My First Week in Israel


So I thought it would be interesting to continue my description of Israel using my five senses and what I’m experiencing through the use of each. Forgive me if it is at all repetitious of what I’ve written before.

Israel surprised me. It doesn’t look very foreign where we live. The moshav is very camp-ish and complete with a community entrance gate, a tiny grocer within walking distance, and an Elvis Inn Café which serves non-kosher cheeseburgers, fries, and milkshakes.
Our individual dorms are small (there are 20 students – 10 girls and 10 guys – in my whole dorm) but not too foreign. The most foreign aspect would be our showers, which basically consist of a tiny cement room with a window (whose slots we have to keep open to avoid mildew). Electricity is slightly different but it’s really fine although we’ve had a few things get burned out because of wrong adaptors, etc.

I have to say I do miss American food. The foods I miss include cheeseburgers (it’s way too expensive to eat at the Elvis Inn), blt’s, pork (all kinds, cooked any way..lol), Mom’s sausage and biscuits, American seasonings, and fresh salads with Kraft salad dressings. =D On the other hand, I have to wonder whether the food here is getting better or if I’m getting more and more accustomed to it. The last few days’ food has been great.
Breakfast is served each morning at 7am. It is by far the favorite meal of us IBEX’ers. I think that is because is the meal we can depend on being good and honestly, the most American. The “restaurant” serves eggs, fruite, cheese, raw fish (it’s actually pretty good), cottage cheese (the best I’ve ever had), cereal (hot and cold), and small pancakes with some kind of Israeli syrup (we’re not exactly sure what it is, but we’re learning not to ask..lol).
Lunch is okay. It’s good one day, not so great the next. Lately they’ve been serving gizzard, which is actually fine – not to eat too often, of course – and chicken, rice, lentils, lentil soup, and various pickled vegetables of which carrots, onions, and cabbage are the most popular.
Dinner is pretty good. Normally we put on our plates what we know we like and possibly one thing new. The menu is very similar to lunch and besides chicken and rice, they don’t normally serve the same dish twice. Fish is also common for dinner.

Overall, I would say what I’ve smelled of Israel so far….(lol..that sounds weird).. leaves me enjoying a ton less pollution. The air is much cleaner is general. Jerusalem specifically offers some foreign smells and markets are some of my favorite areas so far. They smell of curry and other foreign spices, foreign foods (like falafel – mm…good), cigarettes, foreign herbs, and other unidentifiable smells.

Some of you were concerned that I’d spend my nights listening to gunshots and exploding bombs. Were you right!!! We’ve spent a few nights huddled in our bombshelter! JUST KIDDING!!!
We live in a very peaceful area, and I have yet to hear anything dangerous here on the moshav (Jerusalem is another story…). The most I’ve heard is the classroom alarm I accidentally set off the other morning when opening up the classroom.
Speaking of my job, check out my mop-dance routine on Facebook (lol). Things that happen late at night when we’re hanging out (not cowering) in the miklat (bomb shelter). =D I also just found out that I am the IBEX mailman. =D How appropriate! I pick up the mail and newspaper and deliver them to the appropriate places. By the way, unlike I first told you guys, I CAN receive packages as long as they’re sent through the USPS (not UPS, DHL, etc) and labeled as “garage sale” value …. *hint, hint*…lol

Touch:… or “feel”… as I will discuss it
Currently, I feel somewhat tired due to our late nights in the miklat, our early mornings (I’m up about 6-6:30 every morning), and our all-day trip to Jerusalem today. My throat’s a little sore, but I’m beating this cold without even developing a bad cough…yet…so I’m pretty happy. =D
The weather here is pretty cold. It gets really cold at night, but during the day you can take off your sweatshirts and jackets as long it’s not raining and you have atleast a ¾ sleeve shirt on. The time that that is possible is short and it is pretty dark by 5:30pm every night.
As a whole, I feel really comfortable here. Part of it, I feel, is because this place has a lot of American influences. Almost every sign has both Hebrew and English, so I don’t feel too lost and out of place.
It’s been really neat getting to know everyone here at IBEX. There are 32 students, mostly from Master’s but one from Corban, BBC, and University of Arizona. I’m learning a lot about the areas in which I need to grow and about the character qualities I lack. (I’ll put a list at the end of this summing up what I’ve learned so far). Once again, I’m learning the foundational aspects of knowing God versus knowing about God. What does it matter if I live in the land of the events of the Bible if I don’t take the time to spend personal time with the living God of the Bible?

These last few days:
These last few days since our first trip to Jerusalem have been spent in class, working, and goofing off in the miklat. Yes, we do sleep too. =D The miklat is definitely the student lounge hang-out (in fact, when the library closes tonight, I’m headed there). The library, I’ve also found, despite the high concentration of students that spend hours and hours there, is not a “hang out” place. A couple of us (I won’t name names..lol) almost got thrown out because, unlike the TMC library, talking in the library really is unacceptable. Lol

I have to go, but I will continue this as soon as possible. =D I have a lot more to say, but he library is closing very soon. Gotta run!

Lessons I’ve learned:
• How prideful and self-centered I can be
• How much it’s pointless to study ABOUT God if you’re not making a point in your own private devotions to to KNOW God
• That I need to be more self-disciplined
• That I’m self-centered in my pursuits of friendship and relationships
• That character is way more important than popularity
• That leadership is not something I deserve but something I need to earn and which I may not be ready for
• That time management is a choice
• That I don’t love the Lord the way I should and the way I want to
• That contentment is a heart-condition, not a circumstance
• That I like living without
• That gratefulness is also a choice
• That God give you grace for everywhere He puts you
• That God’s plans are way higher than anything I can ever understand but also way better
• That it’s not about being in Israel, but it’s all about the God of the events of the Bible

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