Tag Archives: Wadi Nisnas

Classes Begin

21 Oct

Yesterday was an incredibly busy day. We started with an extended welcome to campus by the head of the International School and several other campus officials. All MA students were present. The university offers four International Master’s programs – Creative & Art Therapy, Peace & Conflict Studies, Maritime Civilizations and Holocaust Studies. These programs include both international and Israeli students. The welcome to campus was nice…but long! I was dying for coffee.

Afterwards, all the programs had the day off until it was time for tours. Our program chose to dive straight into classes so after inhaling a mega fast cup of coffee (random note – all coffee not bought at a coffee shop is instant. My time in New Zealand and England prepared me for this so I don’t really mind. Others on our program are not happy and thus spending heaps of money on nice coffee. I’ll stick with free and instant!) we were off for our first class – “Qualitative Research Methods.” After talking to many friends who’ve done grad school and hearing many horror stories about research classes – I was not looking forward to this class. It turns out – we have a fantastic professor and I think it’s going to be a great class! Yay! The thrust of the class this semester is about using people as research sources. We will be focusing on interviewing skills and investigative research. It should be fun!

As part of the introduction to the class, our professor had us go around and say our name, where we were from, our education and what our Holocaust “connection” was. After doing our symposium, I knew several people had family members involved but we really dove into it here. The stories were amazing to hear and I cried several times listening. One lady’s mother survived Auschwitz and never recovered from the experience. After her daughter started asking her questions about it, she slowly began to talk about her experiences. The memories haunted her so badly that she committed suicide. Another man’s grandfather survived three separate camps before being liberated by American troops. He weight 65 pounds when released. There was a child of a Babi Yar survivor. And the stories went from there.

This class was supposed to go until 11:45 and our next class was to start at 12:15. Unfortunately, we went way over and left our class late. On the way to the next class, our entire group got lost and we ended up half an hour late to the next class, by the time we finally found the building and room. The professor was completely unimpressed. This class is “The Second World War” and the class that I had to read a MASSIVE book for beforehand. We were given the syllabi for all courses a few weeks ago and I was pretty worried about this one kicking my butt. After going through the first class – I am not nearly as worried. The professor is very young but he is incredibly tense and strict. I think as long as I follow his set rules – I will do well in his class. It’s four hours once a week so I will make it work!

After all of our classes, we were to have a campus tour. Unfortunately, our WWII class went over and all of us missed the campus tour. This was okay since we were all starving at this point so we had a quick meal. I shared a lunch special from a coffee shop on campus with two students I’ve become close to. Victoria is from Columbia and in her mid-30s. After being diagnosed with MS a few years ago she completely re-evaluated her life and made many changes. Going back to school was one of them. Heather is an artist from Canada who could happily retire to enjoy her 3 adult children’s growing families but her love of learning brought her to this program. The three of us split a quiche and an ancient salad. At least the quiche was good!

We did catch up with the tour group to go on the city tour. They had hired a bus to take us down the hill and around town. We visited the Bahai Gardens, the Arab neighborhood (Wadi Nisnas) and the shuk (the open air market place). I really enjoyed finally seeing more of the city! I really liked the Arab neighborhood, which was mostly closed since Sundays are a day of rest from them. The market was great! Cheap food and incredibly tasty. I bought fresh bread, grapes, potatoes, eggs, cheese, salami (from a Russian market) and olives. This is where I will be doing most of my food shopping since it’s so much cheaper than anywhere else in town. It’s basically a year round farmers market but with more than just fruits & vegetables. I will try to post pictures once I have a strong internet connection. Unfortunately, the signal in the dorms is TERRIBLE! And totally unreliable. I have to say – it drives me nuts!!

After our tour we had time to eat dinner in the German Colony – an area of town that was originally settled by German Templar (not the Templar of Dan Brown fame!). It’s a super posh area with many restaurants. One of the girls who joined our group keeps kosher so we had to find a kosher restaurant for her. The place we ended up at, Cafe Cafe was good! I had a massive salad with fried cheese that come with the best homemade bread. I approve!

Once we finished dinner, we headed back to campus where I was thrilled to pieces to see my dorm room and go to bed! It was a long 12 hour day that was packed full!

On an unrelated note – several people have asked what kinds of foods have I been eating and what’s available. I have only eaten outside of my kitchen twice so far. I had dinner at a pub one night and had sweet potato ravioli with fresh tomato sauce (excellent!) and last night I had a fresh salad that was delicious. All restaurants on campus are kosher. This means no serving meat if you serve diary products (and vice verse, obs), no pork, no seafood unless it has fins and scales. So most restaurants tend to be vegetarian. It’s a vegetarian paradise! I have not had any meat yet but I hear there is a great place on campus that serves good and cheap hamburgers. I may try it tomorrow. Sadly though, no cheese on those burgers. 😦 I have to say the food is really good and always fresh. I have yet to try real hummus or felafel. Soon!

Gosh, typing about all this food makes me so hungry! I just woke up and now I’m starving for breakfast. I’d better wrap up this epically long entry. Let me know if you have any specific questions in the comments.