Ok, so I've made it here. Now that I'm here, I don't know how much time I will have to write, but basically everything is crazy. Batami, David and I (three out of the four people living in our apartment) are busy trying to get settled in and getting used to life in Tel Aviv. The first morning I got here, I was just in such a shock, and I don't think it's even hit me yet that I'm in Israel. When we landed, it was about 7:30 in the morning and since then, it has been a blur of meeting Batami, David, figuring out where I work, going to the beach, getting burned in the process, seeing how the Israeli work system is much much different from America, and just generally getting used to living in a country that, although I feel is my own, is very foreign in many ways.
There are many things that are different about America and Israel. Some things are amazing, and some really suck. The amazing thing about Israel is that complete strangers (named Elan) come up to you on the beach and strike up conversations and you can talk for hours about Israeli politics or Jews or Iran or the cost of living in Tel Aviv, and you are just flabbergasted by how straightforward they are compared to how closed Americans are. And then they give you their cell phone number, just because. In our case, it was Elan, a student at Bar Ilan University in (what else) Computer Science who was on the beach the week before his exams started. Batami and I were at the beach all day for Shabbat, because in Israel, everything closes for Shabbat (Friday/Saturday) and you are forced to go to the beach. The funny thing about the beaches in Tel Aviv (we went to Frishman) is that the lifeguards become very snippy and yell things at the people in the water because they don't want to leave their lifeguard booths and actually go. I was informed that they make more than doctors in Israel, but apparently, everyone makes more than doctors in Israel, which really sucks, because they have to go through the same amount of training as we do in America.
The other good thing is that all the food is fresh and they have falafel. As many of you know, I have a strange fetish for falafel that can only be satiated in Israel, and I have been doing a good job of it, eating falafel only once so far, but hoping to do so in the future as well. The eating is good here, and relatively cheap, depending on where you go. I want to go to an Ethiopian restaraunt, but David (my roommate from Cornell) seems to have talked me out of it by saying he had a horrible experience.
Today we went to work, for orientation, and now I know how it feels to be an immigrant, because my boss tried to communicate with me in Hebrew, but since I don't know enough, he had to talk to me in English, and try to translate the documents, but I battled on and tried Hebrew. I met everyone who works in my department (e-banking) and was overwhlemed by everything, but hopefully I'll start to "vrybatsya" (start getting stuff) after the first couple weeks. The other interns seem interesting, but I didn't really get to know them that well yet, aside from Batami and David. I'll have to inform you on my progress tomorrow.
Everything else is good. I'm still in disbelief that I'm in Israel. There are bad parts about this country, like how some neighborhoods are really dirty, Israelis are rude, and the sunburn. But I love it. I am living my dream.