Posts Tagged ‘study abroad’

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It’s the end of Fall semester.

February 1, 2012

Last night’s performance of the Academy Ensemble’s projects was great. I’m eager to see where our work will go in the coming months. I know it’s late, but here’s some rehearsal footage I found on the Academy website.

 

 

This performance and this week marks the end of the Fall semester, finally! I look forward to the following this month:

  • doing some local tourism and perhaps some hiking
  • attending a Gaga/ Batsheva repertory workshop at the Academy
  • continuing Ensemble rehearsals
  • rehearsing my own choreography
  • beginning Hebrew classes
  • running…

 

I hope I can keep this break relaxed, yet productive!

 

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change of perspective, change in approach

January 28, 2012

I feel guilty I have not blogged in a while.

After some reflection, I discovered that this is merely because I am comfortable where I am, on many levels. I have gotten used to living in Jerusalem. The public transportation is easy to maneuver. I know what to do if I get lost. I have settled on some daily rituals. Coffee and oatmeal in the mornings, running three times a week, early commutes to the Academy, collective dinners with friends/flatmates, laundry every Shabbat.

Upon arrival in Jerusalem in early September—just five short months ago—I was not sure when I would reach this state of equilibrium. I feared that the views I see from outside my window, during my commutes and on my runs, of the Old City and valleys of Arab neighborhoods, would become commonplace. They have. It’s a common sight to look out of my living room window to see the Dome of the Rock. I don’t take nearly as many photos as I did those months ago.

Our friends enrolled in one-semester programs are almost all gone. These people traveled with us on our first experiences Tel Aviv, Haifa, the Tishbi Winery, Shuk Mahane Yehuda, and all our favorite corners of Jerusalem. They leave us here to continue their lives back home or elsewhere abroad. A number of us are here for five more months yet. And with the coming of a wave of new Spring semester study abroad students, and among them five new Dance Jerusalemites, I can’t help the feeling of being awarded veteran status here.

What does this mean? Well, with the change of perspective must come a change in my approach to blogging. This blog no longer serves me as merely a place to report all of my new tourist findings in Israel. It begs to go deeper. How do I feel? What am I actually learning? Perhaps it is time to actually discuss dance. This sounds good.

Of course, if anyone has any questions or would like me to write about something specific, don’t hesitate to ask. That would be fun, too.

 

With that, good day and shabbat shalom.

קרלו – Carlo

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Hello Again

January 2, 2012

I said goodbye to Hannah today, who’s leaving for the States at some unreasonable hour tonight. I didn’t anticipate having to say goodbye to half of my friends here (basically one at a time) as they finished their one-semester study abroad programs. This was all inevitable, of course, but I didn’t know what it would feel like. There’s something poetic to be said here, but hopefully Neil Diamond’s “Hello Again” will help relate the feeling instead.

 

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DancePlus Fall 2011

December 10, 2011

Photo courtesy of MGSA

 

My home school, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, closes its fall semester with the second weekend of DancePlus Fall 2011. Check their Calendar of Events for details on this performance and others to come next semester!

To all my friends, faculty, and guest artists back home, with two performances left… Merde and בהצלחה! (B’hatzlacha, literally “with success” in Hebrew.) I can’t wait to see your hard work on DVD upon my return next summer.

Best, Carlo

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Israel did not steal my wallet.

November 26, 2011

I take full responsibility for having lost my wallet. Perhaps I was careless about which pocket to put it in or where on my body I was carrying my bag. But since I was walking in the crowded Old City today, I don’t rule out the fact that it might have been stolen.

In my wallet, I had my New Jersey driver’s license, my Rutgers ID, my Rothberg International School ID, my debit card, my credit card, a Blockbuster card, a Stop and Shop gift card, my coffee punch card for the cafe at the Academy. I also lost a traveler’s check and a sum of cash.

I was NOT carrying my US Passport and my health insurance card, so those items are still safe.

Here are the steps I took once I realized my wallet was missing:

  • I retraced my steps in the Old City and asked the shopkeepers if they had seen it.
  • I reported the incident to the police—and half in Hebrew!
  • When I got back to the kfar, I called the bank to cancel the cards and had replacements sent to my home in New Jersey.
  • I emailed the Office of Student Activities to ask what I should do for temporary and replacement identification around campus.
  • I emailed my parents to explain the situation, so they could forward my new cards to Jerusalem.

Even though I usually find my wallet when I misplace it, I wasn’t upset in deciding that my wallet was lost for good this time. I think the most upsetting thing was that the wallet itself had sentimental value.

And even though I remained level-headed about losing my wallet, many thoughts still ran through my mind. After I had backtracked the day’s events to the last moment I had my wallet, I began to visit all of the day’s events. I wondered, “Would I have done that if I knew my wallet would end up missing?” I listed.

  • Would I have kept my wallet in my pocket instead of my bag?
  • Would I have carried my bag a different way?
  • Would I have picked this day to randomly buy souvenirs?
  • Would I have spent money on chocolate?
  • Would I have agreed to go to the Old City?
  • Would I have taken out less money at the ATM?
  • Would I have tipped the tour guide?
  • Would I have left the apartment at all this morning?
  • Would I have done my laundry today instead?
  • Would I have just stayed in bed?

I let my mind wander to these places. And when I crossed the idea of staying in bed, I stopped. My mind was going somewhere I knew was ridiculous. I laughed and said, “Oh yeah.”

“This is why I’m so understanding…” So I lost my wallet. It’s okay. You can’t live your life scared that something’s going to happen to you, or that you’re going to make a mistake. Things happen, and you learn from them. There are always solutions to your problems. And if not, there are always ways around them.

Also, I just KNEW there was a reason why I decided to collect the Internet bills late from everyone, and why my roommates were taking their time getting back to me. It looks like I won’t be completely out of money. Things have a funny way of working themselves out.

I consider this a [self-indulgent?] spiritual experience, but I digress.

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Thanksgiving

November 25, 2011

Thank you to all the guests that visited our apartment (and contributed food) tonight for Thanksgiving dinner. For some it was reminiscent of home, and for others it was their first Thanksgiving. The food was absolutely amazing—and might I add that our feast was completely vegetarian? I’m especially thankful for the decorations that were made and the cleaning that was done in preparation. And of course, many thanks go to Elisa for coordinating the evening… You’re amazing.

Here’s a video of the dinner scene.
Mind the mild obscenities; dessert had just been served.

 

 

Thanksgiving Dishes

 

Thanksgiving Decorations

 

Above all, I’m thankful for safety abroad, for the good company of new friends, and for the opportunity to study dance in a place like this. This experience is truly one of a kind. Happy Thanksgiving from Israel.

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Is it cold, Carlo?

November 24, 2011

I was sure I overpacked bringing five pairs of pants to Israel. I thought I was silly for packing my long sleeve athletic shirts. I even laughed at myself for bringing as many long sleeves and sweaters as I did. Boy, did I have the weather figured all wrong! Only three months after my arrival in Israel, the weather has gotten COLD. Yes, folks. It’s cold in Jerusalem.

Yes, the weather in Israel is Mediterranean, but mainly near the Mediterranean Sea. That includes places like Haifa, Tel Aviv, and the Gaza Strip (which we’re not supposed to visit anyway). The weather is different half an hour eastward, in Jerusalem. The Student Village is on Mount Scopus, in the desert. Naturally, it gets cold at night. We’re also entering the rainy season, much like the Northern California Bay Area does this time of year. I haven’t worn shorts outside for a couple weeks now, and I regret not having thick sweaters, a proper coat, a cozy winter scarf, and my more substantial boots!

Hebrew trivia:  “Is it cold?” translates to “קר לו?” or “Car lo?”

It even got so cold last week that I got sick. My body even ran a fever on Shabbat. Might I add… I completely forgot to pack any sorts of medications. I didn’t anticipate getting sick, so I didn’t have any of those things on hand. But with the care of my friends (and their sick-day supplies), I got better and only had to miss one class.

A word to the wise study abroad-ers:  organize your sick day items. This of course includes whatever medications and remedies you care to bring or purchase upon arriving here, but you should also include the items that make you feel comfortable when you’re feeling weak. For me, that could’ve been a teddy bear or a favorite snack food.