Wednesday, August 22, 2007

People think hiking is FUN?!?

Since ulpan ended yesterday (hallelujah!), we spent today participating in a program called "Walk the Bible." None of us knew what to expect from this program, besides the email we recieved saying it would be an "easy walk" to discover cool things about how Israel connects to the Bible. Well, whoever wrote that we would have an "easy walk" was either drunk or completely deranged, because none of our walking today was easy. We hiked through a forest near Beit Shemesh to discover the birth and death place of King Saul. Now, an athletic person I am not-- there are times when the 2 minute walk to HUC from my apartment seems like a hike in itself--but this hike really was out-of-control. Up a lot of hills, climbing rocks, dusty paths that were easy to slip on, etc. We walked for about 1 1/2 hours, and stopped to study text for about 10 minutes. We then continued to walk for another 1 1/2 hours, and when we finally saw our bus at the top of a huge hill, I thought I'd found the Promised Land. However, we were told to eat our lunches (instead of boarding our air-conditioned bus), which was a bit of a bummer. After I ate, I boarded the bus with a few other people, and when Ilana came on to tell us they were having more text study, Steph closed the shades on the bus and the two of us stayed on. This is just one of the many reasons I love my roommate so much.

They proceeded to study for another 10 minutes or so before coming back to the bus for good. We then traveled to Ashkelon, where we visited an archaeological park. We saw a bridge that was dated back to 1850 B.C.E., which was very interesting, but we were all so hot and tired that we didn't much care about it. After the park, we went to the beach at Ashkelon, which was a wonderful and relaxing way to end an incredibly long day. I must say that of the 3 beaches I've been to in Israel (Tel Aviv, Dead Sea, and Ashkelon) Ashkelon was my favorite. Not too many people, and very natural for a beach. It was really nice.

Ashkelon Beach=HEAVEN

Like I said before, we finished ulpan yesterday, with a stressful final exam and then a group party. The final went well, so well that I was placed back into Kitah Bet for the school year. I am very happy about that, because I worked hard this summer to prove that I could handle the higher class. AND---I didn't even request to switch classes, so I'm hoping the move was based on my abilities and test scores rather than my bad attitude at the beginning of the session.

We're finally on a much needed and deserved hafsakah, or break/vacation. Several people are traveling, but I am staying here and resting, working on High Holy Day music, etc. We might take some day trips to Safed, the Dead Sea, or Tel Aviv, but I'm really into the idea of relaxing and gearing up for school to start. It's hard for me to believe that I've been here for almost 2 months already, and that ulpan is over, and that I'm actually beginning my classes in about 10 days. It's been a crazy year (and an even crazier summer) but I am so excited to see what lies ahead.

I'm leaving you with some pictures from the last couple of weeks. Enjoy, and I hope everyone is well. I miss and love you all, more than you know!

A fruit salad I made a few weeks ago. The fruit here is so much more delicious than at home!

Brad, me and PJ at UlProm. Fun times!

Kitah Aleph performing at the post-ulpan party. We sang a song about gnomes who chit-chat all day, but we changed the words to a poem about us; reading, writing, and studying all day long in ulpan, until 5pm when we hit the pub (thus the beer bottles.)

A bridge dating back to 1850 B.C.E., which makes it around 4,000 years old.

1 comment:

Hiking In Israel said...

You made feel hungry by putting the fruit salad photo.Even though , there might have been certain unpleasant things during the trip and i am sure at the end you would have changed your mind. Hiking is connecting with people and it would definitely give a awesome experience if you are good at observing things.