Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hello from Frankfurt!, by blogger of the month Julia Rubin-Smith

Hello from Frankfurt! Here I am in the city that always makes me think of hot dogs, awaiting my connecting flight to Tel Aviv – I actually enjoy long layovers, as they give me an opportunity to get things done, like overdue blogs and about-to-be-due microbiology lab reports.  I guess med students are never truly on vacation, as there’s always something else to be done!

Celebrating after our final final!
After our last exam on Dec. 21st, a few of us gathered outside for celebratory champagne and falafel before everyone took off for our winter break. A few of my classmates remained in Israel over the holidays, but the majority of us either went home or took the opportunity to travel to exotic locations such as Spain, the Czech Republic, and Jordan. (I never thought I would live somewhere where Jordan was the least far flung of these destinations!)

For me, the last ten days or so was a whirlwind of visiting with family and friends in Boston, running errands, eating all the American food I’d missed, and celebrating the holidays. I enjoyed the brief cultural respite, reveling in orderly queuing, friendly customer service, and jaywalking without fear of death. Even the weather cooperated, not getting too horribly cold until the day that I left to return to school. It was a wonderful vacation, and I’m so glad I was able to go home and see my family, but I’m actually really excited to start a new semester! Despite its quirks and frustrations, I found that I missed Israel while I was gone, and I’m looking forward to getting back into the fray. 

On that note, I will leave you with a (paraphrased) anecdote from one of our classmates, which I think is a great snapshot of Israeli culture (and humor):
As the El Al flight arrived at Ben Gurion airport, the captain came on over the intercom to welcome the passengers to Israel. He reminded everyone to stay seated with their seatbelts fastened until the plane arrived at the gate and the fasten seatbelt sign had gone off, and that cell phone use was prohibited while the plane was still moving. He followed that with, “for those of you who are sitting, we wish you a Merry Christmas and we hope you enjoy your stay. For those of you standing in the aisles and talking on your cell phones, we wish you a Happy Chanukah and welcome home!”  -blogger of the month, Julia Rubin-Smith