, and get ready to go. I had a personal errand to run that day, but it wasn’t going to take long…

I straighten my hair for the first time on this trip, pack my bag, and wear my new white dress. We’re off to Layla Lavan…!!! Turns out that Shani & Alex had also decided to go, much to our surprise. Let me tell you, this is a MUCH better way to celebrate a Thursday night rather than go to Ben Yehuda.

We arrive in Tel Aviv and take a sherut to the Hilton. I mean, it’s just a hotel right? Well, after our dorms and the hostel from the previous weekend, I was just thrilled. And it did not disappoint. We put our stuff down, got in touch with the aunt and went out. First stop? Fro-yo of course! But I detrack…Initially the aunt was busy so we were going to meet up with some of the guys. Orry had messaged me earlier in the day and I told him about it, and he told the other Ohr Sameach boys…So there were at least 3 guys that I knew at Layla Lavan. We were walking over to meet them when Nicole’s aunt called. We agreed to meet at Rahov Gordon and Ben Yehuda … and since we were waiting we decided that we’d get fro-yo. Well, the aunt calls and we need to meet her elsewhere – Nicole wants me to talk to them bc I know where I’m going. J

During our walk over to Allenby & Rothschild, we pick up free energy drinks. While there, a guy invites the two of us to a pub. In the middle of his invitation he turns to me and asks if my hair is real. I literally freeze, and don’t know how to respond. After a full minute of silence, I turn to Nicole and laugh. We walk away giggling like crazy. While waiting for her aunt, people keep asking us for directions – makes me feel so Israeli. And!!! I know where they’re headed so I’m able to give good directions. (All jokes may be made in the form of commentary.J) We meet up with Nicole’s aunt and walk over to Rothschild and Allenby. (Lena, this is the street that had the curbside sushi bar we liked.) There are paintings and concerts. It’s so loud, such fun. We sit down for some drinks. I will take a moment to mention that the aunt had been drinking before, and that we should give her props for walking SO far with us. Nicole and I split a bottle of Champagne. YUM. After a little while, we leave and head back to the beach, while the aunt plans on going back to the hotel to sleep.

We text the guys, and it’s just Jacob1 and Eddy. We meet up, and stay out until 530am at Layla Lavon. Oh what a night! Mayer, Jacob1’s friend, joins us. The guys walk us back to the hotel. How sweet. I’m definitely buzzed post Champagne, and half a beer and half a mojito. Once in the room, I can’t sleep so I go back downstairs and chill with the boys for a bit. At 630am I’m so tired so I go to sleep. 9am wake ups are SO not my thing.

But guess what?!? Nicole’s amazing family is taking us to brunch. WOW. Her other aunt comes to pick us up and take us to this beautiful brunch spot. We both refrain from eating their delicious bread, until her uncle puts it in our plates. Who are we to say no? J Brunch is great – one of the cousins is super hot! Too bad he has a girlfriend. Brunch food is so good. Omelets with feta cheese, scrambles eggs, jam…cappuccino! I’m telling you, I can’t go back to dorm food. Post-brunch Nicole’s aunt takes us to boutiques. We shop around for a couple of hours (please note that I did not buy anything…) and then walk back to the hotel. Over 5 kilometers of a walk!

As I mentioned before, our mandatory Shabbat is that night. We get back to the hotel and realize that we are running so late. We get ready and head out – worried that the Egged buses have stopped running. We get really lucky and make it onto the last Egged bus to Jerusalem! There are no empty seats. So take the steps, telling ourselves that this will make getting off the bus faster. Behind us is a girl from the States, and in front of us is an Israeli soldier. The four of us get to talking; he’s from LA (Encino actually) and the girl is from NYC. For the first part of the ride we all interact, but it is becoming quite evident that the soldier really likes her. At the first stop, many people get off the bus, and we all move to the back. Nicole and I sit together, and the soldier sits with NYC girl. I think we helped make a shiduch!

Upon getting back to Jerusalem, we forget that the bus systems have changed. We finally make it to the dorms, change for Shabbat and race our butts to the Old City.

To be continued…

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