Friday, June 20, 2014

Weekend in Karmiel

These past few days have been crazy busy to say the least...  Will explain later. They started off with me trying to switch my internship because it isn't exactly what I signed up for or expected. I'm looking at a few different companies to work for now. One of them is a food/travel service for tourists where they do cooking classes, food tours, wine tours, etc. I would help them with social media, pr, and would meet with local restaurants.... Literally my heaven! Another organization deals with philanthropic businesses and I would be doing grant writing, fundraising, etc. for them.

Anyway, I'm going to make this short and sweet because typing on my iPad is rather difficult. I am currently in Karmiel, a city about 2 hours north of Tel Aviv. This is Pittsburgh's "partner city" so we are staying in home stays here for the weekend. I am currently watching Friends in Israel on the most comfortable couch... Life couldn't get better. We are having a literal feast tonight for Shabbat and our host mom keeps feeding me every hour which I obviously don't mind one bit.

Today, we had a lecture about the Israeli/Arab conflict and learned more about what actually takes place here. The PowerPoint was a tad too boring for me, but after we went to an Arab school where we met with one of the teachers. She is 26, the mother of two, and one of 17 siblings!!! I couldn't even imagine... One was enough for my parents how could some people handle 17?!?! She explained to us her feelings about being an Arab living in Israel and the struggles she faces daily. It was interesting because she didn't identify as "Israeli" but stated she is an "Arab living in Israel." She also said this identity helps when visiting family in places such as Gaza and the West Bank. If she labeled herself as "Israeli" she may be shunned by her family. She also informed us about jobs in Israel. If an Arab woman and Jewish woman were applying for the same job, she said the Jew would automatically get it, no matter what credentials. I'm not sure if I 100% agree with this, but then again I don't live here and don't know what goes on daily. Also, Arabs don't have to serve in the army but still have all the benefits that Israelis that serve their country have. She talked about "National Service" where Arabs, as well as religious Jews, can do community service instead of serving. After this, religious Jews can go to University at age 19, but Arabs must wait until they are 21.

It is so interesting because I don't know much about the state of Israel, its history, etc. and I am trying to learn. Yet, every person you ask they tell you a different story. Everyone is biased, has their own opinions and beliefs so it is difficult to figure out what exactly to know and who exactly to trust.

Rewind to 2 days ago.....
Fun night gone wrong. Like so wrong. To make a long story short, my friends and I went out to a bar and then headed to the beach. We took our shoes and purses off to take a photo and put our feet into the water. I turned around to grab something out of my purse and they were gone.... Someone stole our bags!!! 3 of us had our bags stolen and 1 thankfully was smart and kept her purse with her. Thankfully we were with our Israeli friends and they took us to the police office to file a report of all our missing belongings. Everything is working out though and I am sooooo thankful to have the BEST parents in the world! Sorry again for my hysterical phone call at 1am my time and thanks mom for being tech savvy and canceling all my technology for me!

Off to go bask in the sun at my home stay! They have the most beautiful view..... Will add pictures when I get home tomorrow!


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