Today was the start of the apocalypse. Well actually it was just a really bad storm throughout Israel, but you would think the country has never seem rain or snow before. As my brother put it, “isn’t it weird to live in a country where rockets are no big deal, but snow is the end of the world.” Yesterday everyone on my program was warned by teachers, friends, and Facebook that we should brace ourselves for the weather starting today. I was admittedly a little nervous. It is REALLY cold here. And I knew that a bad storm would equal power outage which would equal no heat. I know what everyone at home is thinking, its still in the 40s/50s in Israel what am I complaining about. Well let me just say that at least you guys have insulation in your homes and first world heating, not an air conditioner that changes to a heater and seems to go on and off at its own whim. Again quoting my brother who can actually speak from experience “I’d rather be in 20 degrees in D.C. then in 40 degrees in Israel.”
It’s a different kind of cold, one that I’ve never experienced in my whole life. It’s like cold down to my bone. Also it doesn’t help that my apartment is always at least thirty degrees colder than it is outside. As I said the lack of insulation is a problem. I guess builders here figure because it’s so hot in Israel for about 9 months of the year, who cares about the other three, people can suffer for a while. Besides our apartment just being cement walls, there are holes in between the windows that allow cold air to blow in. In fact as I am sitting here writing this post I can feel a breeze coming in from outside. Also the windows in our bathroom are just shutters, no like actual glass or anything to close. So even though the shutters are closed, there is still air coming in. Cozy right!
Anyway, the storm started today with some nice dust blowing everywhere. Even though Rishon is a fairly big and bustling city, it is still in the middle of the desert, and when the wind starts blowing so does the dust. I think I had about three pounds of dust in my lungs after walking home yesterday. I’m not exaggerating though, the weather forecast on my phone actually said dust. Around ten today the rain started and the students went crazy at my school. It’s like they had never seen rain before. There also was a leak in the ceiling in the hallway at the school who subsequently led to part of the ceiling falling. It wasn’t a huge whole, but there was literally a steady stream of water pooling onto the floor before the ceiling finally caved in. After the rain came the hail, giant hail balls that my students rain outside and collected, putting them into their water bottles in the hopes of saving them. Luckily our teacher gave Amanda and me a ride home so we didn’t have to walk thirty minutes in the storm. I’ve seen some pretty crazy pictures and videos from throughout Israel today. One (shown below) shoes a giant sign that fell in the middle of the street, in Netanya I think. I also saw a video of some women walking across the street in Ramat Gan and literally getting blown away. It also snowed in Jerusalem which means that the whole city basically shut down and school was cancelled. I’ve had my phone charging the whole day i case our power goes out, and based on the sound of the wind outside right now that could be any minute.
Now for some news from school this week. Last Wednesday I spent two whole periods working with a new student in the school. He just moved to Israel from the Ukraine, so he speaks Russian, some Hebrew, and pretty good English. His mom had told us that he was a strong English student and she wanted him to take the test the other students had taken the month earlier to catch up. So, I started to work with Yan to see how much he actually knew. A lot of times so far this year, a parent has said his or her student is really strong; not to say they aren’t smart, but they usually don’t know the written rules or exact meanings of the words. After working with Yan for a little I realized that he did in fact know English really well, but needed to practice and study the rules and exceptions a little more. So after doing a review sheet with him, I wrote a detailed list of what to study for the test and when the test would be so he would have plenty of time to prepare. When I walked into school Monday morning, first period (the time of the test), he was waiting at the door for me, with a pencil in hand ready. I nervously graded the test once he finished, probably more nervous than him because I wanted him to do well…..And…. he got a 95! He smiled, we high-fived, and he headed back to class, definitely more confident then before. Even today when I took him to my classroom with a few other students, he was more engaged and seemed to be enjoying himself a lot more. I got to meet his dad today and show him Yan’s test of the score and he was so impressed, even shocked as he said he couldn’t believe it.
Also when Amanda and I walked into our room this morning we found this note for us on our desk from one of our students, sort of made my day.
Family dinner this week was empanadas, which were obviously amazing. Oh and tonight Mona made butter less chocolate chip cookies which were so cold and definitely made the freezing and scary storm seem better.
That’s all for now, stay warm everyone at home! I’ll try to do the same here.