Friday, June 15, 2012

blogging from Israel

I figured since I am unable to give you a video I can write you one of my old school blogs. This one will hopefully excite you as much as it excites me.
I have been in Israel for a little over a week now and I have loved it. the Wednesday I got here I started off with a great run around Ramat Hasharon. I know you all think I am crazy but sitting on a plane for 6 hours, an airport for a couple hours and another plane for 12 hours you get sick of just sitting. After unpacking a tiny bit I put on my running shoes and booked it out of the apartment for a great run. That was after a lunch with my cousin at this small sushi restaurant in Tel Aviv that I am tempted to go back to. To be honest I am just craving sushi like always. Maybe a new sushi joint is in order here in Israel? Thursday was also a nice day. I went with Lili to this cafe that my mom goes to whenever she is in Israel and met some of her friends here. I don't know why this is but Israeli's in Israel are far nicer than Israeli's in the states. I do have a theory though. I believe that every Israeli who is in the states is bitter because something (tangible or intangible) is preventing them from coming back home. Luckily my ICNIC is very different. after coffee and a delicious "breakfast" I continued the day with Lili by going to the movies and seeing this film I don't know the name of. it was a Muslim film about a morroccan tribe. In this tribe this woman who entered the tribe through marriage. The tribe has a tradition where the women must go to the only source of water which is up on this ridiculous mountain to get water for everyone in the tribe and this includes pregnant women because of this there are many incidences of misscarriage. The main character, the woman I mentioned tries to stop it by creating the love strike. She has all the married women of the tribe refuse to have sex with their husbands until they start getting water for themselves or until they have a pipe coming down to the tribe. It becomes a huge conflict and creates an amazing movie. Friday got even better with a trip to the PRIDE FESTIVAL. It was so crazy. I saw all the fun booths met some people from all over the world, walked the parade and then went to the small after party down at the beach. Thanks to my minimal brain capacity and the shear stupidity of not putting on sunscreen I got a little burnt but it was so worth it. this ended with a lovely family dinner with my cousn's and little new cousin's I got to meet. Saturday I went to Tel Aviv with Naama and a friend of hers. FYI I am just down right bad with names, so know I don't remember her friends name. We had "breakfast" and went to a couple shops.
Notice the love paranthesese for "breakfast" this is because an Israeli breakfast doesn't occur till like noon. I am used to a 6:00 am breakfast so no this isn't really breakfast. All though I do get breakfast items. I tend to get the Israeli breakfast which I have to explain to you because it is ingenious. This breakfast includes 2 eggs done any style you like with cheeses, salads and other food items that you can choose from on the side. My favorite things to get on the side are smoked salmon, roasted peppers, roasted eggplant, and of course Israel salad. The sides can change for each restaurant but usually it includes like 3-4 different cheeses which I tend to skip.
back to what I have done so far. after Tel Aviv my amazing aunt drove me to Jerusalem where I stayed with the Cohen's for a night. It was great. They are so nice and Jerusalem is just a spectacular place to begin with. We went to the light show in the old city which was so unique. It is a mix between stomp and blue man group with the walls of the old city as the background. We got back to the house at 1 in the morning and I honestly don't even know when I woke up after that. all I know is that at nine I was at Yad Vashem.
Yad Vashem needs to be a paragraph of it's own, it should even be it's own book, but I will cut it short for you guys. It was the hardest experience of my life. the most heart wrenching, gut punching experience for a history buff who listens to her grandma tell her story of survival all the time. To begin you walk into the enterance building where they check your stuff, and if you wish you choose to go on a tour or walk alone.I decided I was better than a tour. so I got those cool head phones that give you translations. after the builing you walk outside and head to the museum. you walk over a small bridge where you head through these doors into a stone like building, almost triangular. the first thing you see is to your left where there is this video are of the lives of European Jews pre-holocaust. For myself this is what made everything that much harder to go through. Knowing that in just days, even moments the smiles would dicipate, the singing would change and those people shown on the video may not even survive the next year was just depressing. after that you continue with images of Jews being stacked together with logs and burnt. then you go through a zigzag of varuious rooms. each room resembling a different aspect of the holocaust and inbetween the rooms dents in the floors showing you more videos and stories. the first dent shows you books that were burnt in the late 1930s that may teach citizens of something other than what Hitler believed. other dents showed videos of the war, of Poland, Russia and other countries being invaded. the rooms showed different points of history. In one room you saw how Jews and others were perscuted, humiliated and stripped of all of their possessions. In another room you saw and felt the experience of being in a consentration camp, and in another room you walked into Aushwitz and saw what truly occurred in this horrific place. there were other rooms of course. the one that truly hit me was when I entered a room that gave names of those who risked their own lives to save the lives of others. You first see Schindler's list, then you get to go through other stories. At first I looked for Sousa Mendes of the portugal consulate who saved many Jewish lives in France by bringing them to Portugal, then I looked for John Paul II who was a holocaust hero before he became the pope. He was a great ally to the Jews then and until his death and the fact that he has some racist German guy after him (not that I hate him for being German) just baffles me. He saved a few lives during the holocaust but unfortunately I couldn't find his name. Then I also looked for the names of those who saved my grandma because supposedley they are there but failed to find them. Next time I come I am dragging my grandma here so she can help me search. I spent a while in that room and it was the second most intense room for myself. the first was the Izkor room. the room of rememberance where you enter this circular room, which has a circumferance filled with books of the names of those killed during the holocaust and this sphere like ship above you with images of many of those people. as you look down a mirror that makes this sphere look like the millions of people killed. that was the last room believe it or not. What was great was that after this room you exit the museum to this view of Jerusalem, this beautiful land with so much potential. We had to experience a holocaust to attain it but we have it! Now it is time to move forward and grow! that is the message of that view. Not quite done with the experience by the way. you go through the childrens memorial which is the giant dark room with a cemetary like memorial with the names of some of the children that were killed. I nearly fell to the floor when I entered this room. I just imagined my baby cousins, the little Mamans and other little children today and imagine them having there whole lives taken away for reasons they don't understand. there is more and believe me I was tempted to continue but I emotionally couldn't so I have decided that I will go back soon.
I called up Dorite and we grabbed lunch afterwards. I got to eat lunch at the house on my own which was great because g-d knows after that I needed to get some emotions out. right on time after I cry my eyes out over the most delicious salmon I have ever eaten. the boys come in. first Ohad who is Dorite's youngest. He just ran in and out cause he was playing with a friend. After him Yonatan who came to say hi. He looks more and more like his dad each time I see him. It was great talking to him. He did come in as I was studying (like I should be right now).that leads me to me miraculously passing out. I went upstairs to continue studying and instead woke up at around 4 to realize I didn't even re-open the books which was fine by me. I went to Eden Teva afterward which is a better version of Wholefoods. MUCH BETTER! Then we went off to the mall for a bit until I had to head to the train back to Tel Aviv area to get to a bus that would take me to Ramat Hasharon which never showed up so I took a cab instead with a funny driver.
That Monday, after I cooked up a couple meals for the day I went on the computer to check facebook and to do some homework. One of the first posts I see on facebook was of Vandalism that occurred at Yad Vashem found that morning. Two thoughts entered my head. FIrst, "Shiz, I swear it wasn't me." the Second thought was "WTF, where's my pitch for, I have some forking to do on some A***WHOLE!!" Seriously, though WHY? I took that in for a bit and luckily had plans to hang out with Shvartzi that day. Shvartzi is one of my mother's best friends. To put it into perspective, when my mom came back to Israel after a spring break with my dad she ran to Shvartzi to ask her what to do. It was actually great to spend time with her. we did "breakfast" where I grew more appreciation for her and for the ICNIC! We talked about everything and Shvartzi did spill on a few phone calls she had with my ICNIC while I was sick. I LOVE YOU ICNIC! after breakfast we enjoyed a walk around Shook HaCarmel where I bought myself a new wallet. that's all I bought but it was still great. I came home after and pretty much just did some homework.
Tuesday was the first day of the Conference which was really I opening. Learned about Failure to Thrive which is the inability for growth in children. We learned about how this is due to eating disorders in the children caused by behavior of the parents.There were stories of children who are just months or just a year old not eating or not knowing how to eat properly. There was one story of a poor girl who refused to eat, a story of a mother who had her child take of his clothes so he didn't get them dirty and a few other stories. The fun part was the picnic that we had. it is an observational picnic that they tend to do on the children that come to the clinic to see what their patterns around food are. to be honest I knew it was going to be hard for me considering I am a poster child for binge eating and over controlling my food. We had to pick out what we would normally eat, so I  grabbed a few slices of eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, and half an apple. I wasn't really hungry at the time. Eveyone else had these plates filled with bread and cheese, some with cereal and milk and so forth. You can understand for someone who has been dairy and gluten free for a while this can be a little intimdating. I should ad that after grabbing our food we wouldn't eat it. we had to switch places with someone else. Luckily after informing them of my own dietary needs I ate my own food. Not to my liking though. we were partnered up with someone else, got a sheet of paper telling us how we get to eat. I had to be verbally forced by my partner to shove down the food as fast as possible. NOT FUN!!! This was to understand why children can be so impacted by parents and the way they learn to eat.
Wednesday, day two of the conference I learned about the Meditarranean diet. The one aspect that I took that I absolutely believe in is that the diet is not exactly about the food eaten in the diet but about a lifestyle. it is about being active, eating with friends and family, and cooking your own food. the whole Oils aspect and so forth is important but the bottom of the pyramid, where grains and breads used to be are lifestyle choices :). I also went through a leadership workshop by Beatriz Dykes who was so inspiring. The woman has become my inspiration to succeed in life.
Yesterday, the last day of the conference was just as great. I mainly learned about Diabetes, Dietetics in Israel, the military and nutrition and about eating disorders. I learned a boat load. While doing so I pigged out on the most amazing dates I have ever eaten and luckily I got a bag for the plane flight to San Diego.
I can't remember which night I went out with Lissa. I do know that it was great because we went on a fun accidental long walk, and we ate at this Cafe, Cafe 111 that had this amazing mushroom salad.
Today was a pretty chill day. I went for a long walk, did some homework, then went to CafeNeta in Sokolov where I had Bahgdadi Salad, which was also amazing! I love the different types of salads I have had this past week. The food in Israel is something else without a doubt. Now I am finishing up dinner with the family and maybe do something tonight. I don't really know we shall see.
I really don't want to leave. honestly coming back, it's like I never left to begin with. and lord know this time around I don't want to leave. especially if my little brother is gonna become a star here ;). Unfortunately only six days left.
I should get going..
Till Next Time!
Nicoly

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