Monday, January 26, 2009

It keeps getting closer... the end

Only one more exam to go. It's sociology, and we have study pretty much nonstop for it. So hopefully, I'll do well. I found out already for the science exam (which I finished in 20 minutes): full marks. I haven't gotten my official grade, but at least 25 out of 25, but I'm hoping that I get extra points for any of the bonus questions I answered. Today I took the climate change quiz (not final exam, just a quiz on the last unit of the course). I'm guessing I'm in the 75-80 out of 100 range. There were a few questions I know I got wrong, a few a know I got right (including the extra credit questions), and one or two I think could go either way. So this will mean all three of my quizzes for this class were in the C range, but I did well on my first paper, and I think I'll do well on the last paper (which is extra credit anyway), so I think I can expect my final grade to even out to 80 range for this class, and probably most of my classes.
Considering all the fun and good experience I was busy having in this foreign country, I'll be pretty pleased with straight 80's (other than the short course in Marine biology, which I already know I got a 66 in).
Anyway, it's a bit surreal that I have to be packed in two days. I'll be in Ramallah for Thursday night/most of Friday, and then to the airport on Friday evening. I have friends who will be in Tel Aviv Friday night, and apparently lots of places stay open on Shabbat in Tel Aviv, so I might go meet them for dinner and hang out for a bit, if I can find someplace to leave my luggage. I'm coming home in 6 days!

Friday, January 23, 2009

The end of an era


All my work is finished. All that remains is to study for exams, take exams, pack, party, and say my goodbyes. It seems reasonable I'll be able to do this in a week. Yet, I can't help but feel a little freaked out by it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dead Sea

This past weekend I went to the Dead Sea! It was pretty cool, except Thursday morning I woke up with some red spots on my torso. After confirming they couldn't be related to the chicken pox outbreak amongst the Kibbutz children, I decided to go on the the Sea anyway. I spent about an hour in the water Thursday afternoon, before sundown (which is at about 4 because of the mountains). It was very nice. By the end of the night, the spots had spread and were hot to the touch. Friday I hiked Masada, and it proved very difficult in my given situation. It only took me about 20 minutes longer than the average hike to the top, though, and I'm pretty proud about that. The top was amazing. A lot of the ruins are still up there, and its pretty cool to see. When I got back to the bottom, I went into the "Dead Sea Laboratories" store, and one of the floor sales women took one look at my skin and ran to get one of the testers of the intensive care moisturizer. I rubbed it in and she immediately gave me more, asking what was wrong, telling me to find some anti-histamine, maybe see a doctor. When I started to rub the lotion into my stomach and back, too, she ran over to the cashier desk and grabbed some sample bottles to give me. It was really sweet. I went back to the sea after that, and used some of the Dead Sea mineral mud that I had bought at the store, and it was really neat. Friday night I went to bed really early, because I was exhausted from hiking and swimming and the benedryl. Saturday, I went back to the beach, but I didn't swim this time because it was cloudy and my skin was feeling more irritable. It was still a nice view. Also, the hostel I stayed in had a great view. It was on top of a hill, with some mountains behind it, and the ibex (like deer) just wander around the hostel grounds. It was pretty cool.
Now I'm back home. I took my first exam yesterday, and actually feel a lot better about it now that I've taken it than I did before. I was really nervous, but it really wasn't so bad. Now I don't have any more for another week. Today I went into Eilat. Did some shopping, ate some good food. My ankles are swollen now, which isn't common for me, even after a long day walking around, but maybe its part of the allergic reaction. My skin looks/feels a lot better, but not totally normal, so I'm still taking the benedryl. I can't wait to come home again! I think the different environment makes me more sensitive to these things, like with the monster bug bites from the beginning of the semester.
Anyway, that's all for now!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I got a 83% on my science test! yayyyyy!

The semester is wrapping up, and it is crazy! I've finished my first draft of my science paper (on nuclear energy), but now have to work on my half-written mediation paper (on water wars), and my climate change paper (a critique of the ridiculous documentary "The Great Global Warming Swindle"). There is a good possibility I'll be in charge of writing the paper on our class policy assignment, as well, because I've been sick this week so I wasn't very involved with the class presentation. This is the last week of classes, and exams start next week. I only have an exam on Sunday, the rest of mine happen to be the second week, so I was thinking about a little last-minute traveling through Israel. But I've got to pack, and figure out what to ship (and how much that will cost), and everything, so I'm not sure. Ghadeer wants me to come with her to Ramallah and see her home and everything, which would also be very exciting. She has an exam next week that I don't have, so she wouldn't be going until the weekend anyway. So I could stay for the first part of the week and pack and take care of things, and then just go to Ramallah with her on Wednesday. I think that would be nicer than whatever touristy things I would explore on my own. Plus, I've gotten a few requests for kaffiyehs for friends back home, and I'd so much rather buy it in Palestine.

The thing I'm most dreading about the end of the semester is having to clean my room and pack up my life. It's so much easier at Hampshire, because if I see something is left unpacked, I just shove it into my car. I have to really make sure everything is packed and in its proper place, which means I have to start packing with things I am absolutely certain I won't need again once its packed.

But I am really excited to come home! I'm excited to see my family, and my friends, and be back at Hampshire, and eat diner food, or pizza, or greasy Chinese food, or cheddar cheese, or basically anything besides falafel, humus, baba ganoush (which they just call eggplant here), tomatoes, and cucumbers. Don't get me wrong, I love falafel, humus, bab ganoush, tomatoes, and cucumbers. But I miss home food.

Monday, January 5, 2009

There's still hope...

This was sent to the Arava mailing list by a former student, who I do not know, have never and probably will never meet, but it speaks to me. I'm posting it without the author's name, because I actually don't have permission to share this, and I hope to avoid detection, but I wanted all of you to read it.

"I'm living in Be`er Sheva, in the Palestinian missile range, and I
came for a day to visit in the AIES in Ketura. During my stay here,
and during the conversations I had with both Israelis and
Palestinians I found, as expected, lots of anger and frustrations,
but I did come to realize some things.
I realized that we are going to win.
Why am I so sure? Because when missiles are falling near my home I
can still find it in my heart a place to feel compassion for my
Palestinian friends and their people. Because when they are worried
about their people in Gaza, they are still able in their hearts to
relate to me as their friend, and even invite me to stay with them
where it's safe. Because even in the darkest times, we have a group
here that manages to remember that even if there is an enemy - he is
still a human being.
I don't think that the conflict is about to be over soon, but for me,
every act like these I mentioned is a small victory. A victory to the
same voices that provides me with hope that better days will come.
Keep up the faith my friends, because if we will, we are going to
conquer the hatred and win the fight for a peaceful co-existence.

Peace and Love,

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Year in Review