Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Day 2: Tours, Tests, and Terrorists
I had a tour of my campus today, and to say that it is stunningly beautiful is putting it mildly. Palm Trees line beautiful stone walkways, red clay and brick buildings are scattered between beautiful areas of gardens and lush trees, and there is a modern museum right on the campus. It is breathtaking! I really can't describe how excited I am to spend more time getting to know the campus, and it shocks me to think of how excited I am to actually start classes and seminars.
After the campus tour we were given a Hebrew test to see where we would be placed in Ulpan (intensive Hebrew class) for the next 8 weeks. I did surprisingly well seeing as I forgot all my hebrew and kept wanting to translate things into Arabic!! I can't wait until I learn more and can actually start conversing in Hebrew; it will sure help at the malls and super markets :-). Anyways, Ulpan starts on Sunday and I can't wait!
After, the test I had some free time so I decided to do what any jet lagged, lazy 23 year old would... take a nap!!! The lack of sleep I got on the plane, combined with a horrible night sleep last night, has put me in a great fog for most of the day. After FINALLY falling asleep I woke up and had to jet off to a security meeting. Understandably, the security in Israel is very intense and there were many things we needed to know before our studies could continue. I, however, feel that the Madrichim (counselors assigned to international students) probably could have gone a little easier with the "well there hasn't been a bombing or terrorist attack here in a while so it is up to you whether or not you want to take the busses... but we all do so it will be fine. Just do what you feel is safe and what you are comfortable with..." GREAAAAT. But it goes without saying, I am in a country where things like bombings and terrorist attacks happen often, so it was necessary for them to be brutally honest. I'm not too worried though. I feel so safe here, and if something happens, it will happen, I just have to be prepared and as safe as I can be.
After that meeting I finally made it to the mall and the supermarket with some friends, where I spent way too much money! luckily it was all on things I will need (like food) so I don't feel too bad :-). When I got home I used this amazing program I have on skype to call everyone at home just to let them know I am fine. With this program I can talk to them from my cell phone to their cell or home phone and it is like I am in the other room the reception is so good. I'm so glad I have the option of calling everyone now (it makes me feel a lot more connected)!
Anyways, tomorrow is a free day so I will explore Tel Aviv, go to the Shook (big outdoor market), and hopefully make it to Jaffa (an Arab town near Tel Aviv) so I can start back with my Arabic! More news on that tomorrow.
Until then, all my love