The final days of the program are upon us. I will be leaving Tel Aviv on Friday morning and heading back to Chicago. I can’t believe it’s actually time to go. I am truly going to miss this place. It has been a surreal 5 months. Before I get all sappy reflecting my time here, I’ll give you the quick highlights of the past two weeks. . .
Thursday, June 25 was Laila Lavan (“White Night”), one of the biggest cultural nights of the year in the city that never sleeps. Bars and clubs stay open all night long and the streets are packed with parties. I spent the night wandering the city with my friends Jackie and Jess. We started just a few minutes from my house on Rothschild Boulevard. We walked up the road and happened to stumble upon a huge, free DJ show. There was a big stage with lights and electronic music blasting. We danced there for a couple of songs and then made our way down the long street all the way to Rabin Square where we rented headphones and danced in the silent disco. Next, we went to an open air party with deep house and techno tunes followed by free champagne bottles and more dancing at this bar called Buxa.
The following Friday, July 3, was the day I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. Tel Aviv was hosting a mini “A State Of Trance Festival” with Armin Van Buuren, Andrew Rayel and Jochen Miller. Armin is my absolute favorite DJ and I am SO happy I finally got to see him! The show was incredible. There is something really special about trance music. It has the ability to bring people together. You are free to be who you are, regardless of political or social identity. I know people criticize electronic music, but it does generate a culture of love and unity. Unfortunately, commercialized EDM has given the scene a bad rap. Okay, I’m going to end my rant, but you can click on this article for further reading. And, if you want to see how amazing this music scene can be, I recommend going to Electric Forest or listening to trance music. Back to the concert. . . I still get chills thinking about the moment Armin wrapped the Israeli flag around him during “This Is What It Feels Like” or the time he dropped Gouryella’s Anahara and showed us all how uplifting trance music is (click on the link to watch the short video). Wow, i can go on and on about this, but I won’t bore you any longer. After the show, we met some more friends out at one of my favorite clubs, The Block. It was a Britney x Beyonce night, which was so much fun! Friday definitely was one of my favorite nights here!!!
Because this is my last blog post, I’m going to make it reflective and informative. You probably all know this already, but I officially accepted my job offer at Playbuzz. I will be moving to New York in October to start my career! In the spirit of Playbuzz, I am going to write two listicles. First, I want to give you all a list of my favorite bars/nightclubs in Tel Aviv. The nightlife was such a crucial part of my experience here. As I said many times, I’ve had a ridiculous amount of fun, and I owe it all to the people and the places!
The Best Places To Go Out In Tel Aviv
- The Block (house/techno)
- Breakfast Club (house/techno)
- Kuli Alma
- Tangier (a bracelet bar)
- Par Derriere (a cute wine bar)
- Toma (bracelet bar)
- Biggy Z (bracelet bar)
- Clara (outdoor beach club)
Since I finished my internship last week, I’ve had a ton of free time. I decided to use this time to discover new restaurants. But, to be honest, I was also way too lazy to buy food and cook. I ate at several fantastic places. If you’re ever coming to Tel Aviv, please ask me for recommendations because I like to consider myself a foodie with a palette for excellence. I spent 5 months eating my way through Israel and I never had a disappointing meal. It’s hard to narrow down this list, but I tried my best!
21 Tel Aviv Restaurants That Will Make Your Mouth Water
- Messa (very expensive but so worth it)
- Moon (best sushi ever)
- Vicky Cristina
- Dallal (go for brunch)
- Manta Ray
- Old Man and the Sea (prepare to overdose on dips)
- Miznon (perfect spot for lunch – I got the ratatouille pita)
- North Abraxas
- Diego San (order the bibimbop)
- Casino San Remo
- The Flea Market
- Tony and Esther (this is the cafe right below my apartment)
- Kaymak (vegan cafe on Levinsky)
- The Italian Restaurant on Levinsky 55 (the name is in Hebrew so I don’t know what it’s called, but we got an eggplant and goat cheese foccacia and a pizza made with a green spinach, basil and ricotta sauce topped with arugula and parmesan. How good does that sound?!?)
Now it’s time for me to get a little emotional and a bit serious. Coming here was not easy for me. I did it because I was looking for something new and exciting in my life. I was a recent grad with a year to spare. This was my time to travel and go out of my comfort zone. I spent my entire life at home. Although I left Buffalo Grove to go to college, I was still close. My family was always around. Living in Tel Aviv was a test for me. Could I actually live so far from home? I knew I wanted to eventually move away, especially if I wanted to break into the film industry and moving here for half a year was the first step. Adapting to a new city takes time, but it is possible. Because Tel Aviv, I know I will do just fine in New York City!
This song is so cheesy, but it kind of makes me tear up because it describes my experience so perfectly, so please play while you read the rest: Memories – New World Punx
I really believe I flourished here. I did things I never would have done if I had been living at 1503 Quaker Hollow. We had to write down our goals at the beginning of the program. I had two definitive goals. I wanted this to help me further my career and I wanted to grow as a person. Well, in a few months, I will be starting my career, thanks to my internship with Playbuzz. And, for goal number two, I definitely think I grew as a person. I learned that I could be independent. I learned how to let people in. I learned how to make friendships I’ll cherish forever. I learned how to communicate and negotiate. And I learned who I liked and who I want to surround myself with. The program would not have been the same if it weren’t for my friends. The people really make the experience worthwhile. I want to give a few special shout outs to some of those great souls:
To the girl I shared a tiny room with for five months, Hannah, you are so wonderful. We really were the perfect roommates. We watched all the same shows, had the same sleep schedule, and could relate on a very deep level because both of us lost a parent recently. It was reassuring to have someone like Hannah to talk to. She is so funny and so confident and I’m so lucky to have met her!
To my housemate and other half, Jess, you are one of the coolest and hippest girls out there. Thank you for reintroducing me to choker necklaces, platform shoes, Motez, a vegetarian diet, and sriracha. My life is def a little spicier because of you. One of my favorite nights out was spent just with Jess. We went to The Block and had an epic time just dancing to techno in our own world! From the very first day and our talks about music festivals, I knew we would get along. Music really does bring people together.
To the ray of sunshine, Bonnie, you have become one of my best friends! Our sushi and wine nights were always perfect. I am so glad I now have a reason to visit California!!
To my party twin, Jackie, you were always down to go out and get a little crazy, which I loved! I can’t wait to see you again at Lolla.
To the rest of my Levinskers…Ash, thanks for going on ice cream dates and sweet tooth adventures with me. Jesse, you are so kind and easy to talk to. And I’m so happy you were on my side in the AC battle. Danny, you were probably one of the best-dressed guys I’ve ever been around. Your clothes were nice, and so were you (I’m serious, he is literally the nicest person ever). Gil, for a 28 year old, you can sure keep up with us kids! Plus you’re so open-minded and easy-going. And Mitch, you are a true Ari Gold. I definitely appreciate your sarcastic sense of humor and we certainly had a lot of fun together.
To the wise-man, Stu, you always had great advice and hilarious stories. A lot of things we did (i.e. Boat Day and Our Birthday Extravaganza) would not have happened without your exceptional planning skills. One day we shall reunite at Voodoo Festival in New Orleans!
And to my March program friends Jake, Hannah, Avram and Tal, you guys were part of a night I will never forget. Dancing and hugging on our roof at sunrise was so cliche but so amazing!
Sorry this post was so mushy gushy, but “The End” is always bittersweet. For five months, I lived in a dream world. I hope I stay in touch with these people because they really did make an impact on my life. I am leaving Israel as a new person, ready to take on a new city and have a new beginning. I am beyond thankful for getting this opportunity to live in Tel Aviv. Although I am super sad to go, I know it’s time to start the real world. We can’t live this life forever, but we can hold onto the memories forever.
Thanks for the memories, Tel Aviv!
From my screen to yours,