Hebrew Champion of Kiryat Shalom

Okay, so the title of this post is a total exaggeration. I probably have the vocabulary of a 2-year-old at this point, but my Hebrew Ulpan classes are definitely helping! We’ve been doing intensive Ulpan for the past week and will continue all the way through next week. Intensive Ulpan is 5 hours a day, but it’s actually not as bad as you might think. Our teacher Dina is awesome and she goes pretty slow, which is good for my non-language-learning mind. She also brought in food today to teach us the names of various ochel taim (yummy food). Delicious hummus, babaganoush, tahini, and pita are definitely the way to my heart. Oh Dina, you know me all too well.

On Thursday, we took off to explore Yafo before Ulpan. We walked down through the Yafo Flea Market aka “The Junk Market.”

There were some hidden gems in there, but I’m not quite sure I have the patience to dig through all that. Maybe another day!

We walked down to the Yafo beach, snacked a little bit, and studied on the shore until Ulpan.

Not such a bad study location.

I love this picture πŸ™‚

In our journeys through Yafo we discovered a place called Dr. Shakshuka and knew we had to go back. My obsession with Shakshuka is just too strong to pass up an opportunity like that.

So after Ulpan, we went back to the “Doctor” for our foodie fix.

For those unfamiliar with Shakshuka, it’s a blend of tomato/pepper/onion (which makes up the base) topped with eggs over easy.

The restaurant was really crowded with Birthright groups so we sat in outdoor alleyway seating with about 100 other people.

I got the extra onion Shakshuka, which was okay but not all I thought it would be.

It was a little too greasy and to be honest the Shakshuka I’ve had in the states was much better. Oh well, I haven’t given up hope yet! I saw another place around the corner from us in Florentin (another neighborhood near Kiryat Shalom). It was further from both Yafo and the ocean so hopefully it’s a bit more authentic!

This weekend was our first Shabbat in Tel Aviv and it was a fun time! The Israeli weekend is Friday through Saturday as opposed to Saturday through Sunday. Because of Shabbat (which runs from Friday night to Saturday night) our entire neighborhood basically shuts down. Shabbat is supposed to be a day of rest so literally nothing is open because we live in a religious neighborhood. There are almost zero cars on the road and people hang out in the sun and have little parties all day. Walking down the block I saw rooftops and side streets alive with people barbecuing, relaxing, and just enjoying each other’s company.

So, as good contributing members of the community, we decided to have our own little par-tay. Our apartment has a roof deck so everyone headed over to 30 Guri for barbecuing, hookah-ing, and regular ol’ balagan.

Most fabulous shabbat ever.

Afterwards we decided to go to a bar in Central Tel Aviv called Lima Lima. It was awesome, a lot of dancing and hanging out with friends. French fries were also involved. Those always make for a good night.

We stayed out til 5am and when we left there were still a ton of people at the bar. Dear Israelis, when do you sleep?

The next day (Saturday) I woke up and went for a run with 2 of my roomies. We ran down to the Mediterranean, put our feet in the water, and ran back again (covering about 5 miles). My roommate Allison is a marathoner so she will definitely be challenging me to longer runs, which is great! Running down to the sea wasn’t exactly bad either πŸ™‚ There were a ton of people out and about because of Shabbat–it was great!

Afterwards we had a roomie stretch sesh.

We also learned some new yoga moves.

Angry or laughing? You decide.

Sunday was a rainy day–we had some Ulpan and then walked to the Shuk Haktifa (in the pouring rain!). I bought some lovely strawberries, but it was definitely not worth the walk in the downpour. Though we did laugh the whole time and now have some excellent stories about walking through Tel Aviv sludge. The day ended with a dinner at the Yafo apartments. Jon, another participant, made curry vegetables (yum!).

Now, I’m off to the Goldfaden apartment. See you all later! Have a happy Monday πŸ™‚

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