Okay- so the final update on these past couple days!
From Monday ’til today it has been allllll about walking. Holy crap, I don’t think I’ve walked so much in my entire life. Seriously, my entire life.
But first let’s backtrack a little bit.
We drove back from the Kibbutz on Saturday and I moved into my new apartment. We’re living in the Kiryat Shalom neighborhood, which is a low-income area in Tel Aviv. This way we’re living with the same people we’ll be working with.
I absolutely love the new apartment! I live with an awesome girl named Maya–she’s from Chicago and doesn’t mind my balagan (mess) 🙂 We live in a two story apartment with 10 other people and our room has glass doors which lead out to the roofdeck. Holy happy. There will definitely be a post with more pictures coming soon!
Saturday night a friend from home, Zack, who’s currently serving in the Israeli Defense Force, took us out for the night. We didn’t go too crazy because we were really tired, but he took us to a little pizza place in the Florentin neighborhood. It was great to see a familiar face in a foreign country.
Sunday was a logistics day…we went to our volunteer placement lecture at MishKinot Ruth in Yafo (a subsection of Tel Aviv). Basically they outlined all of the options we had for volunteering and we got to pick 1o sites to go visit. The visits started on Monday and will continue into next week. Of course, it couldn’t be all about logistics and such. We had some fun with cake decorating as well.
Afterwards we came back to the apartment in Kiryat Shalom and then went to Yafo for some party party at another participant’s apartment.
The next morning (Monday) I woke up at 7:00 to walk to the Central Bus Station by 8:15. (This is where the walking extravaganza began). It takes about 20 minutes to get from our house to the Central Bus Station, which is not only a bus station but also a mall-like building with tons of shops. We took a bus from the station to visit a possible volunteer site in North Tel Aviv and then came back afterwards. We then proceeded to shop for groceries/necessities, visit further volunteer locations, and completely walk our feet off.
And played a balancing game while walking our grocery bags back to the apartment. Mind you, this was after spending 2 hours trying to decipher what food the Hebrew containers held. (And after I exploded a jar of pasta sauce in the check-out line).
After miles of walking to and from various Tel Aviv locations we decided to reward our hard work with some Israel street eats. Enter the “toast.”
This delicious piece of awesome is pretty common food around here. It’s basically a massive bagel piled high with pizza sauce/toppings and then pressed like a panini. How could that be bad?? I made mine with some green olives, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes. I love ordering food here because you don’t know what you’re going to get until it actually ends up in your hands. At first I thought I was getting a big bagel with some olives and mushrooms on top, next thing you know I have a gigantic pizza bagel panini. Yummmm.
The next morning we woke up early to walk to the secular Yeshiva for our first Ulpan (Hebrew) class. I was put in the beginner group, which is awesome because I am clearly very very beginner. We learned a few phrases and I can now successfully hold a conversation with an Israeli 2-year-old. What progress!
Afterwards we walked about 30 minutes further to the Shuk Ha-Carmel, an awesome street market in Central Tel Aviv. They sell produce, fruit, and other good eats for incredibly low prices. I got half a kilo of strawberries for $2…trust me, that’s a lot of strawberries.
There was an artist’s market going on as well so we drooled over the amazing jewelry and crafts for a while.
Later we went out to sushi for a friend’s birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVIN!!) and called it a night.
Which brings us to…TODAY!
I woke up around 9:00 and went on a run around the neighborhood. I was so scared of getting lost that I wound up running in loops around the streets that I knew (always making sure to keep sight of Guri, the main road that we live on.) Hopefully tomorrow I’ll branch out a bit more when I have more time.
Afterwards a few of us went to the Shuk Haktiva, a fruit and veggie market closer to our house (about 20 minutes away). I went buckwild with the veggies, but they were all awesome purchases (and extremely cheap as well!). Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, but I’ll take more pictures of the market later. It’s a really authentic and beautiful place.
I went on 2 more volunteer visits but I was so tired at this point that I almost fell asleep. Around 5:00 we got back and I went to my room to take a nap when what do I see scurrying across the floor? A COCKROACH. Are you kidding me?!
After screaming like a banshee, 2 of the girls downstairs came up to help. We yelled and laughed and tried to trap the bug while also trying to simultaneously avoid it. My room looked like a war zone when all was said and done. There were shoes, bags, pillows, suitcases, and clothes everywhere. But at least the bug problem has resolved itself!
Well, time to go to bed. It’s 12:30am Israel-time. Have a great night!