Fifteen through twentythree

For the sake of time, and my sanity, I’m going to condense the last week of the program.

The last week and a half of my program was busy and full of interesting twists. Along with several visits to the Old City for lectures a lot of my time was spent with the amazing women I’ve meet in my program. I was fortunate to celebrate my 25th birthday surrounded by incredible new friends in a city I love. Took away the sting of being away from my wonderful family on my birthday. I met with my cousin Raanan and Sharon for sushi midweek and also saw them over the weekend due to some twist of fate.

At the shuk, farmer's market, with Raanan and Sharon. 8/11/2010

The last weekend on my program was scheduled to be spent in a neighborhood just outside of Jerusalem. Liora, a girl I met in San Diego two weeks before Israel, who also happened to be in the same program as me, invited me to spend the evening with her at a family’s home she had stayed with in the past. Everyone in the program would be staying with random families as well so I figured it would be nice to have an extra connection. When I arrived, my cousin Sharon was there! Turns out she and Raanan live upstairs from the family I was staying with. I should point out that this neighborhood has over 3000 families. So in the end I was able to visit with them through the weekend. Strange coincidences like that happen so frequently it begins to feels like something other than coincidence.

The program wrapped up on Tuesday with a lovely banquet. It was hard to say goodbye to a lot of the girls but the promise of future visits is exciting. Fortunately several girls are staying on in Israel for a while longer and our paths will cross sooner than later. Wednesday I moved into the apartment I’ll be staying at through the end of September. Yaeli’s housemate is traveling through South America for next month and a half like many Israelis do and offered to sublet his room. I’m located in a great part of the city called Rechavia. Filled with great cafes, restaurants and close to the city center shopping I’m really lucky to be in the area. Just down the street live the Prime Minister and President of Israel. Besides it being great to live with a good friend like Yaeli, living with locals ensures I never miss out on the latest happens around town like the Beer Festival. Definitely made for a fun Wednesday night. Post program experience off to a good start.

Lunch in the Old City with some of the girls. 8/12/10

25th birthday drinks with the girls. 8/12/2010

Birthday dessert. A cup of whipped cream with some sparklers. Better than it sounds.

Look at all those kippas! Malka Mall in Jerusalem. 8/17/2010

Jerusalem Beer Festival with Elyse. 8/18/2010