I have been fortunate enough to already become very close with two girls. One of them coincidentally is my roommate and we have started a tradition of cooking together every night. I would like to think it is a very cute habit of us, and we’re fortunate to both love various dishes of chicken/fish/tofu and vegetables. One of the great things about Israel is that vegetables and fruit here are dirt cheap. Seriously can’t get much better than that. Oh wait, you can! There are shooks (like farmers markets) all over Israel that are open many days during the week. Here, the vegetables and fruit are even cheaper, and to make matters even better they are all locally grown. The shooks also sell jewelry, scarves, clothing, etc. Tomorrow Ariel and I are going to go there buy long skirts for when we tour the Old City of Jerusalem on Tuesday.
Today some of my friends and I made our way to the grocery store. The town of Ashkelon was nice enough to provide us with a free bus pass for the month since we are participating in so much volunteer work for the city. If we volunteer an adequate amount of time we will be provided the bus pass free for all three months. This not only saves me a good amount of money but it is nice to know we can get on the buses whenever we want and not have to worry if we don’t have shekels on us or if we may forget something and have to take the bus again, etc. We purchased some fabulous Israeli food at the grocery store and cooked up an even more fabulous dinner with it. I made the salad (I know I am famous for my salads) and Ariel sauteed up some eggplant and onions with chicken.
I unfortunately did not take a picture of this tasty meal, but to make you hungry I’ll show you a picture of a past meal we cooked up together:
Hungry yet? Anyway, I have gone for a few runs around Ashqelon and it has been a great way to get to know the city and its people. I found I have been able to run longer and farther due to the fact that I am so happy and have so many things to think and wonder about. I am hoping this trend lasts for quite awhile. In the next town I am living in the women from the JF said that they will provide their community centers free of charge to us for being volunteers. Fortunately I can use the gym there. I can also take dancing classes in which case you better watch out for my salsa moves at Mark and Megan’s wedding!
Although this blog was titled “Dinner and Runs” I am going to expand and write on other subjects. This morning we started our Ulpan class. It is a bit overwhelming but I am so thankful that I had a tutor this summer. We learned a few basic words in class today and we also focused on learning how to write in script. I am hoping I can recall what I learned when I was younger with writing Hebrew once I start to delve into it. One thing I found to be interesting was when our teacher (Miri) told us that in Israel block Hebrew letters are only found in books and newspapers. Everything else is written in script.
After class we went to the grocery store (as you know) and then we came back to our Absorption Center and held a carnival for the Ethiopian children here. Pictures to be provided later! It was a great experience for both us and the kids. Every room had to come up with a game and then we had stations for the kids to join in. My roommates and I chose to do musical chairs and no one seemed interested at first, I don’t know if it was because we didn’t have candy (other groups did) or if the children didn’t know of the game. But once they were told what to do it became a big hit. It is a great way to learn the Hebrew language also because these kids know no English so we have to know basic words to interact with them. All in all it was a great experience and I am so happy to be able to be a part of all of this.
On another note, my other close friend (Vanessa) that I mentioned at the beginning of this entry also has a blog. Hers is a lot more wittier than mine. Plus she was an English major at NYU so I think that says enough about how interesting and fun hers is to read. If you want to check it out and get another persons insight into what we Otzmanikim have been up to you can go here:
Since I love coffee I am just going to add one more note about how fabulous the cappucinos are here in Israel. Take a look for yourself
We got this the other day at a cafe in the central bus station in Jerusalem. Life really can’t get much better than this.
I am off to go study in bed for Ulpan class tomorrow and then hopefully fall asleep relatively soon. Everyone back home, have a great afternoon and evening!