Wednesday, January 5, 2011

General Update

It has been quite a while since I last posted. I’d love to report that things have been so crazy and new here that I could not find the time to write, but unfortunately that has not been the case. Things have been busy,  but more in the regular rhythmic routine that develops over time. Here is the latest by activity. I hope this list does not make me appear overly presumptuous that these things are very important. Rather, I this update should serve as support to my prior claim that there has not been much blogworthy activity in my life… or I haven’t been trying hard enough:
·         Ulpan: After a semester of intensive Hebrew studies, I am finally winding down my course at Hebrew University. Tomorrow I will be taking my conversational final and a week from Friday I will sit for the written examination. I’m excited to have some more flexibility in my schedule as two mornings a week are freeing up (likely not for long). Once the course is done, I plan on switching up my teaching schedule from two afternoons a week to one morning and afternoon (same day – Thursdays) per week. This will save me commuting time from going to the school twice and will leave my entire Tuesday open. I have been toying with a few ideas on how I will utilize this time including researching a business idea of mine and seeing if I can start up a little something-something, training for the Jerusalem Marathon and a few other ideas brewing up in my head.
·         Visitors: I have written in past posts about how so many of my friends have been visiting and it has been such a treat. In addition to the afformentioned guests, I have also had the chance to hang out with my friends Elissa, Hadar and Naomi (I didn't mention them in past posts, but they are totally post-worthy). Recently, I got to enjoy a run around town with my friend Penina visiting from NJ (more in “Running” below). And next week I am very excited to welcome Mama Kelman, as she comes for 10 days of wild partying – when my mom vacations nobody sleeps. My sister told me she expects to need a vacation day once my mom leaves her vacation, because my mom always wants to do everything – it promises to be a fun visit. I also have my fingers crossed that my father will be able to get off of work and will be able to join my mom on the trip – a close family friend’s daughter is getting married in two weeks, which is bringing my mom and hopefully my dad into town.
·         Work: I have been really enjoying my time working in Israel – the business environment here is very dynamic and cutting edge and I have been working on really awesome projects with the Israeli team here as I also continue to manage my New York client assignments. I am working on a start-up due diligence project which has been a very cool learning experience in which I have been exposed to many facets of new venture due diligence and the startup market.
·         Running: About a month ago, I ran a half marathon  (I posted on it – see below). I started further toying with the idea of running the Jerusalem Marathon – I set out to run 14 miles – the most I had run since November 2009 (the marathon). After the run I felt exhausted and hungry, but also felt revitalized and excited. I know those may sound contradictory; if you have run long-distances, you probably know what I am talking about.

They say that when you can run 20 miles you can run a marathon – when I was training for New York I thought to myself “how can that be?” Now that I am POSSIBLY training for the Jerusalem marathon I find myself asking “HOW CAN THAT BE????” I first want to explain that I say possibly, because I do not like to make commitments I don’t expect to keep – running the marathon is a big commitment and I am not ready to fully make that commitment. Anyhow, last Friday (New Year’s eve), I set out with my friend Penina who is running the Miami half marathon at the end of January for a leisurely 10 mile run. At the end of our run together, I tacked on another 5. Some may say “oh 15 – you are almost at 20.” Technically, they’ d be right – just 1/3 more of my distance, but there was no way I was doing 5 more miles that day – I can’t imagine it and partly wonder how I ever did it. Then I told myself not to worry. I don’t need to be able to run 26 or 20 miles this week – I have three months – I need to focus on the big goal and keep making progress towards it – the next long run will be 16 or maybe 17 miles – soon enough I’ll be in the 20 and 26 mile territory*. Of course, as always, here are the 14 and 15 mile training runs. I hope these are not getting repetitive – I should try to map out a course where I could spell something out in running around the city – and suggestions?

·         Eilat: I have for a while been trying to plan a trip to Eilat – Israel’s southernmost city – its port/resort city on the Red Sea. If I had to make city analogies between Israel and the US it’d be something like this:

New York : Tel Aviv :: Washington, D.C. : Jerusalem :: Las Vegas : Eilat

Now let me explain. Tel Aviv – Jerusalem has a similar dynamic to New York – DC. Tel Aviv is the professional city – people have big city, industry-finance careers that often involve large companies. In DC and Jerusalem people have government jobs or jobs that relate to the government. Tel Aviv and New York are hustling and bustling with late night hot spots, trendy clubs – where its hip to be. Jerusalem and DC have bars and university students – the night life and trendiness just isn’t there. Obviously these are far-reaching generalizations that are not bullet proof, but I think they do hold up.

Now in America, if you want to go to a city based around partying you go to Vegas – the hotels, casinos, shows, stolen police cars, tigers and floories – there is no place like it (you may have guessed that I have never been to Vegas but am very excited for my upcoming trip – read more in “Coming to America” below). In Israel if you want to visit a tourist heavy city with a fun nightlife and great attractions, you go to Eilat. Eilat has nice hotels, great hiking, tax free shopping, water sports and most importantly – scuba diving. I have not been diving in nearly 2 years – it’s been way too long. I am really excited to dive back in (pun totally intended). On Friday morning I will be doing 3 dives – one refresher dive (required in Israel if you haven’t dived in 6 month) and 2 boat reef dives. I can’t wait.
·         Coming to America: As I mentioned in a past post, I will be visiting the US from February 17th – March 8th. I’m really excited. Here is a brief outline of my trip which is now fully booked.
o   February 17: Arrive in Newark, NJ. Hop a train down to Baltimore.
o   February 18: Depart Baltimore, MD for Las Vegas, NV for my friend Jeff’s bachelor party along with several close friends from Baltimore and meeting none other than my dear old friend the “Rabbi Dr.” David.
o   February 22: Early AM flight to New York City. On Friday my cousin Anat is coming to New York as well.
o   February 28: Bus to Baltimore, MD. Hang out with family and friends, and party like crazy at my friend Jaron’s wedding.
o   March 8: Return to Israel to sleep off the journey – arrive 7 AM and go straight to the office J
·         All In All: That’s pretty much the skinny on my life – I must say that I do feel a bit odd having written this all out – who else do you know that posts an updated on their life? I do have a few post ideas brewing and will have some more post-worthy material up soon. Till then – if you read this please don’t give up on me – I love hearing from people (I get some pretty random ones) that they read and enjoy the blog.

*The previous statements do not represent a commitment to run the Jerusalem Marathon.

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