Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Akka-Awesome

So, every week I attend this tiny branch (congregation) in Tiberias for church. If ALL of the active people came on the same week, there would be about 30 people there... but it’s always less than that. Nobody lives close by, so it’s a challenge for almost everyone to get there. For those of us in the Haifa area, we travel literally across the entire country (it's a small country, but still). 

Despite the fact that there’s only a handful of other young people in the branch, they decided to hold an activity for us handful of young people. So yesterday I found myself attending an activity with a teenage boy, that’s boy’s cousin who’s a few years younger than me, and the branch’s missionary service couple. 

Instead of the typical activity consisting of some sort of cheesy games, we went to Akko! 1000x better than a normal YSA activity. Akko (also known as Acre in English and Akka in Arabic...confusing) is a city that was on my checklist of cities to get back to this year. It's north of Haifa, and is also on the Mediterranean coast. It is a mixed Jewish/Arab city, and one of its claims to fame are the Crusader ruins there. 

Before making our way to Akko, we made a stop at the Baha'i Gardens in Haifa. Because we could.


The first thing we did in Akko was go up to the coast and take a little boat ride.

The coast:





The boat ride:





I was surprised at how big the waves were.


Good thing I don’t get seasick, because it was a bumpy ride. It was still refreshing though! For the rest of the day it was so hot (jealous of Wisconsin weather right now!), so it felt nice to have a breeze for a little while.

To get to our next stop, the Crusader fortress, we walked though the shuk- the covered market. It definitely reminds me of Jerusalem’s Old City, and its fun because you really feel like you’re in the Middle East. In my head I like to pretend that I’m Carrie from Homeland when I walk through places like this. Normal.




When you step into the Crusader ruins, all of a sudden you’re in medieval Europe instead of the Middle East. The architecture looks just like things you see in Europe from the same period.



As for the history of the place... these ruins weren’t uncovered until the British controlled this country after WWI. They were underground for all that time (cities rise over time: one of the things that was drilled into my head during our BYU Jerusalem archeology class). The Crusaders first conquered Akko in 1104. A couple of Crusades later, it was the last city they held onto in the Holy Land... until they lost it in 1291.

By the way, the Crusaders aren’t very popular in this part of the world. Some people are still a little pissed about that whole thing. I remember when the pope visited Jerusalem last year, Arabs were still protesting and picketing about the Crusades when he came (that was over 700 years ago, friends). Grudges are held for a very long time in the Middle East. So, it makes me laugh that my middle school chose the ‘Crusaders’ as our mascot. Haha. KMS probably has no idea they are controversial.

I found an ancient fleur de lys on the wall! I like to think of the fleur de lys as my personal logo, since it was the Bourbon monarchy’s official logo. Again, totally normal.


Another thing I found on the wall...


No idea why. Maybe attractive shoes ruin Crusader-era floors, or maybe someone is worried about getting sued from someone falling on uneven Crusader-era stairs.

I was definitely ready for lunch after wandering through the ruins for a long time. Thankfully, less than five minutes after sitting down at a table in a restaurant, the waiter brought out a full spread of DIY falafel. As in, you could choose what toppings you wanted and pile everything in the pita bread yourself. It was so good that it almost made me sad that I’m leaving Israel in a few days. But not quite (cheese curds and custard at home will help make up for that).

Our last stop before heading back to Haifa was walking through the Templar Tunnel: built by, you guessed it, the Knights Templar. It leads from their fortress to the port. I kept an eye out for the Holy Grail, but I didn’t have any luck.


At first I was excited that by going to Akko I was checking something off of my travel goals list... but after coming here I have to go back because I saw more I want to do here. Good thing my time in Israel is not over! Even though I’m really excited to have some time at home, I guess there are a few benefits to extending my time here.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Not Impressed

Lately in my free time (actually- usually during class time shhhhh) I've been doing some picture organizing/deleting. My iPhoto memory was getting full because- surprise- I have never deleted pictures from it. I didn't even know how to until a few days ago, and I've had this computer for over 5 years. Oops.

I've gotten rid of thousands of blurry, useless pictures... but I've also uncovered a few reject pictures that made me laugh. You know how some people have 'resting faces' that look happy? Mine just. does. not.

Several reminded me of this:



Remember Mckayla Maroney? From way back in 2012?

So, here is my "not impressed" travel picture series, brought to you by bad communication skills between me and the photographers. Enjoy.

1. #notimpressed with the French Riviera. 


2. #notimpressed with the Hagia Sophia. 


3. #notimpressed with riding a camel in Petra, Jordan. Just because the place was cool enough to be the setting of an Indiana Jones movie does not mean that it's cool enough to impress me. I do not do wildlife. Or deserts.


4. #notimpressed with the Eiffel Tower. So cliché. It's not like it's the iconic landmark of my favorite city or anything. Let's move on.



5. #notimpressed with St. Peter's Basilica. Oh? Michelangelo designed this? Pope Francis: you can do better.


6. #notimpressed with the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The thousands of other tourists here might condescend to pose for cheesy pictures holding it up. But not me. I will just stand here awkwardly until it's time to catch my train.



Thankfully, I also got 'normal' pictures at all of these places too. Because in reality, all of them did impress me haha. Looking back, I can't think of any city/country that I've visited that completely outright did not impress me. I liked some a lot more than others, but I don't think there's any I regret shelling out the euros/shekels to go see.

Except for Troy. Troy sucked.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Let's go to the mall

Since I live on campus and have been spending a lot of time going to class and studying during this short semester, I’ve found that I need to get off of campus and do something fun (for mental health reasons) at least once a week. I would definitely go crazy if I didn’t make a point to do that.

Last week’s outing was not some exciting destination like Jerusalem or Jaffa, but it was somewhere that I consider to be my soothing natural habitat- the mall. Haifa’s biggest mall is called the Grand Kanyon- a play on words since ‘kanyon’ means mall in Hebrew.

Even though the mall itself is very modern and western, there were several moments during the day where I thought “I am definitely not in America.” I’ve documented them here.

These pictures are not related to my stories, but they make me smile... I guess because in my head I don't imagine traditional, religious Middle Eastern people at malls. #mallsbringpeopletogether




But back to my stories. While waiting for the bus, a guy came up to me and started speaking Russian. I told him that I didn't understand what he was saying, and we had the following conversation:
“What?? But you have such a Russian face. I was sure you were Russian.”
(I shake my head and attempt to continue reading my book... he doesn’t take the hint)
“I am Sasha. Nice to meet you.”
“Hi.”
“You are new in Israel?”
“I’ve been here for a few months.”
“You must let me take you out to show you the fun of Haifa. It vill be vunderful.”
“Sorry, I’m too busy with school. I’m only in Israel for a few more weeks.”

Sasha looked a little sad, but he eventually walked away after saying “Dasvidanya, Russian-face girl.” 

This was pretty entertaining. I’m sure he only thought I looked Russian because I obviously look closer to Russian than Middle Eastern.

If you’re not aware, there are a LOT of Russians in Israel, especially in Haifa. Usually if I don’t understand someone’s Hebrew, they try to switch to Russian. That does not work very well for me. Angleet, bavakesha.

After that whole Soviet Union thing didn't work out, about a million Soviets immigrated to Israel. That is HUGE considering the tiny size of Israel (today, about 8 million total). Israel had a rule that any Russian with at least one Jewish grandparent could come here easily and immediately become a citizen. I probably would have taken Israel up on that offer too and gotten the heck out of Russia.

The reason this experience made me think “I am not in America” is because random men (especially Russian-Israelis named Sasha) definitely do not just start talking to me in America. In general I appreciate that about the U.S., but it can be entertaining sometimes. I still laugh about some of the weird and usually flattering things that European men would say.

Once on the bus (sans my new friend Sasha haha), an argument between two-thirds of the passengers and the bus driver broke out. From what I could see and understand, the bus driver tried to start smoking while he was driving. Some people were passionately against this, and others were defending the driver. Like 20 people were yelling at each other in Hebrew with lots of dramatic hand gestures. If that happened in the U.S., I’m sure some people would also be annoyed... but I can’t picture a whole bus full of people yelling at each other over that. 

I’ve noticed that Israelis seem to enjoy arguing, and they also tend to enjoy getting involved in what other people are doing. Sitting between 2 strangers exchanging heated pro and anti bus driver arguments was my second major “I’m not in America” moment of the day. No worries... within a few stops most of the angry people had gotten off and there was no more smoking within the bus.

Once at the mall, I had a happy reunion with some of my favorite stores (ZARA), and found a dress to buy at an Israeli department store. I guess there was some kind of sale on the dress, but in order to get the discount I needed to join the stores ‘moadon’... something like ‘club’ in English.

I tried to just say that I didn’t want to bother with it, because I didn’t know if it was actually worth it or some kind of a scam. At that point, people standing behind me in the line started to get involved and agree that I needed to join. Giving into peer pressure, I took the moadon application and started to fill it out.

I saw on the application that you needed an Israeli I.D. number. I explained that I was a student here and didn’t have one. Some people behind me were getting angry about the wait, but others were still very committed to me joining the moadon and argued with them to stop complaining. One of the cashiers just shrugged and started ringing up the dress at full price, but the other one was more determined.

“It doesn’t have to be your I.D. number, it just has to be a number.”

At that point, a lady behind me in line handed her I.D. card to the cashier. Without my input, I then became an official member of the moadon haha. I now have a card obtained under shady circumstances that I can always use at that store. And... the best part is that I ended up only paying 50 shekels for a 150 shekel dress. Thanks, semi-crazy Israeli people!

Like the bus incident, this was another example of Israelis enjoying getting involved in what other people are doing. This was my third “I’m not in America” moment of the day. I can see people being helpful in similar ways in America too, but I don’t see a whole line of people arguing and conspiring together to break the rules for some random foreigner who only half understands what they’re trying to do. This moment made my day! I was laughing all of the way out of the store.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

An Israeli Visa in 10 "Easy" Steps

Even though I'll be heading back to good old America during the semester break in just about 3 weeks :) ... my time in Israel is not yet over! I'll be coming back to do the fall semester from October-January. Since I was originally supposed to graduate this month, my student visa is going to expire soon. Today I survived making a trek over to the local Ministry of the Interior to get it renewed- so fun.

Navigating foreign government bureaucracy is kind of stressful. However, I guess I've never even had to navigate American government stuff on my own... so it makes sense that doing real live adult things like this in a foreign country seems intimidating.

In case anyone reading this is considering moving to Israel and then unexpectedly has to renew their visa (ha), I've narrowed the process down into ten easy steps.

I. Obtain the necessary paperwork.
This step seemed pretty easy at first. After a quick trip to the international school office at the university, I got the papers confirming that I needed a visa extension and directions to the Ministry of the Interior building. Of course, as I was walking out the door on the day of my appointment... I noticed that the office had put the wrong passport number on the papers. I decided to make an attempt to use the papers anyway.

II. Skip your German class in order to go to appointment.
The easiest step of all! This was one of the only steps that caused me absolutely no inconvenience or stress ;)

III. Get on correct bus, ride for 40 minutes (might as well read some Harry Potter on the way, it's a long ride), get off at correct stop.
I am so challenged when it comes to deciphering the Haifa bus system, but today was a semi-success! One of those numerous times since moving here that I was super thankful that I can read the names of the bus stops in Hebrew as they go by. Yay for random talents.

Shout out to the very patriotic bus driver. Cracked me up. 3 flags and counting!




IV. Figure out where to go after getting off the bus.
I used a tried and true method for this one: follow other people. I tagged along behind a line of other people getting off the bus and crossed my fingers that they were going to the same place I was. Even though I could see the Ministry building from the bus stop, sometimes in Israel it's complicated because there are big security fences around everything. It can be hard to find the entrance. You can't just walk up to buildings like you can in the U.S. Who would have thought that walking into a building is something to be taken for granted.

The building- I don't know what it's officially called, but I refer to it as the rocket ship.



V. Go through security... three times.
My instincts were right! The people I followed were smarter than me, and I was able to find the building and make it inside after THREE different checkpoints of metal detectors and people looking through my bag.

VI. Stand in a line that in hindsight... you didn't have to stand in.
At the entrance to the visa office, I was directed to the information desk. After waiting for around 20 minutes and finally getting to the front of the line, the frustrated person at the desk was confused as to why I was there since I already had an appointment scheduled. She sent me to "Desk #2" to get my visa.

VII. Get comfortable at Desk #2.
No one was at the desk when I got there, but I was happy to sit and wait in the comfortable chair after standing in line for a while. 10 or 15 minutes later, the owner of Desk #2 returned. I eagerly pulled out my passport and paperwork and started to explain that I needed a student visa renewal. Before I could get that out, she barked "Ma?," or in English, "What are you doing here?". I said I had an appointment, and that the information desk had sent me there. Her response was (in English this time), "Baby, the world doesn't revolve around you. Leave. I have another appointment."

VIII. Get uncomfortable on the metal chairs of shame.
Behind the comfortable chairs and the desk cubicles populated by people receiving and giving out visas, a row of dusty metal chairs sat abandoned along the perimeter of the room. Someone else told me to sit there until the scary lady was ready for me. Being derogatorily called "baby" and accused of being self-centered after being polite, waiting for a long time, and following directions was annoying, to say the least, but I settled in to wait until the apparently extremely important other appointment was over. The only other person also waiting in the reject area was a lady with the textbook definition of cankles.

Being bored= me taking pictures of weird things. I'm so sorry.



IX. Persevere.
The important other appointment only lasted about 10 minutes. I kept trying to make eye-contact with the scary lady and wait to be called over. She played on her phone for a few minutes and then made sure that there was no one else in the waiting room before reluctantly deciding to help me with a, "Boi! Acshav." ("Come here. Now."). She didn't notice that my passport number was wrong on the paperwork (yay!), but she almost didn't give me a visa because of some other detail that was wrong. Key word: almost... because I did eventually leave victoriously with a new visa glued inside my passport!

X. Jump in a taxi because you don't understand the bus system.
Usually the bus stop to go the opposite direction is located directly across the street from the other bus stop. Of course, I couldn't find the bus stop I needed to head back to the university, even after wandering down a few streets. Luckily, a taxi drove by that saved me from more wandering in the heat. I am so not made to live somewhere that hits the 90s all summer.

So... long story short, I can now enter Israel legally when I come back in mid-October. It may have been a bit of a hassle, but I can't complain too much since it worked out in the end. I think government workers are cranky no matter what country you're in, and it doesn't help when you don't speak their language fluently. Israelis aren't known for being polite, but they do (generally) get things done. Still a much better experience than when the doctor at the French immigration office made a joke about how I was too fat to live in France. Quelle horreur. 

Living in other countries definitely isn't always fun and carefree... but I accept occasional encounters with mean government people as being a worthwhile trade-off to having international adventures!

Friday, August 7, 2015

The good, the bad, and the (very) Mormon

I was in a blogging mood yesterday, and I was trying to come up with something to write related to Israeli culture. I have some ideas for that in the future... but as I was (trying to) fall asleep last night listening to one of my roommates cackle loudly with her loud friends steps away from my door at past 2 in the morning, a different idea came to me. Roommates.

Ah, roommates. At this point in my life I've had just over 30 different roommates. And at this point in my life, I can say that after living with those 30-ish girls, I still like about 1/3 of them. Honestly, when I added that up... I thought the percentage would be lower. I'm pretty impressed. I've lived with some 'colorful' characters to say the least. I've also lived with some really great people that I count among my best friends- but unfortunately they were the exception and not the rule. 

BYU is culturally a weird place, and along with that came some weird roommates. Maybe that plays into some people's decisions to get married at 20... being able to choose your roommate would be a plus, I suppose (although not a mature reason to get married haha). If I hadn't gone to BYU, my hypothetical roommates might have been weird and annoying in other ways... who knows... I can't say if it would have been better or worse (though my money's on better). I'm well aware that I was never a perfect roommate either- I know I'm not always a little ray of sunshine that cheerfully takes out the garbage 24/7. However, I'm also fairly certain that I'm not a sociopath.

I chose 5 of my "favorite" past roommates to profile. I changed their real names to names that I thought suited their personalities. 

Who? Mary  From? Utah. Duh. When? 2007. Hallelujah- only for one semester.
The beginning: While exchanging emails before meeting, she sent me back a one-sentence reply- "Wow, we have absolutely nothing in common." Off to a great start! After only a week of living together, our relationship soured when I was accused of "glaring" at her while she sat on the stand at church waiting to give a talk. Immediately after sacrament meeting, she stormed up to me near tears , demanding to know why I tried to sabotage her talk. I think it was just my "zoning out at church" neutral face, and she was probably used to seeing fake Utah smiles. Mary constantly accused me of not liking her... which led to me actually not liking her.
Fun facts: 
-Heartily disapproved of us buying hot chocolate at Starbucks, hanging pictures of attractive men on our wall (reported us to her stake president father, who reprimanded us for this), and skipping FHE in order to do homework (reported us to the bishop, who did not seem to care haha)
-Owned a large collection of edited movies, including even some PG ones that would be SO inappropriate without special editing (in Utah there are companies that do this- although I think some of them have since been sued and shut down).
-Didn't allow me to leave anything in the kitchen/living room... including small objects such as pencils (Immature 18 year old Marissa played a fun passive aggressive game of leaving pencils on the kitchen table and laughing when she would move them back into my room without fail while I was gone).
-Didn't allow anyone to SIT ON HER BED, even while she was out of town for the weekend.
Biggest pro: She moved out after the first semester.
Biggest con: Forcing everyone to pronounce her name with a Utah accent upon pain of death glares (as I said before... Mary is not the real name...).

Who? Edith. From? Pacific northwest. When? 2008-2009
The beginning: I'm afraid I didn't give poor Edith much of a chance. After meeting her for the very first time I cried (not in front of her) because I had such high hopes for my new room roommate, and they were just dashed (I was 19 and dramatic, forgive me).
Fun facts:
-Her roommate from the previous year had attempted to commit suicide, and afterwards informed Edith that it was her fault for being such an incredibly annoying roommate. Not to make light of suicide or to say that it was actually Edith's fault... but it might give you some insight into her level of annoying.
-Snored louder than my dad.
-She did not know that Paris was in France. She was one of those people that really  made you wonder how they were accepted to BYU...
Biggest pro: She was not evil (unlike some others on this list). Clingy and socially awkward, yes... but not conniving.
Biggest con: During the entire year that we were roommates, there was not a single day that I did not see her underwear sticking out of the top of her pants. I have no idea where she bought such low-riding pants and such vast pairs of underwear, but there were times when I swear I would see at least a 10 inch swath of granny panties. It was scarring.

Who? Wanda. From? Utah. When? 2009-2010
The beginning: Tentative getting along until her passionate fits of rage escalated and I just hid from her when possible.
Fun facts:
-Once got viciously angry at me for not leaving her enough space on (my) DVR and (my) TV for her to tape "Dirty Jobs." How dare I... that sounds so important.
-Favorite pastime was PG-13 (sometimes R-rated) making out on our couch with her IQ-challenged boyfriend. I almost wished that Mary could have come over and had her daddy reprimand them or maybe pay someone to edit out what was happening in our living room.
-To contrast the making out, our living room was also the scene of many screaming matches between Wanda and the boyfriend. My personal favorite line that I overheard was her screaming, while sobbing, "WHY DO YOU STILL LOVE ME EVEN THOUGH I'M SATAN??!!". Valid question, right?
Biggest pro: Not having to share a room with her. After the underwear/snoring fiasco of the previous year, I paid extra for a private room.
Biggest con: Every morning at around 7 a.m., her devoted boyfriend would pound on our front door until Wanda woke up to let him in and hand over THEIR COMMUNAL TOOTHBRUSH. Yes, they shared a freaking toothbrush. So not only did we get woken up early every morning... we had to go through the psychological pain of knowing they shared the toothbrush that sat on our bathroom counter.

Who? Riley. From? UTAH. When? 2007-2010.
The beginning: In contrast to the previous little nightmares I've discussed... this one I was actually "friends" with for several years before her true colors came out. I say "friends" and not friends, because looking back it wasn't a real friendship. I was always stepping on eggshells so as to not upset her... that's not a friendship- it's manipulation. If you have a "friend" like that, I suggest getting away. With real friends, you should be able to be yourself.
Fun facts:
-Home-schooled and one of 11 children. Grew up very sheltered and in a very different culture than I did.
-We lived together for 3 years, and along with another girl (who was one of my really good roommates!!), I considered them my best friends.
-After a visit staying over at her family's house, I was given the silent treatment for a few weeks and was very confused. When I confronted her, I was informed she "never actually liked me," "thought that by pretending to be friends with me she could help me be a better person," "couldn't handle my negativity anymore," and that we "would no longer be friends." 

That was very shocking and traumatic. I wish now that I had had an awesome comeback or been able to have a mature discussion... but basically I was just really sad and didn't stand up for myself. There was a whole story about something I said that deeply offended her family, which looking back is sort of hilarious since what I said is ridiculously unoffensive. If you know me, you know that I can be sarcastic sometimes, but also that I have basic people skills and would never intentionally say something to offend someone- especially to a friend's family that had invited me to stay at their house. Of course, being the fake people they were... no one said anything to me when I said it... they just pretended nothing happened and I didn't find out I said anything wrong until I confronted her after weeks of the silent treatment.

Riley also informed me that I would still be "allowed" to live with her next year, as we had already signed contracts together, but that we would of course never hang out again. Ha. I have more self-respect than that. I found another place to live, and moved out of that apartment early too. I don't actually believe that she never liked me and never had fun with me- I think she just said that to hurt me. I do believe that she wanted me out of her life. Of course, a normal (non-psychopathic) way to do that would to just make other friends and grow apart.
Biggest pro: After our "friend break-up," I went to Paris about a month later for a study abroad. It changed my life, and it was an amazing few months that helped me to get over this ordeal. The best 'revenge' is being successful and happy in your own life! (I may or may not have plotted a different kind of revenge, but thankfully I didn't go through with it haha).
Biggest con: This was 5 years ago now, and I hate that I still think about it sometimes. If I ever brought it up to my parents, my dad would definitely start singing "Let it Go."

Sorry... that was long. Moving onto something more lighthearted.

Who? Priscilla. From? Neighboring state to Utah. When? 2010-2011.
The beginning: She seemed fairly quiet and nice (and she actually turned out to be fairly nice- just odd), though it weirded me out a bit that her mommy regularly slept over in her room.
Fun facts:
-She was determined to be famous. She had a website to help her get discovered that was complete with a plethora of embarrassing modeling shots and clips of dramatic monologues. (Pro college tip: google your roommates. Then, when you're annoyed with them you can find satisfaction in laughing to yourself about the embarrassing information you found on the internet).
-Priscilla practiced opera singing in her room every day. It was part of her 'get famous' plan.
-She still collected dolls. And brought them all to college with her and displayed them in her room.
-Priscilla had a habit of making to-do lists. One day, while doing laundry I found one such list on the washing machine. Thinking it had fallen out of my pile of clothes, I looked at the paper. Much to my surprise, one of the items on the list was "Play with and dress-up dolls in new outfits." Her room was next to the laundry area, and while before I thought I was hearing her talking on the phone... I now realized she was talking to her dolls. 
Biggest pro: Being able to laugh about the time that I had an adult roommate who played with dolls for the rest of my life.
Biggest con: Being creeped out when her mom would give her intense hours-long massages with new age music playing and lots of incense.
(Update- the website is still live!! Provided me with 20 minutes of laughter)

And just for fun... a few other anecdotal glimpses into my life, there was-
-The roommate who taught me that I never want to smell like curry for an entire year again (it was potent- it wasn't just our apartment that smelled- it permeated).
-The (same as above) roommate who began every morning by forcibly coughing up phlegm at the sink right across the hall from my bedroom. Apparently that was what they do in her culture "in order to expel bad spirits." Nothing like starting off your day being woken up by that.
-The roommate who was dramatically disowned by her family, which led to her family members (that I'd never met) harassing me on facebook to report on her whereabouts to them and force her to go to church.
-The roommate who would only emerge from her room if she was wearing headphones, in order to avoid all human contact.
-The roommates who pretended to be our friends and say they wanted to live together the next year... but then snuck out and signed a secret other contract without telling us (after many years at BYU- the main thing I can't stand is fake-ness!!).
-The roommate who wore a brown snuggie like a monk's robe and was usually found huddled around a pile of Bible commentaries and writing talks for fun.
-The roommate who got married during the school year but continued to live with us.


As of now, I can say that I am a proud BYU roommate survivor. I don't know if any of these experiences actually helped me to grow as a person... but at least I can laugh at (most of) these experiences now. Thank goodness for summer vacations that let me recharge, my family being willing to listen to my complaints, the foreign language housing being a breath of fresh air that got me through my last year and a half, and my eventual graduation and ability to leave Utah.

To end on a positive note, there's also this list of former BYU roommates-
-The one who traveled Europe with me and never ceases to entertain me with her awesome stories and sunny outlook on life
-The one who deeply understands my sarcastic personality, and is always ready to discuss things as diverse as the conflict in Syria to the attractive men she enjoys objectifying (variety is the spice of life).
-The one who participates in choreographing dances with me, and even though we don't have the chance to talk all the time- our friendship always has the ability to pick up where it left off.
-The MULTIPLE roommates who kept me sane by being cool, smart, and normal people amongst the chaos that was the crazy roommates.  (p.s.... if we're facebook friends, and this post showed up on your news feed... you're on this list ;)

This was pretty therapeutic! I invite everyone else to comment or tell me someday about your own tales of crazy roommates. So far in Israel it's been alright- one semi-crazy person and the rest normal. After all of this, I can deal :)