Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holidays and Harry Potter Mania, by Elizabeth Nowak, November blogger of the month

Thanksgiving, with thanks to Emmanuel and Beth.

As our calendar encroaches on December, I find myself perpetually creating a mental Venn diagram for all those traditions, both old and new, that have remained, changed, or been added to my Be’er Sheva life. 

One of the best new adjustments I’ve had is this process of reinterpreting my concept of “winter weather.”  Our thermometers are stuck strictly at 85 degrees during the day.  When my mom calls me with updates on their four-foot snow-ins, I usually feel pretty proud of myself for choosing such an excellent place of residence.  Not that I actually had any idea it was going to be like this -- I forgot to consult Google when I packed my one suitcase full of sweatshirts, jackets, and (sigh of embarrassment) rain boots, and left for Israel…

First night of Hanukkah, Beer Sheva, Israel
Finals are right around the corner, (biochem first), and my brain is a fairly jumbled mess of metabolic pathways.  Fortunately for me, I added Hanukah to my current set of traditions, and after the most massive, incredible feast with my host family and friends, I now have leftovers in the fridge for the next three weeks.  This is especially exciting for two reasons, 1) because I don’t cook, and instead subsist off of pita and hummus, and 2) because now when I study my metabolic pathways, I can imagine what this food is doing to my glycogen and triglyceride stores.  

There are two traditions, however, that have been left relatively constant in our new home, and they are (arguably) the most important: Thanksgiving, and the release of Harry Potter VII Part I.  I was surprised and relieved to learn that my fellow MSIHers cherish the tales of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardly as much as anyone, and collectively we decided there would be no better way to honor Harry’s journey than the VIP section at the MegaPlex Movie Theater.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose), the VIP section ticket comes with unlimited access to food, popcorn, and Israeli wine, so most of us enjoyed a nice nap with dramatic interludes of Voldemort fight scenes.  

Our Be’er Sheva Thanksgiving was equally delightful, thanks to the culinary skills of my classmates and the incredible hospitality of Emmanuel and Beth.  It was a little touch and go for a few days when our turkey-makers thought they were going to have to buy birds off a cab driver (apparently Turkeys are hard to find in Israel), but Thursday night we all sat down to a fantastic meal complete from cranberry sauce to pumpkin pie, without the looming terrors of black Friday shopping and another Buffalo Bills loss to dampen the spirit in the room.  - Elizabeth Nowak, November blogger of the month