Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving in Jlem, Jazz and Sacrifices

Monday was a long day as always. I spent my breaks watching The Lord of the Rings, to catch up to a few other Nativers so that we can all watch the third one together. That night was a girls football game. They lost by a lot, but not because their fans weren't supportive. We were cheering our heads off, confusing the other team's offense and supporting our girls as much as we could. On the way home I had a nice chat with Jordana (who had a spectacular catch during the game), about what I can't remember, but our conversations tend to be quite good and engaging.

On Tuesday I had Hebrew in the morning followed by lunch at Frank Sinatra. In the early evening Gabe, Jonny and I headed over to a place downtown for haircuts. We were all terrified. The place is a haircutting academy. It was the first time I'd had my hair cut by a sixteen year old Arab boy, and let me tell you, he was no Maryanne. My hair doesn't look bad, its just not what I'm used to. I may go to Adam for my next haircut and have him just give me a buzz on a seven or eight. Tuesday evening was Erev Nativ. We started all together in -3 before breaking out by track. Noah and Cori led a discussion about the Hadag Nahash song Shirat HaSticker (The Sticker Song). The lyrics to this song were written by Israeli novelist David Grossman. I have done similar programs many times, but I still found them interesting and Noah and Cori put a different spin on it by printing out images of the bumper stickers mentioned in the song.

On Wednesday we had Kol Nativ rehearsal after a long day at school (I got back my PSchinds midterm - I was pretty happy with the result) and then I went out to dinner with Brian, Ilana, Asaf, Lainie and Jesse at HaShamen - a great shwarma place that gives you a choice among turkey (the most commonly used at every other shwarma joint), chicken and a mix of beef and lamb. The reason to go to HaShamen is for the lamb one which is just so delicious (though I could see chicken tasting really good). Afterwards we met up with other Nativers for a really fun night, culminating in a trip to McDonald's with Joey, Nadav and others. Though this McDonald's isn't Kosher, their ice cream, of course, is. And it costs 3 shekels ($0.79) for a big cone. It's probably emblematic of how cheap we all are that we refer to places by the cost of their products. Three good examples would be Seven Shekel Beer, 25 Shekel Pizza and now Three Shekel Ice Cream - obviously they're not the best ice cream or pizza in town (Aldo's and Big Apple, respectively), but hey, they're cheap.

Today was my last Freshman Writing class. Our final papers are due in a week, hopefully that won't stress me out too much. We got back the first five pages that we'd written and she liked mine and gave very constructive criticism. I then had a mid-semester academic advising session with Reina (the Freshman academic advisor who also handles Nativ - she's a past Nativer). She asked about my classes, and I'm glad to say that I was generally able to give positive reports. When I got home I took a nap for a few hours and woke up just before 5 for our final Kol Nativ rehearsal before the performance. When we finally did perform we were good, but not great. Whatever, room to grow. As we headed into dinner we were directed to a table outside the dining room with envelopes on it. Everyone took the envelope with their name on it and headed to the tables to open them. Inside were emails solicited and printed out by our staff from our family members. So cute and sweet! Thanks to all of you who wrote and to Shosh for organizing this great surprise!

Dinner was good. The turkey was good, as was the stuffing, but there were several things missing (in order of importance):
1. Family
1a. Pigs in Blankets
2. More Spanish spoken than English
3. Grandma's turkey and gravy
4. My apple pie
5. Navah's meatballs
6. Football
7. The Macy's parade
It was clear that Nativ was doing its best to make us feel at home and the efforts were very much appreciated!

Ilana, me, Shara and Gabe - 201 pride!

After dinner we went to -3 to watch the Thanksgiving video that two Nativers had put together using footage that they'd filmed of us and pop culture video clips. After the presentation, a bunch of us, including Brian, Asaf, Joey, Joshy, Meir, Jesse, Jordana, Judah and me went to the Davidson Center (next to the Southern Wall) for a jazz concert. It wasn't truly jazz - more funk and jazz-inspired stuff than real Bill Clinton at the Apollo jazz - but it still sounded good. After the concert, Brian, Jordana, Joshy, Jesse and I walked the walls of the Old City a little and then headed home. We actually went home three different ways, Jesse and I were the only ones who went my usual way. As we were skirting the edge of the Armenian Quarter, walking on the edge of a parking lot, we spotted a group of Muslim boys pushing a goat, standing up inside of a shopping cart. The sight was only inexplicable for a moment before we realized that tomorrow is Eid al-Adha of the Feast of the Sacrifice. Once we realized that, the scene became simply ridiculous. This was no small goat either; it probably weighed at least 90.718474 kg (200 lbs). Tomorrow, they will sacrifice it to commemorate Ibrahim almost sacrificing Ishmael (you'll recall that our story is slightly different) and donate the meat to poor Muslims. A little weird if you ask me, but that's religion for you.

I thought about putting in a things for which I am thankful piece here, but I decided that that would be far too cheesy. Instead I'll just say that I'm thankful for those of you who choose to read my blog. If any of you want to post lists of thanks in the comments, feel free!

Finally, here's an article I found really cool: Israel's top ten must-have gadgets
Hope you like it!

Happy Thanksgiving and I'll talk to you soon,

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