One of the best experiences I’ve had this summer living in Israel was getting to attend the Jerusalem International Film Festival through my internship at an international film financing company. I was also really excited to travel to Jerusalem and stay with one of my ADPi pledge sisters who recently relocated here. I arrived in Jerusalem on a Sunday evening and after stashing all my stuff in her apartment/dorm at Hebrew University, we took the light rail into the Jerusalem city center for a nice dinner at HaSpaghettim (literal translation: The Spaghettis.) The next day, I was on my own to get myself to the film festival to catch my first screening. To say that Google Maps led me astray in my journey to the Jerusalem Cinematheque might be an understatement. Long story short, I ended up on an all Arab-Islamic bus headed to Bethlehem via the West Bank. And I was wearing a sleeveless, backless blouse (which albeit chic, didn’t quite go with everyone else’s hijab.) Thankfully, the bus driver spoke a little English and agreed to drop me off right in front of the Cinematheque before continuing on to the Palestinian territories. (Side note: Dear Google Maps, if you could invent an “avoid imminent danger” or “circumvent awkward cultural differences” filter in the near future, it would be greatly appreciated.)
After that little adventure I finally made it just in time for my first screening, a feature length fiction film financed by my company! The acting was great and I loved hearing the panel with the director afterwards. Later in the day I met back up with my friend and we went to another screening. After the film, we walked to the old central train station which has recently been renovated into a cool urban hang out with lots of bars and restaurants. We couldn’t resist a little dessert and some girl talk :)
On Tuesday, we spent a leisurely morning getting some work done at Aroma (the Israeli version of Starbucks) and then the latter half of the afternoon lunching and shopping. That evening we met up with our friend Haley, another Arizona grad, for dinner near Ben Yehuda at Focaccia Bar, which was super different and seriously delicious. We spent hours catching up before heading back to Mt. Scopus for the night.
On Wednesday afternoon, Rachel and I said our goodbyes and then I headed back into the city center (I managed to stay on the Israeli bus line this time) to the Cinematheque. I saw two more screenings, including the latest documentary produced by Morgan Spurlock and Eve Ensler, before heading to the central bus station to catch the last bus back to Tel Aviv. I finally arrived back at my apartment around midnight, completely exhausted, but loving every second that I got to spend with friends in Jerusalem.
Have you traveled anywhere neat this summer? When was the last time you got to catch up with old friends?