October has been a interesting month for school in Israel. Schools are closed a lot for holidays, and there is a week and a half long break for Sukkot. After a relaxing weekend to start off my break, some of my roommates and I went to a chocolate festival that was being hosted in Nazareth Illit, a city right next to Migdal HaEmek. Our friends were on the planning committee, so they showed us around the festival and then took us over toward the stage. The mayor of Nazarth Illit spoke briefly about the history before a fireworks display. I was shocked at how close we were to where they lit off the fireworks, they were just outside of the festival gate! Then there were some singers that performed, including Pe’er Tasi, who is the artist that sings Derech HaShalom, one of the songs from my birthright trip. If you haven’t heard the song, you should go YouTube it, because it’s awesome :). Unfortunately, at the end of the night, we realized that the busses had stopped running, and we didn’t have a way home. We are so lucky to have amazing friends, because one of the guys that worked at the festival all day, who had already made it home, offered to come pick us up and drive us back to our apartment. In return, we told him we would bake him a cake and get him a puppy and a yacht.
For the second Shabbat of break, I invited people over for Shabbat dinner. I made chicken in a lemon wine sauce and Israeli Salad. I also baked a cake for our friend who drove us home from the festival. He’s still waiting for the puppy and yacht, but those might take another 20-30 years to get. After dinner, we went out to a dance bar in Ramat Yishay, where all of the bars are, to celebrate one of the Nazareth Fellow’s birthday! It was great to go out with friends and it was an incredible evening.
The next two days of break I went on day trips with my roommates. One of them had rented a car, so it was a lot easier to get around. The first day, we went to Rosh Hanikra, which are underground grottos right on the Mediteranean Sea. Rosh Hanikra is also the farthest North you can go on the coast of Israel before you cross the border into Lebanon. The water in the grottos was absolutely crystal clear blue. Even though there as a lot of people visiting that day, it was still a beautiful place to see. The next day, we went to Beit She’an, which is almost to the Jordan border. There are a lot of natural springs in the area, and we went to the one I’ve heard the most about, Sachne Springs, or Gan HaShlosha. We didn’t expect to end up there, and therefore no one had brought their bathing suits, so I went in with my shorts and a sports bra. The spring is incredible and they have areas blocked with man made dams to create deeper swimming areas and shallower spots that have waterfalls. The water is always a natural, constant 84 F, so the springs are open year round. After swimming, we went to Mount Gliboa and Mount Shaul to go see some overlooks. We ended up making a wrong turn at the top of one of the mountains, and drove by the border fence between Israel and the West Bank, which was also really cool to see. We turned around, and headed toward an overlook one of my roommates had been to before, which was truly gorgeous. Overall, both day trips were great and I am glad we had the opportunity to see more of Israel.
For what I thought was the last day of break, I got lunch with a friend that I met when I was on Teen Mission, back in 2010. It is incredible to me that technology has been able to keep me in contact with people that have lived halfway across the world from me for 6 years. It was great to finally be able to catch up with her, and I can’t wait to hang out with her again! Back at the apartment, I then sat down and attempted to do my Ulpan (Hebrew) homework with my roommate and a Nazareth Fellow. Since it was from the higher Ulpan group, I was able to do half of it, after my roommate explained it to me, which for me, was an accomplishment!
Then today, I woke up at 6:15 am to get ready for school. I got down to the bus stop at 7:30 to wait for my teacher who picks me up, and after 10 minutes of waiting, I called her, only to find out that she isn’t working today. So I went back up to my apartment, and went back to sleep, to enjoy one last day of break.