December 30, 2008

Mirelle's new addition

December 29, 2008

"Now your body is not naked"

Mirelle got a tattoo!!! She has been wanting this for a while and finally did it!! She got the word Karma tattooed on her right wrist on the inner part. It's written in Hebrew and is so small and perfect in black ink. I had been writing it on her wrist in permanent marker for like a month now and we always talk about how Karma is what comes around and goes around.

Anyways, besides that..havent written in a while. But we saw snow on Christmas!!! Dad, Simi, the little ones and Mirelle and I took a road trip to Ramat Hagolan to visit an apple factory where Simi knew the owner and we got to taste big, fat, juicy, sweet red apples that are grown in that region. Delicious! Then we drove to the Hermon Mountain, where it snows here in Israel. The drive was beautiful, just amazing. Scary at times because we were climbing the side of this mountain with almost no guard rail and we were freaking so high up! Anyways, we just played around in the snow, throwing snowballs and freezing our butts off..then came home and rested..went out a couple times this Hanukkah break with Jonathan and Dekel. Went shopping with Mika and got a nice little utfit for the job interview I had. I met with the President of the company Biotis and we talked for a while, think he just wanted to meet me. We'll see what happens, but keep your fingers crossed!!

Going to go now, helping watch the girls and they are going nuts!! Miss everyone that's reading this.

December 14, 2008

no name

I usually sit here for like 10 minutes trying to think of what to name the blog I am about to write when just now I thought...maybe I should wait until after I write the damn thing!! ...and I still cant think of what to title it...

So last week was fun, we had an ULPAN trip to Jerusalem on Thursday. Mel and I were up by 7 to eat a breakfast of yogurt and bundle up because it was coolllddd and we loaded onto the bus to get going, the bus ride took about an hour and a half or two hours and we first stopped at the Holocaust museum. The museum was amazing, not as intense as I would have expected it to be- I thought the Holocaust museum in Washington DC hit harder- but it was impressive. Definetly bigger and more elaborate with personal stories and visual effects. Mirelle and I were shocked at how long it was taking us to read the informative paragraphs in English, our brains are on overload when we try to speak/read English, I find my brain thinking in Hebrew sometimes. So we walked through the museum and walked around the campus afterward with a tour guide who spoke English, telling us about all these sculptures and monuments that surrounded the museum. We had lunch there outside of the museum sitting in the sun, a lunch that had been prepared for us the night before, from food from the kibbutz cafeteria, and had been refrigerating until the moment we ate was stone cold schnitzel with stone cold corn and stone cold pickles and pita...ewwww! (the same lunch we were served on our last trip to Ramat Hagolan and the same lunch we will probably be served on every future trip we take with the ULPAN) So Mel and I ate the snacks we had brought with us, a green apple, a granola bar and some dry cereal, mmmm.

After the museum we took the bus to the Knesset, which is the Israeli Parliment. The Knesst is where laws are enacted, the prime minister is elected and where the work of the government is supervised. It was abeautiful building, massive and like a maze inside. The works of Marc Chagall covered an entire wall in the Knesset and it was amazing- one depicted the present state of the Jews, one the past and one the that order, maybe because our past links us to the present and the future?

After the Knesset we rode to the Western Wall where we were able to walk around for a whole 20 minutes. Mel and I put notes in the Wall and took pics by it while women stood there swaying and praying. We left shortly after that back to the kibbutz.

December 8, 2008

black and blue

Today was slow. Woke up at around 6:20 and got ready for work, stepped outside to the nastiest weather ever. I guess it had rained the night before because it was so chilly and wet and ugly. Matched my mood. Made the 7 minute walk to work, that takes me about 10 minutes because of my 5 lb each steel-toe work boots that they make us wear, and immediatly submerged myself in my iPod music and began my robotic chores. It's mind numbing, which I couldn't complain about today. I have so much on my mind
I feel like my head is going to explode. I am constantly thinking; battling with myself. It's tiring. I decided to "take a break from Chris." Things got complicated and I need some time to myself to figure some things out. I feel guilty blogging about my relationship, like the details should be more personal, but I guess whoever is reading this knows me well enough to know that this break up is a big deal. This is a 3 and a half year relationship that I'm talking about...thats a long time to devote yourself to someone to have it end on akward terms. I am faithful enough to think that if it meant to be- it will.

Work was the longest day ever, probably because I couldnt see the sun shining through the windows because of how dark the sky was all day and while walking home on the lunch break it actually started raining on me, I should have just danced. Today just felt blue. After work, I came home and have been just hanging out with people on our stoop, we walked to the Colbo and the dining room during dinner time and got potatos, tomatos, cucumber, butter and zatar and came home and microwaved the potatos and made salad with olives and olive oil. It was really good!! It's 9:15 now and I have to shower and then am passing out. I havent really gotten much sleep in the past couple days, havent been tired at bedtime, really frustrating. Dad is picking us up tomorrow to have dinner and chit chat- should be interesting.

November 20, 2008

What tha!

So it's Thursday and not feeling stoopid. It's weird, like I'll feel better during the day, but then at night it's on and my throat will be so inflammed and I can feel my inner body temp rising. I've had at least like 6 cups of hot tea throughout the day and have been taking Vitamin C pills, etc..It's almost 9 and I'm planning on croaking here in a min. Gotta get up for breakfast at like 8:45- they have scrammbeled (sp!) eggs on Friday mornings- yay! (sense the sarcasm)

Anyways, Mirelle, Rivka and I spent the afternoon hanging out with Danielle, a girl my age from Houston who just graduated from UT, because she is leaving tomorrow. She enrolled in the 5-month ULPAN program but has been a volunteer here for a couple months already and is just over it. She was the only other girl in my Hebrew class-great. She took us to this really amazing chill spot today where we watched the sunset, it was like in the kibbutz but we were just sitting in a huge field and we could see the whole country of Israel it felt like. An amazing view- really, a sight to see. The picture doesn't even reflect the mountains that were so distant. After that we walked to the Colbo (the grocery store on the kibbutz) and were planning on getting dinner items, but we each walked out with an ice cream bar..go figure. So we ended up on our stoop (porch) making dinner because we are SO over the dinner here in the cafeteria. We cut up tomatoes, cucumbers, avacados and added some chicken schnitzel that Simi made for us that Mika brought to us last night, and it was pretty damn good...and filling.

So, that's that. After Mel and Rivka get out of class tom at 1 we are hitching a ride from Loasha, who is one of the Ulpan directors, to Yokneam which is a city about 10 minutes from here where we can access an ATM and get some lunch (because they dont serve lunch at the kibbutz on Fridays) and then Shiran will pick us up and we will go to the bus station to start our adventure to Tel-Aviv. Shiran works in Tel Aviv and is from here so is obviously familiar with that city so we are in good hands. I'm just excited to branch out a little bit. We are planning on going to this Brazillian party that Shiran knows about Friday night and hopefully, if it is warm enough on Sat, going to the beach to lay out or going shopping..we'll see.


November 17, 2008

just peachy

So, Im laying in bed..sick. Took the day off work and slept until now. It's about 2:45 and my dad just brought me medicine because there was no way I was walking to the clinic. The clinic is inside the kibbutz, but at least a 10 minute walk and while that sounds lazy of me, I had no strength. Plus I have daddy, he would do anything for me. So, after I talked to him on the phone and told him I was in bed sick, he brought me throat lozenges and flu pills. Should be better by Wednesday.

Anyways, this weekend was fun. Thursday night I went to a party with Shiran, a girl I am friends with through my sister Danielle, and this other girl Shanee. It was at this club called Luna and it was in downtown Haifa. They picked me up from the kibbutz and we made the 15 min drive to Haifa and found parking near the club and I got out to find that Shiran had a flat tire on her car! We got help and 30 minutes later were dancing it up. That place didnt even know what hit them! It was so much fun- this club was pretty big and it had like 3 differnt rooms to dance in, all had different music. We would step outside for fresh air every now and then and I would just sit back and take in the beauty of Haifa, the city is so ancient and filled with amazing architecture. The buildings were like made of stone, like rocks put together and I could just taste the history that had taken place there before me. It was just a grand ol time.

Friday dad picked Mel and Rivka (basically our other sister since being on the kibbutz) up and brought them to the house. We had an amazing Shabbat dinner with chicken, cuscos, rice, schnitzel, salad, meatballs and zucchini quiesh (forgot how to spell that one). After dinner we digested and took Rivka to a pub in Ramat Yishay, Bet Hamarzeach, its one of our favorites in town. It just has a good atmosphere and the bartenders are nice and they serve olives and peanuts with your beer- delish!

Saturday was so cute! Mirelle, Rivka and I took Simi's car and drove to the beach in Haifa for a picnic! We brought hard boiled eggs, olives, rice cakes, avacado and chocolate and blankets and sat in the sand next to the shore and chilled. It was really cute, we watched the sunset and then took Rivka to where we used to go to the beach as kids, I remember that beach as if it were yesterday that we were there playing matkot (like ping pong but with no table...and you play it on the beach) and running in and out of the water. Fun times. It was a little too chilly outside to get in the water, but that didnt stop other people. There were at least 20 people in the water just where we were picnicing. It was a beautiful sunset of peach gold and burnt yellow, it took the sun about 8 minutes to disappear behind the ocean...wonder where its next destination is. Even after the sun set it was light outside though, just a beautiful day. We went to bed early Sat night because we had to be up at 6:15 and leave the house by 6:30 to come back to the kibbutz. So, here we are. Back on the kibbutz...already planning our next escapade.

We want to go to Tel- Aviv this weekend, we wanted to go last weekend but had no where to stay the night and its about an hour drive from here, so staying the night there would be the best option. So last night Eran, our dad's business partner who I know from when my dad came to Dallas last, called and invited us to stay at his house anytime we wanted. Eran came with my dad to Dallas last time and I went with them to Lubbock for a meeting and Eran and I bonded- he's a really cool guy. Gay guy that is. So, he said to me last night that he would give me a copy of his key and stay at his boyfriends house so we could crash at his place and I was just like "what a nice guy!!!" So, we're trying to make it to Tel-Aviv this weekend and Ill keep you posted if that happens. We might/ might not be going to dad's because he is leaving for Germany tomorrow morning early until Sunday. So....that's about it. I hear Mirelle- guess she just got out of class and I'm going to get out of the room for a bit to try and feel better.

Write soon.

November 4, 2008

living the simple life

I'm writing to waste time before dinner- one of our excitments of the day. I had class today and it went well, we are reading, writing and speaking Hebrew in each class and it is paying off, I am learning and feeling more confident every day. We have a great teacher, Gili, and she is so patient and sweet. Danielle, who is from Houston and went to UT, is the only other girl in my class and we sit next to each other and just like look around because sometimes it feels like the class is a joke. The boys in there can be so immature, talking all the time and asking stupid questions, but boys will be boys. After I got out of class and Mirelle got out of work we walked around and took some pics of the kibbutz. We took a pic of Mivrag, the factory where I work and then just some randoms...of cows and stuff. haha. Just got off the phone with mom and it really made me miss her and everyone else.

We took our first trip with the Ulpan students and the volunteers here at the kibbutz yesterday to Ramat Hagolan and it was beautiful! We first went mountain biking for about an hour, which kicked our butts! Then had a nice lunch at this park in the Golan where we paid a tribute to a soldier named Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by Palestinians in 2006 and who is still alive being held captive, by releasing 100's of balloons with his picture on them into the sky- it was a sight to see. For his return the Palestinians are demanding that the Israeli army release hundreds of their men who are murders and who are in Israeli prisons...sad story. People here are trying their best to keep him in mind at all times and remind him that we are still trying to get him back, its a huge campaign. At malls and stuff they pass out bumper stickers with his picture on them and ribbons to tie on your side view mirrors. Anyways, after we ate we went to see this "fire show" put on by tanks where they were like firing at each other- it was crazy, we were at this place where they were kind of trying to recruit people for the army...yeah sure.

Anyways, that was our trip, Elka said we are going to Jerusalem in about 2 weeks for our next trip- should be fun! Going to dinner now, will write later!

October 29, 2008

...and it begins...

So we are here. Well, right now I am at my dad's house, but we are officially enrolled and participating in the ULPAN program at kibbutz Ein Hashofet. We made the move Sunday morning around 9 and dad and Simi took us. We arrive by making an entrance that only Paris and Nicole would make. Our dad drives into the kibbutz and all on the sidewalk to get us as close as possible to our room, because of course we brought like 5 suitcases, tons of bedding and pillows from our savta's house and so many bags of food and other supplies- it was almost embarrassing how much stuff we brought with us. We get out and it hits me, no turning back now. We haul our stuff to our room, making at least 4 trips from the car, while passing other fellow Ulpanists who I will later describe. We had seen our room initially when we came to meet with Elka, the director of the Ulpan program at this kibbutz, last Thursday, but now it was more depressing than ever. Picture a tiny dorm room with hospital white walls with holes in them from previous occupants, 2 twin size beds on either side of the room with a lonely green desk separating them. I let out the biggest sigh ever as my eyes filled with tears but I choked them back to be strong, I mean, really- I put myself in this position so I had to deal with it. So first things first, we said bye to dad and Simi and began unpacking and decorating. During one of the trips we made from the car to the room we met Rivka, an 18 year-old girl from Philidelphia and Z'ev from Toronto, Canada and they had informed us that we were to meet everyone in front of the classroom, which is right acroos from our "unit" at 11, it was 10. We did as much as we could to our pathetic room and then met everyone at 11 where the Hebrew teachers conducted individual interviews to determine which Hebrew class to place each student. I was placed in Kitah Bet (Class B), which is the more advanced of the two because I can understand and sort of read and write, and they asked Mirelle to go to Kitah Alef (A) and Bet (B) for the first week so they could see which one she would fit into most. After that was over we socialized and found out where everyone was from and what they were doing there...there are people from all over, San Francisco, Texas, Japan, New Mexico, Argentina, France...really makes for funny people. Anyways, so we continued to organize our room and put our belongings up until 3, when we had to meet everyone again in a meeting room by the dining hall for a tour and to go over guidelines and expectations. So everything went well and in this meeting we were designated jobs. Mirelle will be working with kids in the nursery starting next week and I was told I would work in the laundry room. Whatever. So after the tour and stuff we hung out and "stooped," hanging out on people's porchs, until we were tired and then went to bed.

So the Ulpan program consists of working 3 days a week and going to Hebrew class 3 days a week, my school days since I'm in Kitah Bet are Sunday, Tues and Thur and my work days are Mon, Wed, Fri. For Kitah Alef it's the opposite, work Sun, Tues, Thur and school Mon, Wed, Fri. So Monday morning...I go to the Ulpan office and see Elka and she tells me that they dont need anyone to work in the laundry room and that there has been a mistake and I am to work in the factory. I had been expecting to work in the factory all along because that's what this kibbutz is known for is it's 2 factories, but was kind of like Ugh. So she hands me work boots, navy cargo pants with half an elastic waist and a black shirt. Im like NOOOOO. I go change in my room choking back tears once more from mere shock of the situation and go back ot her office and her assistant Locha leads the way for me and this guy Shay, who is also from Dallas. Ironic? (There's also a girl here that graudated from UT!! Small World) Anyways, so we walk to Mivrag, the name of the factory I work at, and I am just overwhelmed, theres so much machinery and there are loud noises and its just seems intimidating and scary. We go in and meet the boss man, Adrian, and his assistant, Shlomo, and immediatly begin working. No explanation of what is expected of you, or filling out paperwork or like background or anything. I didnt know what the hell was going on, I was just basically put in front of a task and was told to do it, I mean they explained to me what to do but not why or anything about the factory at all. So now I know. I am working at the factory on the kibbutz that makes and manufactures nails, screws, bolts and things of that sort and I am in the packaging unit. So I basically am taping boxes and moving nails and screws from big metal containers to small cardboard boxes for them to be shipped out. It's really boring work, mind numbing at times, but thanks to Chris I have an iPod and am listening to that thing all day! The good side to this job is that this factory is actually closed on Fridays so I only have to work 2 days a week. I did the math- 2 times 4 weeks in a month= 8 times 5 months= 40. Only 40 times to work. And I've already been twice, so now only 38. haha! Anyways, I went to Hebrew class on Tuesday and enjoyed it. We mosltly spoke and wrote and read out loud and I feel like I am on par with the others in the class. Most of the other people in my class, or in the ulpan program in general know Hebrew because they took it in school in America. Everyone is always to interested to hear about my living here for 2 years during elementary. Its funny how much I am remembering just because of how intensely I learned Hebrew during that time.

So, yeah. That's about it. It's now 11:15 pm and we have to be up at 6:15 to go back to the kibbutz, I have my 2nd day of Hebrew class much more to write but it will have to be in the next post.

And Janae, (shoutout!-haha) A kibbutz is like a form of communal living. There are permanite (sp) residents that live on kibbutzim (plural of kibbutz) and there are always volunteers who are basically young people who are traveling around countries and need a place to stay for a while so they give them work and pay them some money. But at a kibbutz there is like everything you need (if your living style is very basic), a library, dining hall, pub, grocery store, laundry room, schools, factories for working, medical center, bus stop, pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, cows, agriculture like avacados and fruit...hope that helps!

October 24, 2008

Things Mirelle and I miss like crazzzyy...

1. Chris/ friends/ family
2. Forever 21
3. Target/ Walmart
4. Taco Bell
5. normal tasting grapefruit juice
6. Chili's queso
7. my car/ driving when I please
8. mom's chocolate chip cookies
9. house parties
10. naked burritos

Things Mirelle and I love here like crazzzyy...

1. schwarma!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. chocolate milk in a sack (ew, sounds gross, but such a good idea!)
3. that Mirelle is legal and can go out with me :)
4. spending time with our fam here
5. speaking English so people don't understand us
6. this country- its beautiful!
7. traveling around and not knowing where we are, but knowing that we will know where we are at all times soon enough
8. the suspense of this adventure
9. each other, we have gotten so close
10. how different the culture is, from malls, to pubs, to homes, to restaurants, to pharmacies....

October 20, 2008

nothing new

Just a quick post to say whats up. right now dad and our brother johnny are grilling out, they are preparing kebobs, chicken and simi is making "chips," aka french fries, and salad. tomorrow is the end of the holiday sukkot so today is like "the day before the end of the holiday" so everyone makes a nice lunch or dinner or whatever- we will prob eat in the sukkah one last time. mel and i have been just wasting time waiting to make our move to the kibbutz. eating lunch at our savta's house and going out with jonathan. we went to check out our kibbutz and walk around yesterday and it was nice, very big and spacious. it was pretty with flowers everywhere and people riding bikes. we even saw an 80 year old resident in his underwear- haha! the dining hall was big and the food looked great- there was like a salad bar and there were beans and rice, bread, dessert...ill give more details once im there.

anyways, regarding amy's comment to my last post...schwarma is like a mixture of lamb, beef and turkey meat wrapped on a large skewer with the fat of the lamb sitting on top to drizzle flavor down the meat. you slice it off vertically and then season it and stuff it in a pita with whatever toppings you want. like tomatos, olives, pickles, lettuce, peppers...i just get it plain. mel enjoys it with tomatos.

alright, well going to help cook now but will write again soon!

October 16, 2008


I'm really bad at thinking of blog titles, maybe that's why Im not so inclined to blog everyday. Oh well, anyways...SO.

Mirelle and I went to the beach in Haifa a couple days ago with Jonathan and his friends. Well actually he told us he was going to take us out on his boat, then we drive to the beach and park the car and I was like "Where's the boat?" He kinda brushed it off and Mirelle and I just started cracking up and got over it and had fun playing in the water and laying out. The beach is so beautiful. The water was warm and the sand felt soo good an the scenery, unreal. Mirelle and I took turns laughing at people wearing speedos and ugly old guys wearing short shorts running. We also took turns playing Matkot, its like ping pong without a table and I love it. It got really windy so we couldnt play after a while, so windy that the umbrella we were laying under blew away and the guys had to chase after it down the beach. Too funny for words. Mirelle and I couldnt stop laughing- we are having a blast hanging out together! So after the beach we came home and were supposed to shower and go to our Aunt Yael's house (Jonathans mom), but were kinda stuck. The phone here at dad's house isnt able to call local cell phones, its like blocked or something, and no one was here so we couldn't use anyones cell phone or call anybody, and we couldnt find Simi's car keys so we couldnt just drive over there- it was a mess. So we just hung out and then went to a pub called Morrison with Jonathan later that night (luckily he finally called us at like 11). We were drinking Gold Star, which is the equivalent of our Budweiser or Miller, and having fun making fun of ppl, of course, when our group decided to go to the dance floor. We were with Jonathan, his friend and another guy and his girlfriend. The bar was playing really great dance music, like Rihanna and "Apple Bottom Jeans" (haha- so old!!!) so we went to dance, and first of all the dance floor was the size of like my kitchen, SO SMALL, and so crowded but I felt like breaking it down so I started dancing with Mel and shaking my head and whipping my hair (which is how I dance, Marli can relate) and this guy behind me said in Hebrew to "calm down and chill out" HAHA! I looked around and everyone else was just kind of steping side to side shaking their hips, lame. After that little ego breaker incident Mel and I just went and sat back down to chill out for a while. We left shortly after and as we were walking to the car there was a sign for the Bahai Gardens and I was able to see part of them, definetly going back there to see them during the day. Google them or check out this website for pics:

So last night Mirelle and I went with Simi and the little ones to meet dad at this like festival thing for the holiday Sukkot. This festival was put on by the really religious people of the community, like the Rabbi looking people that wear black suits and have the curly q's on the side of their hair...yeah wow. We met dad there because he is helping this guy run for mayor or the city and he was there campaigning, trying to convince ppl to vote for this guy. Anyways, there were like jumpy things and a DJ and train rides for the kids. Mirelle and I just sat there in disbelief that we were there- It was so weird, we def stuck out like a sore thumb. Anyways, so we walked to a nearby store and bought popcicles and just kind of waited to go home. After about an hour we left and came home for supper. We had rice with meat balls on top and yummy salad of tomatos and cucumbers with lemon juice and olive oil. After eating I passed out on the couch and when I awoke everyone had gone to bed, so that was that, I went upstairs and rea about 3 chapters of my Chelsea Handler book and fell asleep. I have 2 chapters left, going through hat book so fast, its so funny, I wish she would come out with another one already!!!

So today we have just been hanging around the house with the girls, Mai brushed my hair for hours and we were just watching E! and our Sex & The City DVDs. We had chicken schnitzel and salad for lunch and dad just got home and think were getting schwarma for dinner, our favorite.

October 11, 2008

Week 1

So, we're here. The trip was fine, exhasting, but fine. We flew to Charlotte, then New York, then popped some sleeping pills and boarded El Al. That flight was a good 10 hours, but we slept through most of it, not getting up once- talk about a need to stretch! We only got emotional like twice and that was because we were listening to songs on our iPods that reminded us of friends or whatever. We were fine after a while, realized that we were actually going throught with this thing and there was no point in being upset. At least we have each other.

Landed in Tel Aviv with dad and stepsister Mika waiting for us. We made the hour and a half drive to Ramat Yishay where we had a nice Shabbat dinner at dad's house with our saba and savta. We blessed the wine and bread and said prayers and ate salad, chicken, potatos and cuscos. After dinner I drove us to a nearby Pub where we had some coronas and cocktails. The bar style is so different here, so laid martinis are served in plain tall glasses and they didnt know what a "dressed" beer was...when I asked for salt on my corona they brought me a salt shaker. Kinda cute.

After the pub Mika, Mirelle and I came home to relax in the newly added jacuzzi in dad's backyard, or back area, because there's not really a yard. We started Sex & The City but fell asleep shortly after and Mirelle and I slept till like noon! When we woke up it felt like it was 6 or 7 p.m, it will take another day or two for our bodies to adjust to the time change.

Our halfsisters, Mai and Leonne, are in love with us. They were shy when we first met, but have warmed up and wont leave Mirelle and I alone. They follow us and do what we do, they are sooooo cuuuuttteee! We have been learning Hebrew words from them and we're teaching them English words. Sometimes I wonder if the understand that we are sisters, dad would always talk about us to them and show them pictures but I mean, they are 4 and 5 so will they remember these times were spending together? Anyways, really enjoying being around them.

October 8, 2008

Here we go...

So, Mirelle and I leave tomorrow. Wow- That in itself is a mouthful. I am feeling anxious and excited to be submerged in the Israeli culture and see dad and family and travel, but sad that Israel has to be so damn far away! I will miss everyone so much. I was just getting used to being around the house and seeing friends weekly. 5 months sounds like a short period of time when you think about how its only a semester, but I'm sure at times it will seem like 5 years. I will miss the comforts here, but that's kind of the reason I decided to go. I want to gain some independence and just learn about myself and my religion and tone my lifestyle down. Sounds corny, but I feel like I take many things for granted and this trip might open my eyes a bit.