Friday, September 28, 2007

West Berlin

September 25th

I arrived in Berlin and at first I felt extremely uncomfortable, and the people were very cold and rigid – which is exactly what I expected of a place torn in half by a wall. It was very difficult for me to find my way around, and I decided just to take my time and eat something. I finally found my hostel – which is very far away from the city center, which I am actually very thankful for. The closer I got to the hostel, the better I felt because it lies on the skirt of an incredible forest. It is completely green around me with small trails and the air is moist with a lot of oxygen. The hostel owner is kind, and his son is a ball of energy – he is so cute.

I took a bike and rode over to a piece of historic farmland – which has an organic garden, animals, and little shops of craftsmen – there is a batik print house and a pottery house – all incredible things. I feel very, very special here, and I could see myself staying here at this hostel for quite some time.

Jessica Day

September 25th

Peter has notified me that today is “Jessica Day.” I was not aware of this holiday, but I am very lucky that I happened to be in Würzburg on this day. The first thing we did on Jessica day was visit the fresh fruit shop and I had a delicious yogurt with berries.
We walked up many steps to the top of a hill, which was the resting place for a beautiful castle overlooking the entire town. There are so many places to explore and it feels more like a small town than a building.
Do you know what a Smart Car is? Its made by Mercedes and its only big enough to hold 2 people and 1 suitcase – that’s about how big the car is. In a pinch, you could park in horizontally in a vertical parking space – which means that you can park it ANYWHERE! It gets incredible gas mileage and they are quite popular here in Europe. Soon they will come to America and I recommend that you test drive one, because it feels exactly like a regular car, but its so small. The dealership let us have one for a couple hours and we went around, exploring in the smart car. Peter showed me the tiny village where he grew up and the buildings and streets were so lovely. When I describe Germany, one of the only words I can think to use is the word “lovely.”

We’ve been talking about the idea of me staying in Germany for another month, and I must say that I am seriously thinking about it. With my heart I feel so good here, and I know that I would be opening myself up to a world of new possibilities. Although in my head, I know that I might be giving up some good business opportunities in the United States – unless I am talented with my telecommuting skills. I could take an apartment for one month, Start freelancing from here. An amazing day really and I am left feeling very stirred up inside like a small piece of metal is ricocheting off my insides. I need help finding a place to stay for a month – with internet and a comfortable place to sit. I will go to Berlin for a couple days to think about things.

Back In Germany

September 24th

It feels good to be back in Germany again. I had the honor of meeting up with my friend Peter who is a homeopath here in Germany. He showed me around by foot in Würzburg – which is an adorable little city. There are no factories in sight – only hills topped with vineyards, a river, a castle, and lovely roofs. The pace is very relaxed and it has a very academic feeling here. Many food shops are organic and I have tasted wonderful fresh fruit juice. The truth is today I don’t feel quite like myself because I am so fatigued. Tomorrow will be much better, I am just so happy I am in such a beautiful place with a good friend.

Yom Kippur

We stayed indoors all day, I was on the computer…painted a little bit, and at sunset I went to the bet Knesset to hear the shofar -Which was not that impressive when I was standing outside. Everyone was wearing white, and it was quite a beautiful scene to see a Yom Kippur in Israel. Cars are forbidden to be driven on this day and when you stand on the balcony looking over Haifa…there are no noises – only the sounds of people talking- Quite beautiful. If you drive a car in the road, it’s actually legal for people to throw stones at the car. I stayed awake through the night and caught a train at 1:30 in the morning to go to the Tel Aviv airport. In Israel the security is so lengthy that you must arrive to your flight 3 hours before the departure time. My flight left at 6:00am which meant that I was at the airport at 3:00am – ready to receive my questions – which were:

What were you doing in Israel? Where did you learn to speak Hebrew? What were the names of the people you were staying with? Are you a member of any organizations at home? Do you ever meet with a group of people to do anything? What synagogue do you go to? What do you do when you go there? Ok, you’re free to go.

I felt like I could die from Fatigue when I arrived in Athens. I made my way to my hostel, and wondered around half dead for a while until I finally took a nap and a shower. Feeling much, much better but still not quite refreshed, I went to visit Antonis and it was very nice to see him again. I slept for a few hours and caught a 6:00am flight to Germany.

Paintings and Drawings

Friday, September 21, 2007

A fresh baby

September 18th, 2007

Today was so much fun – I met up with some friends from the United States who were visiting their daughter and son in-law who lives here in Israel. The daughter had just had a baby 8 months ago and the baby was very fun to play with. We ate lunch and looked at photos and I was so pleased at how comfortable we all felt with each other. Amazing that we were all in Israel of all places at the same time. They took me to an incredible Organic grocery store called “Teva” which means “Nature” in Hebrew. It sold all kinds of dried fruits and teas and chocolates, cheeses, ice creams, juices, breads…mmm Then they showed me the Kibbutz that they all grew up on. A kibbutz is a small community of homes with a grocery store, doctor’s office, children’s center, cafeteria and agriculture. The people that live there never really need to leave the kibbutz because they have everything right there. It is especially good for children and the elderly because one would never feel lonesome there.

Kibbutzim used to be very communist. People used to live there for free even with a small salary while they worked during the day either in agriculture or livestock. Each meal was eaten at the main cafeteria and the children ran around all day playing. The only problem with this community was that everyone was paid the same amount – even the lazy people. Which I was told was extremely irritating for the people who worked in the field all day. So the structure changed quite a bit, and now you pay rent to live on a kibbutz – working agriculturally is optional, and most people leave during the day to go to work. But the sense of community is still there, and it is not uncommon for the elderly to live into their late nineties is this environment.

I loved seeing everyone today and it was very special to be around a new person seeing the planet for the very first time. He has so much to see!

MC Tupperware

September 16th, 2007

I took a trip to Tel Aviv today. If I didn’t read and speak minimal Hebrew I would have been screwed today. Although the busses do feel safe…You have to know exactly where you are going to take them. There’s no map on the bus shelters and the bus drivers didn’t seem to know where anything was…they just know their own route. I was not the only one either – many Israelis had to ask for help from other people to figure out where to tell the bus driver to go. I don’t have a cell phone here – which is in sharp contrast to everyone else here. If you sit on a train here and look around – about 60% of the people are usually talking on their cell phones. – What’s the point? Finding a payphone is difficult! You don’t know how lucky you are to have a phone and are able to call someone whenever you want!! Any time you go into a building, there is a security guard there to check inside your bag and sometimes send it through an x-ray machine (I’m definitely not complaining about this).

In my opinion, Israel is not the most beautiful place. Its quite grungy and plain and the streets are very dirty and decrepit in most areas. But there’s a overlying quality in the atmosphere that makes this place so special. Any place I go, if I need help at all – Every person is willing to assist. I thank all the people who have lent me their cell phone to call home (About 6 people). I have found myself adapting to the culture and am much more helpful to strangers who need it – Like yesterday I overheard a conversation in Hebrew – one woman was asking the other “I wonder where the bathroom is” and I turned around and told her where it was…Normally I would never have done that because I would think its not any of my business – but that’s the culture here, and she was very thankful.

The food is excellent to the extreme here – due to its simplicity and freshness. I was in a marketplace yesterday and there was a stand which kindly sold to me fresh pressed pomegranate juice with orange and strawberry mixed in. The marketplace is a weekly event and you can find the regular vegetable & spice stands, as well as olives, cheese, kosher meats, fishes, Judaica, Arab tea mixtures, candies and artisan jewelry- which is quite unique. There is an automatic recording of a man yelling “Melons! 20 shekels!” repeating itself over a loudspeaker. Men behind their stands are saying whatever they can to get me to buy their produce “The finest corn for a prettiest girl.” I did not purchase any corn.

I finally made it back to Haifa where Lital picked me up in her car and we met up with some friends, drinking tea – then we took a walk on a main Haifa street. All of the restaurants are open late at night and I could not resist a fresh falafel stand.