Yesterday morning, after landing in Boston from a very early flight home from Florida (which I am sad I had to leave since it is currently 24 degrees out, feels like 17 with the wind chill), I went to the Israeli consulate to pick up my passport with my visa in it. Everything went smoothly and I am pretty sure this is the last thing, documentation wise, that I have to do on the US end before I leave.
Midnight train to Georgia, 11:50 plane to Ashkelon, same thing. So it is set, December 28th at 11:50pm. Apparently I received a confirmation email and my flight information on November 25th but I (somehow) passed this over as being junk mail and deleted it without opening it. oops... I hope this isn't an example of how I am going to do while trying to deal with all of the Israeli bureaucracy.
Side note: Mom's not so pumped with the idea of leaving New York at midnight, can you blame her? So I am trying to figure out if there is a possibility of me switching to the 1:15pm flight from Newark on the same day. I am assuming this is not an option but I am trying the guilt trip anyway.
So I land on December 29th and my Hebrew Ulpan program at the absorption center in Jerusalem doesn't start until the middle of January. This is where Ashkelon comes into play. For the first two weeks before I move in to the absorption center in Jerusalem I am going to live in an absorption center in Ashkelon. Two cheers for absorption centers, hip hip hooray! hip hip hooray! Right, anyway, some interesting facts about Ashkelon: it is where Carsberg and Tuborg beer (very popular in Israel) is brewed, it is home to the world's largest seawater desalination plant which was voted 'Desalination Plant of the Year' for 2006 in the Global Water Awards (bet you didn't know those existed!), it is a "twin city" with Baltimore and Portland, it is on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea coast, 31 miles south of Tel Aviv, 6 miles north of Gaza, and has been the target of many Qassam rockets from Hamas in Gaza over the past 10 years, the most recent one in July of this year. But I promise there is nothing to worry about, it has been very calm lately and I will only be there for 2 weeks.
My eyes are closing on me so I must go, it was a long 15 hour shift at work today. Happy last night of Hanukkah, and what a relaxing and beautiful Hanukkah it was since I spent most of it on vacation in Florida :)