31 August 2008

"I Am Delicious" + Drool = Nephew

Since I've been out of camp, I have been back and forth between NY, NJ, upstate, the city, Rockland County, Boston and DC. I am currently on my way back from Boston, as official move-in day to my new place is tomorrow! And school is on Tuesday!

On the Mall, with the Capitol behind me. See, I WAS in DC.
Further DC proof, with the Washington Monument.

The DC trip was months in the making (8 mos, yesterday, in fact!) as my adorable nephew was born on 30 December 2007. Sadly, he wasn't born on 28 December, which would've made us quasi-twins, but I still totally dig him. At 10lbs, 2oz when he was born, allegedly lifting his head at 2 days, Aaron (or, as I generally refer to him, "Aharon" or "AK") is now a 25lb stander, and near-walker. He's happy, and he laughs in quick, short bursts. He started "talking" to me immediately and generally seemed to enjoy my presence.

To ensure that he continues to like me, I bought him a plush giraffe that serves as a toy, a pillow and a blanket. I'm a little embarrassed that my mandatory AEPhi-enforced giraffe affinity has managed to creep into my practice of buying my nephew presents, 8 years (!) after I rushed that beacon of glitter and salad.

I had a few hours to hang out in DC proper, when I wasn't at baby gym (hilarious), Old Town Alexandria (delightful + GAP outlet), or other places suburban. I went to see the Muppets exhibit in the Smithsonian and met up with old friends -- Leah, from PIP 99, Nugs from Ski Mayim Wheee Drop Our Skis 04, and Leasy from the entirety of SoFL childhood.

Alas, I did not think to take pictures of all of these delightful friends. Below are pictures of this visit, with the most delightful and drooly of nephews, 2/3 of my brothers, my one and only sister-in-law, and 2 pictures that PROVE I was indeed, in DC.

"I am delicious."
"I am delightful."
"I am huge!"

"I am the king of baby gym."

Ben is a father, and also sees himself as king of the baby gym.

CJ and I enjoy AK at the local Cosi.My Oldest and Youngest brothers, looking oddly professional.

"My aunt bought me a toy. Back off!"

"I love my aunt. Really!"

28 August 2008

Hebrew Success!

I just had my meeting with the director of the JTS Hebrew Department about the materials I studied last year.

The whole meeting was conducted 99% in Hebrew (I didn't remember the word for "proofreader's notes"), and it went swimmingly. He was pleased that I was the nerd in ulpan at Hebrew U who actually asked grammar questions, and was pleased with my grasp of the one article we discussed in depth.

One more semester of Hebrew in NYC and I'm DONE with Hebrew! (Where DONE = not really fluent, but a master nevertheless.)

In other news, I'm not allowed to talk to my assistant dean in English anymore, as I have demonstrated my fluency to her as well.


26 August 2008

F is for Florida (or Fay) (or Family)

I went to Florida last week. It was a good time, especially after being in NYC, and doing lots of the things I wanted to do in NYC, like experience Seacaucus Junction, which, oops, is actually in New Jersey?! The highlight of my journey to FL? I wasn't, for once, substantially delayed, but I certainly broke my big, red suitcase.

Also, I was happily seated next to a girl who (a) didn't realize she'd be fired from her summer camp, (b) talked too much, and (c) said the following sentence, which I can't possibly be making up: "Buenos Aires! That's in Spain!"

And then I was in Florida:

An arrival celebration for Mark (right) and me! We join Alex (left) for Jamba Juice, where I satisfy my guilt over using styrofoam cups by telling the cash register high schooler that she should suggest plastic to her manager.

What did I do in Florida? Well, I played with my grandparents. They're terrific! All three of them are great in their own ways. One of my grandparents, my unstoppable Bubbie, was celebrating her 90th (yes, ninetieth!) birthday! My mom hosted a big party with my Chicago family, including my favorite delicacies and a Publix cake (The best bakery ever. End of story. I LOVE Publix!). Later in my week at home, on Bubbie's actual birthday, I joined my grandparents and my Boston family at a lovely dinner in her honor. I'm really lucky to spend time with them, and I relished the moments.

My brothers, dad, uncle, cousins and I went to a Marlins game. The highlight of the game was playing around with the baby sitting in front of Mark. She was fascinated by his cup of soda. She wanted it. Badly. Priceless picture is here:

Cup-lovin' baby! (Hours of endless amusement for family fun!)

Mark, with beautiful cousins Neil and Lizzie.

Did I mention that a lot of this was during a tropical storm? Tropical Storm Fay was so lame, however, that I went to the mall and to Boca. Twice.

Pre-storm, Mark and I checked out Bed Bath and Beyond, where we found the world's largest remotes for sale...
...and I use it to tune the nearest BB&B TV!

I also saw a lot of friends in South Florida. It was nice seeing everybody.

With this, apparently, I make the true jump into to blobbing in my real life, post-Israel. Let the musings of a twentysomething grad student commence, as I am surely the first of my kind to have a blob. Well, maybe a blob, if not a blog.

25 August 2008

Trains, Planes and Israeli Coffee in NYC

My travel karma this summer has been monumentally bad. I left camp on Sunday afternoon, after not sleeping for more than a few hours a night for about 2 weeks. On the ride into ATL, there was talk of all tri-state area flights being canceled. Not too concerned, I put in a call to my airline, and they told me that I was delayed, but I still needed to check in as if my flight were leaving on time. Hours upon hours later, I got to Newark, and dragged my belongings from the airport out to Rockland county, where I finally saw my best friend and pretty immediately, passed out face-first on a couch.

Just one of the many train trips with my silly, hot bag (of blessed memory). Also, Meredith is awesome!

No rest for the weary, though, because the next day I was off to NYC's Grand Central, by way of Penn Station, and therefore, Times Square, in order to get to the camp whose NJ office will be the site of my year-long internship. Decked out in my brand-new camp fleece, received just the day before, I set off bright and early to catch a train into the city, so I could transfer to catch a train out of the city. (Was that enough tri-state name-dropping to spin your head?) As the train pulled into Penn Station, I looked around me. The tall buildings! The saucy attitudes! The ridiculous outfits! I was in Manhattan!

After checking the outbound train schedule, I saw that I had some time to get to my upstate-bound train. I took advantage of the time, and walked above-ground to Grand Central. Taking in Midtown is something one can only do in moderation, but I fell into step with my fellow New Yorkers, smiling at the disgusting subway air updrafts, giggling at street performers and marveling at taxis cutting each other off. I took the train up to camp, had a great time, and came back.

Exhaustion hadn't set in at this point -- it was well-established. Stumbling through my daze, I made my way to the Shuttle, and got on the train. I sat down, and saw the ads for abbreviated BA degrees, the latest in paperback fiction and the posters of MTA-sponsored arts and poetry. As 15 people dashed through the doors, just as they were closing, I grinned. That smell! Those people! This sound of screeching trains on tracks! My first subway ride in a year, and I was HOME.

Aroma ba'ir -- New York that is.
How weird is it to see Aroma's logo in English?
Also, I ordered in Hebrew!
I needed some Aroma to get me through this trip!