Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hello from Tel Aviv!

Hey friends!

It's been a long time since I've blogged. Mostly because I have been busy, also because keeping up with this blog isn't on the top of my priorities (sorry)!

Seminary has been an amazing experience so far. I've done things I've never thought I would - like learn Hebrew and travel to Israel. I ended the year in a completely different place than I thought I would. For my field studies, I am going to spend next year as the seminary assistant at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church (LPPC for short). I sort of still can't believe that I'm going to be there. I thought that I needed a break from working in a church. Working at Fourth was an incredible experience. I know without the things I learned and the experiences that I had there, I wouldn't be who I am today. I definitely wouldn't be in Israel right now, I can say that for sure. But it wasn't a perfect experience. Though I enjoyed my time there, I almost think I learned more of what I don't want, rather than what I do. Fourth is an incredibly large church that does its best to help those less fortunate in the city of Chicago. Yet I never really felt welcomed there. On my very last day, someone asked me what I was doing in the basement kitchen, as if I was some random person off the streets who didn't belong.


I don't want to harp on and on about my problems with Fourth, because like I said, I did have a good experience overall and learned an incredible number of things. But I wanted a break. I wanted to be able to attend church again. I like church. It's good for the soul. But working during the morning services meant I either spent all day at the church so that I could attend the 4:00 service, or I just had to go without time at church. I frequently chose the latter, which eventually wore me down.

Since I came in to seminary pretty sure that I didn't want to be your average white-steeple pastor, I thought that I might want to do the dual-degree program with the University of Chicago's School of Social Work. I quickly came to the conclusion that I didn't actually want to do that, but unfortunately missed the deadline to apply for field studies. It's a long story, but I basically thought that I wanted to have my field site be a non-profit organization. During the process of picking one, Lincoln Park's seminary intern decided to change her degree program, so they were left without one. LPPC is a church that has a long history of having a seminary intern from McCormick. They also are an extremely small congregation with about 90 members, who seem to be very social justice-minded. Either way, I think that this will turn out to be a very interesting experience!

I don't know if any of you have been to Tel Aviv, but its basically the Miami of the Mediterranean. The flight was relatively uneventful. There was a problem with the entertainment system, so we were delayed for an hour (on the plane) while they tried to fix it. There were still issues during the flight, so there is some sort of gift we are going to get. Not sure what it is yet. I was super busy leading up to my departure, so I hadn't had much sleep. Which is good because I slept on the plane.

Customs/border control was easy peasy. Having an American passport makes life so much easier. Definitely a blessing that I regularly forget. No stamp in the passport which was a little disappointing. Instead they gave me a card. I can stay here for 3 months. Don't worry. I'm not going to. :)

I had planned on taking a train and bus to my hostel, but I felt tired and lazy when I finally got out of the airport and took a taxi. Probably not the best use of my funds, but it was worth the convenience. 

My flight got in at 10:30am and I arrived at the hostel by about 12:00pm. Couldn't check in, so I just chilled in the lobby area. It's a smaller hostel, and it seems like everyone is really friendly. At least with each other. No one really spoke to me which I was fine with because I was so tired! After I checked in, I went to the beach for about an hour. The beach was totally packed full of people! I had a lovely conversation with an Israeli man who asked me to be his American girlfriend. I politely declined. 

Back to the hotel for a shower and a nap. Exhaustion is the name of the game, people! I wasn't really hungry (and everything is essentially closed after 4pm on Fridays because of Shabbat) so I decided to take a walk along the beach. There is a marina and I was going to take some pictures. Instead I ended up having to fend off another very eager Israeli suitor. "No I don't want to be your girlfriend. No I don't want to kiss you. Thanks but see ya never." (That's how the conversation went in my head. I think I was nicer in person.) After that, I decided to head back to the hostel for the evening. It was getting dark and since I am alone (and clearly a target for creepy men) I didn't want to spend anymore time outside. I brought some granola bars with me, and ended up eating one of those for dinner. I did some research to figure out a game plan for today (Saturday). 

 Traveling alone is never as much fun as traveling with people, but all in all, I've had a pretty good time! Tomorrow I meet up with 2 other people heading over to the kibbutz where we will be staying for the dig. Still haven't heard back from them about where we are meeting, but hopefully will soon! I'll post pictures eventually. I took some today. Fair warning - most of them are of the beach because that's where I've been spending most of my time. 

1 comment:

  1. Sarah: loved your description of tel aviv as the miami of the mediterranean. That's how I recall it. Also the advance word on the new pastor at LPPC is very good! Have a great dig! Christine V.


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