University of Haifa International School Student Blog
My name is Kadie Ray and I came to Haifa in the Fall of 2010 for many reasons. While there, I’m sure at least 300 people asked me why I came, and it was always hard for me to articulate. I came not out of any religious motivation, but to further my studies and knowledge on the region, language, culture, and history of everything Haifa-related. I studied Arabic and Hebrew during my time there, and met the most AMAZING people. I came to Haifa not really knowing what to expect, and knowing much less than I thought I did about the combined cultures of Jewish/Muslim/Christian and the history that all three entail, yet I left with the fullest experience I could have hoped for. I learned more about the world around me and about myself and I have nothing but the absolute best memories. My favorite days were probably the simplest of ones. I mean, the trips to the Golan and Jerusalem were amazing, but, just hanging out on campus and making so many international contacts and friends, that was the best part. I still smile every time I think of the “Terrace” building and all those stairs, or the view of the rest of the city from up on top of Mount Carmel. My memories of Haifa are warm and happy and comforting-so much above and beyond what I was expecting or could have hoped for. I can’t wait to return someday!
Check out this excerpt from Kadie’s blog:
Depending on when this might reach you all-Merry Christmas!/Happy New Year!/ I hope everyone had a wonderful/is having a wonderful holiday season!!
For some reason, holidays always put me in the reflective mood..and therefore, in the blogging mood. And so, I felt it only necessary, with Christmas Eve being tomorrow, that a new blog post be in order, along with a few updates from the last couple weeks.
So, updates first? And then on to Christmas? Ok, sounds like a plan…
SO first of all, I can’t BELIEVE there are only TWO WEEKS left of classes here!! AHHHH!! I mean, at the same time I sort of can’t believe I’m STILL in class, while everyone else I know and love is done with their semesters and back home with their families…but still…it feels like it all went soooo fast! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was going to my first classes here at Haifa U..and now..they’re almost at an end. CRAZY. But, classes are going well..made it through midterms, and now eagerly looking forward to my final papers [not]. Anyway…in between the schoolwork and the internship work, I’ve been making as many memories with these amazing people as I can. Last week was our student Christmas Party. We had so much fun with our gingerbread cookies and our Santa hats all night! ALSO- I’ve been receiving WONDERFUL packages and letters in the mail, reminding me that my loves..that my life..that its all still waiting for me back home. (So thank you, if you did indeed send something…it is the brightest part of my days, hearing from everyone back in the states).
AND last weekend, my dear friend Patrick came to visit! Fresh from his semester abroad in Alexandria, he stopped in Haifa and we had quite the time catching up on our respective semesters abroad and future plans. On Saturday he joined myself and some other international students at the Christmas Festival in Wadi Nisnas in lower Haifa. It was a BLAST. The streets were gushing with people, from young kids, to old couples, and brimming with food stands and Christmas shops and arts stalls and craftsmen. There were live performers singing their hearts out from rooftops, and there were kids with wildly painted faces waving GIANT cones of cotton candy. It was the most wonderful atmosphere, and a welcomed festivity….it was the most Christmas imagery I’ve seen yet in Israel. And…coming from someone who has always woken up to a Christmas Tree on December 25th..it was nice to see one..or one hundred…We also got to see a parade!! It was so exciting! And children marching and playing drums, and a brass band marching away to some of my favorite Christmas songs..the only thing that could have made the whole experience better MIGHT have been less rain? But it was still soooooo fun!!
(Street view of the festival!-notice the rainy day)
But anyway, after the festival, Patrick and I had dinner at this AMAZING Lebanese restaurant (and ordered it all in Arabic too!) We both reveled in the fact that we were able to meet up so far from home. Something strange alights within you when you meet a friend from back in the states halfway across the world..its like this…ironic “its a small world after all” moment. And we loved every second of it! Its an experience I’ve been lucky enough to know a few times in my life..and I look forward to many more. It’s the greatest feeling in the world I think, being reminded that the world we live in, really isn’t that large anymore.
To read more of this post and other blog entries by Kadie click here 🙂