After a grueling 30-hour trip here, we landed in Tel Aviv at midnight Sunday night and got to Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva at around 4 a.m. Needless to say, lecture was a bit rough that day, but only in terms of the jet lag.
I know it’s still early in the trip, but so far, this has been the most rewarding academic experience of my life, and this includes this past semester which, while difficult, was absolutely amazing. Cuba was wonderful, but my classes were bordering on unbearable; it was the country itself that made my time there so worth-while.
Anyway, I have learned so much in only four days! I don’t get much computer time here because I want to be doing other things, but I will try to update as much as possible. I also plan on doing separate posts about lecture topics I have found particularly interesting.
Right now, I’m in the town of Be’er Sheva, which is part of the Negev, the southern desert area of Israel (I say southern, but Be’er Sheva is somewhere in the middle of the country). Israel is about the size of New Jersey. Be’er Sheva is a pretty small town (some Israelis have said it’s in the middle of nowhere), but it’s kind of nice because it allows more time for group bonding and the like. Ben-Gurion is one of the best universities in the country. I am living in a suite-style campus housing with two other girls from my trip (Heidi is from Norway and Andrea is Brazilian) and one student who is Palestinian but an Israeli citizen (I hope to get more into this complicated issue of citizenship in another post).
Tomorrow morning (at 5 am!) we leave for Eilat, which is on the very southern tip of the country. Apparently, it’s usually around 110-115 degrees Farenheit there. Needless to say, I will be wearing a ton of sunscreen. We were supposed to be going to Petra in Jordan as well, but it turned out to be super expensive so we had to cancel! Which I am upset about. Instead, we’re going to be taking some sort of day-long boat ride/snorkel trip, because Eilat has amazing coral reefs and things. So that will be super fun as well.
We come back to Be’er Sheva on Sunday night, and on Tuesday we are going to a local Bedouin village and going to some sort of party/dinner they are hosting for us (our bus driver invited us to hang out with his family, apparently he lives there). That will be super cool becuase we’ve been learning a bit about the Bedouin minority here in the Negev and the “undocumented villages” they live in. On all official state maps of Israel, these towns are no where to be found, but they have thousands of people living in them.
Today, I went to the grocery store to stock up on snacks for the trip. You all know how much I love super markets, but this one was nothing special. A big store with everything you could possibly want, including shoes, housewares, sheets, etc. That was kind of weird I guess. They also make their own pita! We got some that was still warm. We got a giant tub of hummus that I of course already cracked open. Even the packaged hummus is better here than what we have at home. Yum.