I have been writing for so long, it seems, about my Backpacking experiences in Europe this past Chufshat Choref / Winter Break, that I have barely been writing about Israel, which is actually why I originally started this whole blob thing. Well, that, and I like reading my own writing and hearing the sound of my voice, and this was a new narcissistic outlet for me.
So, what's been up? In short, I'm in Ramah Bet / Level 2 Ulpan now. My friend Melanie helped me keep up my Hebrew learning, as I maintain that I cannot learn Hebrew without a Melanie by my side (I have JTS Mel and Hebrew U Mel and I love them both). You see, we were not put in the same Hebrew class, and she went during the first day of class and switched into my section. Ezeh ahavah / that is LOVE. So that's been good. I like Bet a lot, as there is a lot more work than Aleph and I'm learning enough for a test every week. I like this. I must be bonkers.
I accepted a job as a Rosh Eidah at CRD this summer. It was sad to say goodbye to CIL, but I am SO excited to be working at CRD again. This job precipitated me finagling my way out of the last 3 weeks of school in Israel. It's been kind of crazy, and I'm missing a few days with the Roshes at CRD, but I'll be getting there at the very end of May!
The weather has been back and forth, and it'll warm up soon. Before it gets too hot, I am doing a lot of walking. My bus pass finally expired, so now I have to pay by the ride. That means my laziness will be taking a backseat to my tired feet. I even tried to get my orthotics (fancy-schmany arch supports that make my life worth living) resurfaced, as their top layer of the finest foam is peeling away after 6 years of use. That was a ridiculous, Hebrew-only experience. It didn't work out, but I did have many the interaction with the shoe guy downtown. He was wearing velvet pants with glittery silver pinstripes, a shiny shirt, and a little top hat when I went back to find out he couldn't do the resurfacing I wanted. The trips back and forth were 100% worth the costume changes, the Hebrew conversations about ha-chomer ha-zeh /THIS material, and the loud, Russian arguing on the radio in his little shop. I would still go to him to reshod a pair of shoes, but I refuse to have my orthotics injured by a non-expert.
And they ARE tired, as Rafi and I spent Shabbat going back and forth from different meals and events with the visiting group from Gainesville, his hometown, and the home of my college experience. I worked at the shul, he grew up there, and we both love Gainesville in different ways for different reasons.
Last night, at Shabbat dinner, we talked about a favorite thing in Gainesville. A million snapshots flooded my mind, as I thought of eating at AEPhi (LOVE the Mac N'Cheese, love the salad bar), putting a parking cone on some girl's car because she stole MY parking spot, Gator games, Gator buses, glitter and pajamas, Gator gear, Dirty Lexington, Jennings, Broward, the fire alarm I set off twice Freshman year, Exceptional People (best class EVER), my Chalutzim kids, Rabbi Kaiman, the three years of the Red1 parking decal (thanks, Mark), the time I bummed a ride off of UPD...I could go on forever. But when I opened my mouth, this is what came out: "Micah's going to laugh at me, but I loved spending time at his house, with his family." I miss them, and it's nice to be in Israel with Micah, the brother-esque pancake-eating powerhouse who always amused me when I was in Gainesville.
I also saw one of my Chalutzim kids, and it was a reality check. Just like my Wheelniks, one of whom is now in medical school, the Chalutzimers have grown up, too. One of my kids was there, and he is a sophomore in High School. They grow up so fast! It was great to see ALL of the people from Gainesville. It was a mini-reunion at dinner, with 2 Gator Olim, Rafi and me, Elie and Micah, and their honorary-Gainesville girlfriends, and my friend Jen, from undergrad. I was SO excited to see her, as I was told the trip was mostly middle- to upper-middle-aged. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures, because it was Shabbat, but trust me, seeing Jen made me smile, really widely!
In the Gainesville blog, linked above, Rabbi Kaiman describes my rendering of havdallah as "soulful" and not "nearly off key." He's very nice. I got another compliment, too. On Friday night, one of the congregants said to me how nice it was to see Rafi "with such a beautiful young woman." I am pretty sure I blushed. I'm lucky to be with such a nice and smart guy!
I am also doing a lot of work, for JTS, for Hebrew U and for Ulpan. I read a hefty piece of the Apocrypha (short description = not from the canon) last week. I liked the end of the book of Judith, but other than that, it was hard for me to get to into it. I'm more into modern media...as you'll see in my next post.
Today is the Ides of March and the birthday of Rafi's mom. Many returns, and wishes for happy times, JS!