I’m sitting here in our hotel room, sipping on my Starbucks Via Coffee (thank you Starbucks for making an instant coffee) while Michael continues to sleep. I have been up since about 5:30am (it’s currently about 7:30am), not exactly sure how well I did getting on Jerusalem sleep time. So far things are okay. We are here we survived the trip, but we are definitely feeling the effects of being in a foreign country. Last night when we made it in there were definitely moments of just pure frustration. Hopefully that will continue to get less and less, but for now here’s what is going good and here’s whats not so good one day in.
Not so Good stuff:
We cannot seem to get my hairdryer and straightener working. Before we left we bought a couple of electric converters and adapters and thought that would get everything working. But as we found out something is still not quite right. There is a very weird hair dryer in our hotel bathroom (honestly I think its a hair dryer and I used it for that purpose but I can’t be 100% certain) but straightening my wild mane is not happening. So today that is one of the goals to either get mine working or purchase a cheap straightener here that will work. Otherwise it is going to be a long month of crazy hair on my part. It seems like such a small thing when I writing about what was happening last night, but it was such a moment of “this is not going to be easy” and “we are not in America anymore” I just kept thinking if I was still in St. Louis my bangs would be normal now. I think Michael and I were both hit with that realization of Holy Crap we are here and it’s hard. I knew coming that there would be challenges but to be in middle of it is always scarier.
Currently Michael’s cell phone is not working to make calls. His iPhone is on Verizon and his data is working so he can get email and stuff without WiFi but all attempts to make a phone call were greeted with a lovely recording in Hebrew telling us something I’m sure was important but we will never know. Hopefully that will be getting fixed today. It was such a helpless weird alone kind of feeling knowing that we didn’t have a way to get a hold of Jim (other guy from Announce who is here right now) and we were just here trying to figure it out.
The majority of the signs are in Hebrew. Not really that big of a deal just weird and again such a reminder that we are the outsiders.
We didn’t have a dang clue where to go get dinner so we settled on the hotel restaurant. While the food was pretty good (Michael had onion soup, I had the tomato soup and we shared an order of latkes) but the service was horrible. We were so hungry and it seemed like a waitress was never going to come over to take our order. Finally after I stared one down we got our food. But getting the bill and paying it was also a challenge. We aren’t sure if it was us that caused the bad service or just how that restaurant runs, but it was no fun.
Learning a new currency is tricky. Our cab driver gave Michael a little run down on shekels since Michael accidentally gave him a horrible tip. The expense sheets that we have from Announce Media to track our spending and for reimbursement is of course in dollars so that constant math of how many shekels in a dollar and how much did I actually spend on that bowl of soup is hard. I mean who really wants to constantly be doing math in their head.
I no longer have a cell phone. This may actually not be such a bad thing but for right now it is weird. I have literally not had my iPhone on me in like three years. Right now it is turned off and locked in the safe and I am secretly counting down the days to when I come back home and get to use it again.
We learned that flying business class on an international flight is just about the best place to be on a plane. We were in basically individual pod like seats that would fully recline and lay flat. There was an ottoman for our feet, blankets and pillows waiting for us, a little baggie with goodies like chap stick, lotion, tissues, etc. And of course there was really good food and cocktails. We had our own TV and headphones with movies and TV on demand. Michael watched True Grit while I attempted but fell asleep to both How Do You Know and Inglorious Basterds. At one point I looked over at Michael who was watching The Office on his TV while I had an episode of Glee going I was sipping on a glass of wine and thought “seriously who’s life am I living right now” it was so unreal. We both commented on how not that long ago Michael got his first job after college making framing websites for Carl at AGF and now we are sitting in first class on a flight to Israel so he can work on this crazy merger. I felt so blessed like we are living some sort of dream and that incredibly long flight was just about the best flight I have ever been on.
Getting through customs was a breeze. It was weird we had heard all these horror stories about how horrible it was and people’s computers getting taken and when we walked into “customs” it was basically a corridor with no one checking anything. So that was awesome.
The Inbal Hotel (http://www.inbalhotel.com/) is lovely. We haven’t fully explored it, but our room is nice. I do have a sneaking suspicion that after two weeks we will be completely over such a small space. It is drastically different for Michael and I to share one room. I have so much more respect for those of you that have studio apartments with your partners. We unpacked our suitcases and have already found that everything really has a place and needs to be there.
While driving from the airport in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem there were at least 5 different cars on the side of the highway and there was never a slow down on the interstate due to that, no looky loos. Definite plus for Israel.
So far even the little that we have seen of Israel and Jerusalem is absolutely beautiful. The architecture is so different it is very blocky and square. Buildings look almost stacked. Really pretty.
I think the biggest plus to this trip is how much it already has brought Michael and I together. Yesterday when his phone didn’t work and we couldn’t contact Jim I felt such a sense of it’s just me and him and whatever this trip brings us we will be able to overcome it because we are here together. Never in a million years would I have thought that we would be spending our third anniversary in Israel. It is just so completely crazy and overwhelming to think what this year has brought us. At the end of it all even with the bad stuff and the frustrations I do truly feel blessed to have been given this opportunity to spend time aboard. I think it will definitely change me as a person and that is never a bad thing. For now we will just see what today brings.