Okay…Hebrew is hard. At this point, I’m not sure if I will ever be able to read in Hebrew, especially since the vowels are rarely marked. My day started with Hebrew class and Land and the Bible class. Today was the beginning of our second Shabbat here in Israel. When the sun goes down on Friday nights, work stops, the stores close, and as I learned, the buses stop running. It was raining today, but with a little bit of free time, I didn’t want to waste it. I went with a friend into west Jerusalem and we walked through a sook (sh-oo-k, open market). We caught the 1,45 bus into Jerusalem and because we missed lunch, that was our first priority. We found cheap falafel, which includes fried chick peas, humus, tomatoes, cucumbers, and french fries wrapped in delicious, warm pita bread which by the way is nothing like the pita bread in the states. We’ve got nothing on the Israelis. We bought some strawberries, nuts, apples, and of course, what are apples without peanut butter?
Everything was cheaper than usual because the venders wanted to get rid of everything before the beginning of Shabbat. The sun was already beginning to go down by this time and we walked to the bus stop to see if there would be another bus. We ended up catching a minibus ( a good reminder of Bolivia) for a good price and were dropped off on the outskirts of Abu Gosh, about 2 miles from Yad HaShmona. We were happy that we were able to find our way back to the Moshav fairly easily.
I was glad to finally be able to go and experience the cultures of Jerusalem without having to take notes. We just jumped in and now, it will be easy to get around on our own and continue to learn about the people living here within this small city.
More adventures to come.
While here in Israel, I am most excited about making friends and learning their languages. I will be learning Hebrew mostly within the classroom and Arabic mostly on the streets. I am taking a Modern Hebrew class this semester and the class is taught in Hebrew and my book is in Hebrew, so that will be interesting, but I know that I will learn a lot and quickly I hope. So far, I really only know the alphabet and a few simple phrases and words. At the Moshav, where we are staying, the workers in the restaurant that we eat are all Arabic. My dad would be happy to know that I pulled out the few phrases that I learned from him to talk with them on the first couple of days (I know you thought I wasn’t listening). Now I know a few of the guys by name and they teach me new words every time I go in for a meal. I met one of the workers, Sherif, and he speaks very little English. He stopped me outside one day and was trying to say something to me, but I couldn’t understand even a little bit. He looked frustrated with his hand over his face as he said, “one minute” and then ran back inside to ask another worker to translate for him. I waited and when he came back, he simply asked “how are you?” Despite the language barrier, I have a few friends at the Moshav and that is exciting. My entire class went to Jerusalem for the first time earlier this week and I met a Palestinian shopkeeper while we were exchanging our money. I spoke with him and he also taught me a few words. I saw him again today when a few of us students went into Jerusalem earlier today after church. He told me to bring a notebook and pen next time. That was Sababa (cool in Arabic)! The manager at our restaurant told me that in a month, he will have me speaking Arabic. I hope so.