Bruchim Habaim le-Israel

4am, slightly chilly, the first person I saw exiting the airport was a taxi driver who tried to rip me off. I chose another one, young, good looking, a nice chat for the drive to my new apartment, which has a very big room and a very friendly roommate.

After unpacking and giving the room some of my personality (yellow pink and green hanging off the closets, flowers on the walls) I went to the hardware store, and returned via the beach promenade. Some of the beaches were much too crowded, but after the grey rain of Montreal it was refreshing to have the reflection of the sun on the waves burn my eyes. And I love big, crashing waves, so my favourite part of the walk was the part when they crash right onto the promenade – not the sandy beaches. I ended the afternoon laying in the park reading Oryx and Crake, and watching two men and a trans woman make a movie.

On my second day, I walked for an hour to get to work. There are fresh juice stalls all along most streets, so I couldn’t resist stopping for fresh watermelon juice. The office I’m interning in is absolutely lovely, the sitting area is pink and red!! The kitchen is amazingly equipped with delicious food for lunch, so I’m immediately excited. My only complaint is that it’s almost over-cooled and quite chilly in the office. Otherwise, the co-workers are very sweet and friendly, the work seems like it will be interesting, and the most important thing, I can tell already that I will be learning A HUGE AMOUNT.

There was one unfortunate incident though. In the parking lot of my workplace, which was pitch black, I walked to get into a car and fell down a hole. I didn’t hit the bottom, oh no, my thighs are (thankfully) to big to allow that. Instead, they rammed against the edges of the hole and propelled me backwards onto the ground. I have a bruise the size of my hand (palm and fingers) on one thigh, and scratches on the other. It hurts when I walk, sit, and roll over in my sleep. My legs are bruised and battered.

Today is Israel’s national day of mourning… I don’t know what it’s called really. Here, all days are celebrated the evening before as well, so yesterday evening things closed early and at 8pm a siren went off for 1 minute around the city. I was indoors, but apparently outdoors when it happens, everyone stops for a minute and holds a moment of silence until it stops. This morning another one went off at 11am. By 1 I was out the door (I slept in) and walked almost an hour to a beach in southern Tel Aviv via the Shuk HaCarmel, which had wonderful food stalls. A shuk is a market.

I met with the sister of a friend, a lovely girl. She was quieter than I am used to, but it was so nice to see a familiar face and to have a reason to explore a part of the city I probably would not have headed to. We spent the afternoon lounging on the beach and I tried hopelessly to tan.

I bought fresh fruits, veggies, and cheese (I had to limit myself to one cheese for my own health’s sake) as well as some deep-fried battered cauliflower and stuffed vine leaves in the market nearby – all for about $10! Throw in a box of like 1kg of cherry tomatoes for $7 and I’m set for the week! Especially with work feeding me lunch! I then hopped onto my first Tel Aviv bus and got home to spend a couple of hours trying to get high-speed internet working. And the boyfriend called me. It’s always lovely to hear his voice, it affirms why we’re doing long distance and just how wonderful he is. Bed for me, while the streets party and celebrate Israeli independence (independence from what, I don’t know – but I don’t know enough at this point to get critical).

All in all, a successful first three days! 🙂

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