Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Status Update

I know it's been so long since I've written here, but it's not for a lack of things to talk about. On the contrary - I sometimes feel overwhelmed (in the best way possible), because there is just no way to share everything and do justice to the experiences. 

My biggest writing block has been Yom Kippur. I just feel like there are no words for how meaningful it was spend the holiest day of the year in the holiest city in the world. Walking to the Kotel after Kol Nidre services (a 2 mile walk each way, while fasting!) walking in the middle of normally busy streets, their traffic lights changed to blinking reminders that tonight was different. The helpful people we met who walked us to synagogue after we got lost and my group leader's husband who whispered a hushed translation of the Ne'illah sermon. We spent the day synagogue hopping, not exactly sure if we were looking for the place that felt most like home or the most completely different, but by the end of the day it was clear that it didn't matter what you were looking for. The experience itself was enough.
Post Yom Kippur marked the official start of our first vacation. 10 days completely to ourselves! Although it does sound funny to me to talk about a vacation from the program, because despite the volunteer hours, Hebrew classes and Beit Midrash, I often feel as if my life is a vacation. I am so blessed. 

Anyway, we took full advantage of our time off to do some serious relaxing and a exploring. First to Petach Tikvah to visit our friends on ITF, to the beach in Tel Aviv and finally to Haifa, were three of my friends and I took an Israeli cruise line to the Greek Islands of Rhodes and Kos. Being the only Americans was a fun badge of honor, and we were able to meet some great people, eat way too much food, play tourist and relax some more. 

Clock Tower on Rhodes
While we were on vacation, September became October and I fulfilled a promise I made to myself - I officially registered for the Jerusalem Marathon! After counting back the weeks to race day and realizing it was only about 20 weeks away, I jumped head first into my training plan and have since completed two long runs over two hours each and my first official marathon length speed session (30 minutes of hills all alone). I know this journey to 26.2 is going to be difficult without my normal training partners-in-crime, but I know that with their virtual support and the physical support and company of a the runners and friends I've met here, I'll be crossing that finish line on March 1st with a bigger cheering section than I ever could have imagined (even if they all think I'm crazy).

Let's see...what else?

Hiking Adventures right in Karmiel

Beach days in Tel Aviv

Pot Luck Shabbat Dinners
Rock Climbing in Haifa

Taking in a Shlomo Artzi concert like true Israelis, even if we didn't know a single song

So that's much of what I've been up to. What have you been up to? More to come sooner than last time, I promise!

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