Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend in Tel Aviv (or my run in with sleazy french guy)

Hey World,

So after an intense week in Jerusalem I decided to get the eff out of there and go to tel aviv for the weekend. Tel Aviv is often said to be the NYC of Israel. I don't know how much I agree with that, I feel it's more like Miami. I dunno. It's a city on a beach. It's only an hour away from Jerusalem and it is TOTALLY different. Tel Aviv is super secular. A lot more stores are open on shabbat. You are more likely to see Israelis around (although there are still plenty of tourists).

Basically I just really wanted to go to the beach. So I did. I have a great tan right now. I don't think I've ever been this tan in my life (thank you Boston and NY). It was super fun. I got to see a few friends who live around tel aviv who I hadn't seen in a while. I also got a break from the HUC bubble.

Friday night I went to services in Tel Aviv, they have them on the pier. It was cool because you faced out onto the ocean and the sun set as you were praying. It was really beautiful.

The service itself was interesting. I would say it was more reform than anything, but the organization that runs the services isn't affiliated with any movement. There were instruments and singing. We sang both some traditional shabbat songs/prayers and some non-traditional ones. For example we sang a hebrew translation of "What a Wonderful world" (Azeh achlah olam). It was nice, but I didn't really feel like I was praying. The most spiritual part for me was looking out into the sunset.

In regards to instruments during services I think they can be great, but also sometimes they can take away from the prayer experience. I think the instruments at this service were too loud, it was like being at a concert sometimes. Also one thing they did that was really annoying to me is they would sing the traditional songs and then do the chorus over and over and get faster and faster. It was like something you would do with little kids to keep them interested. It also felt a little disrespectful to me. I dunno, maybe I'm just picky.

Anyways I had a nice dinner with some classmates and then went to check into the hostel where I was staying. That sucked because something went wrong and my reservation didn't go through and the hostel was totally booked. Yup. I spent a few minutes concentrating very hard on my breathing and trying to calm down. This guy who heard this whole thing happen at the hostel counter clearly felt bad, and he said I'm sorry I can't do more for you but here have a beer. It was nice, it still didn't give me a place to stay, but random acts of kindness like that make me really happy.

Anyways I ended up crashing with two friends who had a hotel room. If you are reading this THANK YOU AGAIN!!! I don't know what I would have done.

I spent all of Saturday at the beach. Got a little burnt, but it was great. Swimming in the Mediterranean sea is great, the water is warm but perfect to cool you off. I was chilling at the beach with a friend from HUC and ended up talking to this group of Israeli guys who were next to us.

That's one thing I have been enjoying about Israel is how people will talk to each other even if they don't know you. It's fun to have conversations with different people. This weekend I feel like that happened to me A LOT because I spent a bunch of time with one other person or by myself so I was more approachable. I enjoyed it. I even got to practice my Hebrew.

Saturday night I was able to stay at the hostel (yay). I was in this room with a bunch of really cool people. There was this guy from Ireland in my room and we were talking and it turned out we knew some of the same people. Crazy. I love how small the Jewish world is.

So yeah I had a very refreshing weekend. Now I'm just exhausted. I was not ready to come back to Jerusalem and all the difficulties here (and the lack of beach). Oy.

Well I should get going. I have a test tomorrow for Hebrew ughhhhh.

OH I almost forgot the story I wanted to tell you: So I had to get up super early (6am) to make it back to Jerusalem in time for class. So I'm at the hostel making some toast for bfast and so is this dude. So first he says he has to get something and asks if I will make him his toast if he isn't back when it is ready. I'm pretty tired at this point and didn't feel like arguing so I agree (I know, I was a bad feminist). Then he continues to tell be exactly how he likes his toast prepared. The red douche flags are going up at this point. He doesn't leave and he asks me where I'm from and all that. Turns out he is from France (and an asshole). So get this, he asks me where I went to school and I told him Columbia. He then says "I've never kissed a clever girl before"

Disgusted I reply uhhh ok and kind of laugh it off. Then he continue "maybe today I can change that." (eww eww eww). So I reply "Not with me you can't." I was proud that I gave him some 'tude. But seriously, ewwwww. Also if you are trying to get with a "clever" girl you are going to have to give it more effort than a lame pick up line. Also keep in mind it was 6am AND he was telling me how I was supposed to butter his toast. wtf. He sucked. I finished making my toast (I didn't make his, I made him do it) and ran away to my room.

But don't worry this is not the end. I come down about 20 mins later to check out, after talking to my cool roommates who had not gone to bed yet haha. And creepy french guy is there. gahhhhh. He asks if he can sit next to me while I wait. I let him but kind of ignore him. Then as I'm leaving he turns to me and says "I just want you to know you are beautiful" ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I got out of there fast. Yikes. But all in all it was kinda funny, but yeah all you men (and women too to be inclusive) out there cheesy pick up lines don't work. Or at least not when someone is thinking at least semi-logically.

Good times.


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