Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 13, 2012 - Shalom Tel Aviv!

Woke up at five in the morning to man shouting at what I assumed was a garbage truck. I couldn't make out what he was saying, but what I could figure out was that the man was pissed. And that truck deserved it in some twisted way. With my jet lag still being in full affect, the attempt of sleep ended up being futile when I woke up an hour later and decided to check the weather to base my outfit accordingly. 

Low 70's and high 60's was the forecast, and remembering that we had grocery shopping, I figured a tank top, long sleeve shirt, a sweater, jeans and boots was the perfect ensemble. Since I woke up before London and Maryland, I was able to take my time picking an outfit (practical yet stylish is something hard to accomplish when most of your winter gear doesn't look anything remotely stylish, especially when layering) and getting overall ready. Eventually, they both woke up, got dressed, and all three of us went downstairs to meet up with everyone else. Ricky promised breakfast and coffee.

When we arrived downstairs, everyone was munching on these sweet bread rolls, and I made my way to counter where Belgium M was making some coffee. Ricky then gave us the rundown of what was going on and if there were any damages in the apartments not caused by us that we should be aware of. Maryland and I pointed out a few problems as well as a bunch of other people. Once it was all said and done, we were told to go upstairs to our apartments, and as roommates, we were to discuss how we should be standing financially. Thanks to a discussion we briefly covered the other night, we decided that when it came to the basic necessities (e.g. toilet paper, paper towels, milk, etc) then we will split the money, but for anything that we want for ourselves, then we need to pay for it ourselves. A reasonable point, in my opinion, seeing as this will prevent doubles of anything. We then started to talk so we can get to know each other more, and a common trait we had was we had a cleanliness OCD (although, Maryland not as severe as mine or London). Ricky called us down, and all of us headed to a bus stop.

The bus ride was packed, and most of us managed to snag a seat. I sat all the way in the back next to Belgium M and a guy who had my brother's name, but sticking with the land as name theme, he was Burkley. We drove for a good 20 minutes before we realized that the super we were going to (super big and super cheap, as claimed by Ricky) was a bit of a drive. We all chatted to each other and all, but the drive evolved to almost an hour drive. This could be because it was a public bus we were on, or the place was just god awful far, but either way, a bunch of us were getting antsy and wondered if the ride will ever stop. Some of us played musical chairs because we couldn't bring ourselves to stay in one place for long, but me and Burkley stayed and talked about the arts such as photography. When we finally arrived, I hopped off the bus going "Ah yes, legs, I have those." causing a girl (who is also from New York, but instead I'm going to go with Curly for reasons I'm not going to go into) to giggle a bit, replying "Yeah, those things attached to us that let us walk."

We were told we only had one hour to get our things and back to the bus, this time a private one so we could have room to put our stuff, and all of us went to the shopping carts to begin the shopping. I pulled out the list I wrote with London and Maryland earlier today and we went forth. Because my aunt already went with me and got me the basics that will last for the first two weeks and not expire, I didn't really need to do much shopping, I mainly got grape juice, lemons, red pepper, and a kinder egg. I still helped with the necessities, but I felt alright not having to go buy a lot of things. While we were shopping, I ended up being the translator when it came to food products that didn't have any english, I had to get my head back into the English-Hebrew translation because some of the words I didn't know, and yet I was alright with that because that meant I had actually read and understand. Good old brain usage. When we got the basics, we strolled around a bit when we came across Texas and his roommate who I forgot where he was from, so I'm just going to call him P. They were talking to us about how later on during the program, they want to do a barbecue because of the one we had on the roof. We continued on ward when we came across the laundry section, something both London and Maryland needed. I had a bit of a difficulty trying to figure out which was the detergent and such, luckily Ricky came by (if only as a reminder we were under a time limit) and helped out. I ended up translating some of things London said to hebrew for Ricky because there was clearly a language barrier going on.

When they got what they needed, we went to the check out to purchase our items. The clerk there was trying to ask something to Maryland, who was having a hard time understanding what he was asking. Again, language barrier. Turns out the clerk was asking her if she wanted to pay for her part in to two payments. After clearing up the confusion, we began to pay for the communal items as mentioned earlier. While we were trying to figure out how to split it between the three of us, the clerk and a guy behind me helped us with the math of what the outcome will pay to split the money between the three of us. Israelis are really nice people when they're aren't in a rush. Once we got our things, we headed over to the bus and began to put the things underneath, I went to return the cart as well as get the money back when I forgot how to get the money out. An old lady came by and told me how and waited till I succeeded in getting it out, again, nice people when not rushing. When I popped the coin out, it flew out of the socket and disappeared. I silently cursed because it was 5 shekel and it belonged to Maryland. Texas came by and helped me looked for it in the sea of shopping carts, but no dice as it was missing. He was kind enough to give me his 5 shekels to give to Maryland and refused that I should pay him back after I insisted that I would. We both went back to the group where I gave the coin to Maryland, who proceeded to return it to New York. The shekel apparently belonged to her. A chain of borrowing, go figure.

We hopped on the bus and began to drive back to our apartments, a lot of us were tired which made the bus ride quiet. We dropped off the people who lived in a different building first because they had a longer walk ahead of them, we then were dropped off a bit farther from them with only a block or so to walk. Normally, not a big deal because the weather was nice and good walk after 45 minutes is fantastic… but doing it with groceries? A whole different experience. So me, London, and Maryland began to split and take equal weight of each grocery so as to not make it seem that one is doing more than the other, when Florida (another guy who lived in my city, as well as attended the same school as me, I should point out) came and helped us with our huge pack of water. We finally made it back and began to unpack everything and putting it into place. We were told while driving back that we were going to be late to do the fire drill on time, so we would have to do it a bit later, none of us complained and made our lunches. I wasn't that hungry (thanks to jet lag which butchers my appetite) so I just munched on some of the sweet rolls we got this morning and chocolate milk.

We then went to the roof top to discuss in the events of a bomb attack where to go. For the people in the other building (who shortly came to our place after putting their groceries away), all they had to do was go to Florida's room. For the rest of us, next door was a music school that had underground bomb shelters. Ricky asked who, of the complex, was the most responsible. I knew I wouldn't be able to handle the pressure should such an event happen, but London accepted the role, taking into consideration that of the bunch, she was the most reliable. Ricky handed her the keys to the school's bomb shelter and told it to keep it somewhere accessible as well as safe. Afterwords, we went back to our rooms to do the fire drill, with only me and Spain getting out at a reasonable pace while everyone else sort of came along with garbage bags in hand. Because clearly there is enough time to run from a fire and take out the trash at the same time.

Shortly after the drill, we went next door to music school (which was also a cafe) to say hello to the owner and his wife who baked us cookies and made homemade tea. We went downstairs with our snacks to greet the old man who talked about the school's history. What was more impressive than the man's lecture (interesting subject, didn't much care if I'm going to be honest) was the bomb shelter's layout. If one was not to know it was a shelter, it would only be perceived as an underground jazz club. Drums, Saxophones, a bar with drinks neatly yet messily arranged. It was easily a very hip place to stay at (shortly me, Texas and P joked how when shit was to go down, we would just be chilling listening to good music getting drunk and having the wife's cookies). Belgium M began to talk to the man about making a band because she is a singer (as well as an actress) before Ricky said it was time to move on a tour around Tel Aviv.

We walked for two hours around Tel Aviv and getting to know the place while New York and I were keeping an eye out for a coffee shop. More like, she was searching for a place for ice coffee, and I just wanted to find a place to chill out that's out door and cool. The views were amazing, but I didn't want to stand out like a tourist when taking a picture so I took my iTouch instead and started to do quick snapshots of all the views that caught my attention, one of them being this old man playing amazing music on the accordion. 

As we strolled around some more, I decided to try and get to know more of the people on the trip. It wasn't until I saw these views that made me stop talking for a bit to take pictures. Screw being all touristy, these were amazing views NOT worth to miss out taking pictures of! I was told that when in Tel Aviv to not "look down, keep looking up", and let me just say. It was worth looking up.

Looking up is definitely worth the amount of times I bumped into people, strollers, and dogs.

I could have sworn that my phone began to ring, and of course being unfamiliar with the ring tone being my own. I did a double check to find out that I wasn't hallucinating and that my phone was, in fact, buzzing. It was my uncle asking me how I was doing and when I should meet up with him, because he was holding on to my proper bed sheets that will fit on the bed as well as a better blanket that was much cozier than the one that the program gave me. I told him I wasn't sure but I should be able to find out within the hour, we agreed that he will call back and we would meet up after his second call.

I got to talk to P more while we were walking around, having found out we have common tastes in music (one of them being a musician for a video game I love) and discussed both of our favorite professions; his being music and mine video games. We were both very invested to what we had to say to each other. We were talking for a long time before Ricky announced that we were at Shuk HaCarmel and that we can spend as much time there because after that we were off to go home when we want to. P and I went our separate way with his to his friends and mine to New York and Belgium M. I met their new roommate that came that day, France. Very quiet and very friendly. We went to an ATM machine for Belgium M to withdraw money she owed New York while France took out some money to get a SIM card for her phone. After telling us that she was going to get a phone, Belgium M, New York, and myself went on the search for the Ice Coffee as well as abuse some photo taking of the scenery.

 Once they got their money, we walked into the Artists Alley (the actual name escapes. Always.) and strolled around, admiring all the knick knacks being sold while making a mental note at the same time that I had to come back to buy some of said knick knacks. New York saw a mirror at a store and wanted to go in, to see if there were smaller ones inside. Belgium M went in first and I was about to follow when a woman dressed in black walked up next to me and gestured at my purse, clearly indicating for money because she was holding a small coupon size pamphlet. Remembering my cousin's stay in Japan, and how the Japanese don't say "no" but rather cross their arms to form an X to show a decline of a request or a politer (is that a word?) to say they don't have an item, I went ahead and did that while shaking my head no as oppose to flat out saying no. The woman, clearly upset and assuming that I was mocking her, glared at me menacingly before going for New York, who simply told her no. The woman in black stormed away at a failed attempt to snag our money.

When we went inside the store, New York went for the mirror while Belgium M and I strolled around in the store, eventually catching up to New York. While the place wasn't exactly massive, it was still filled to the brim with pictures, canopies, and silly statues to hang around the house. Again, made a mental note that I would have to come back here when time permits and I had more energy to actually shop for things. After coming to the same conclusion, New York followed suit with me and Belgium M to the coffee shop right across the store and decided to just relax there.

We sat down when the cafe owner's wife walked up to us to greet us, ready to take our order. New York asked for ice coffee, but the lady didn't have, as she told her. I pieced the two together and figured that the lady was thinking of the very smoothie-esque kind of ice coffee and not coffee with ice, so I quickly asked the lady if there was coffee with ice, not the smoothie. She smiled brightly and nodded that she gladly has it, so we ordered two for ourselves with Belgium M ordering for herself a cappachino. We didn't have to wait for long and got our drinks, delicious and didn't need any sugar in it at all, and began to people watch while getting to know each other a bit more. Two old ladies came by and glanced at our drinks before smiling to tell us that the drinks here are amazing, but that wasn't why they caught my attention. Rather, it was the bouquet of flowers they were holding: purple, pink, yellow, vivid greens, these were just the best colors I've seen on flowers and was tempted to take a picture of it, but figured it was for the best to not bother the two ladies for a picture of it.

Shortly after, my uncle called asking me when we should meet up, Belgium M and New York told me 45 minutes because the walk was about 15 and we were going to finish up in 10. Taking our time, we finished our drinks and Belgium M with her smoke, and we headed out while some of the stands were calling it a night. The walk back was chilly but pretty to look at all the people wondering the streets at night, as I was trying to keep up my pace while looking at all the buildings around me. It was also becoming quickly dark, so taking pictures of things now would be a waste of time, knowing the flash would kill it.

When we finally made it back to our apartment, I quickly called my uncle to let him know I was back in my apartment. He was quick, because I met him no sooner than 5 minutes later. We chatted for a bit as he handed me the bag with sheets as well as a wall scroll to hang on my wall. Apparently, my mom really insisted that I have some picture decorating my wall and relied on my uncle due to the same taste they had when it came to room decorations, so he gave me one of them that he didn't have hanging when he told me he honestly doesn't think he should be giving me one and would much rather I venture out to find one that suited my taste. I did look at the poster and hilariously enough, it fell somewhat on my taste. After some talking, he gave me a good night hug and went to drive back home.

I fixed up my room from how it looked previous and it stood out a thousand times better then before.

Figuring I still had some time on my hand, I finally called my grandma. I should mention, that I love my grandmas dearly. I honestly wish to be as eager to learn and still be a kid at heart when I grow old (actually, I really wish to be like Betty White when I grow old, but that's a whole different story) but anyways, grandma on my mom side, as I stated in a previous journal is... well... eccentric. I mean, I heard stories that she doesn't like to go out of her city, hates holidays, and tends to act way more of an old fart than she actually is, but she's the only old lady I know that will say "fuck you" and "I kill you!" in that order while my grandma on my dad's side talks about breast feeding and babies anytime the opportunity presents it self. Or whenever she feels 

So so far killing and boobs run in my family. Could be worse.

Anyways, back to my trip: So I call my grandma and tell her to call my cell seeing as I predicted that she would go on endlessly if I didn't yell to call my phone as soon as possible. Luckily, she did as I instructed and that meant I didn't have to pay. And for the record, people who call me, it's free. Not so sure on the texting. Back on the topic! So My grandma starts laughing like the witch she is (compliment, I assure you readers) and starts asking me where I live. Like a scene from "Beginners", I heard her mumbling as she was clearly writing down the address on her notepad. I honestly didn't see the point of her writing considering she refuses to use the bus outside of Rishon knowing all too well she was going to ride with my aunt and uncle, and she asks-- let me rephrase that, she demands when she can come over. I had to convince her she couldn't today.

"Why can't I come? Ha ha ha."
"Because I'm busy for the next... month?"
"Okay, I'll surprise you!"
"Not going to happen."
"Because you don't have the keys to get passed the gate.

I did feel like a bitch, but at the same time, I prevented my grandma from looking silly if I wasn't home. So once I was done talking with her, she informed that my other aunt (the one living with her) was sick. The smart thing to do, when sick, is to let people rest and make sure they get plenty of liquid. Not my grandma. She made my aunt talk with me, and having a silent understanding, instead of gossiping, I told my aunt to go and get plenty of rest to which she thanked me greatly for for understanding that she wasn't in a position to talk. Couldn't blame her. We bid good night before my grandma took the phone again. I told her that I have my phone on me but for the next two weeks I'm going to be packed busy so I might not answer. Understanding completely, we said good night to each other as she quickly began to call my mom.

I decided then to be social again and went to the roof top where everyone else was. It was chilly that one needed a sweater, but not as cold that you just needed to put on sneakers. There I met London, Belgium M and D, New York, Curly, P, Texas, L.A, Puerto Rico and another girl who's location I forgot, I think she said also New York so I'm just going to go with Apple. Deal with it. We all were relaxing and talking a lot when two more people came, Hungary and another guy (I'm crap with names) which I'll just call L. L was new and he didn't know us too well, so we did a mini reintroduction of ourselves listening the night away to Michael Jackson. It was fun to get to know more people to just relax without the hectic of rushing around. We eventually bid good night to each other as we had to head back into get some shut eye. We had a big lesson worth nine hours ahead of us.

Friday, March 16, 2012

March 12, 2012 - The Official Beginning

First off: the last couple of days have been hectic. And trying to find a reasonable hour to type all of this and still sleep at a decent time is hard. But I succeeded. Next journal update should be soon. And not a week late.

Enough talk, let's get down to it.

I wake up yet again early in the morning, only this time at a reasonable six and not an ungodly eight. Decided to unplug the computer from the charger after an overnight charging so that I had enough battery to last me for the rest of the day to finish up typing the last journal entry. At around 7:30-8ish, I got dressed and went to the living room to let my aunt know I was already awake and she didn't need to wake me up.

We did a quick go over to see what else I needed, which resulted in a ton of towels coming at me (both body and face towels, so those of you IN Israel can be rest assured I'm covered in the towel department). My grandma called shorty before we started to move all the luggages (and while my aunt was feeding the baby) and asked that both she and my other aunt can come as well. My aunt (the one feeding the baby), quickly took the phone and declined the request stating that the car is small enough as it is, and with the baby, luggages, and food we were going to get, there was simply no way that she could come. Asking the uncle to drive the two was also out of the question if only because he was currently occupied with work and for the most part, he was mainly going to be the GPS for the day.

After shoving all the towels into the back pack my uncle allowed me to borrow while I'm here, we then went to place all the luggages in the car. The first heavy luggage, I stupidly decided to carry down the stairs, instead of putting it in the elevator, which my aunt did. The elevator door kept on smacking me while I was tugging the TV pillow out of it's spot from between my carry on and back pack, but I managed to preserver and get all the bags from the elevator with only one bruise on my thigh. 

The car is fairly small to begin with, and with the baby and the baby seat to keep in mind, placing all the luggages in the car became a game of Professor Layton mixed with Tetris, a few good shoves was all it took, but the placement before shoving was what was important. We succeeded to place all the luggages and a comfortable spot for the baby (we arranged the placement based on the baby) and started to drive to the super market when my aunt realized she forgot the cloth she uses to carry the baby without the needs of hands. We opted that we get the stuff first, put her part groceries in the apartment really quick, and the drive off. I won't go into the detail of how we shopped, but we had to get two carts and I was watching the baby in the cart. The baby doesn't like really loud noises, but a very cheerful smile, a good distance, and quietly remarking how smart and strong he is was the ticket to win the baby over. Giggling and flailing around the room while giving me a huge smile.

We started to drive when we got a call from the oldest daughter's school, stating that she had a stomach ache and wished to be taken home. Aunt, while taking in the groceries and me watching the baby in the car, was talking on the phone and when she came back we drove straight to Tel Aviv, understanding that the kid was just asking to be with me. Made me wish I could give a proper bye but we both knew that it wasn't worth it cause I was bound to see them, hopefully, later on in the week. Traffic was clear, we chatted about how an amazing time I was about to go into, and listened to the directions from my uncle over the phone.

Once we made it to the street, we looked at the area. To be blunt, it looked like the slums. With only two people sitting outside drinking coffee, I asked in hebrew if this was the place to be for Wujs (the program I'm typing about), turns out it was and I was talking to the madrich (a.k.a the RA). We shook hands and I stepped in dog crap. "Don't worry! It means good luck!" He cheerfully tells me. Great first start. With my aunt unable to leave the car considering she was with the baby, me and the RA carried the luggages up to my room, which was on the third floor. I opened the door to this room 

Spacious, nice, and it has all the basic kitchen equipments I need. While there, I was welcomed by two girls who are going to be my roommate for the next five months. I was relieved that I already (somewhat) met them online, making the actual in person meet up less awkward. 

Instead of writing their names (and most of the other residents in the complex), I'm going to go with the state and/or city name. 

So my two roommates were from London and Maryland, and were very happy to meet their third roommate (at least, I hope). The RA came and showed us that one floor above of us is the door to the rooftop.

I was more ecstatic at the sight of BBQ more than anything on the rooftop, knowing all too well that the first few weeks (and possibly month) was going to be cold and rainy, making rooftop shenanigans almost rare. I went downstairs and gave my aunt a grand hug as well as my thanks (to which she insists was a pleasure more so than anything) and drove off while I went back upstairs and commenced the unpacking.

Maryland asked which music we liked and we ended up listening to various genres: Techno, Coldplay, and Maroon 5. While unpacking and cleaning at the same time, we met our neighbors (females) who lived across our apartment; New York and Belgium. We talked for a bit and asked who was doing what internship when two more girls came upstairs, L.A and another girl from Belgium (this is going to get tricky… um. Okay. The Belgium girl who lives across from me will be Belgium M and the other one Belgium D. …Until I can think of a better nicknames for them). We talked for a bit before deciding that around two we would all go out to grab some lunch.

Some guys came up the stairs to discover more of the complex as well as get to their room, Texas, Hungry, and Indiana. Texas was very nice and home-y, Hungry was quiet, and Indiana didn't really speak much. Two hit, any attempts to try putting the bed sheet on my bed was shot and me, London, Maryland, New York, L.A, and Belgium D went downstairs. We met with Belgium D's roommate, a fellow Floridian who lived in the same city as me. Except that get's complicated, so I'm going to call her by the land she was born in which was Puerto Rico. We asked the RA for a good location and we just ended up walking around, meeting up with another girl living in the complex, Australia. 

Yes, this sounds like a lot of women.

After walking one block away from a restaurant, we called it quits and went in to a cafe. Most of us got lemonana (lemonade with mint) and some meat related meal. We had to be back to the apartment at four so we can go as a group for the official meeting. When we came back, the group multiplied (meaning yes, more guys did show up) and we left for a youth building of contemporary art. After a good 15-20 min walk, we climbed four flights of stairs to a room with chairs in a circle. I sat down next to New York and a guy next to me from Spain. We played some ice breaker games such as things we would do for one day without getting into trouble or damage to our health, write questions on each others' backs (on paper, of course) and so on.

A man walked in a bit later and handed us our phones while Ricky handed us our packets the consisted of our keys, bus pass, phone card, directions to our workplace, and the itinerary for the next two weeks. Belgium M and I started giggling over our bus photos, grabbed any remaining boxes of pizza (there were plenty) and brought it back to the apartment. I stupidly brought the one with corn on it. 

While walking home, a weird man came running at me yelling something at me, I quickly muttered "help me" and jogged to the group of boys that were with us and saw the guy running at me leave for anyone else. When we got back home, I left the box of pizza outside, and the three of us wished each other a good nights sleep. Cause we had to wake up at 9 tomorrow morning for a trip to the super market.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 11, 2012 - Traveling Modi'in

So where in my last journal I was typing at five in the morning due to my jet lag, I never covered what transpired mainly because I felt it belonged for the next journal where it takes place you know, the next day.

So one of the many reasons I woke up was because of jet lag (and I slept an amazing eight hours) and the other reason was the sudden realization of not having been to the bathroom since I got off the plane. Stupid? Very and beyond unhealthy, but my body was just not ready to use the Israeli bathroom. But at five in the morning I rushed to the bathroom, keeping in mind not wake up anyone in the house (keep in mind, I was at my aunt and uncle's house and they have three kids, ages 7, 5, and five month old). As I closed the door as quietly as I can and turned on the light, I heard shuffling against the window and angry cooing, turns out it was a pigeon sitting on the window still, completely forgetting that my uncle told me not to open the window because of said pigeon. I named him Archimedes.

Afterwards, I head back to my bed and decided to cheek what's going on the other side of the world (thus resulting to the previous post) before I decided to attempt to go back to sleep. Woke up barely to hebrew Spongebob and the girls getting ready for school, zoned out again shortly afterwards. I finally pushed myself out of bed at around 8:30 where my aunt was with the baby. I have a record of being a ninja according to my previous roommate at college and my mom, as in, I tend to walk into room so quietly that no one will notice me. Blessing and a curse, I guess. So anyways, I walked in, and waved hi to my aunt, causing her to jump out of surprise that I startled her and I felt horrible for doing that. She shortly made for both of us coffee and a cheese and olive panini for me for breakfast keeping in mind that I haven't really eaten since I've came off the plane and we relaxed a bit before we got ready to leave the house to do some shopping for things I otherwise couldn't have brought with me from Miami.

As she went upstairs to take a shower, I was getting dressed when the baby became distraught a bit. She told me that if this should happen, to simply flip him to his back. So I did just that and he was clearly flailing his arm to be picked up, not wanting to hear him be upset again thanks to my experience the previous day, I picked him up and sort of jumped quietly to ease him up. He enjoyed it greatly that he began to play with my hair and rub his head against my shirt, giving the occasional smile. He was heavy, but my God was he precious. Shortly, he began to cry and wanted his mom, couldn't blame him, and waited till she came downstairs where apparently he was stuffed up and his rubbing on my shirt was him trying to get rid of the snot in his nose. Like I said, precious.

We made our way to the shopping complex where we went to the equivalent of wal-green to get all sorts soaps and such to put in my apartment. The carts in Israel are definitely smaller than that in America, but they can move in literally every direction with no problem... or maybe that was the one cart I happened to have? Either way, amazing. I nearly flipped out at the prices before I remembered that I had to divide it from 3.7 (or 4 for those nitpicking math people), never the less, it was still expensive and need to keep in mind prices in Israel. Credit card or not. We later went to a clothing store that my aunt has been sending me tunics from, it helps that she has the same taste in clothing as me. While browsing, there were these two clerks fixing up the clothing and just simply relaxin, one of them looked like brother's girlfriend so for a good minute I was convinced it her. She had a good sense in fashion that with both her and my aunt, I managed to find a nice shirt and tunic, as well as snagging a nice pocket watch necklace. My aunt bought herself a nice pair of pants.

We browsed around in another clothes store, one called Castro, which I've heard is the hot spot for clothing (next to another called Fox) that had the fashion sense mixed between Gap, Old Navy, and The Limited. Tried on a couple of suits before I decided that none of them were sitting right, it was either too masculine or a suit from the 80's and so on. After Castro, we ventured to a store so that my aunt could get some clothes for the two girls. While she was getting assistance, I kept an eye on the baby, mainly keeping him entertained and not crying as well as not trying to make him feel uncomfortable. The last thing I needed to do was make him up. He giggled, she bought two dresses and socks, and then it was off to Aroma the Coffee Shop.

After drinking some coffee, my aunt made a stop at the ATM machine to withdraw some cash for me to walk around in (can't always rely on just a credit card, you know) and four times she pressed in the numbers, only to find out that she doesn't remember it. Apparently, a while ago she lost her phone that had everything important in it, namely people's numbers and other important documents. So we decided to drive off and worst case scenario would be the my uncle will withdraw money, and as we were pulling into a different shopping plaza, she got a bright idea to call someone from work, who could look at her desk. She quickly dialed and the guy managed to find the numbers and she thanked him for the huge help and we drove back to where the ATM machine was so she can punch in those numbers again.

Not wanting to go through the hassle of taking in and out the baby cart, she told me to stay in the car with the baby. Fun fact on the baby, he hates to stay in one place for too long. If he stays in one area or isn't moving for more than fifteen minutes, he begins to not just cry, but to yell. And in a car? Yeah. Ears were shot and I was trying the best that I could to hush the baby and not get crazy moms on my butt thinking I'm the worst. Aunt came back eventually and began to drive to hush the crying infant. We later decided to go out and eat sushi (she was craving for it) after dropping off the stuff.

When we reached back to the apartment, I took the challenge to shove all the things I got into my already huge luggage. Succeeded. She cleaned up the baby (who apparently, was crying for a change diaper on top of not moving) and put her own stuff away and decided that we'll walk, the weather was nice so why not? While walking we had a lovely girl to girl talk and catching up on things like what is going with my family, previous boyfriends I had (fun fact: the guy I dated, she dated three of them with the same name. All of them ended horribly. Clearly a horrible name for a boyfriend), and talking about both of my grandmas. When we finally reached the restaurant plaza, the sushi place was apparently closed on Sundays, so we went to the one right next to it, it was owned by the same guy.

It was a quiet sunday afternoon, so there wasn't a lot of people. Ordered an Anti Pesto and some salad while my aunt ordered some liver with jam... thing. There was more cheese than salad in my dish that I began to search for the actual meal in it. I also tried the liver thing for the first time, so for everyone back home who say I'm too nit picky and not daring enough to try new "exotic" food - take that! We chatted up a bit more and decided that it was time to head back home cause we needed to pick up the girls soon. With the weather being nice, the aunt decided that we should go to the park with everyone else when the get back. We reached the apartment, took a bathroom break, and left for the car to pick up the two girls. Aunt thought it would be awesome if I did it and surprised them, she would tell me which floor and what to look for on the door. The youngest of the two girls was grinning when I came through the door, she was practically glowing, the teacher, doing her job, was curious as to who I was until I told her that I'm the little one's cousin from Miami.

I'm popular there cause apparently the teacher goes "OH! You're THAT cousin from Miami!" to which I nodded and answered her question as to how I was related to the child. We then left for the car and drove to pick up the eldest of the two. While the younger one was glowing, this one looked startled, but happy at the same time. I offered to carry her bag which looked like would collapse on her at any moment, but she refused the offer and left for the car. While there, the aunt told them if they would like to go bike riding in the park today. They were fine with it, shortly after she called my uncle and asked as well, all he requested was something to eat cause he was starving, but he was more than up to go out doors. Sandwiches were made, watched more of the hebrew Spongebob (still hilariously stupid in my opinion), several fights between the two girls occurred in regards to two dresses (one was pink, one was white, you know... girly problems) and we eventually all left for a walk.

The baby fell asleep the whole way (which was adorable cause his face was hidden in some cloth that the aunt was wearing to hold him) and we had a pleasant walk. The older girl rides a bike like it's a part of her while the other one still had training wheels. When we arrived to the park, my uncle decided to make a joke how it's split between dads' park, women's park, and orthodox's park, hilariously enough... it was accurate. So while we were sitting and the two girls were running around, the aunt began to wonder who was going to play with baby when he grows up running around like an idiot as well. I also accidentally mixed coca-cola gum with a peanut butter granola bar... it was not the best thing in the world and tasted beyond weird. It was also pointed out that the two girls, when the parents aren't around, acted civil and almost like a tag team, but show them an adult, and it's back to bickering. Thus, the cycle of childhood. It was growing dark so we headed home for the night.

Once there, I had a mini Skype call with my mom and sister (showing them the little baby while I was in the same room and he was making "talking" sounds), shortly after my battery on my iTouch which was where I had the Skype call, died and needed to be recharged. My aunt left to go get ravioli leaving me and my uncle with the three kids, if only to make her shopping much faster. Played mancala with the two girls (the oldest one knew how to play the actual game, the youngest one was just tossing the marbles wherever you want), my uncle and I then talked if I still played the guitar to which, in full honesty, I only remember fully three songs. And they are amateurish at best. Eventually my aunt came back, the two of them prepared the meal while the two girls invited me to play in their tent that was on the balcony. Windy as hell and getting head smacked constantly by a tent prop wasn't my idea of fun, but because it was dark, breezy, and comfortable where I was sitting (when head ducking from said prop), I felt all the energy get drained. The girls were fun, but I was ready to call it a night.

We went back inside afterwards, washed our hands and proceeded to have dinner. Before we ate, we had a mini-thanks (word at the moment slipped me) and a lot of it was geared at me. It's weird, but I have no idea how to react when getting a ton of thanks without sounding like a total prick. Always had that problem, but I returned two folds my thanks for them letting me stay at their place and for helping me out so much in just the last two days. After grace (I think that's the word?) we ate, enjoyed the meal, and helped clean the table from the plates. I had to pick between a penguin lamp that belonged to my aunt and a regular lamp to put on my night stand, ultimately, I would've felt horrible if something bad was to happen to the penguin lamp, so I just ended up choosing the regular lamp. After sayings thanks again, I head back to the room I was staying in and decided to try the converter to charge my laptop and by extension my iPod. Had the hardest time figuring out something so simple that I ended up Skyping my mom and ended up talking to her for an hour. Turns out I wasn't applying enough pressure connecting the wire to the converter. Winner is, once again, me.

After a nice conversation, I decided to call it quit and went to sleep for the night. And with that done. I should really get to typing what happened the next day. Took me two days to write THIS up. Should be up hopefully tonight? We'll see. More pictures in the next update, I swear.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 10, 2012 - The Flight Process

It is five in the morning Israel time (or is six because of daylights saving?) and I slept a good nine hours. I should technically still try and force myself to sleep, but I can't bring myself to do it. So instead, I decided to make a journal entry from the last post which consisted of me sitting on my butt waiting for the night flight. Let's do this.

8:55 - JFK Terminal 6
So after my last post, I looked around to see which familiar faces I will be seeing for the next fourteen hours and noticed that they were all strikingly old people. Happy old people, but old folks none the less. After an instruction from my mom the day prior to my flight, I went over to the table to see if I was still eligible to change seats to an aisle seat. As it was, I was in the middle row in the middle chair, and seeing that I was going to be on a plane with the elderly, I would have preferred to not be a nuisance on them in case I had to go to the bathroom.

As I waited for my turn, I felt something hit me on the back of my leg. Turning around, I saw it was a woman who looked about in her mid-40's picking up pieces of paper. Piecing two together, I leaned over and helped pick her papers up; you know, because it's the polite thing to do. After I helped her, she smiled and said "Mercy", now I could be an idiot and mistook it as that instead of "Merci" but I decided to let it slide. She looked me over and asked if it was my first time going to Israel, to which I simply replied no and asked if it was hers. Turns out, it was. The group of old folks? A bunch of catholics going to Israel for the first time to see where Jesus Christ was born. I honestly found that to be the cutest thing ever, because they were all smiling and giddy like a bunch of three year olds going to Disney World, and as such, I responded like a mom saying stuff like "You're going to have so much fun, it's a beautiful place" and so on. Needless to say, the woman was glowing. She later complimented my hat.

After being told that I couldn't because the plane was actually filled to the brim with people (seriously, it was a flight of 393 people). I went back to my wall and called up my parents to tell them I'm about to take off. There was this annoying lady who worked the airport, you know, the ones doing the announcements? And she had this frightful timing of making announcements whenever my mom was trying to tell me something. And it was just simple announcements, no, these were announcements over the microphone. Yelling. As if we couldn't hear her. She kept doing this until I hung up the phone.

So for those unfamiliar with how security works when traveling to Israel, you need to go through a second security check before boarding the actual plane. While it's the best thing to do in terms of security and making sure on safety (I'm all for it), people take a long time to through it. And like I said, half the plane consisted of the elderly. S instead of getting up and exhausting my legs just standing there, I decided to wait until the line went down. This was the plan of all the people who were ages 40 and younger. I met up with a family who all spoke hebrew and we all just sat there chilling like it was nothing while hoping at the same time the lines would go by faster but we eventually made it to the front.

9:00 - Delta Airplane
One of the things to do (which I'm guessing is new) is to show the receipt of any liquid products purchased at the terminal. Because I'm a hoarder of receipts (compliments to my dad who tells me to keep them so he can check when the bill comes in) I showed it to them no problem. I felt like a boss being all "BOOM! Here's the receipt! What's that? You want my I.D? Well here you go!"but I digress. And began to board the plane. And let me say this: The plane was PACKED. The guy wasn't lying, and I had to make it through to my seat. My seat was placed in a row of the catholic people (who I should once again point out, were beyond nice) and once I made my presence clear, the guy who sat on my right (that is to say, the aisle) quickly got up and helped place my carry on into an available overhead that was right across from me as well as my heavy winter coat.

I didn't ask for that.

Yet he did it without me asking. Clearly one of the nicest people I've met. So after I thanked him, I took out my magazine and began to read, waiting for the White Russian to go into full effect, when I heard the lady sitting in my aisle talking to the guy on my left about the bible. An elderly fangirl is the proper term I can think of for the two of them. It wasn't until she brought up Tel Aviv that I paid a bit more attention:

"It wasn't until I heard that there is gay pride in Tel Aviv, could you believe it? I mean, in the Holy Land, this isn't even glanced over? I'm surprised."

Clearly, this lady doesn't know that Israel isn't stuck in the Biblical ages, but I can't exactly blame her for assuming it is, taking into consideration that this was her first time going there and she's going off of the hype of the Bible. She also believed The Lorax isn't suitable for kids, so I tuned her out eventually, feeling the alcoholic effects going at full force. So I lowered my hat, and waited for the flight to commence.

As the plane took off into the air, they decided to play an in-flight movie. But due to being surrounded by HD for a good chunk, I mistook "Tower Heist" as an early 2000 movie. The two old ladies in front of my were dying of laughter of Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy's hijinks. Decided to watch an hour worth of it before I took the Advil PM and prayed to God that I wouldn't pull anything stupid in my drunken/drug induced state. Instead of watching more of Rattner's movie, I asked the guy who put my carry on if I could go through to go get it. He politely moved. And I began to curse that he put it way too far back. Eventually a flight attendant came by and helped me while I grabbed my sketch book and laptop with movies, but I had to move away from the food cart that was going through.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I nearly pulled a Kristen Wiig moment. Holding on to my things, I started walking away from the food cart only to be told to e told to keep going through when I looked at some of the passengers and gave them a glance if I could scoot over to where they were sitting until the food cart passed. But I kept walking all the way to the curtains that separate the classes. Not wanting to block the peoples' viewing of the movie, I was tempted to go through the curtains when a different flight attendant told me not to and to head back to my seat. I could've done so many things to make Bridesmaids proud, but I refrained. Worst thing I could've done was yell to everyone that there was an amish woman in colonial garb churning butter on the air place wing.

So once I sat down and passed the offer of airplane food (still being full form Chili's), I popped in the disk of "Puss in Boots" and watched that as everyone was slowly drifting off to sleep. After watching, I began my struggle of sleeping position without doing the following:

  1. Punching/kicking/smacking either gentlemen on my sides.
  2. Pissing off the person in front of me for my constant kicking.
  3. Pissing off the person behind me for reclining my chair far back.
While I didn't piss off the people behind, in front, and to the left of me. I did accidentally slap the guy to my right, to which I quickly began to apologize before he went back to sleep. I did feel horrible for smacking a guy who was up till now being very nice to me. I can't say I remember much, but I did toss and turn a lot before I found an odd position to fall asleep in that didn't wake anyone up. And I didn't wake up until the flight attendants were done serving breakfast to the passengers.

11:45 am - Ben Gorion Airport, Tel - Aviv 

The Captain made the announcement that our flight will arrive early to Israel but it won't be for another two or so hours. I killed the first hour by listening to music and the second hour watching "Despicable Me" for the millionth time. Both men that sat with me were watching it as well. I was secretly hoping that they weren't judging me for watching it. I doubt it.

As we were preparing to land, I was making sure everything was on me so I wouldn't forget my things. A tradition that comes with flying to Israel, is that people clap for the successful flight and landing from the captain, and usually, the people who clap are Israelis, at least that's what I've experienced it being. So per-tradition, ever Israeli (myself included) began to clap while the Catholics looked confused and we began to pick up are things. The nice man next to me, once again, taking down my carry on and coat for me. Thanked him for helping me close my bag after trying to shove my laptop into the bag and proceeded to walk.

I should mention this: I have two passports, one American, and one Israeli. The Israeli one has an official documented form that allows me to not take part any army related things during my stay in Israel. I got this paper after getting three letters from Israel regarding the army only because both of my parents are from Israel, and as such, I'm technically a citizen and have to join the army. I got one threatening letter that warned me that if I stepped foot into Israel, I will be arrested on the spot. It's all cleared up now, but still. This is important documentation.

As I was reaching the center of the terminal, I did a double check for my passport. I couldn't find it and a heart attack commenced. I ran back as fast I could to the airplane, praying that the people didn't clean it out yet. As I reached there I asked some of the flight attendants if they saw a black bag, and taking note that they were all speaking hebrew (and a trait I found out that I had, was that when stressed, I can speak fluent hebrew, and not the broken excuse of a mess that is my normal hebrew) and one of the guys there sat down with me, told me to take a deep breath, check my bags again to make sure it's not in between a crack or magazine before re-checking the plane. It wasn't in my bag, so we checked the plane. So through out the process we were all calling each other out in hebrew if we saw it. My brain hates me, so I mistook C39 as my seat when it was C29. Found it there, exactly how I left it, took in a huge deep breath, and thank the whole crew for putting up with me, to which they shrugged it off and told me to keep a better eye on it.

From then on, I had the passport bag around my neck like a necklace, not caring if I looked like a tourist. I didn't want to have another panic attack when I barely started the trip. I went to the passport check in, and went as an Israeli check in. The man looking through it told me that the army is looking for me, to which I answered as calmly as I could (still being on the adrenaline of the lost passport) that I have the paper to prove that I don't need to be in the army. He nodded and told me it would be in my best interest to call them up and tell them to update their files on me. He was nice.

I went to the baggage claim and saw nothing but flights from Germany. Again, I asked the people who worked there where are the luggages from America, and they pointed down saying there are a few bags left. And they were right, there were about... eight bags? I found both of mines the minute I laid eyes on the trail. And ran over grabbing it, leaving behind my carry on near a trolly as an announcement went off stating to not leave behind your luggages. Screw the rules, I have luggages to claim! Both bags weigh 45 and 38 pounds respectively, but I managed to pick both of them up. Separately, of course. After being placed on the trolley I made my way to the exit where most passengers wait for someone to pick them up or to go get a car, luckily my option was to wait for someone. According to my uncle, who came to pick me up with his two daughters, we didn't have to wait for each other. Perfect timing is perfect. I waved at them so they can spot me and was greeted to two shy girls and a big hug.

According to him, they made a bet to see if my hair was curly or not (and for the record, my hair naturally is curly, the profile pick was because it was a fresh hair cut therefore a fresh blow dry). The girl with the curly hair cheered that she won. So we made our way through the car and drove from Tel Aviv to Rishon LeTzion, roughly a 15 minute drive (or longer, I am in a jet lag induce state of mind at the moment) to visit my grandma from my mom's side as well as my aunt who lives with her. We joked during the drive that while cities around Israel updated and/or changed, Rishon has remained exactly the same, give or take a few new buildings and a fresh coat of paint. We made it to the apartment where the aunt waved from the window, a scene that looked like something from Rapunzel. Made me curious as to how long she was standing there. As we began to walk to the front of the apartment (we parked in the back), we saw an older woman speed walking (or what I assume is her version of running) at us. Old lady was my grandma, and she gave me a tackle hug, causing my hat to fly off my head and my headphones to strangle me. Remember how I said I don't like people being upset? Well, she became very emotional. VERY emotional. Can't say I blame her, but there wasn't a need to make that big of a scene, I also took a mental note that within the two years I haven't been in Israel, I succeeded at becoming taller than her.

We went upstairs where we waited for my other aunt (uncle's wife) and the third infant so that we can eat. Within the time frame of her arriving and me stepping into the apartment, my grandma rushed to make a phone call to my mom, as promised before I flew, apparently. Uncle began to worry about the time difference seeing as it was between 3 and 4 in the afternoon our time, making it roughly 7 or 8 in the morning in Miami. Luckily, my mom happens to wake up at those hours on the weekend, which baffled my uncle as to why she wakes up that early. Told her the events that transpired as well as the instructions of what to do next from her, she then asked for my grandma and hung up after they spoke. I should mention that through my discussion with my mom, my grandma not only stole my hat, but she took a prop knife that you wear on your head (you know, like someone stabbed you in the head) and danced in front of me; I was beyond freaked out by this gesture, and not because I was jet lagged. Shortly afterwards, my aunt and the five month old child came in and gave me a hug hello.

My grandma has this disgusting vile doll that would put Chuckie to shame. For as long as I can remember, that stupid thing has been there giving a nasty look to everyone. Giving a face of disgust, I sat next to it so I can talk with both my aunt and uncle (the aunt who lives with my grandma being busy entertaining one of the girls). I pushed the doll away and said quietly how much I hated this doll. So did they. They told me that before their first born, my uncle asked why my grandma didn't throw it away yet to which she replied that "she won't throw it out until they have a baby", fast forward a few years later and they have a third newborn and yet that damned doll is still sitting on the couch. My uncle then said we should just toss into the garbage and tell her to get another dog.

We ate dinner (or what little I could stomach, not that her food was bad, but more of it being that I wasn't that hungry) and we had a pleasant dinner conversation, with my uncle giving me some rather hilarious commentary to my grandma. The little baby boy sat quietly as my aunt was eating when my grandma decided to pester him. I love my grandma, but one thing I know she does is she comes very, very, VERY close to your face when she's eccentric. She means well, but personal space is something that does not exist when she's hyper. She picks up the child who very clearly wanted his mom and began to, as my uncle state, make dog noises that eventually raises their pitch. He was dead on. The other aunt joined in, and the baby, with all good reasons, began to flip out and reach out for my aunt who was drinking, and she took me and hushed him quietly. I barely knew the baby, but already I can tell that he cries for all the right reasons and not for some excuse.

We sat for coffee and tea, with me declining coffee mainly because I did plan on sleeping that night and waited patiently for my uncle to finish his coffee (this should be noted, it was technically the second batch because the first one was sweet coffee, with vanilla milk, and extra sugar and my uncle being on a diet for health reason and not wanting to get diabetes for something disgustingly sweet). Grandma and other aunt began to pester the baby again, and clearly the baby wasn't going to take any more of that crap and being exhausted, he began to yell at the top of his baby lungs as a signal to get out now. It was ear deafening. Not taking any more chances, I said good night to my grandma and aunt and left with my aunt and uncle and their three kids and drove to Modi'in (about 15 to 30 minutes from Rishon, depending which road you take).

I was zoning out and my uncle was doing everything to keep me awake till at least eight at night. But we eventually made it to the apartment where I was greeted with pictures on the door welcoming me, all drawn by the two girls that even in my zombie-like state, I smiled in appreciation. I don't remember much cause I was drifting off to sleep, but eventually I made a list with my aunt for shopping the next day and eventually unpacked the presents I had for them. Two barbie dolls from Tangled for the two girls as well as these Little Pet Shop toys you throw on the ground and they pop open, earrings for the middle child, summer clothes, socks, and shoes for the baby, a tunic/dress with a nice scarf and a over shirt for my aunt, and three shirts for my uncle. If there was ever an experience of Christmas, this was it. They were all glowing and I felt like Santa. It finally hit nine, and I was so exhausted that I changed clothes and passed out. And now here I am at five in the morning typing all of this up.

Pictures weren't taken due to being a zombie, and of the few I've taken, will be posed up soon. So, until next time!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 9, 2012 - The Journey Begins

9:00 am
Waking up today was not easy. It might have been because I was up till three in the morning putting music into my iPod I otherwise didn't have, or mainly because I was going through a wave a of emotions. Excited, nervous, eager, overwhelmed; it could be any of those things. Normally, I get nervous with and over powering sensation of excitement when I fly, but that's because I know that within a few weeks, I would be back in my bed at home. 

This is not the case. 

I'm spending five months overseas away from said bed and home. It didn't help that a few hours earlier I ended up breaking down into tears for reasons I was pretty sure was down right stupid but at the end of the day, it is a major step I'm about to do. When I first made my blog, I did it on the adrenaline that I'm about to do something life changing, exciting, and overall, a ton of fun. I was boosted up my friends and family that this is something great (jealousy was, supposedly, everywhere, however I found this uncomfortable) but when the days were closing in, and still being in this blissful ignorance, it was becoming apparent that this whole ordeal was turning from super special fun time to a bittersweet separation of sorts. Didn't help that I was constantly reminded to beware of rapists, robbers, stealers, and the possibility of moving permanently to Israel and the chance of my never coming back made me become scared to even go through with this whole trip.

So the tears came pouring, hugs and words of reassurance surrounded me, and eventually I closed my eyes to sleep for the morning.

That morning, I had the hardest time getting up. Again, might have been because of my late night endeavors, but I felt like it was mixed in with a bucket full of cold feet. I didn't want to say bye, I honestly hate that word more than anything, but I knew I had to do it. I already said it to my grandma, uncle, and friend the night before and that alone was a struggle to say. With a disgruntle toss, I got up, got dressed, packed the remaining laptop, chargers, and toothbrush into my bag and made my way downstairs for breakfast to Dr. Oz talking about women's periods and advocating on his show why birth control pills are the gift from the Gods because they can do various things like prevent cancer and calm the emotions. Probably one of the more disturbing breakfasts I had but that's something else. 

Hopped into the car with my brother and mom and drove down to the airport. I did the celebrity thing with the sunglasses to cover the face from showing emotions (though I'm pretty sure they do it for drug related reasons, except for Stevie Wonder who is blind and Cee-lo Green who I'm fairly certain has no eyes). As we drove, my mom brought up last minute reminders and the shenanigans she did to get our dog down the stairs (for those who don't know, my dog is old and cannot climb down the stairs, he can climb up it just find, but down? Forget it.) She then brought up how my sister begged to skip school to see me off and was apparently depressed. I already was trying to keep my mind focused from crying, but that did an excellent job and caused a crack on my somewhat wall of of emotions.

I cried. She changed the topic as fast as she could by talking about the drug dealer who uses children and celebrities were too stupid to now check the background and endorse.

When we got to the airport, I hugged my brother while holding back anymore tears to which he nonchalantly replied "It's only five months, we'll be seeing you sooner than you know." That was honestly the first time someone told me about the end coming faster as oppose to the usual "What happens in Israel, you will forever live in a Israel and never return." grim talk. All three of us took the two huge luggages and as my mom and I were about to go see if we can check it in outside (we shortly found out we couldn't cause it's international) the nice worker decided to help us bring it in, with my mom instructing my brother to go drive and wait till this is done so as to not cause traffic.

As we checked in the bag with another lady helping us (after the nice man left), we walked to the security check in when I felt the waterworks coming up again. Being a fast one, my mom hugged me and reassured me once again that she will be visiting soon and this is the best decision I have made so far in my adult life (and for the record, I'm a huge baby when it comes to airplanes and travels. I believe I've mentioned it already earlier). So after I bawled like a child, I went over to the security and waited in a line that would've put both Universal Studios and Disney World to shame. Eventually I made it up to show my passport and I.D to a very nice security guard who told me to go all the way to the left because the line was shorter, with another security guard guiding me along the way.

As per usual airport procedures, I went over to the empty bins to put my stuff through the x-ray machine. All the isles were going two at a time, as in, two people going at the same time in order to make things faster. So scurrying along, I reached out for a bin when I hear someone coughing for my attention. Looking up, there was a really tall sassy black man asking me what am I doing and giving me a rather nasty glare. Being to much an emotional wreck, I simply smiled at him and said meekly "Hello". Instead of just continuing to put his stuff in the empty bin he was already possessing, he continued to glare at me. Clearly, this man does not want some 5'5 white girl touching those bins around his presence. Giving a nervous chuckle I backed away, eyes of his being rolled as I stepped away and waited till he was a good five feet away from me. I was already depressed, I didn't need to start something as stupidly pointless as an issue with a bin.

When I did finally put my three bins worth of stuff on the rolls (forgot the word at the moment) as well as the actual carry-on, an old lady behind me looked at me as well as my stuff and gave a chuckle.

"You sure do have a lot of stuff." 

"Yeah… yeah I do. Heh." 

I'm such a people's person.

I asked to have a pat down instead of having to walk through the rotation machine and the lady there asked me if I had any sensitive areas she should be aware of, based on my previous experience with this question, I knew saying "I'm only ticklish" will usually result with a scoff, eye rolls, and a pat down. In that order. She was different, instead she simply smirked and proceeded to do her job. I laughed. She chuckled quietly to my laughing. I did warn her I was ticklish. Miami security guards are nice.

After given the O.K, I continued on to my gate and waited for my flight. I had an hour to kill, so I plugged into my iPod, and stared aimlessly at the people sitting around me. They all seemed awfully young… almost like high school students. What's funny is if I didn't say anything, most people would have chalked me as another high school student on a trip to New York. Luckily, there was another college student sitting minding his own business, I made it an effort to let the guy sit next to me. I don't know if I'm right, but based on his Penn State folder, I think he was from Penn State. He was nice, but we didn't talk much. We both knew our priorities. 

12:30 - Delta Airplane
After boarding on to the plane, I was behind an old lady who had the heigh of a middle schooler and in front of a Willie Nelson/George Carlin gentleman with a heavy southern accent and stood a good 6' tall. We were greeted by the flight attendant and made our way to our seats. According to the news, some airlines are making the overhead compartment bigger so as to let carry ons easier to fit in, or something of that extent. Because of the expansion of that, that made the roof lower, leading to a lot of people smacking their heads against it as they make their way to their seats. I sighed and felt bad for them when I heard a thunk. Turning around, I saw Willie Carlin holding his forehead murmuring "Jesus Christ! The over head is big, but they made it so that only MIDGETS can walk to their seats."  I was depressed earlier today, but that line alone made me laugh like an idiot. I covered my mouth so as not to make him mad (even if my laughter probably did the trick) but I saw him smiled back at me and laughed a bit himself. I made my way to my seat (which was four rows away from the butt end of the plane) and placed my carry on in the over head compartment hearing a crack happening as I did it. Not knowing what it was, I shrugged it off and made my way to my chair, shortly afterwards asked by a guy to switch spots so he can sit near his girlfriend. Both spots were aisle, so I didn't really care much for the change, so I smiled, switched spot, and successfully managed to smack my forehead into the overhead compartment and quoted Homer Simpson's "D'oh!"

7:03 - John F. Kennedy International Airport
The flight from Ft. Lauderdale to New York is about two hours. The first half hour was spent listening to music and amusing a little kid who was mesmerized by my hat prior to take off. I don't know if airlines secretly put chloroform into their air vents during flight, but I found myself shortly after passing out, as well as the majority of the passengers. After falling asleep for an hour, I spent the remaining time listening to some more music. Because of the pilot, which I'm fairly certain was an adrenaline junkie, we managed to land at 3:08 as oppose to the original 3:30 time. Probably looking like a tourist, I gawked at everything and tried to imagine where Tom Hank's character from "The Terminal" was. It took place in JFK, so I tried to find familiar spots, trying to take a picture of a mustard packet. Couldn't find a packet without having to go into the restaurants or bars so I just walked around saying "Moosetard" and feeling like a total boss. 

Made a phone call back home that I made it safe and sound and told to stories that happened after my emotional wussification*. The head compartment thing made my mom proud because she said, as I quote, "That's my girl!" So after talking to her, my sister, and my dad for nearly 40 minutes, I walked around a bit the terminal, seeing as I had four hours to waste before boarding. As discussed with my mom on the phone, we decided that I should go to Chili's to get some Molten Chocolate Lava with some mudslides. Fajitas were a bonus (which I found hilarious because earlier that day we were talking about how one restaurant's fajitas was a thousand times better than Chili's).

As I made my way to Chili's, I decided to get as plastered* as I physically can so as that I can pass out on the 14 hour flight. I should mention, I'm typing this drunk. My mom and I also discussed that I should get so drunk, that it would put Kristin Wigs' "Bridesmaids" airplane scene to shame (according to my mom, I would end up recreating Melissa McCarthy's scene in the airplane with the air marshall). They didn't have mudslides, but they did have White Russians which I heard was really strong. Win.

After eating a good chunk of the cake and fajitas, I finished up my White Russian and felt like the Big Lebowski, minus the bowling and John Goodman. I looked around and wondered how many people drank to either drink away their misery or to get as sh*t plastered as they can so they can sleep the long flight ahead of them like me. There was this hispanic family on what seemed like a business trip laughing up and having a good time, one of the guy laughed like if Spongebob Squarepants was a fifty year old man and laughed every five minutes. But that aside, I figured they're drinking for happy reasons. Next to them was a college student raging out to this guy while drinking a beer, so she had to be rage drinking. Suddenly, the airport didn't feel much like an airport, and more like a starbucks / restaurants of sorts. Which I was alright with, a few minutes of not feeling homesick was good. 

Trying not to look like a total drunk, I walked into a magazine store and bought two magazines and a water bottle. I smiled and thanked the store clerk and walked to my gate where I sat down and decided to type up this journal. The one thing that was bothering me about this terminal was that while it wants you buy for internet connection, you need the internet to get it. For $7 to use an an internet I felt was a bit silly and decided to charge my iPod after my previous use as well as start up typing my journal in text format. No internet meant no updating journal. And I didn't want to forget minor details until I got internet back, most likely in Israel.

So here I sit, on my butt on the floor charging my computer so it wouldn't die while I typed out this journal entry of day one. And already I have what I'm assuming, two pages worth of an entry. The plan on the plane is to wait an hour during the flight, swallow Advil PM and pass right out for, hopefully, a good chunk of the flight. I have my books and movies, but the less things to do and more sleep, the better. I know my neck will never forgive me cause of my sleep position, but hopefully I will be resourceful. I really do hate overnight flights… ugh.