I can't believe how much has changed in my one year being out of college. I remember the days where all that really mattered was "let's get hammered", or "let's go find where the hot guys are", and so on. I guess I never realized how far behind me that kind of lifestyle was until coming here to Israel. It is a bit tough right now because my Master's program is the only one that requires the intensive summer language course, and because of this there are a ton of graduate students who won't be here until October. The few of us graduates who are here are swimming in a pool of sex crazed, party obsessed undergraduates... FUN...
I was waiting in line today for my mid morning iced coffee when I literally had to back up due to the smell coming off of the girl in front of me ... She was literally sweating alcohol; she smelled like a cross between a cheap bar and a frat house. As one of her friends came up to her she hungoverly welcomed him with "Oh my God I'm still drunk right now..."
It's hard to believe there was ever a time when that way of life was appealing to me. I mean don't get me wrong, I love going out, staying out until unGodly hours of the morning, taking my 1-2 shots and getting a bit tipsy, but to do that every night, and to have that be the only experience here in Israel, seems like such a shame and a waste.
But enough of that! Today was the second day of Ulpan and I am really getting much more comfortable with the language. Granted I am still getting a bit mixed up with Arabic, but when it comes to grammar my knowledge of Arabic is really helping me a lot. My teacher is incredible. Her name is Eti and even though she is a pretty typical Israeli woman, she always has a smile on her face, and there is a warmth about her that makes everyone feel so comfortable (even though she is tough)! We are finally done with our review of basic grammar so starting tomorrow we will be getting into the core of conversational Hebrew. YAY!
Aside from that, I spent time really walking the campus today. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The campus itself looks like a breed between the desert, the coast, and the tropics, and through the trees and the flowers you can see the big city. It is breathtaking!!! As if I didn't feel lucky enough to be in Israel, I get to work and study surrounded by pure beauty.
After class I decided to brave the heat and humidity and walk to the store to pick up some more grocery's to sustain me for the rest of the week and weekend. Well... this was good and bad for a couple of reasons. First, the store is about 2 blocks away and it is about 80 + degrees outside with 70%+ humidity. This wouldn't be so bad except that I had the bright idea of buying huge water bottles that I then had to lug up the hill, in the heat and humidity, for two blocks, along with schlepping my other groceries... But hey, who needs to buy a gym membership here; I simultaneously got my weight lifting, cardio, and Bikram hot yoga in on one trip to the store. I might not be able to walk tomorrow, or lift my arms, but so what! The good news is I didn't have to ask anyone to speak English at the market, and I understood what they were asking me both at the check out line, and when I was searching for things in the lanes.
As for the rest of the week, tomorrow is a pretty standard day (might make it to the beach), on Wednesday we have a meet and greet with the rest of the people in my Master's program (including the professors and advisors), and then Thursday it is off to Jerusalem!!!!! Many things to look forward to in the next few days!
Stay tuned ;-),