Started from the bottom, Now I’m here

Family-Dinner

For those of you who were following my travels, you probably know I had a rather unfortunate start to my trip. I’m going to keep this short, but to summarize, I was delayed on the runway in Chicago due to a snow storm in Toronto causing me to miss my connecting flight. Then, I was all alone running around Pearson International Airport trying to book another flight. Finally, they squeezed me on the last row of an airplane flying from Toronto to Tel Aviv with a 5-hour layover in Frankfurt. By the time I arrived in Tel Aviv, it was nearly midnight on Monday night (I should have gotten to Israel 12 hours earlier). I landed at Ben Gurion Airport only to find that my luggage did not make it. When I got to my apartment, I had to sleep on a barren mattress with no blanket or pillow. For 4 days, I was in Tel Aviv without any of my things. To make matters worse, the airports could not locate my luggage. I was seriously thinking it would be lost forever!! I give major thanks to my Mom and the travel agents at American Express for tracking down my suitcases. Toronto, on the other hand, was completely incompetent. By Friday night, my luggage was delivered to me. PHEW! I could finally get settled in (and not wear pajama shirts and leggings every day).

I unpacked, happily put on my gym shoes, and joined a gym. The gym here is something else, I tell ya. It’s a no-frill gym in a basement full of sweaty Israeli men. I definitely miss Sky Fitness already. I can’t wait until I learn my way around this place so I can figure out how to get to the beach. Running next to the Mediterranean Sea is way better than running on a dingy treadmill.

Okay, bear with me for one more minute… I’m almost done with my complaints. Our apartment is quite the sight. We call it the Levinsky Shit Hole. The showers are small and disgusting, our tiny bathroom sink leaks, my “closet” is just a couple shelves, and the beds are prison cots. Our “full kitchen” (as promised by the Destination Israel website) consists of a toaster oven, a fridge that freezes everything, a microwave, and hot plates that don’t get hot. It will definitely be an adjustment. I miss my Mom’s cooking, but we have managed to make a few good meals. The picture above is all of us at a family dinner. We made lemon chicken, Israeli cous cous with mushrooms, a tossed salad, and green beans. There are few things that make our apartment worth it. For one, we have an AMAZING rooftop patio. It is huge and has a beautiful view of the city. Once it gets warmer out, we will be hosting a bunch of parties out there! My roommates are also wonderful. From left to right, we have Danny, Hannah (the girl with whom I share a room), Jess, Mitch, and Jesse. Not pictured are Ashley and Gil. The people on this program are super cool. We’ve all bonded and I’ve made close friends already. I’ve gone out a few times with the group and Tel Aviv has an epic nightlife. I can’t wait to explore more clubs and bars.

In other news, I started my Ulpan class. I’ll be learning Hebrew for 5-7 hours every day for the next two weeks. Luckily, I’m in the most basic class. We struggle counting past 3…

I can’t wait until March. Hopefully it will be warmer by then (the weather has been cold and rainy). It’s also Purim, which is like Halloween on steroids!!! Plus, I start my internship. I’m really looking forward to starting my job. Playbuzz just surpassed Buzzfeed as the website with the most shares on Facebook. I’ve only heard amazing things about this company! March is also the month when I get to see my family again! I miss them so much.

Although I had a rough start, I am confident that things will get better. I still haven’t had falafel or shawarma yet, so I need to get on that FAST! There are so many restaurants that I need to try. My place is just 5 minutes from this awesome street, Rothschild, with a ton of cute cafes and kosher restaurants. Well, I am super behind on my American television shows so I must wrap up this post.

From my screen to yours,

Carlie

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