Pesach!

For those of you who don’t know what pesach is (aka passover) then I would highly recommend you hit up our good friend Google before you continue reading. 

Anywho, we started off by cleaning and kashering our apartment Sunday. It wasn’t too difficult because our kitchen is so small and we weren’t going to be there for the week anyway. We did some major scrubbing, mopping, sweeping, and then tied our chametz cabinets closed. 

Monday morning I headed off to Jerusalem with Jake to my Aunt and Uncle’s for the seder. The seder was wonderful! We read the Hagadah, stopping for short discussions between sections. We didn’t start the seder until after 8 and we didn’t start eating until almost 10:45! I was blown away by the time because it really didn’t feel long at all! As usual, my aunt made a wonderfully delicious dinner and dessert that left us stuffed! We finished up the seder and to bed we went! 

After sleeping in and having a nice lunch Tuesday I decided to take a long walk around the neighborhood, I walked for almost two hours before going back to the house and laying down to read a book… I woke up 2 hours later. Tuesday night I went out to dinner with Arielle (my roommate from last semester) and her parents who were in visiting. We had a lovely kosher for passover dinner and when they found out it was my birthday the next day they got me a dessert with a sparkler and everything! It was lovely! 

Once midnight hit and it was officially my birthday, Jake and I went to Ben Yehudah for celebratory milkshakes before heading back to my aunt’s for bed. Image

The next day I traveled with Maya and some of her relatives who live here to Tel Aviv. It’s normally about an hour drive, but traffic was horrible and 5 of us plus a dog were trapped inside a hot little car for two and a half hours! Once we got there we dropped our stuff off at Maya’s friend’s and we headed to lunch on the beach. After lunch we layed on the beach for a bit but it was already well into the afternoon and pretty chilly, so that didn’t last long. That evening we met up with Sammy and spent the night window shopping in Tel Aviv and having a wonderful dinner!Also whoops for cutting off our heads, but I’m way to lazy to go back and fix it :) Image

I spent Thursday night back in the apartment and then met Jake in Haifa for Shabbat. We stayed at a nice little place, but made the final decision that Haifa is far from our favorite city in Israel… it’s not very pretty, and there is nothing to do. We ended up going to see the movie Noah Friday night. It was a pretty cool movie but definitely not funny enough for my attention span to last that long.. actually, it wasn’t funny at all. Saturday we went to the science museum, if we were about 10 years younger it would have been great! ;)  Sunday morning we checked out and I headed back to karmiel. I spent all day yesterday and today in my room watching Hart of Dixie on netflix. Sorry Scandal, but this show was made for me! Image

This week we have our Israel Activism Seminar, not so sure yet as to how it will turn out. I guess I’ll let you know next week! 

Hope you all have a wonderful week! One month and 5 days until this girl is home! 

I’m Completely Unsatisfied

I tried my best. I tried my best to get my points across and I felt like I got nothing accomplished. Every issue I brought up was replied to with a “well that’s because you’re doing this wrong” or “that’s not what we do here”. I don’t feel like my opinions were valued, and I don’t feel listened to.
Do I appreciate that I was given the time of day? Absolutely. And I respect that.
But I don’t feel like anything I said had any influence on anything. I don’t even think I was taken seriously. And that is a problem.
I got no apology for the fact that their actions made my first semester hell on earth. It’s not their fault that I have depression, and I’m not blaming that on them. Is it their fault however that I wasn’t given the help I needed? First semester was some of the absolute worst months of my life. And I feel like no one cares about that, no one is listening. And yeah, I’m aware that there is nothing they can do about it now, but all I want is an apology. And they won’t even give me that.
The fact that so many people are unhappy on this program right now should mean something to them. It’s not our faults at this point. But I feel like they really don’t care, because if they did something would be happening. And nothing is happening. Instead, it’s our fault. Our fault for not taking opportunities, our fault for letting the fact that we dislike our staff “affect our experience”
This is a college leadership program. Where we are expected to act like adults, and to me, that means standing up for myself. That means seeing problems and demanding change. And that’s what I did and I have no shame in that.

Shabbat, Shabbat, Shabbat (because the stuff in between is a lot less exciting)

It’s been 3 weeks since a post about my actual daily life… sue me. 

Really, the Sunday- Thursday schedule never really changes. It’s an early wake up, work, internet/shopping/cooking, promising myself I’ll go to bed early, and then only sometimes going to bed early. It’s not that it’s boring, it’s just the same thing every day and you all really don’t have the time to hear about it every day! 

But the last 3 Shabbatot have been not the same old that you’re used to, so I figured you might like to know about them. And if you wouldn’t, then why are you even on this blog? 3 weeks ago, Jake had 2 friends from Kfar (still Nativers, just another track) over and so I cooked lots of yummy food, we took a walk to our favorite giant park, and we slept. A lot of sleeping happened. 

The following weekend I went with a lovely group of 6 other girls to Tiberius. We stayed in a cute little apartment, but it was a weird mix between a hotel and apartment really. We had a nice little Friday night dinner, and then spent Saturday at the hot springs and pool that we had access to (but it was an hour walk away which made no sense to any of us) It was so nice to have a relaxing weekend out of Karmiel with some truly wonderful ladies!Image

This Shabbat we had a closed Shabbat at Kibbutz Hannaton. ImageThis is a Kibbutz very close to Karmiel and is actually the Kibbutz we stayed in for our Northern week of Pilgrimage, it brought back so many memories! We just did the classic closed Shabs stuff, prayers, food, a session on Pesach. We also had a chance to meet with the mechina kids on the kibbutz. A mechina is a gap year program for Israelis to take before they join the army. Most of them were very Americanized and spoke perfect English so it was pretty interesting to get to talk with them and hang out. ImageImage

As far as the ankle goes: my MRI came back clear and as far as the doctor is concerned I’m perfectly fine. But here’s the thing. The doctor didn’t even look at my actual ankle, didn’t ask any questions, didn’t see that my ankle is actually STILL swollen… he literally just looked at the MRI report. Frustrated is an understatement my friends. 

And to those of you who have been badgering me to take my last 2 posts to a higher level of Nativ power, in the words of Olivia Pope “Consider it handled” 

And if you can’t tell, Scandal is my newest obsession (3 cheers for Netflix, hip hip HOORAY) 

Pesach starts Monday and my birthday is Wednesday so bring on the next week!

Love to you all and Chag Sameach to those who celebrate! <3 <3 

Let’s Clear Things Up

I want to make something very clear. The last blog post wasn’t for you to worry about me or feel sorry for me. Please don’t. I don’t want people to worry about me or feel sorry for me because I am fine. I have amazing friends here, I work at a rewarding job, and smiles and laughs definitely outnumber the hard moments.

Yeah, it’s been pretty rough lately. I got my MRI and the doctor (without even asking me anything or looking at my ankle) told me I was fine, even though I still can’t walk properly, am in constant pain, and my ankle still swells constantly. It’s hard, and frustrating, and annoying, and sometimes I just want to be home with ice on my ankle an a hug from my Mommy. Working out has been my stress reliever for the entire time I’ve been here, and I can’t really do that anymore and that sucks.

But I’m okay. I’m a pretty tough girl, you should all know that. I’m surrounded by friends who love me and supported by even more amazing people at home. In 53 days I’ll be back I’m my own bed, and so through the pain, through the homesickness, and through the weight gain (it’s happening people, don’t judge) I’m going to make these 53 days count.

Also, a lot of you have told me to send that post to the nativ office. That’s not really something I’m comfortable doing right now. Would I care if they somehow see it? No, otherwise I wouldn’t have written it. But do I want to straight up send it to them? Not really.

Thanks for all the love and support, it means so much to me. Now stop worrying and go do something fun ;) (I will, I’m going on a girl’s weekend to Tiberias and I’m gonna soak myself in those hot springs until I’m a raisin!)

Here’s What I Don’t Like

This post isn’t going to be the usual day in the life, but that’s okay, you can be honest, those get kind of boring. This post is probably something that I should keep to myself and some people might get angry at it (let’s just hope those people aren’t reading then!) but I really don’t care, because this is my blog. This blog isn’t an advertisement for Nativ, it’s my own personal journey and experiences. It’s something that I want to be able to look back on in 20, 30, 70 years and enjoy. In a way, it’s my electronic journal, an autobiography of sorts. Now let’s get real, I don’t tell you all the nitty gritty details that you don’t need to know… this isn’t my diary after all ;) 

Here’s what I really don’t like about Nativ. 

First of all, I have a really big problem with the staff. I find that I can’t connect with them, I don’t really trust them, and therefore, I find them to be insanely ineffective. I mean, they do their job in terms of making sure we all have jobs and stuff, but unfortunately, I find that when I have a problem with other things, I just don’t find that going to the staff for help is an effective solution. And trust me, I wish it was. I wish I could have a relationship with the staff here like I did on pilgrimage, or other programs I’ve done. I’m usually pretty good at forming really amazing relationships with teachers/ staff members, but I just find the staff here so hard to work with that it’s impossible. Trust me, I’ve tried. 

Also, I’m tired of being a liability. And I’m not the only one. This program is so worried about it’s reputation. In fact, I think this program is worried more about it’s reputation than it is it’s participants. When your’e injured or sick, you’re a burden, a liability. If you want to go to the doctor, fine. But in reality, the doctor can’t do much about the problem except give you antibiotics or something. Throughout this whole process with my ankle I’ve felt like a burden. I’m literally just waiting for that phone call telling me that they’re sending me home. It’s honestly a terrible feeling, like I’m sorry, I didn’t ask for this to happen to me. I’m missing out on so much and am pissed about that already, I don’t need you all to make me feel guilty about it too.

And the other night when I was really, really sick and they didn’t want to take me to the hospital because it was Purim and they knew there would be drunk, annoying people in the ER. Instead, they waited until 2am, when I had already passed out 3 times, was dry heaving to the point where I actually injured my esophagus, and was in so much pain sleep wasn’t an option. And even then they told me to try and fall asleep for at least another hour before they would take me. (Let me just say, I didn’t let that happen, I demanded they take me right then) I’m tired of feeling like a burden, my medical misfortunes are tough enough on me already. 

And don’t even get me started on mental health. Here’s some honesty hour for you: At the beginning of this year I was suffering with severe panic and anxiety attacks. Like really, really, really bad. At one point I asked them to send me to a psychologist for some help, and they did, but she really wasn’t what was working for me at all. When it got to the point where a general agreement that medication was needed was made, it took 2 months for them to help me find a psychiatrist.  I had asked for help, my mom had asked them to help me, and it took 2 months to get me the help I needed. I’m not going to lie, because of that delay, my first semester on Nativ was hell on Earth for me. I had one friend who was also dealing with a tough time who was literally told that “She is a liability to the program” In fact, there were A  LOT of people who had a really tough time adjusting the first few weeks, and it honestly felt like there was no support for anyone, we really just relied on each other.

I’m sorry, but I’m not here to be perfect. I’m here to grow, and learn about myself, and experience new things. I’m not here to be judged, I’m not here to be perfect.

So yes, I love my job, I love my roommate, I have made so many amazing friends, and I am so grateful for these experiences.  I have changed and grown in so many ways, but at the end of the day, I’m not going to lie when I say that I’m not the biggest fan of Nativ. I think it has amazing potential, but I don’t think it’s where it needs to be. I think it has room to grow too, and I think that the program should listen to us a little more, see the real issues, and actually fix them. Nativ is no where near perfect, but their biggest flaw is putting their reputation before us, and that needs to change. 

Switching Jobs and Purim (and another trip to the ER)

I haven’t posted in a really long time, but really, it’s all just the same old stuff. I had to switch my job from the nursery though, because the whole ankle/ boot situation (hello week 11!) has also started to really affect my back and hip and getting up and down off the floor, holding and rocking the babies, and bending over cribs was just too much for them (old lady status has been achieved.) 

My new job however, is wonderful. I work at a place called Akim. It is a center for adults with severe mental disabilities. Most all of them are also physically disabled: some have very poor vision, deafness, are wheelchair bound, and many other physical disabilities. The average mental age of the chanichim (which literally translates to campers) is 3-4 years old, even though they are all 22 and over. Most of the time, I feel like I’m working with children, and it never really dawns on me that all of them are 4-50 years older than me, but I totally love this job. The chanichim are all so sweet and kind, and they always tell me I’m beautiful ;) During the day I help prepare breakfast and lunch, and then hang out with the chanichim doing different activities. Sometimes we color, or plant in the planter boxes, and depending on the capabilities of the group, sometimes we just play at the sand table. There are some chanichim who could just sit for hours playing with a bucket of marbles, and others who love to walk around and help set tables or plant. The rest of the staff there is amazing as well, they are all so sweet and nice and they almost all speak English! 

We had a week off for Purim where we all came back together in Macabim. We pretty much just lived at the hostel for 3 days, did our own Shabbat services, our own Megillah reading and all that jazz. I dressed as a butterfly (not gonna lie, it was insanely lame) We also went to a giant purim parade which was essentially thousands of people squished against the road blocks to see the parade, it was like disneyland but without the magic.Image

After Purim we headed to Jerusalem for “Leadership Week” it was just days of sessions and lectures but I really only went to one. Here’s why. Monday we started the day with a really cool ropes course and rock climbing stuff that I couldn’t do any of. The best part was when someone was walking across a rope and the rope literally just broke underneath him… whoops. Image

Monday night I had severe food poisining.. finally at 2am I made another trip to the ER where it took way too long for them to stop me from puking (I had actual blood in my puke at this point people, and I had passed out 3 times, and they made me wait until 2 am to go to the hospital… this started at like 5 or 6) but anyway, I got back from the hospital at 5:30am so I literally slept the entire day Tuesday. Like I slept until 3pm and then took a nap from 4-5:30. 

Wedensday I went to one session and then spent the rest of my day traveling to the othepedist (finally). It was an hour one way on a smelly, stuffy bus, and then my actual appointment was about 5 minutes and ended with “I can’t really do anything until you get an MRI” AWESOME 

Thursday we took tours of Har Hertzel and then we went back to the apartment. This weekend Maya had some friends from another program so I spent the weekend playing hostess. Not gonna lie, I made some bomb food. Roasted veggies, quinoa with tofu and a peanut/soy sauce chili sauce, banana bread, fresh challot, and fruit salad. It was a lot of cooking and work, but it was fun.Image

 Have a good week everyone, more photos are on the facebook! 

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The Big Kid Life

The past two weeks have for the most part been full of the same schedule. I wake up around 7, get ready for work, take the bus to the gan and arrive around 8. From 8-12:30 I work in the parparim (butterfly) room, where the children from 5-18 months are. I spend my day holding crying babies, wiping noses (literally they are all sick all the time), giving bottles, and rocking cribs back and forth until the babies are asleep. It’s tiring, messy, often stressful (have you ever been in a room with 18 screaming and crying infants and toddlers?), and I come home every day with snot and spit up all over my shirt. But they really need me there, because in Israel they are only required to have one staff for every 6 babies, which just isn’t enough. 

After that I get a break which usually involves me sitting on a park bench eating my lunch before heading just down the street to an elementary school where I work in an afterschool program for kids from broken homes. I really don’t do much here. The kids eat, then have time to read or do homework, then do some kind of activity like sports, story time, or once a week a group therapy session. Because I only speak very limited Hebrew, and the kids speak no English, it’s a bit tough to communicate well with them, but it works out. 

I usually get back to my apartment around 5, and then head to the gym to swim. My ankle is still in the boot, but I am allowed to swim so I’ve been taking advantage of that! I’ve been making it between a mile and a mile and a half every time, so I’ll take it! 

Two shabbats ago I traveled back to Jerusalem and stayed with my Aunt and Uncle which was great. Their house has really become a home away from home for me and I am so grateful that I have them here for me. The main reason for traveling to Jerusalem was to see the doctor again about my ankle. It’s getting better, at first really quickly, but now really slowly, so it’s still going to take some time. 

This past Shabbat was spent in the Golan with my Dad’s cousin and her family and extended family. It was a pretty crazy weekend, but it was a nice opportunity to see people who I may have only otherwise met once or never in my life. 

Last Tuesday’s Yom Nativ was Yom Olympics, where we learned about some of the history of the Olympics and then went to the park and played a bunch of sports (me not so much but it was still fun)

Other than that, things are pretty basic, nothing crazy going on, and the days are pretty average. Lots and lots of grocery shopping (we go through fruits and veggies like crazy in this room, but I guess that’s a good thing) and lots and lots of work. Oh, and I have pink eye. 

Have a great week everyone!