Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 6: Do You Speak Jewish?? Ulpan + Beach = TOV MEOD!!!

Well school is officially back in session! Today was my first day of Ulpan, and I absolutely LOVED it! At first I was really nervous that I wouldn't remember any of the Hebrew I had learned over the years, and I have Arabic so fresh in my mind that I was concerned I would get confused, but after a 5 hour review things came back to me nicely. I can still read and write very well, but I have a long way to go with vocabulary. The verb conjugations are very similar to Arabic so I'm not too worried, I just have to watch out that I don't get confused and mix up the languages. I wish there was something like "spanglish" in the Middle East... I would call it "Arabrew"; I figure if Spanish and English can mix to make Spanglish, there is no reason Arabic and Hebrew shouldn't be able to do the same! That would make my life so much easier :-). I'm becoming more comfortable using Hebrew when I'm out in public, and I'm really forcing myself to speak to people, as much as I can, in said language. I have a long way to go, but I feel that I will be ok after the 8 week intensive course. It's funny how when I talk to people back home I have to watch myself because I want to say things like "Tov Meod", instead of "YAY", or "Wow that is so great", or I want to say "Gam Ani" instead of me too, etc.... My poor American friends are going to think I'm nuts, and won't be able to understand a thing I'm saying!

As excited as I am to be conversational in Hebrew, this week has solidified the fact that Arabic is truly the language love of my life. Hebrew is amazing, and I'm so excited to be able to speak and understand, but I'm counting down the days until Arabic classes start. I'm going to Jerusalem on Thursday to walk around the Arab quarter of the old city just so I can keep practicing! I have already met students in my Master's program that are talking about taking trips to the Sinai in Egypt, Petra, Amman, and Aquaba in Jordan, and even Beirut, Lebanon, so I will have many people to travel around the Arab Middle East with! Luckily I'm starting to get pretty dark, so I'll fit right in with my look and my Arabic accent.

After Ulpan, my friend Dana and I decided to hope on a bus and go to the beach. We found the beach a whole lot easier than we found our way to Jaffa! We had a great time just relaxing in the sun, and enjoying the warm, clear Mediterranean waters. I will be going to the beach quite often. Once the sun was starting to set, we decided we might as well eat out since we were surrounded by rows and rows of cafes. We found a very cute little place near the beach and had a delicious pasta dinner. I guess a perk of not eating a lot, and buying food in Tel Aviv (which is pretty expensive), is that at least I can get a few meals out of it :-)

After that I came back home, did some work, and now it is time to relax! I'm so excited that I am tired, and hoping that means I'll get a good night sleep. The last two days another symptom of jet lag surfaced; I can now fall asleep at night but I wake up at 5am... I can't win! Aside from all of that, things in Tel Aviv are amazing. This city is so exciting, fun, active, and young! Every other person has a dog (which makes me so happy), there are shopping districts, beaches, clubs, bars, parks, and everything you need to have an amazing, active living experience. Really the only thing that is a bitch is the awful humidity. I will never have to do Bikram yoga again, since every time I step out of my door I get slapped the face with 80% humidity. I have never had to change clothes more in my life, and I won't even get started on my hair... Let's just say Jew afro describes it adequately!

Well until tomorrow, Lilah Tov!
Jordana Simone

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