Things have been so hectic here that it’s been hard to find time to just sit back and relax. I know once this week passes, we will have more time to enjoy our ‘free time’ and start touring Israel.
Our ulpan classes started on Sunday and we now have school from 8:30-1:15 every day. It doesn’t sound like a lot but it is definitely a big adjustment. At McGill, the longest course I’ve ever had was only 2 hours long so getting used to 4 hour ulpan classes has been difficult. I am also not used to waking up so early – we have to leave our apartment by 8 am (it’s about a twenty minute walk) if we want to get to class on time. The ulpan classes are also more like high school classes than university ones – we have daily homework, weekly tests, we do work in class and the teacher actually checks the answers.
Besides from ulpan, I wish I could say I’ve been spending my afternoons doing very exciting things. But so far, we’ve been running around Jerusalem picking up things we need for our apartment, buying groceries, and learning about the area. So it’s been a lot of shlepping things up the hill to our dorms. Lucky for us, nice boys have kindly offered to help us carry our groceries or we would never have been able to make it back.
I’ve been trying to appreciate how lucky I am to study in Jerusalem. As I write this, I am staring out my classroom window, overlooking a view of Jerusalem (and the Arab village right next to us) – a much better view than the couchetard on Stanley. Our campus also has a beautiful botanical garden that we walked through yesterday (not exactly on purpose – we were looking for a cafeteria and ended up getting lost). It’s amazing to think that everything I can see and touch are thousands of years old.
I’m also starting to get used to showing my ID, having my bags checked and walking through a metal detector as I enter school. It makes McGill’s two security guards seem amateurish.
I’m hoping as we finish running errands we can start to really tour the vast campus and start visiting interesting sites in Israel. For now, I’m off to my Latin Aerobics class.