A lot has happened since my week in Jerusalem. On Thursday, the English woman I met at the hostel and I took the hostel shuttle to Tel Aviv. We spent a wonderful day on the beach, swimming in the Mediteranean Sea, before heading to Dr. Sharks hula for dinner. We went to bed early that night, as she had a 6am flight home Friday morning.
Friday was the day that two of the three other people in Migdal Ha’emek arrived in Israel. After a morning of reading, I met Suzanne, from Australia, for coffee. We talked all afternoon about where we are from, and what we are looking forward to during the upcoming year. Then, Nathan, from Chicago, arrived, and all three of us met up for dinner to start getting to know each other. For dinner, we ended up choosing the first restaurant we saw that was open, since it was a Friday night, and many places had already closed for Shabbat. Luckily, the restaurant happened to be directly across the street from a dog park, so we bonded over our mutual love for dogs, and then decided we need to adopt a dog for the year! So, maybe it was a good thing my parents wouldn’t let me get the doggie webcam for back home, so Savannah won’t have to see!
The next morning, everyone else moved to a hostel provided by the program for a night. Since I already had booked a hostel for myself, I stayed where I was. Being Saturday (Shabbat) no buses ran, so I walked half an hour to hang out with Suzanne, Nathan, and Jaime, who arrived that morning. We all went to lunch, and then took a short walk down the beach, until I headed back to my hostel for the afternoon. Once the buses started running again, I took a bus down to the hostel to get dinner with everyone and play Cards Against Humanity to truly start bonding! Because everyone else was still pretty jet-lagged, so we ended the night early, and I returned to my hostel for the night.
Sunday morning, we all met up again to officially start our year together as Bina Masa Israel Teachng Fellows! We started our day at Bina’s main campus in Tel Aviv, where we met the fellows from Nazareth and from Rahat, a small Bedouin city outside of Be’er Sheva (One of the Rahat fellows’ name is Tami!!!). We went over typical first day orientation things, and then shared lunch with the Bina Tikkun Olam fellows who will be spending 5-10 months volunteering in Israel. As a big Bina group, we will all be taking trips together throughout the year. I am really looking forward too being able to spend more time with the rest of the Bina fellows during our time together!
Finally, we were able to load up the bus and head to our new homes for the next 10 months! The Nazareth and Migdal HaEmek fellows all stopped first at our apartment in Migdal HaEmek, where we unloaded our luggage, and walked to the center of town so people could buy sheets and pillows, and then to the grocery store to get our first round of basic groceries. We finished the night with a quick dinner of pizza, we headed home to set up our apartment! We will be living in a 3 bedroom 1 1/4 bathroom (one full bath and then just a toilet?) with a nice sized kitchen, dining room, and a decent living room! Now that we are finally starting to unpack, it is truly starting to feel like home!
Today, we were met at our apartment by a Bina person to learn how to cash our monthly food stipend check. Then we went to the Ministry of Education building in Nazareth Elite to meet the teachers we will be working with throughout the upcoming year! My teacher was unable to come, but the principal as! I will be spending my 10 months teaching 4-6 grade at the Aliza Begin school in Migdal HaEmek! The principal seems extremely nice, and super excited to have me in the school! After exchanging contact information, she showed me pictures of the school on her phone, and we talked about me coming to visit the school before I start teaching. Hopefully on Thursday or next Tuesday, I will be able to meet the teacher , and see what my year is going to look like!