Sunday, October 9, 2011

10/9/11: If My Head Wasn't Attached...

Salah El Din Street
The Dizengoff of East Jerusalem

After a wonderful weekend at home in Tel Aviv, it was time for me to venture back to the eastern end of Jerusalem for work. I had a fantastic, relaxing, and meaningful, time back at home (Tel Aviv) for the holiday, and I felt refreshed and ready to get back to Jerusalem to take on the work week ahead. I made sure to pack all that I would need for the upcoming journey, cleaned the apartment, took out the trash, locked up all the doors, and set off to get back to Jerusalem before dark. 

I felt so on top of my game having finished all of my chores in a timely manner, and even made it out of my apartment 30 minutes before I had originally intended. I waited by my bus stop for the Nesher Sherut to take me to the Central Bus Station, was lucky enough to catch one with room passing by, got on, and about 10 minutes into the ride I realized I had left my cell phone at home. I could have kicked myself! Here I was, so happy to have gotten everything done on time, and I leave something that is almost as important as oxygen. I immediately asked the driver to stop, got off, had to catch a sherut back to the dorms, ran up (with all of my luggage) to get my phone, went back to the bus stop, and had to wait for another sherut... I was not a happy camper... 

However, my little detour wasn't a total waste. As I was waiting for my sherut 3 different people came up to me to ask for directions; completely in Hebrew. I was so excited that I was able to understand (for the most part) and answer each and every one of them. One of the ladies spoke no English, and I had a little trouble with what she was saying, but between her slow speech, and my continuous request for her to repeat what she was saying, we managed to have a very decent, little conversation. Some days I feel like the languages will never come to me, but then, other times, I feel like I am picking it up beautifully. It is a process learning two languages, but with diligence and constant practice, I know they will come to me. 

I finally caught the Sherut, made it to the bus station, and was off to Jerusalem... an hour behind schedule :-(. When I arrived at Ben Yehuda, I caught a cab to take me to East Jerusalem, and am very happy to report that no English was used in our conversation. In Tel Aviv I had a fantastic experience with Hebrew, and in this cab I had an equally fantastic experience using my Arabic. As Charlie Sheen would say, I was "WINNING" in terms of my language use! 

When I got back to my apartment I had just enough time between unpacking and meeting my friend Sarah for dinner to skype with my Step Sister, Ida. We had such a wonderful conversation, and I was so glad to be able to catch up with her. I have missed family so much and was so glad to have time with her! We talked for about an hour, and then Sarah came to East Jerusalem to meet me for dinner. She wanted to experience the Palestinian side of Jerusalem, and I knew just the place to take her; Hotel Azzahra! We had a fantastic dinner at my hotel, and I was very happy to see that the waiters remembered  me :-) They even gave me my 10% discount though I am no longer a guest! I LOVE EAST JERUSALEM!  We had a wonderful reunion, she got to see where I live, and I hope that she will be able to come back during the day time when I can really show off the area. She thinks I am a bit meshugah (crazy) for living here by myself, but I think it is a great adventure! 

After dinner it was back home for another wonderful skype session with my sister, Elana, who I have also missed terribly, and now it is off to bed to ready myself for the week ahead. Very excited for another week of work and exploration of this side of Jerusalem :-) 

Many adventures to come! Tisba7 3ala kheir <3,
Jordana Simone 

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