My New Best Friend, Eliyahu

Tuesday I went for a run along the beach, which quickly turned into “Alana-gets-lost-fest-2011.” I ran 6 miles up the boardwalk/stone path (which is the longest I’ve ever run before! Who am I?) and it was actually really nice. It was crazy windy so people were out kite-boarding in huge numbers. I’d never really seen kite-boarding before and it was insane to watch! There were also tons of surfers out and I give them a lot of credit–those waves were freakin’ mondo.

So after running up the beach, I decided to walk back to Kiryat Shalom through the actual city. This is where things became a little dicey. I managed to completely turn myself around and become utterly lost. With no cell phone and only 10 shekels (which I had shoved in my shoe) I walked aimlessly around various parts of North Tel Aviv. I wandered down little side streets, questioned people with my poor Ivrit, and eventually came upon Shuk Ha-Carmel. I kissed the ground bought 10 shekels worth of candy in happiness.

After visiting more volunteer locations I came home to roommate Shakshuka night (obsession much). Maya’s extended family lives just outside of Tel Aviv and when she visited last weekend they gave her a secret family recipe 🙂

We cooked up tomatoes, onions, peppers, and eggs into a huge concoction of awesome.

Of course, I use the term “we” loosely because Maya did most of the hard work. But Lisa and I got to enjoy the results!

It was dee-lish-us.

The next day I went to the beach with a few friends to watch the sunset. All four of us fell asleep so we almost missed the sunset entirely, but we woke up just in time. Of course, in typical Alana fashion, I lost my camera’s memory card with all of the pictures on it. However, I can vouch that it was fairly incredible! There were dogs running up and down the beach the whole time and a particularly friendly lab came over to visit 🙂

As a side note, I’ve come to the conclusion that Israeli dog leashes are just chew toys for the animals. We’ve never actually seen a dog on a leash. Dogs here just walk around wherever and whenever they please. In fact, the only purpose for the leash seems to be as a chasing toy. People throw the leashes, the dogs run after them, and then they romp back with the ropes hanging proudly from their mouthes. That’s probably the best use for a leash I’ve ever seen.

Okay, so I know the suspense is probably killing you and you’re wondering who my new BFF Eliyahu is. Well, he’s a great guy and mildly attractive in a shabby chic kind of way. He takes me all around the city and provides support when I’m tired. He’s a little older and not as sprightly as he used to be, but he’s still got a few good years left.

Who is Eliyahu?

Why, my new bike of course!

He’s a beauty, no? After walking for hours around Tel Aviv I actually developed some foot pain. Yes, foot pain. Usually I can walk for miles and I’m fine, but the intensity of this walking experience has been something out of this world. Enter Eliyahu.

Kelly and I went walking down to the mean streets of Yafo in search of some used ofanayim. Now, in order to find used bikes you have to go to the sketchiest of bike shops. They have the stolen used bikes that are much cheaper and therefore right up my alley. We went to this one bike shop near the Mishkenot Ruth and the guy told us that if we came back in 1 hour he’d have 2 bikes for under 250 shekels. Um okay, so are you telling me you’re going to go out and steal the bikes in the next hour and then re-sell them to us? That sounds legit.

We quickly left that shop and went to another one where an old man helped us pick out our new friends. We spent a few minutes riding them, testing out the brakes, etc and then gave him 200 shekels apiece. That equates to about 60 bucks. A worthwhile investment for sure.

Here’s Kelly’s new bike, Saba:

Now that’s a luxurious vehicle.

We both bought hardy locks so as not to be the individuals getting their bikes jacked. Hopefully it works out!

Last night was our second Shabbat here in Tel Aviv and we decided to have a proper house dinner. Each of us made a dish and we dined potluck style, it was delicious!

But first we lit the Shabbat candles.

And said the prayer over the Challah (then ate it :)).

Some of the night’s eats included Moroccan Carrot Salad, Roasted Vegetables, Babagnoush, Pasta with Eggplant, Sauteed Green Beans, Legume Salad, and even some Chocolate Chip cookies. My roommates are such talented chefs!

After serving ourselves major portions of deliciousness we all sat around in the living room and enjoyed each other’s company. We went in a circle and talked about what we like most about Shabbat (I know, we’re lame, but it was actually fun!).

My family celebrated Shabbat when I was little so it’s nice to return to the Friday night routine. It feels almost as though my roommates and I are our own little Israel family. We all know the different Shabbat prayers and we’re creating a collective Friday night celebration from our own individual experiences. Sometimes it’s almost odd to think that we were all raised in the same traditions and culture. We’re such different people from all over the world and yet we’re united by the knowledge of passed-down practices.

We’re going to make roommate Shabbat dinner a once-monthly tradition. More delicious Friday night dinners? Okay by me!

It’s back to Ulpan and final volunteer placement meetings tomorrow. We start actually volunteering on Thursday…I can’t wait! Mentally, I’m kind of done with orientation so I’m looking forward to what’s to come!

Lyla Tov!

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