As I mentioned in my last post my first few days in Rishon were a little rough. Unpacking probably took me much longer than it should have and acclimating to living with 4 roommates after living in my own room for the past 3 years was definitely an adjustment. But yesterday marks my first full week in Rishon and things are definitely looking better.
Once the horrors of unpacking were over, things could only get better from there. My room feels a little bit like a slice from home now, since I put up about 100 pictures of family, friends, and pets from home. I also have a special pillow, blanket, and embarrassingly some stuffed animals from my bed in New Jersey that still smell like home so are comforting at those hard times.
The first week definitely had its ups and downs. I know I briefly mentioned some of the events of last week in my previous post. But then I realized there was so much that happened last week that I didn’t write about. So now I’ll try to summarize and get more in depth about some of my favorite parts from the week.
Going out in Rishon:
We went out twice last week in Rishon, last Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday was just 5 other girls and me. We went to a bar on the beach in Rishon which was so cool. It was a bunch of lounge chairs literally on the Mediterranean Sea, can’t get much better than that. We played some drinking games, which ended up me losing a bet. Sorry mom and dad if you’re reading this (and my boyfriend). Basically we played this game called “what are the odds” where you make a bet and say what the odds you will do something. To make it quick, I lost and I had to send a shot to a random guy at this table near us. I’m not sure if any of you reading this have had any experiences with Israeli guys, but they can be pretty “friendly”. Well after this guy took his shot, he bought me a flower and had the waitress bring it back to me. My friends and I ended up chatting with them for a little, but then decided enough was enough and went to take a walk on the beach just us girls. There’s nothing as surreal as sticking your feet in the sea at 2am in perfectly warm weather with a slight buzz going on.
The next night, Wednesday, there was an organized event for the program at a local bar. It was really nice being around everyone and just getting to let loose and relax. I had a minor mishap in the bathroom when the zipper on my romper got completely stuck and would not close. The zipper literally went all the way down to my butt and I had sadly accepted the fact that my night would end early with me walking home with my rear end exposed to all of Rishon when my friend Amanda was able to magically free the zipper from the fabric. I was once again fully clothed. We then went to this other bar my brother suggested to us and spent the rest of the night dancing and just enjoying our new city.
Movie in Cinema City:
One of the days last week, to be honest I don’t remember which one, our program sent us to Cinema City to see a movie. Any time I tell anyone in Israel that I’m going to be living in Rishon, their first reaction is “Oh Rishon, Cinema City!” Cinema City is a huge mall that is known for these giant dinosaur statues in front of it. They serve no purpose and I am not sure of the meaning behind them but they are definitely interesting. Besides the shopping stores and restaurants in the mall, Cinema City has a giant (you guessed it) movie theatre. We got to choose between two movies, The Expendables 3 (or was it 4?) and Begin Again. Although I had already seen Begin Again in NYC with my mom a few weeks before I came, I opted to see that instead of the third movie in a series I had never even seen one of. The movie was good the second time and I was excited to finally go to the famous Cinema City. Also side note, going to Cinema City was the first time I attempted to take a bus in Israel without the help of my brother or an Israeli. It was a successful trip!
Even though I used to buy food for myself all the time when I was at school, going food shopping in a foreign country is much more difficult. Basically, I had no idea what I was buying the first time that I went. I ended up sending pictures of stuff that I bought to my brother asking if in fact I had bought turkey or some unidentifiable type of meat. Or if the white liquid food I bought was yogurt or sour cream, too scared to taste test. I stood for hours in the chips aisle trying to distinguish between the different types of Doriotos, as there isn’t just simply cool ranch or nacho flavor here. And does anyone know what type of percentage cheese to buy? 7%, 9%, 13%?? After being a little stumped and having no concept as to how much money I was spending for specific items, I made my boyfriend (who happens to be Israeli — yes, he lives in Israel but I met him AFTER I knew I was moving here) take me and help me figure out what was what. That second trip was much more successful and informative. I think I’m spending about 40 dollars a week on food, not including eating out. Does anyone know if this is a good budget or not? Because I do not.
The Hardware Store
One of my first days in Rishon I stumbled upon a little hardware store. It’s basically a hole in the wall filled with all sorts of home supplies, from tape and hooks, to shower caddies and drying racks. After my second trip there in one day, the owner of the store quickly became my friend. Although he didn’t speak any English, we were able to communicate on a basic level, and he even made fun of me when I shockingly asked if the price he gave me (100) was in dollars. He laughingly told me it was in shekels. When I went back the next day, he seemed happy to see his new favorite customer. I had to show him a picture on my phone of a hammer and screw driver (both of which I needed to construct my Ikea table). After he rang up the price he again made fun of me and assured me the price was in shekels. And guess what, I had to go back the next day, this time to buy scissors. I brought my roommate and another friend with me as they needed some supplies, knowing that my pal would be happy I brought him more business. When I motioned for him with my hands what I needed (making scissors from my fingers) he told me in broken English that he was not getting them until “yom chamishi” (Thursday). I told him it was okay, and then noticed a pair hanging from a nail behind him. I jokingly pointed and said, what about those. He laughed and replied “sheli” (mine). Then he paused thought about it and said, “ah take them!” And with a big smile he handed me the scissors and told me to keep them. So I got a pair of free scissors and was very excited about it.
I’m running out of time, and although there are a lot of more things I would say, my hands are tired and I kind of want to watch some Netflix. A few short sentences about other funny stories:
- We went to the beach in Rishon one days as a whole group and there were these two delivery guys from dominos standing near the main entrance to the beach. They told us that if we just took a picture with them and the pizza we could have 4 pies for free. We obviously said yes. Probably one of the weirdest things that has happened to me so far in Israel.
- Yesterday, which was Sunday, we took a day trip to Zichron Yaakov. We got to visit some cool gardens, go on a wine tour of a local vineyard, and spend a few hours at the beach.
- I had Shabbat dinner last Friday night in Tel Aviv. The food was amazing and it was probably the best meal that I will have all year. There were two different types of chicken, spicy fish, Israeli cous cous, rice, pasta, potatoes, salad, and probably more that I am forgetting about. Oh and for dessert we had cheesecake and individual chocolate molten cake. I’m hungry just thinking about it.
- Today we started teacher training at a local teaching college. It was an informative but very very very long day. We also have Ulpan classes this week to get a basic understanding of Hebrew to use in the classroom. And tomorrow at 8am I’m going to my school to observe a class and prepare for my first day next week.
That’s all for now!