Week One…give or take a few days…

16 Jun

Tel Aviv airport is awesome…it seems like the longest walk from arrivals until you get to passport control, to then keep walking to get your luggage…On top of all that, I had a regular suitcase, two carry-ons, AND a purse!!! Did I mention my memory foam pillow too? Ok, so maybe I don’t travel light, but who can blame a girl?!? I’m here for six weeks, and I’m picky. Yes, you can quote that peoples…I, Esther Gross, am particular about what I wear, and what I eat…and the men I talk to…but really I’m not that picky. 🙂

Ah, the perks of no phone…yup, this is how I start my post. For one whole week, (yes, you read that correctly) I had almost zero internet access, no working in Israel. You may ask how I, the phone queen, was able to withstand…and I will tell you – NOT VERY WELL…But I survived, and truth be told, it wasn’t terrible. I could say that during this time, it was really hard not to talk to anyone back home. Especially, you. (Cute right?) I did use someone’s phone to call my first night here and wish my grandpa a happy birthday (June 11th).

My first day, I was given the option of unpacking and prepping my stuff for my stay, OR going with a group of girls to fro-yo…Guess what I chose to do…? When my floor-mates arrived at home, I was really tired. I briefly met them, and then went to sleep…But not before confirming that for the weekend, we all indeed were traveling to Tel Aviv beaches! Of course, this made me love the group even more 🙂

I will post separately regarding my internship ups & downs…

Back to the present…My entire first week I spent wandering around Jerusalem. At first it was by myself bc the others were at their internships, but then the news girls came and we got our Rav Kav (ah yes, I’m a true Israeli now…the Rav Kav is a bus pass that gives you a discount when you travel around Jerusalem/Tel Aviv via bus or train.). That first week, I also went to an awesome artsy internet cafe with my madricha! It was so nice to connect to civilization/email & FB. LOL. I, of course, went out to Ben Yehuda.

Funny story…I hadn’t experienced the new train system in Jerusalem yet, so on one of my first attempts to get to Yaffe Street, I couldn’t figure it out. And I didn’t really want to ask…So I walked there. See, that’s something that I will always remember – how to get to the Kotel (by way of Yaffe Street) from the Central Bus Station (Tachana Merkazit) in Jerusalem. I asked my step-bro how far I walked (from Tachana Merkazit to Yaffe Street and back) and told me it’s approx 4 km. WAHOO! I went to the place that I had my first lafa shwarma…this time tho, I made it WAY healthier. So yummy. Will have to post a picture 🙂

On my second night, I was super excited to see my Rabbi’s daughter. So, everywhere I went, I asked if they knew Tzippy. FINALLY, after coming home on my second night, I saw a bunch of girls gathered, and noticed her. So exciting! She looked so grown up – definitely felt old next to her. She was SOOOO sweet, brought me a goodie bag with yogurts, fruits, and other yummy Israeli snacks. Told me that Neve food is known to be toxic – SO TRUE.

I think that my connection with Nicole (NG) was formed one afternoon accidentally – but it’s a bond that will hold us together forever. One of our floormates (I won’t mention a name bc she may be embarrassed by the situation looking back…) was telling me a story about how she thinks that thieves in Israel are nicer/better than thieves in America. As in, they’re likelier to return your things to you. She was saying how her coworker told her that’s a naive perspective. Nicole jumps in and says that she agrees, it is a naive way of looking at it. The other girls responds with, “I’m not naive. Don’t call me naive.” Nicole proceeds to explain why it’s naive and the other girls responds, “Shut up. Shut the f*ck up. Shut the f*ck up.” Well, that was a productive conversation…

This incident did lead Nicole and I to be quite close. Sometimes we’ll just tell each other to “shut the f*ck up” – this isn’t really a joke at anyone’s expense, just a moment for us to giggle.

My roommate, SM, had invited SK to Tel Aviv Thursday evening to hang out with some friends, party, whatnot. I figured that if the rest of the group was meeting us Friday, this would be perfect. Well, we had a semi-late start to Tel Aviv, and then had to take a cab to David’s (the friend) apartment bc we were running so late. SM claimed that David starts partying really early, and that we were SOOOO late. To say thank-you for letting us crash at your apartment, we stopped at a store and bought wine (for the girls) and whiskey for the guys.

Well, we got to his apartment, and he and his friend Amir (who I thought was Alain for the longest time…more on that later) were just drinking whiskey. No rush, nothing. All the formalities were exchanged, and the three girls set up shop/sleeping arrangements in the spare bedroom. Foregoing all the boring details, I will mention this. Shots of kosher wine – NOT SO GOOD. So they mixed me coke and whiskey. Much better – but definitely has a kick. We all head out to a club. It was so American. All the birthright kids were there. They were doing kegstands! Mega yuck! After about 2 hours, we left to go to another place, this one a bit more Israeli style.

After a little while, the place was so smoky that I got nauseous, so I went to sit outside…This is where the semi-juicy bit starts. Amir joins me outside, and we start chatting. Things get semi-flirty, but it’s the way I am with all the guys – so no biggie, right? Well after some deep convos, he starts tickling me…For those that know me well, you know how this goes. For the rest of you reading this, here’s how it went. He poked me, I giggled. He tickled me, and I squealed like a 5 year old. Yup. After a while of tickling, talking, me throwing something at him – we relaxed and he lay down on my lap. At one point he kissed me and says, “Eh, that’s a 6 out of 10.” I don’t miss a beat and respond with, “It doesn’t even rank.” He then apologizes, and says he was kidding. I didn’t apologize…Is that bad? The entire time he was kissing me I was making a list of things I still needed to do. The usual: get a wax, mani/pedi, and figure out a way to get the AMAZING fro-yo on Gordon Street. How bad am I? Sorry guys, I really don’t always do this!!! (Just when the kiss isn’t so good…)

Everyone else slowly trickled out of the club and joined us on the high cushioned sofa style seating. We couldn’t get SK and David to focus…They were otherwise occupied. We finally got their attention, and left to go back to the apartment. I took an AMAZINGLY hot shower. I put my pjs on, and went to hang out. Amir approaches me and tells me to meet him in hour after everyone goes to bed. We stay up for a bit talking, and don’t realize that everyone is asleep. Bc the 3 girls had to sleep together, I had suggested (jokingly) that David take my spot between the girls, and I would take his room (alone). It didn’t work, and David went to sleep in his room…or so I thought. I went to my room, and SM & SK were sprawled across the bed, so I slept on the floor.

In the morning, Amir was a tad bit crabby @ me…Maybe it’s bc I didn’t show up the night before? My excuse? I fell asleep. The truth? I fell asleep, but I wouldn’t have met him anyway. LOL. We all went to breakfast.

After the guys left breakfast, we all started chatting and sharing details from the night before. I found out that a “hook-up” is whatever happens from kissing to sex. Interesting – I always knew it to mean something with the word sex in it…So basically SK called my mini-make out “hookkupping” – tho it came from a funny joke where SK wanted to say hooking up and instead it came out as “hookkupping”. LOL.

We head over to the beach. First stop…Gordon Inn!! (Attn Lena and Masha – they’ve renovated! We must go back together.) We dropped off our stuff and headed to the beach. The rest of the group meets up later. Omg the beach is amazing! Misha (my step-bro who I affectionately call my step-shit) joins us for a little bit…as well as a bunch of other people from the trip.

The evening is a bit stressful. SM and MV want to do shabbat dinner – the whole shebang. The rest don’t particularly care. So they go get challah and kosher dinner. The rest of us shower/get ready and then wander around for food. We meet on the rooftop for pregaming and shabbos dinner.

We head out after to a club, Galena. Though I’m not feeling well, I go anyway because NG (my other roommate) says it only a 30min walk. We walk for 2hrs and finally get there. I seem to have lost everyone during the walk and wander around with others from the hostel/beach group.

Once everyone is together at the club, I decide that I’m just not feeling well enough to party. Before I leave, one of the girls from Jewel gets kicked out of the club bc she climbed over the rope. I apologize for her but she starts cursing at the bouncer and using vulgar gestures. I don’t see of hear this and am explaining that she wants to be with her friends an will behave. I’m literally seconds away from getting her in and she messes it up. But the guy offers for me to go in w/o a cover charge. What can I say I worked my magic. I’m about ready to leave when two guys from the hostel join us and tell us that it was a 40shekel cab ride. I’m glad…I can get back easy. Tough luck. The cabbies want an exorbitant amount of money…so I walked back alone. (Note to Roman, I know I promised to be safe but no one wanted to leave and I really needed to go back. I knew my way around. Please don’t be mad.)

I started to walk back along the path and then got to the streets that I know, thus a more direct path which would be less time. As I’m walking I get to see so many beautiful places…and I stop to pee at a super awesome hotel. I keep walking and there is just one small scary part where gang-looking guys are walking in my direction. One is Asian one looks Mexican and the rest are Israeli putzs. Luckily I got past them and reached Gordon Street. Made it back and passed out. Oh womanly woes.

The morning is a bit lazy but we make it to the beach. Lovely day that ends almost easily. We get on the bus, return ti Har Nof. Oh what a weekend!

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