University of Haifa International School Student Blog
Today I took a break from ulpan. Yes, I still attended class, but we were not going over anything new, and I really needed to make a doctor’s appointment. During class, I went over to the International School offices and tried to make phone calls on my own to the two doctors recommended by the school. On today, of all days, they were both closed because it was, SURPRISE, a holiday. After much back-and-forth between the insurance company and Tomer, one of the madrachim (counselors) who was so so helpful today, a home visit was eventually arranged. I dashed out of class to get back to my dorm so I would have my first home visit ever. Tomer brought over the doctor, a large, asthmatic woman with several butterfly clips in her hair, to my dorm, where she took down my health insurance information (I have excellent health insurance coverage here through Harel) and proceeded to talk completely in Hebrew. Thank goodness Tomer stayed to translate because I would not have understood a single thing she would have told me. I showed her my hives, and she wrote a prescription for a pill to take every day and a cream to apply in addition if the irritation does not subside. Most importantly, she said that I need to make an appointment with another doctor for a follow-up visit to find out why I had this reaction. I suspect it was from the strawberries I had in my smoothie in Safed, which is also when my reaction started to appear (I had something like this happen to me once, and only once, in sixth grade). She told me not to eat “fatty foods” in the meantime, which she later elaborated to mean no fruit (huh?) which is like the worst thing you could ever tell me not to eat. I had the most amazing mango today anyway. Holy crap was it good.
After the doctor’s appointment, Tomer told me how to get to the pharmacy, which was by talking the 30 (or 37) bus down to Moriah Ave. I hopped on the bus and got off by the post office. I knew that I would be on Moriah, so I prepared ahead of time and gathered my passport and traveler’s checks and successfully made my exchange at the post office. Woooo! After, I walked towards Carmel Center, to where the pharmacy was located (by the roundabout, where there is a large fountain). My pharmacist was really nice and was confused by my name. He could recognize Yael, but he got really caught up on the Massen part. I explained to him that I’m an American student. It’s interesting that in Israel, Massen is the part of my name that is confusing, and not Yael, like it always is in the US. I’m not here nor there, I’m always going to be an anomaly somehow.
After having the medicine in my hand (which, without taking, magically made me feel less itchy, oh psychology), I walked towards the mall in Horev, and headed for the Castro store. I knew exactly what I wanted: this pink button-down dress I tried on but didn’t buy in Giv’atayim when I was shopping with Galit. I’m so glad I waited to buy it because the price went down even further. Score! I then went on a little shopping spree for items that I needed, like this really nice shredded-scarf headband and a straw sunhat that soon proved to be very useful. I wore the hat out of the mall and walked out into the street.
The sun was beaming, and it was the middle of the day—the hottest part—yet I had this crazy urge to continue my walk all the way up to campus. This urge did not stop. I walked all the way from Moriah (Carmel Center), up Horev, up Abba Khoushy, to the University. This took me about two hours. I am stubborn and wanted to know how long it would take, and I found out. I was also sweating like a goddamn dog by the end, and my feet were beginning to cramp, but I was able to do what I really wanted: to take in the city by foot. I was able to slow down and see how people live, to notice the little pockets of hush that the city jingles around like the 6.60 shekels for a bus ride. The view of Haifa Bay followed me for most of my winding up the mountain, as did the honks from the annoying drivers. I get it, I am a female, no need to point that out to me further. I felt completely safe the entire time, and was hydrated throughout, staying in shady spots and sitting at bus stops when needed.
When I got back to my dorm, my suitemate had a good laugh out of my bedraggled state and the craziness of how stubborn I am. No one walks up that thing. I jumped in my ice-cold shower, took and applied my meds, and napped like a baby.
After my nap, my friends and I headed to the beach for a Goldstar Beerfest that featured live musicians. We got there kind of early, but once the area filled up, I was able to see how Israelis party. I dress very differently from the Israelis when the go out. Many of the women just wear a neon top with an off-the-shoulder cover and high-waisted shorts, or something tight and black-and-white, or see-through lace. I can’t do that. I actually think I don’t own any of that. It makes me feel like I am not blending in with the crowd as much as I would like, but I also can’t bring myself to (forgive me) tackify my wardrobe. I suppose it’s not considered tacky here, but like, dude, I can’t.
My friends and I left the concert later than we would have hoped, and the 200 bus backt to the university was full beyond capacity. We waited and waited at the bus stop. Eventually, we got a sherut (bus taxi thing) that brought us up the mountain for ten shekels. Whatevs, almost four shekels more than a bus, that’s like a dollar more in the US. It was so lovely to be in a mode of transportation that didn’t make stops and had air conditioning directed at my face. It’s now sleepy time, and I’m not an itchy mess anymore. All is beseder (okay) in Haifa.