University of Haifa International School Student Blog
Today was the most productive day I’ve had in many many months. After class in the morning, Hannah and I headed off to the shuk to buy some much-needed food. I could no longer survive off of crackers, although Polly always seems to want one. So Hannah and I jumped on the 37 to Hadar, and were joined by Kaylee, from Cali, Zoan, from Bosnia, and Rodrigo (?), originally from Brazil but now a sunshine stater as well. We had an interesting conversation about anti-Semitism on liberal campuses, as well as our own experiences with people who express hatred towards Jews without reason. Kaylee mentioned an anti-Israel group on her campus in San Diego that receives a great deal of funding from the school itself to run, and holds a hate/apartheid week about Israel every year. Crazy stuff going on on the left coast.
We managed to stop at the right bus stop in Hadar, thanks to the help of other bus riders (people are so helpful here), and navigated our way to the shuk after asking for some more directions. The shuk was less crowded than the first time I was there, so we were able to take our time and reconnoiter our surroundings. I immediately spotted the box of figs I wanted (mmm so juicy, I’d been craving them since my cousin-in-law, Roee, would cut them up for me in the mornings when I was staying in Giv’atayim), picked up some amazingly mouth-watering mangoes that smell like heaven, peaches, the most heart-breakingly sweet and delicious dates (the guy at the stand gives samples of them, and today, he pitted my date, split it in half, and stuck a walnut in the middle of it. Do you understand how decadent this little sampler was? Everyone needs to try one from the market in Hadar at some point in their lives), pitted prunes, and a whole bunch of fresh pita (only three shekels for the bag). Major success. Hannah and I also shared a Russian knish of potatoes and mushrooms which was majorly good and filling. I needed to rehydrate, so I stopped by the falafel stand from last time I was at the shuk and ordered some freshly squeezed orange juice. As the man pressed the oranges by hand, juicing each piece like golden-magic-drank for my dehydrating self, Hannah and I conversed with him in Hebrew mixed in with English. It was wonderful to be able to practice our conversational skills only so many days after only learning the alphabet! Look at us go!
But the productivity didn’t end there. We made our way back to the bus stop we came from, sweating like dogs. We were waiting for the 37 when a Russian woman with a mole and four gray hairs sprouting from it asked if we were heading to the university. We said yes, and she began to trace the number 37 on to my arm with her fingertip. I agreed, and she pointed to us that we were about to board a bus in the wrong direction, and motioned for us to find the right bus stop, which was a street over. Like I said, the people here are SO HELPFUL, SO KIND. We jumped on the bus, made our winding way back up dear Mt. Carmel, and refrigerated our shuk hoard. With time still left on our bus passes, Hannah, Kaylee, and I agreed that we wanted to head up the to the Druze market on the 37-Aleph bus. After another bit of a trek across campus to make it to the right stop, we rode to the outskirts of the Druze village and arrived at the market. It was small, like a supermarket. Some items were better deals than the mini-market on campus, and I picked up some much-needed essentials there as well, such as a small bucket to soak hand-washables, and a can of Beit Hashita pickles. Like I said, the essentials. Hannah and I split a huge carton of eggs, which I later cut down the middle. Apparently, eggs do not need to be refrigerated, it’s just that we in the United States are weird and like to refrigerate them at all times.
We waited at the bus stop back to campus. At the stop, a taxi driver asked us if we wanted a ride back to campus at the same price as the bus (in fact, sixty agurot less). We took it. The girls and I have been noticing that learning another language activates the other languages we have learned/used in the past. During our cab ride, we conversed with the driver, originally from Acco (Acre), in a mix of Hebrew, English, and Spanish, which he happened to know as well! It was the most amazing amalgamation of languages in a conversation I have ever had in my life, and I was able to understand and communicate throughout it all. My neural connections were just firing off.
After we were dropped off at the dorms (mehonot), Hannah, Kaylee, and I decided to make dinner together. We had all been craving some Mexican food (especially Kaylee, being partly Mexican), and pulled together our newly acquired food purchases to make a dinner of quesadillas, pita with hummus and babaganouj, bell peppers, and desserts of figs, dates, and prunes. We sat outside of the moadon and had a lovely time in the dusk.
After dinner, Hannah and I pushed for our last bit of productive energy juices, and did another load of laundry together. After washing and drying some very dirty towels, sheets, and garments, we parted ways for the night and completed our homework. I didn’t have much work this evening, because I didn’t have to make many corrections on my Hebrew mid-term. I also completed a lot of my work in class because I move so quickly. Excellent. I am learning, while also saving time to do things that are necessary throughout the day. I think Sunday was far superior to Saturday. Loving Israel like I never resented it on Shabbat.