Haifa Travel Blog

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Downtown Haifa

I had my first day of my ulpan (intensive Hebrew course today)... and am quite overwhelmed.  Somehow I was placed in level 4 even though I could barely read the Hebrew during the exam.  Everyone in the class is far more advanced than me and the entire class was conducted in Hebrew... so needless to say I had no idea what was going on... I had to keep asking the kid next to me to interpret but he was from Germany soooo the language barier made it a bit difficult.  The program told me that I need to remain in the class for at least another day before they will consider reassigning me... so I will give it another chance tomorrow. 

I am very excited to learn Hebrew but it is a lot of work.  We spend five hours a day (Sunday through Friday) in a classroom where the teacher typically speaks entirely in Hebrew.

German quarter of Haifa.
  I am expected to read and understand script (which I do not... ha).  The class is small so I will be able to get to know many of my classmates.  They are from all over the world, which is really cool.  There are a bunch of people from Germany and Russia and then others from Czech Republic, France, Holland, England, Nigeria-- It is quite strange to be the minority in the group... It was really cool to hear all of the different languages these people can speak.  Some of them said they are fluent in 5 or 6 different languages.... made me wish I had more than just English and bits of Spanish under my belt. 

After the Ulpan we took a tour of the city led by one of the Madricha (Activity Coordinator/ R.A.).  We went through the Arab section of Haifa and saw a spectacular view of the Bah'ai gardens.

Madricha (group leader) who gave us a tour of Haifa's neighborhoods.
  She took us to a bakery in this area of the city and we had the best Baklava I have ever eaten.  On the way back to campus a friend and I tried to navigate the grocery store.... It was quite the adventure.  The biggest difference is the lack of selection.  Whereas I can walk into shaws at home and have 30 different kinds of peanut butter to choose from in Israel you are lucky if they even sell one brand.  One of the best discoveries I made was chocolate milk in a plastic bag... soo delicious.  Unfortunately the cereal here costs 25 Sheckels (about $8)... and as most of  you know I am obsessivie about my cereal... so I think I am going to have to change my morning routine around a bit unless I want to spend all my travel money on breakfast.
More Haifa with Eron's head in the way-- hes from France and speaks about 37 languages.

Other strange thing here is all of the wild cats.  As soon as I step out my door I walk into at least a dozen cats.  I was told that during the Brittish occupation here there was a huge rat problem so to curb this they released a bunch of cats which took care of the rats but now they have all of these kitties running around with no food to eat.  So they are constantly on the prowl loooking for any food they can grab...  I think I may be more afraid of these starving kits than of pigeons (hard to imagine I know...)

Well, that is the update I have for today... it was quite the intense day, but I am optimistic about my Hebrew class and am confident that by the end of tomorrow I will be in a class that is more fitting or figured a way to make this class work. 

here4crackhead says:
Maddie! Cool blog, terrific idea. I'm glad you're trying your best with Hebrew, teach us some slang!

You're so Haifalutin'! Hifa-ive!

... that's all I got

Love, Anna
Posted on: Aug 06, 2008
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Downtown Haifa
Downtown Haifa
German quarter of Haifa.
German quarter of Haifa.
Madricha (group leader) who gave u…
Madricha (group leader) who gave …
More Haifa with Erons head in the…
More Haifa with Eron's head in th…
Bakery in the arab sector... such …
Bakery in the arab sector... such…
photo by: alanmica