Friday, October 19, 2012

1st Week of School!


Sorry I have been slacking in blogging. Life got really busy, and I feel like I've spent all of my free time sleeping. And if not sleeping, I've been hanging out with my ITF family, attending a lot of meetings and trainings, and going to Ulpan twice a week.

I FINALLY started teaching this week, and it's been a great learning experience so far. I am working with Noa and Keren (our Israeli peer who joins us once a week) at Ramat Alon School, an elementary school in the neighborhood of Sharona in Rehovot. It is a lower-income neighborhood, so the school may not be seen as "the best," but it makes it all the better for me because I came into this program wanting a challenge, and I am definitely getting that challenge. Ramat Alon begins teaching English orally in 2nd grade, and in 3rd grade they begin learning to write and read. This week was definitely a lot of observing and getting used to being in the school, but I was able to work with small groups of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders this week, and it's been great getting to actually use the training I've received. Some days were better than others, and some classes are more challenging than others, but I think that is part of the whole experience. You have to have difficult situations and challenges in order to grow as a volunteer and as a teacher. I am very excited to continue my work in the school this year, and hopefully I will gain even more confidence as a teacher as I do so. I also hope we are able to come up with ways to get the students to see English in a new way - whether it be an English word of the day, decorating the classrooms with an English corner, or putting on a play or spelling bee in English. I want to really be able to use the ideas we've learned through training, so hopefully as I get more comfortable in my surroundings, I'll be able to do so!

Besides school, which has been a huge part of my life, I have really enjoyed all the time I've had leading up to start teaching to explore Rehovot, Tel Aviv, and even a little bit of Acco. I have had some great Shabbat weekends the past few weeks. 2 weeks ago, Rebecca and I went to Chen's house for Shabbat dinner, and it was great to finally meet her family…and she made her shakshuka! I obviously love that stuff, and my first time having shakshuka was after camp last summer when Chen stayed with me in LA, and made it for me. Good memories :) We also went to the outlet mall that's open on Shabbat, which was a lot of fun! Last week for Shabbat, Noam (another Israeli peer) invited us over to his house for Shabbat. I want to say it was a group of 15, and having Shabbat with a few of the Israelis was so much fun! It was great food, great laughs, and we even taught them how to play beer pong!

Tonight, we have our first ITF group Shabbat. People have been cooking all day, and I was over there a little while ago to see if help was needed (I'm on the cleaning crew, so I will be busy later!) and not only did the Kosher apartment smell fabulous, but  there was already such high spirits and people really excited for Shabbat. I do not remember the last time the 27 of us spent time together doing non-Ma'ase Olam planned activities (even though this was planned), and I'm excited for a great dinner. Hopefully some of the Israelis will be joining us as well, which will be great. As far as the rest of my weekend, I am hopefully going to having a relaxing Saturday (no plans yet), and Sunday morning I have to be up REALLY early to go to Tel Aviv for an infusion (Crohn's fun, hooray!) and then have meetings later in the day. 

Sorry I haven't blogged lately, and hopefully I'll be doing more soon! Life is getting crazy here, but loving every moment of it!

Hope everyone has a great and meaningful Shabbat, and a happy weekend! Shabbat Shalom! <3

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Recap of My Kinda Tel Aviv Weekend

I really don't feel like doing a full blog entry of my weekend, so I'm just going to do a bullet point entry for now. Tomorrow we leave for a field trip in Tel Aviv until Thursday, and then I'll have a new entry - this upcoming Shabbat and Simchat Torah I'm staying in Rehovot (or at least for now).

-Rebecca, Sabrina & I left for a weekend in Tel Aviv!
-We left on the last train before Shabbat
-Had great snacks (beefy nachos) and drinks (Sex on the Beach for me!) at an American pub on the beach called Mike's Place with Sylvie
-Dinner at Habayit, and I had awesome shakshuka!
-Our hostel room didn't have a working AC that night, so I barely slept

-After a rough night of no sleeping, we went to the beach and met up with Sylvie again
-There was some rain and no sun really, but the water was great
-Had lunch at Yotvata (I think that's what it was called) and had an Israeli breakfast complete with israeli salad, Shakshuka, a fruit smoothie & a cappuccino
-Sylvie left after, and after chilling back at the hostel the 3 of us had dinner at Jessica, where we treated ourselves to a nicer meal - I had a delicious salmon gnocchi, and a mojito
-Obviously desert was needed, and Sabrina & I got frozen yogurt at Tamara, which was right across the street from our hostel, and Rebecca got gelato
-Let's just say there were some unforeseen circumstances at around 1:30am, and the 3 of us left Tel Aviv around 3:00am…if you want the story, message me somehow and I'll explain!

-Since we got back so late, I tried to sleep in as much as possible, but overall was in a cranky mood
-Watched Big Bang Theory with Aleah when she got home, and it was worth the wait!
-Skyped with mom & dad briefly, which was definitely nice :)
-Ate dinner at home & watched Desperado with Orrie, Aleah & Sylvie
-After dinner, a bunch of us decided to have Sukkah time - complete with vodka and orange juice ;)
-Played Scattergories (or the Hebrew name of it, whatever it's called) with Orrie, Aleah, Sabrina & Rebecca  - let me just say I was missing Dahanukkah while playing it!

-Slept in, and caught up on Grey's Anatomy (so sad), Dexter (so amazing and crazy), and Once Upon a Time (so good)
-Rebecca & I decided to have lunch at Landwer's…but the second we got there, the power went out, so we grabbed iced cafes and I got a boureka at a convenience store on the way home
-We went back for dinner, and it was really good - I had a yummy chicken & avocado salad, along with another fruit smoothie

Sorry this post was so all over the place…I don't have the energy to elaborate on things right now, and I have to be up quite early tomorrow for our field trip! Hopefully it's a lot of fun, and then I have another long weekend/holiday to plan and look forward to :)

Happy Sukkot, everyone!