Monday was its usual long day. When I got home, however, a number of us decided to go to see Avatar. Gabe Co, Joshy, Miles, Gelb, Joe and I went to Talpiot, to the Rav Chen cinema where we saw the movie. Avatar is one of the most incredible movies I have ever seen. The movie is a 3D epic about coexistence between enterprising, colonizing humans and the locals of a planet called Pandora. The basic idea is similar to that of the marginalization of Indians by the United States in the 19th century. The 3D in this movie is not a gimmick that is needlessly employed; the audience's immersion in the beauty of the planet Pandora is critical to the development of the film. There are some pretty cool fight scenes too. Avatar is the most expensive movie ever made with a budget of around $300 million. To date, it has grossed over $400 million - it deserves every penny; it's well worth seeing.
I woke up Tuesday still marveling about how good Avatar was. After Hebrew I went back to the room and watched an episode or two of lost with Adina. We also went to the Mister Zol down the street to buy stuff for one of her friends. I also picked up another bottle of apple juice. So far this year I had chosen to forego apple juice because in Israel it always lets me down. A few weeks ago I was out shopping with Brian at that same Mister Zol and he bought a bottle of a kind I'd never tried before so I figured I'd buy one too. It's the most similar to American apple juice that I've found. It is great to have real apple juice again, hopefully I'll be able to find it once we're down in Yerucham. Tuesday night was Erev Nativ. We did a program when we went around the circle answering questions asked by our staff. People were encouraged to be respectful to others and truthful in their answers. After we all answered questions the staff asked who people thought was most truthful, who we were most similar/different to, who loves life the most, who would be the best leader. I think that the program was very interesting. After the program Rachel, Adina, Debbie and I discussed everything in my room. There were definitely some problems with the program, but there were also some very good aspects.
On Wednesday we had the first part of our Hebrew final, the oral exam. I spoke for about three minutes on one of the stories that we read before my teachers cut me off and told me I'd done fine. It was a good feeling to know that the oral went well, especially since I wasn't sure what to expect with the written exam on Friday. On our way into Alick's class, there was a group of Christians singing carols. I got there a little too late to hear them, which was a let-down, but once he got there Alick said "I dare anyone to name a Hanukkah song that is even half as good as Silent Night." Not sure if that's the Christmas song I would have picked, but they certainly are wonderful. Another one of Alick's gems was when class discussion turned to the (quickly overturned) arrest warrant in the UK for Tzipi Livni for war crimes. "War crimes?" Alick scoffed, "I've committed more war crimes that Tzipi Livni." A lot of the class laughed, but then he reminded them that 18 years of combat duty (reserves included), including both Lebanon wars, adds up. A rather sobering realization that this funny, sweet, learned man is also a battle-hardened warrior - Israel makes for some very interesting people.
Thursday is a day off. I woke up at 1:30 PM and hung around the room working for a while. Thursday night Gabe and I headed over to Lev Yerushalayim to see Raffi, Alex and Elan. It was great to see them (and not just because Alex had a bag with pumpkin bread in it for me) and I'm excited to spend the next couple weeks hanging out with them. I got back to my room a little bit after midnight and was able to fall asleep pretty quickly, despite having only been awake for 12 hours.
On Friday we had our Hebrew final. Josh Goldberg pointed out that you know Israel is a special country when it seems weirder to you that you're coming in to school on a Friday than on Christmas. I think the final went well, but it's always hard to tell with these things. For sure, my essay was really good, and so was the oral, I'm not sure about some of the finer grammatical exercises but we'll see. Friday afternoon I spent some time in the Shuk walking around with Raffi, Alex, Elan, Gabe and others. While I was waiting to buy Marzipan, the guy behind the counter handed me one steaming hot, right out of the oven. It was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. After I got home and got dressed for Shabbat, Tyler, the Gabes, Joe and I headed over to Josh apartment for davening and Shabbat dinner. We had a wonderful time with wonderful food and cool people. After dinner, we played Settlers and sung zmirot and then we headed home. Raffi and Alex came to base and Gabe and I hung out with them for an hour or so, catching up.
On Saturday I slept through a wake-up knock from Adina, and slept until 12:40. I made it down to lunch just in time to grab something. I hung out with Joe for a while and then Joe, Gabe Co, Tyler and I headed back to Josh's for wiffleball. I had a lot of hand trouble, but it was still fun. Saturday night a lot of us went out to celebrate Shara's birthday. A lot of visitors joined us a Herzl and all over downtown having a good time.
This morning the Silicon Seven (minus Joey, who isn't feeling well) had our usual lunch followed by class. This is the start of finals week, so we'll see how things go. Navah is here in addition to Alex and Raffi, so I'm looking forward to spending lots of time with them in between studying. That's all for now.
Talk to you soon,