Yesterday marked the end of my first week back in Israel. I feel like I just got here and feel like I never left... I immediately settled in, remembered how to get around (sans maps, mind you!), really had my bearings. I walked these streets in my mind so many times in the past year; they're simply ingrained.
I've spent some of the past week meeting the Year-in-Israel students who are here for pre-Ulpan (intensive Hebrew study), and a few who are just here, but more of it seeing my Israeli friends. That was ostensibly my reason for coming over a month before orientation, so I plan to make the most of it! I keep running into people I know on the streets, something that happened all last summer. I knew it would continue here, but it still is a little thrill every time it happens. Given, one friend from New York lives around the corner so it's bound to happen, but even still my thought process tends to be along the lines of, "Hey... what is s/he... I mean what am I... uh... this is weird." And cool.
Israel is small. Very small. Occurences like that are a constant reminder. Example: I went to Tel Aviv for the past two days and stayed with a friend from New York who is there for the summer. We went out for falafel and she was talking about her roommate. Well, apparently he normally lives there with his girlfriend; my friend's room is the girlfriend's writing studio, but she's away for the summer at a writer's retreat of sorts. Put two and two together from some messages online... she's a good friend of one of my Israeli friends from New York. That's how it rolls here... and I love it.
Other things I love:
- the produce from the shuk: so tasty, so cheap (no, really... today's loot included about a kilo of tomatoes for ₪3.5 (just under a dollar), 6 cucumbers and an onion for ₪3, and so forth...)
- being able to walk into a store or restaurant, and to order everything in Hebrew
- going to concerts: the tally for this week is three -- flamenco, hazzanut, and chamber music (eclectic enough for you?)
- that I might be a published photographer here -- more on that if it happens
- singing Shir HaMa'alot to Pachabel's Canon after shabbat lunch with a friend and some of her crew from Pardes
- Havdalah in Gan Ha'Atzma'ut with HUC chevre
- lazy mornings on my mirpeset with coffee and my guitar
- HAVING MY VIOLIN! (Toda raba to A and A...)
- being able to hunt down a childhood friend here on Taglit, and secretly dragging her from her group to my apartment and back in the span of about 25 minutes
- 730am on the beach in Tel Aviv
- evening on the beach just north of Yaffo, listening to the waves of the sea blending with the waves of the call to prayer coming from multiple mosques
- deja vu everywhere I go
- the amazing cool breeze in my apartment at night; who needs AC?!
And not so much:
- the mosquitoes: I forgot how bad they are, and how sweet I must be... or something... ::scratch scratch scratch::
- finding open bags of food in my kitchen, and containers of food crawling with maggots... yeah, that was nice... um...
I would say the good is definitely outweighing the bad at this point. By far. That should be readily apparent. And, speaking of good, one of the chevre arrived late last night and I owe him a swift kick in the... erm... well, ok, maybe I won't do that. But we've been awaiting an actual meeting for awhile, so I am going to head off to find him.
Lehitraot! V'ahava l'kulam b'Artzot ha'Brit!
(See you later! And love to everyone in the US!)