The first four days in Jerusalem have been amazing!
I've been into the old city to wander around for a while, up to Ben Yehudah street and out to Talpiyot to do some shopping. It is fantastic to not need to drive ever. In fact, the walking is probably the best part once you get past the fact that it is very hot and you need to drink three or four liters of water each day to stay fully hydrated. I can't begin to imagine how much it will take once I start to work out, maybe I will hold off on that until the summer breaks into fall.
I need to complain a bit about the dirt. My feet get dirty every day kicking a bunch of dirt up around myself as I walk. The cats too are annoying. On the whole, these are pretty minor complaints and this city is fantastic. It is still strange playing with the monopoly looking money that we have here. The fact that the half-sheckel and 1/10 of a sheckel are bigger than the 1, 2, 5 or 10 sheckle piece is just odd to me. I'm also still getting used to needing to carry all of these coins in my pocket.
I have been using a lot of Hebrew lately. In fact, there have been many times that I have made purchases, asked for help and given help to people on the street entirely in Hebrew. I probably sound like an American, but that doesn't really matter to me right now.
Speaking of Hebrew, we need to take a Hebrew placement test to set us into the correct group for Ulpan, which starts a week from Monday. The first page of this exam was pretty easy. Then I started working on the second page and so on. I have never worked on an exam that has gotten so hard so quickly. I want to do well on it because it determines what level we start at, but there are parts where I have just plain forgot some of the Hebrew words I should know.
One thing I have noticed around here that I like a lot is Israeli Standard Time. Things just work slowly here, unless you are in a car. For example when you order food at a shop. The person working at the stand could get you your food in about a minute or it may take 10 minutes to get your bagel ready (bagel is a term loosely used to describe bread cut in the shape of a bagel).
The people have been great so far. I have been meeting other students from the other campuses and it looks like our class is really interesting, especially the class that I will be with in Cincinnati for the four years after Israel. I hope to have more pictures to put up and be blogging more often that once every four days.
(in peace from Jerusalem)