A few things to mention when Ashdod was all new territory to me:
1. Sand storms are a real thing. You walk outside and feel as though the air is physically choking you and your entire surroundings are yellowish orange. It is not fun.
 
2. Elementary schools are nothing like RBS/Westorchard/Grafflin. Organized chaos is very much alive in the classrooms (most of the time full of 30-40 children). I am working at a school called Hofit and it is only a ten minute walk from my apartment. My host teacher is amazing and her blue eye liner rocks.
 
3. Pita and hummus will be my new go to foods...and the gym will be my new best friend.
 
4. Any Israeli you meet will invite you to your house on the holidays. Are you an axe murderer? No worries, you can still celebrate Rosh Hashanah with a host family. 
 
5. Jerusalem has a light show that starts at 9 p.m., takes place on the walls of the old city, tells a wordless story about the rise of Jerusalem, and it is awesome. 
 
6. No one is on a time schedule. You can be waiting on line at a grocery store checkout for twenty minutes, even if you are the next person to pay. You can wait for the bill through the night at a restaurant if you don't ask for the check as the waiters run by you. 
 
7. The trains here make the Metro North look like it should be an illegal transportation system.
 
8. Sweating like a madman is okay...no judgments here. 
 
9. Making friends that understand all your issues (and I mean ALL) is extremely important and I am widely thankful for the ones I have. 
 
10. Even a work day for me is a vacation. 
 
11. The time zone is a tad annoying with the states, but I am getting more and more used to not being on my phone at all times.
 
12. Speaking English to Israelis and having them talk back to you in your native language is super rewarding. Especially when there are agreements between similar topics with such different lifestyles.
13. Taking a two day trip with a group of friends, renting a car, paying for an AirBnB and buying groceries, going to the Dead Sea and on a "hike" with amazing views is completely worth it, and less than $100 per person.
 
14. The Dead Sea hurts when it comes to cuts. Cursing is a necessity.
 
15. Haifa is absolutely beautiful and so remote that I can see why once people move there, they never leave. 
16. Eilat, the Las Vegas of Israel, is gorgeous. The beach was relaxing with refreshing water. Even though we were only there for a mere 24 hours, I would get back in a car and drive the 2+ hours just to be there again.
17. Burger Bar is my new favorite restaurant. If I could, and if my friends let me, I'd eat that for dinner every night. Why? Because they make my burger so I know it isn't "moo-ing" anymore.
 
18. I am never leaving...
 
19. The reason why I haven't posted is because I dislike being on my computer now. I had to actually wait for it to charge because I couldn't remember the last time it was used and it died on me. Rude.
 
After Two Months:

1. Jellyfish are a real thing in the Mediterranean. I got stung. It hurt like a bitch. Thing of someone trying to get your attention and poking you, only instead of using their finger they used an inch wide razor, over and over, for around four hours. Suffice to say I was in pain for a day and a half. Slowly, I am healing and will soon obviously be back to my perfect self.

2. Milka Oreo. Google it. Buy it. Try it. Fall in love with something that won't talk back to you.

3. Rocket alerts - they are real. On 29 September, the siren went off in Ashdod, where we proceeded to the bomb shelter in our apartment and waited there until the sirens simmered and the rocket from Gaza was not a danger to our lives. Good news? The Iron Dome works as it intercepted the rocket. Bad news? It was not a drill... Scary, but life goes on.

4. Amazon Prime ships to Ashdod, no zip code necessary! Q-Tips = √

5. I have tried to write more often, but to be honest, it is hard to captivate the attention of those reading this and then be able to describe how unbelievably happy I am with the decision that I made to come here. So when I write, it is because I genuinely want to, it is not forced.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Jamie Rothberg | Writer | Chicago

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