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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Money, Money, Money

So I guess a few of you may be correct and I am not blogging as much as I should or used to be able to do.

It has been a very busy two weeks since my last blog, and the recurring theme in my life seems to be about money. I lost my wallet last week. I didn't realize until the next morning when I was packing my bag for school. I searched all through my room, apartment, and the apartment next was no where to be found. At school I looked in the many different locations and learned how to say wallet in Hebrew, "arnak." It is gone. I had maybe 50 sheckels in it but it had my school id, driver's license, credit cards, and insurance card. I'm still waiting for the new credit card in the mail, and in the mean time I've been able to borrow money from friends.

This past friday night, Talya Tziporah, no not my sister, but Californian from next door, and I made Shabbat dinner for 8 of us. Everyone brought something and we had a ton of leftovers. I even ate some today, and thank G-d they have lasted so long, because I really don't have money. Everyone at school has been jealous of our lunches, and were kinda bummed that they had other plans and couldn't come to our dinner. And yes mom, my chicken was a hit. It was a very funny and interesting night. The guest list included, Ana, from Ukraine, did highschool in Boston and did a year of Political Science at Northeastern before coming to IDC, oh and she is 17. Next there is, Sara from New Jersey. Then Yosef who is 6'5", and his roommate Yehuda, both of whom made Aliyah with their families when they were children and grew up in Efrat. Guy, South African, about to be released from the Army and go back to South Africa before coming back to IDC next year, Talya's friend.

School rules our lives. I haven't left Herzliyah since I saw Moran in Tel Aviv for breakfast. It is a very interesting adjustment to college life. Not what I expected and still trying to figure out if that is a good or bad idea.

IDC is a very, very, very interesting and entertaining place. You have people not only from every part of the world but from all different walks of life in Israel. IDC may be Israel's Beverly Hills 9021o (YNet's comparison not mine), but there are still some amazing people here.

Oh and my final roommate finally moved in. Chana, she is 19 from New Jersey. She did a seminary last year in Jerusalem and met a guy and is now engaged to Elran.

My rooming situation is again very interesting. My actual roommates and I have very different schedules so I really don't see them that much but I am at my neighbor's place all of the time. I have my room and their apartment.

Last night, I went with Jenni and Talya (quasi roommates) to go learn at this place called Discovery. We didn't exactly know what to expect, but we will get paid for religious studying. So I of course put a skirt on, and I was looking very religious. Hopefully I'll be able to work the hours into my schedule, it sounds like they will be good lectures and classes and even shabatots around Israel. So yes, parents, I might be getting a Jewish education while I am here.

Halloween is this weekend. I cannot believe that November is just around the corner. It feels as if I have been here for like 2 months, and it is only the 3rd week of school.

This weekend I'm looking forward to relaxing and a lot of reading, and a workshop project to complete. and hopefully maybe a storm?! that is what the weather men are saying....


Saturday, October 16, 2010

"I Love College"

1st week of school

So the first week of college hasn’t exactly been like Asher Roth’s infamous song “I Love College” but it is getting there. Stam. (Just kidding)

Classes have been, for the most part, very interesting.

Here is my list of classes, get ready:

Positive Psychology; 2x a wk

Biological Foundations; 2x a wk

Probability; every other wk

Intro to Psych; 2x + recitation wk

Intro to Communications; 1x wk

Departmental Seminar; 1x wk

Intro to Stats; 2x wk

Applied Psych Workshop (3.5 hrs); every other wk

8 classes. 4-day week. 3-day weekend.

I’ll do a run through over the classes, periodically in the coming weeks once I’ve experienced all of them and know more about what is going on in them.

Positive Psych – I was worried that this class was going to be a bunch of “New Age” mumbo gumbo and was going to hate it. The first class, (which I was a bit hung over for, sorry mom, but it was my birthday the day before) proved this to be utterly false. The professor, Tal Benshachar, (brother of my David Project class that I had in Bat Yam) studied and taught at Harvard before moving back to Israel. He moved back after a health scare and realized where he need to be—in Israel.

Biological Foundations – is taught by Dr. Daniel Levy, he used to do research at UCSD, so he talks about home a lot, which is the only time I’ve been homesick, so far. It is interesting so far. In the recitation we have been reviewing the cell. It is very different going over the cell from an Israeli research student. Luckily I did okay in my biology class in high school and remember enough to get by from the books.

I and others have found a few things that are very special to IDC and/or Israel: They serve beer on campus, not just at our first night meet and greet on campus, but throughout the week during the day (we don’t think this will continue throughout the year, but who knows?) and they tell us to copy our books in the library and not buy them. Thankfully I bought 4 of the 5 books for only $40, so I only have to copy one of the books. It is really cheap and kind of nice only having to carry around a chapter at a time. Also, you hear a million different languages on campus.

For my three day weekend, I spent Thursday in Tel Aviv at the Azrielli Center with Moran, my madricha from Jerusalem on YC. It was really nice catching up with her and I cannot wait to see her again, hopefully next week for a BBQ before all of my friends join the ARMY! After a late brunch, I met some friends at the beach in Herzliyah. Friday was spent at the Beach, catching the last bus home and arriving ten minutes before Shabbat comes in. I jumped into the Luke Warm shower and quickly got ready for a Hillel Shabbat. The service was really nice, even though Talya (Californian/Israeli that lives next door) and I were late. Don’t worry the sermon included telling the boys to pick up girls. After dinner a bunch of people went to someone’s apartment, where they have a beautiful view on their roof overlooking downtown Herzliyah. It was a really lovely Shabbat evening.

Shabbat Day consisted of studying, kiddish lunch with my roommate and a bunch of her friends, more studying, coffee, face masks at the neighbors, wine and an AEPi bonfire where, not naming any names, but a few people, may or may not have gone into the ocean.

It was a lovely evening and now I am off to bed for two classes tomorrow morning beginning at 9:15.

Lila Tov

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Orientation Week

Wow. It has been a very, very long week becoming aquatinted with IDC and fellow first year RRIS (Rafael Recanti International School) and Israeli students. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday were full of meeting new students, learning my way around campus (small but still plenty confusing), learning about the Library, ethics and regulations (where they share amazing stories of how people have been caught cheating—items, which I would never have been able to think of), and other things that come with orientation week. Most importantly, of course, is meeting the people we will be studying with for the next three years.

Now, I know, that this is an international school, but I don’t believe I had any idea just how international is. I literally have classmates from Singapore, South Africa, Somalia, all over Europe (including a ton of Italians, Swedes, and French people), South Americans, and even a few Canadians. Walking around campus, you hear every language imaginable, I will probably pick up Swedish by the end of the year.

Everyone from California is from L.A. except for this girl who lives next door, Talya, who made Aliyah and did the army and is from Palm Springs and a couple people from the Bay Area.

Wednesday and Thursday was the Orientation trip to the Negev. We had to arrive at IDC by 7:30 and like all programs in Israel, where they threaten to leave you behind, we left after 8. I was on one of the seven buses with Rebecca, the Swede from next door, with a bus full of people we didn’t know.

We headed towards the Judean Forest where we were met by a tour guide, a British Rachel, and had different team building workshops that involved ropes and teamwork. They were fun and some slightly scary.

After lunch in the Forest we then headed for the Bar Kochba Rebellion caves. It is really eerie to be at these different places with other people besides Year Coursers. After scrounging around on our knees through different tunnels built into the sides of mountains that the Greeks smoked the Jews out of, back in the day, we headed towards a Bedouin Tent close to Arad (where I lived for three months on Year Course). As we drove through Arad, I pointed out my old apartment, and other important landmarks while others looked at me like I was crazy for, ever living in such a place. The truth is that I really miss the adventures that we had there.

As we entered Kifar HaNokdim, the Bedouin Tent, tea, coffee, dried fruit and nuts greeted us. A Bedouin spoke to us about their culture over a lovely cup of tea. Afterwards we were able to shower and relax a little before dinner. Dinner was a delicious spread of different salads, rice, kebabs, laffa and drinks. The dinner company was of course international as well: Danish, Swedish, Singapore, French, Me, and others. There were many birthdays that needed to be toasted for. There most be something about Libras, because there is a ton of us. And I met two other people with my exact birthday, but one is a year younger and the other is two years younger.

Drinking, dancing, bonfire, and the company of new friends kept us busy long into the night.

We woke up at about 6:30 AM to have breakfast, pack up and drive towards Ein Gedi for a hike. Now Ein Gedi is one of the best places in Israel; an oasis in the middle of nowhere, and close to the lowest place in the world—the Dead Sea. It was really hot, even so early in the morning, and we were drinking a ton of water and enjoying the natural springs immensely. It also brought me back to hiking there with Jessica and trekking back to Arad. And when our group became separated from the larger group, no one would listen to me as to which way to go, until I told the counselor to shut up and follow me. He later forgave me when we rejoined everyone else. Once we all refilled our water bottles and loaded the bus we were off to the Dead Sea.

Lunch was at one of those pool/beaches along the shore. There were a ton of different pizzas with amazing toppings; my favorite was with the sautéed onions. If it had thinner crust than it had the potential of being my favorite pizza that I have ever had.

The Dead Sea is always a strange sensation and I somehow, always manage to have some mosquito bites and the bbuuuurrrrnnnnn! After floating for a bit we all just relaxed, and showered up and started the long drive home to Herzliya. It is finally beginning to feel a bit like home.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The 3 "S" Holidays: Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret, Simchat Torah

After unpacking most of my things and packing another backpack for about a week of clothing, not really knowing where I plan on being, and Olivia's suitcase, I hail a taxi and head towards the Train Station to go to Ramat Beit Shemesh for a cousin BBQ.

Not only was Ra'annan, his wife, Sharon, and Olivia all there. But also, a bunch of random 3rd and 4th cousins, I believe, Bodzins, that are related to our grandfather, Charles Bodzin. The eldest Bodzin, that was there, is a great-great grandchild of Shimon Bodzin, grandpa's father. Its hard to figure out exactly b/c our generations don't match up.

After Ramat Beit Shemesh Olivia and I left for Jerusalem. I ended up spending the 4 day weekend with Olivia and her roommates in my old neighborhood of Baka. I visited Beit Ar El and my old apartment. I brought Olivia to Rami Levi, right before the holiday began, when its CRAZZZAYYY. After being overwhelmed, arguing with others, and finally making it out with a couple things we headed back to her apartment.

The rest of the very long weekend was spent dancing with the Torah, walking through different areas of Yamin Moshe, Katamon, Baka, going to the Beach in Rishon L'Tsion (not driving through Bat Yam), practicing Hebrew, going out at night with Olivia's friends, watching TV, and just catching up.

It was the perfect beginning and adjustment to Israeli Life and a precursor for Orientation that starts bright and early, Sunday Morning.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Arrival

Departure: San Diego, September 26, 2010 9:50 AM
Arrival: Tel Aviv, September 27, 2010 2:15 PM

After being on a plane for over a day (including lay overs) I finally landed in Tel Aviv. My iPod wasn't connecting to the WiFi and I was getting nervous that I wouldn't be able to reach Moty, family friend, who was picking me up. I finally made it through passport control, baggage claim, exchanging money and finally to the arrival gallery. Scanning faces and I don't recognize anyone. I keep walking and then I see Moty. Hugs and other hellos and we drive to Herzliya.

I make my way through tuition, housing, get my cell phone and with a counselor and Moty we drive to my new apartment....Ibn Givrul. What should have been a 4 minute drive quickly became 10 minutes due to all of the one way streets.

After checking out the apartment and picking my room--the only one that was left (even though no one else was in the apartment)--I packed a bag pack and headed back with Moty to where Efi was working--a big showroom for interior design. Efi and I had a contest as to who would fall asleep the fastest. She won.

After a good night's rest I was ready to go back to my apartment and unpack.