So I thought I would write a bit about the place that I am living in for the next three months. The town is called Ashquelon (can also be spelt Ashkelon) and it is filled with a wide variety of people, yet not as wide a variety of things to do. There are beautiful neighborhoods of houses and I would suspect the majority of people who are religious in this community fall more on the Conservative line. When Shabbat is coming much of the town closes. The buses stop running, the grocery stores close their doors, and people start preparing for a Shabbat dinner and a day of rest. Though I must add, bars? Many of those do not close.
Today I took full advantage of ‘resting’ on Shabbat and headed to the beach! I am fortunate enough to have a view of the Mediterranean Sea right from my bedroom. The sand is thick enough to dip your toes right in, the water is warm and clear, and the sea shells are so pretty.
There is a marina right on the water which has bars and restaurants and I can tell is going to be a great spot for my friends and I to hang out. Other than those activities the only other “fun” things to do here are go to the movie theatre, shop at the mall (though Israeli clothes aren’t the most fashionable outside of Tel Aviv), or bowling (Ok, not really MY idea of fun, but maybe yours).
Today Ariel and I headed to the beach and I had glamour magazine and a book (Mom, I did finish One Day!) in hand. I am hoping to eventually be able to bring an Israeli Vogue to the beach and actually translate. But for now I’ll continue to use my American subscriptions.
Sunday – Thursday is the Israeli workweek. It may take some getting used to but I think Monday is thanking me for becoming fonder of it. Sorry Sunday. Speaking of Sunday, tomorrow is our first day of Ulpan (Hebrew classes)! I am so looking forward to starting to learn Hebrew as a conversational language and have set a goal for myself that by the time my parents and brother arrive here in December I will be able to at least understand what Israelis are saying when they are conversing. My tutor from this summer told me that the steps in learning the language are that I will first be able to understand, and then I will be able to write in answers, and then I will be able to actually speak it. Hopefully these three steps will all take place within the next ten months!
After classes tomorrow we are holding a carnival for the children here at the Absorption Center. Each room had to come up with an activity table for the carnival. Resources are limited but I think we are going to make it a success. My room chose to do musical chairs. I’ll have to add pictures of that later.
Random but important to note, cats roam the streets in Israel like squirrels do in America.
Given my fear of animals you’d think this was a pressing problem for me but I actually have grown quite accustomed to it. They don’t really bother you but they definitely are super skinny and love to get your food if you’re eating some. Beware, sometimes there are stray dogs too! That is just plain sad to me though. Anyway, I am exhausted from the sun so it is bedtime for me. Goodnight world!