March 30, 2012

We like to party.

Nicole and I threw another party a couple of weeks ago, but I've been SO busy with school that I just haven't had the time to post about it! (Was that believable?)

It was a fun evening. We throw the best parties. But if you're in Tel Aviv and have a better set of speakers than we do, let me know- the next one needs better music.

Daniel and Nicole
Oh lord, Joel.
Alex and Lily arguing, respectfully.
Dasha and Loren- love these ladies.
Elad was having a great time at the party.
I imagine this is what Alex and I look like in class, too.

Isn't she a beauty? Yael.
Joel and Nicole are equally good dancers.

March 29, 2012

A letter to my mother.

Dear Mom,

Several times in the last few months I've found myself wondering what you were like when you were my age- what you did for fun, who your best friends were, what funny stories you told your own mom when you chatted with her. You're a quiet lady (but with a sharp wit..."I'm pretty stealth"), and sometimes after we chat on the phone I feel like I have monopolized the conversation- just called you up, laid down a few amusing anecdotes or the most recent heartache, and just as quickly said "ok, I have to run, I love you."

Next time, interrupt me. Tell me something about who you were as a young woman. I hope that one day my daughter will be interested in hearing my stories, and I'm certain that you've got some zingers up your reserved, quietly observant sleeve.

Why am I not telling you this on the phone? Mostly, because the time difference makes it too early in the day to call you. Also, because I want the "world" to know how much I love you.

Now they do. Call me, lady. I promise I won't talk as much this time.

Love you,

March 22, 2012

rise and shine!!

So, something that happens here periodically is testing of the air raid warning sirens.
It's only happened once (that I've heard) in the six months since my arrival...
until yesterday morning, that is.

I used to think the sound of an alarm clock was the worst possible thing to wake up to...
until yesterday at 10:05am when I was jolted from my slumber by this sound:

Here's the thing- the first time this happened Libbie graciously gave me a heads-up so that I wouldn't panic and run for a bomb shelter. But I got no such advance notice this time.

Apparently there are news outlets that let citizens know about these things, but I don't have a TV, or a radio, and I don't listen to the news in Hebrew (for obvious reasons), so the email from my school (which landed in my inbox at 8:48am) came just in time to do me no good.

Also, I was talking about these siren drills with my neighbor, Shay, a few weeks ago, and he told me that you only need to worry if the siren goes up and down, up and down. Here's the text of the email (which I didn't read till after the drill):

"The Israeli Home Front Command will hold this morning at 10:05 AM, sirens exercise in Tel-Aviv -JaffaAs part of this exercise, Siren will sound up and down for a minute and a half." 
(emphasis mine)

Keep in mind, I read this email only after being woken up, hearing it go up and down, thinking maybe this was real, and rushing around whilst only semi-conscious with my heart beating out of my chest. My room is small, so when I jumped out of bed I tripped and hit my head on the wall and knocked a bunch of things off of my dresser.

I texted Shay "WHERE is our bomb shelter!?!?".
After an hour (and having realized what was going on by then) I got a response that said "testing" with a wink-emoticon. Oh lord.

That was how I started my day yesterday. How about you?

March 18, 2012

Does a ginger really need to wear green on St. Patricks?

Alex punched me yesterday for not wearing green. I was wearing "cerulean". Ugh. Close enough. And I'm a ginger, anyways, so these arbitrary rules don't apply.

St. Patrick's Day in Tel Aviv just isn't the same as it is in Boston. 
This is a picture of me wishing I was at JJ Foleys.

March 13, 2012

Rocket fire on civilians

Yesterday one of my professors came into class and seemed a bit scatter-brained. She is a young Israeli woman, probably in her 30's, with small children. She lives south of Tel Aviv, and drives 40 minutes to the University to teach. She explained to us that for the last several days she and her family had been living with the rocket attacks coming into Israel from Gaza. Schools in the south have been closed since the attacks began, and for the four days prior she and her family have had to retreat to their bomb shelter (which nearly every Israeli residence is equipped with) once or twice an hour when they heard the warning sirens, wait for the bomb to fall, and then go back to their daily life. What can this be like? Well, here is what it's like:

So while I've been living in a hazy strand of Purim parties in Tel Aviv, Israelis living in the south of the country have been dealing with the near-constant barrage of rocket attacks from terrorists within the Gaza Strip. 

Since Friday (today is Tuesday) 303 rockets have been fired from Gaza directed at Israeli civilians, and 165 have landed on Israeli soil. Yesterday alone, while I was in class and complaining about a cold, 42 rockets struck southern Israel, and 23 more were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system.
(for updated stats click here)

Thankfully, Tel Aviv is a different reality than the small towns just south of here. Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups in the region have the military capability to strike TA with these rockets also, but everyone seems to agree that they aren't (and won't) because of political and strategic deterrents. Probably, this recent activity is a test of Israels defense systems, and things will quiet down soon.

 A quick survey of headlines on,, etc. shows me things like this "Israeli Airstrikes Hit Gaza a 4th Day". This makes it seem like Israel is the aggressor in this situation.
And that is simply NOT true.

Is Israel the bad guy for conducting air strikes against the terrorists raining rockets down on her civilians? Just take a minute to consider that what you read in the news could possibly be a skewed version of reality before you believe the picture they've painted for you.

Oh, and for those of you back home who are worried- don't be. I'm safe. If I get an email from the State Department saying to leave, I will. But I don't anticipate that. And I'm not traveling to the south anytime soon.

March 11, 2012

!!!חג פורים שמח

Anyway, for those of you who cannot read it, the title of this post is "Happy Purim!"
Purim is my new favorite Jewish holiday (click the link to learn more about the meaning of the holiday).
Aside from the theological reason for the holiday, Purim is essentially the Israeli Halloween- and it lasts for days.

I don't know these this illegal?

Purim Eve was Wednesday this week, so school was cancelled Thursday for the national holiday. That means this is what happened over the weekend in Tel Aviv:
Wednesday (through Saturday)- everyone in costume. Children. Adults. Bus drivers. Everyone.
Wednesday night- street parties and bar parties. many parties.
Thursday night- same.
Friday (Shabbat) afternoon- giant street party downtown during the day.
Friday night- giant street party elsewhere downtown. 
All weekend- pandemonium

Last week my second semester of classes began but it was a short week, and there was palpable merriment in the air by Wednesday afternoon so Daniel and I had a beer between classes to kick off the long-weekend. The picture on the bottom right is just to prove these pictures were taken at school.

Wednesday night I didn't have a real costume so I just went crazy with my make-up (like I always secretly wish I could for real life) and met Minnie Mouse (aka Libbie) to walk around and people-watch/drink in the streets. At one point Libbie saw another Minnie walk by who (upon noticing similar costumes) promptly said in Hebrew "Mine is better than yours." and keep strolling. We decided the best response would've been "Well at least I'm a better person than you," but she was already gone.

Thursday night I went out with my friend Aviva who is an olah (new immigrant) from London (she's also got an incredible beauty therapy business in Tel Aviv, if you're here and looking for a massage or manicure or eyebrow wax...). We went to a party some of her Israeli friends were throwing. As you can see above, my comrades' costumes we're stellar. I sported bunny ears and painted whiskers with the same eyemake up from the night before...I was the foreigner who half-assed the costume. And I was cool with it.

Friday was an epic Tel Aviv day. One of my favorites so far. In the morning I walked around with Rose, did a little shopping and a LOT of walking and just enough lunching. Then I walked to Shmuel Hamelech, a main street in TA that was shut completely down for a giant street party all day from 12-5pm. It was phenomenal- thousands of people, day drinking, partying, dancing, people-watching, chilling. There was a stage set up at one end of the street near the art museum and there were even more just packed in dancing to trance music and having fun. 

In case you don't already know how I feel about isn't "warm" and "fuzzy".

My favorite South Park character- Towlie!

After the street party ended, I spent the evening with Daniel and some other friends just chilling out- we went out for drinks and dinner (maybe eventually dessert, too. Well, definitely dessert- this is the hot cider I had with apple crumble....mmmm delicious):

The evening was spent making new friends, eating, drinking, laughing and dancing until somewhere near 5am.

Today (Shabbat/Saturday) was lovely- one of the warmest days so far (summer will be here soon! in a couple of weeks!) and the weather was perfect for strolling along the beach. At least that's what my friends all said. I slept till 2:30pm and wasn't functional until at least 4pm. After cleaning a bit and getting some things in order Nicole and I had a lovely dinner date and then spent the evening out hobnobbing in TA. At one point I was at a birthday party for someone I've never met. This is what happens here. Tomorrow will be Sunday (aka Monday), and real life will start again. Hopefully I'll wake up before noon (it's 4:30am, so chances aren't great).

Goodbye, Purim. We'll meet again, one day. Hopefully by then I'll have an MA.

March 5, 2012

My Camera Batteries Died

"Gingit!" (I can hear all of you saying) "What smooth jams are narrating your Tel Aviv experience?"
(I respond with) "Hush, now, my babies." 

In order to augment the visual and verbal portrait I am crafting, I will now provide you with some of the tunes pumping through my iPod and into my dainty eardrums.

I could've written this song, it narrates my love affair with Tel Aviv.
Unfortunately there's no video (oops!) but it's worth it to listen for a moment. Go grab a glass of water and let it play, then come back and watch the next one. Interactive blog post!

Welcome back. Great song, right? I know. Also, I want to be clear that I do not visualize myself like Florence Welch, nor do I know her just because we are both gingers.

Next, my favorite new video from Kelly Clarkson. The lyrics aren't what grab me about this one- its the sweet beat and totally achievable choreography of the music video! Also, I have a secret dream of being in a flashmob someday. This video is all over Israeli MTV right now, and when I was holed up in a friend's apartment writing my final paper last month I took a writing break to learn these moves every time the video came on:

It's okay, you can watch it again and then keep reading.

Ready? Yes, let's keep moving.
This one again, lacks a video, so go find something to do and just enjoy this one. It makes me feel happy, but I think the lyrics might be dark. Doesn't make any difference in this case, I dig all of it.

Adult Content Alert!
The next song/video are not appropriate for children. But I love 'em, so don't watch this one when little ones are within range.
I'm gonna go ahead and just hazard a guess here:
Mom, I don't think you'll like the song, and the video features scantily clad youngsters drinking and smoking and being silly so you might not even want to watch.

There's plenty more where this comes from but I have to do homework (I promise, Mom and Dad, homework). I hope you guys enjoyed a quick glimpse into my TA soundtrack!

Special thanks to Nicole and Stacy  for feeding me fresh music to keep that hop in my step and feed my soul.