Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I'm reading the book The Happiness Project and I have written down so many quotes or points from the book so far that I love and really relate to.  It's an amazing breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively, to leave whatever office the 15+ of us soldiers that have nothing to do on base are currently sitting in, walk over to the little pond in the middle of our base, sit on a bench and read this book.  Without question I feel so much better even after just reading one page, I love to be reminded about how to keep up my happiness, it's so perfectly cheesy...so me.

Anyway this quote isn't from the book but it is one of the many that I have on a post it note on my computer desktop because it makes me happy to read it and I felt compelled to share it, finally.  It is from a speech that Amy Poehler gave at Harvard at the 2011 graduation.

"you can't do it alone. as you navigate through the rest of your life be open to collaboration, other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own. find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them and it will change your life

you never know what's around the corner, unless you peak. hold someone's hand while you do it. you'll feel less scared. you can't do this alone. besides it's much more fun to succeed and fail with other people, take your risks now, as you grow older you become more fearful and less flexible. try to keep your mind open to possibilities and your mouth closed on matters that you don't know about. limit your always and your nevers. continue to share your heart with people even if it's been broken. don't treat your heart like an action figure wrapped in plastic and never used...

when you feel scared hold someone's hand and look into their eyes and when you feel brave do the same thing you are all here because you are smart and you are brave and if you add kindness and the ability to change a tire you almost make up the perfect person."

expect many more quotes in the coming weeks, I'm feeling in the mood for cheesy quotes...

homeless less!

Yes! it is true! I, Lauren Spivack, have rented my very first apartment.  I would like to take the time now to thank BC for providing me with 4 years of housing, mom for letting me move back home after graduation, Israel for putting me up in an absorption center, Allie for letting me live with you for two months, and the Porath's, Itamar, and the Fridman's for housing me during my wandering times these past two months.  I am oh so very glad to say, however, that in a few short weeks I will be a new resident of Nachlaot, Jerusalem.
Here's a little bit about how the search went:
Allie and I spent many hours looking up apartments online, Allie continuously and diligently sent me listings with addresses, info, and numbers to set up meetings to go look.  The first weekend I was going to  go to Jerusalem to look at apartments I ended up having to stay Shabbat on my army base so I couldn't.  So I decided to take an "errand day" from the army last Thursday and spend the day apartment searching. Allie, again, searched on the internet and sent me listings of potential apartments because the apartments we had written down from the week before were already rented, as it typically goes here...quickly.  I added to the search, checking things for myself and adding a few listings to my potential list on Wednesday night.  Thursday morning I decided to check online again and saw an apartment in our price range in a really great location, the center of Jerusalem.  I decided to go to this apartment first and really, really hope that it was a winner so I didn't have to trek out of the city on the bus to look at all the other apartments on the list.  I called when I got to Jerusalem and went to the apartment first, as I had hoped.  The apartment was adorable, re-done, and in a great location, I was so excited!  I knew I had to call Allie though to double check about the location, because it wasn't the location we were looking in all along.  I had to make sure she was alright with compromising a bit on the size for the fact that it is re-done and, did I mention, in a great location?  Only problem...it was about 6am in Boston and Allie was up late getting a friend from the airport.  No fear, I knew mom would be up so I chatted with her about how I felt about the apartment and in the end we decided I really should go for it.  I sat outside the apartment as the time passed and watched potential renter after potential renter look at the apartment.  My stomach turned as I knew I didn't have much time (dramatic, huh?!)  I finally decided 8am was good enough to call and wake up Allie and I did just that.  I told her all about the apartment and the fact that it's a bit small and the second bedroom, my bedroom since I'll be in the army most of the time, is a loft, not an actual room.  She thought it was a good idea to check out a few of the other apartments on the list so I reluctantly but diligently hopped on a bus to the outer part of the city.  I meandered around a bit as I called the potential apartments to no avail.  Either I could not look at them that day, they only had one bedroom (the list "rooms" here which included living room and sometimes a kitchen or another room so you can never be too sure how many bedrooms are there), or some other funk that didn't fit with us.  Finally Allie and I decided that I need to go with the first one, it's too good to pass up and after all, it's in a great location.  I called back the realtor and signed the papers that afternoon.  All in Hebrew, all understood, all by myself :).
I signed the lease for a move-in date of November 1st hoping that the current tenant would find an apartment sooner so I could move in before the 1st.  I wasn't very optimistic as she had pretty particular desires for her apartment but alas, I received a phone call today from the current tenant that she is planning on signing for an apartment on Sunday with a move in date of October 10th!  Wah-hoo! That means I can move in to the apartment on the 10th/11th instead of the first of November!
I know, I know, it is all very too good to be true.  Whoever is crossing their fingers and praying for me out there keep up the good work, I REALLY appreciate it :)
                                                       check out our adorable kitchen!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

closed my first shabbat

I know I've been slacking, but there hasn't really been anything interesting to update!

This past weekend I stayed my first Shabbat on base. I arrived at 8:30 Thursday morning (usually at 9am everyday), got my gun and the lowdown on how to guard for the 50th time and off I went to my first guard shift. I guarded 10am-2pm on Thursday. Not too shabby, not many people going in or out since it's the middle of the day, people on base to visit and sit with me, keep me company. I ended up sitting with my friend Dani who guarded 2pm-6pm for most of her shift to keep her company so there goes another 4 hours. 4 hour break and Dani and I went back to guard together Thursday 10pm-2am on Friday. We chatted the whole time and it passed really quickly. My next shift wasn't until 6pm Friday-10pm, again with Dani, right through Shabbat dinner time. It's a little weird to be sitting at the gate not able to do anything during Shabbat dinner, but they brought us plates of food which we graciously fed to the cats after a few bites, haha. Next shift, Saturday morning 6am-10am alone. Quite tough to stay awake and I ended up walking in, what I counted as, an 85 meter square for about 45 minutes and figured out that I walked a little more than 2 miles, not too bad. Last guard shift was Sunday 2am-6am then I got to leave base today (Sunday) at 10am. Exciting weekend, I know!!

Between shifts I slept, ate way too much junk food, watched TV, etc. It passed pretty quickly but it didn't feel like a weekend, I can't believe I have a full week now! Technically only 4 days since I have today almost entirely off so thats cool. I think I'll go for a walk to the beach, study Hebrew, go for a run later, maybe meet up with some friends in the city. Guarding the gate to the base on the weekend isn't bad at all since barely anyone is on our base on the weekend so there is not much opportunity to screw up and it's not stressful. My first guard shift I was nervous because I didn't recognize the people on the base and I didn't know who was allowed on and who wasn't, who to call, what questions to ask, etc. Thankfully, I guess, almost everyone on my base knows English, or at least understand it, hence the foreign relations base, so if I have a problem i can resort to English. We have many visiting military personnel who only can speak English, either they are American or from random countries like Romania, Ecuador, Japan, UK, Mexico, etc. Some of the American soldiers asked to take a picture with me and Dani when we were guarding. I think they thought it was cool to see girls with guns. People are always interested in our guns because they are big...really it's just that they are all bought from the US military so they are extra, leftover, big chunky types of M-16's. We can't afford anything more sleek over here, haha. My gun this weekend was made in Worcester, MA and Dani's was made in Hartford, CT...yayyy hometown love <3 Did I mention those American soldiers who asked to take a picture with us have been in the military 20+ years and I've been in almost 2 months? haha, ironic, I should have asked for a pic with THEM!

Still not doing much of anything on base, we have another month until our training course but we have a lot of time off for the holidays in between that which is nice. Once I start my course on October 23rd I'll be doing "12-2" meaning I'll be on base 12 days in a row then home 2 day, Friday and Saturday. After I finish my training on December 1st and start my job (don't know what it will be until after the course) I'll probably do 10-4, 10 days on base 4 at home. ie-i'll spend mannyy more Shabbats on base. It's fun though, believe it or not, lots of bonding and stuff, a little like college but in uniforms, with guns, and dealing with serious relations between volatile countries. so yea...just like college.

I hope to go looking at apartments this weekend in Jerusalem for Allie and myself. I want to move in at the beginning of October. Apartment renting happens very last minute and quickly here so I think I'm right on time. Hopefully one of the first places I look is nice and a good price so I don't have to spend too much time looking, that's be nice :)