Saturday, October 30, 2010

host family

I have a host family that I see each weekend for Shabbat. It's nice because I get a home cooked meal and good conversation from real Israelis. I enjoy going there, and today was no exception. I got to meet more of the family. There are three children, two of whom I met tonight. I had a good conversation with Shira, the youngest daughter, who is my age. I have a trip for Oranim to Tel Aviv on Monday, and Shira and I may get together after the trip, as she lives in Tel Aviv. It was a nice relaxing afternoon, filled with good food and good conversation.

In Fat Guy News, tomorrow is the last day of October, and so far I have run five days. If I run tomorrow, that will be 6 days out of 31. Not a good ratio, but it's a starting point. So the goal will be 9 days in November. That's also not a lot, but it's much easier to set an achievable goal and surpass it than set a huge goal and not achieve it. So the idea is run tomorrow and then 9 days out of 30 in November.

That's about it for me, I'm gonna watch some TV and then sleep, as tomorrow starts week 2 of teaching...

Friday, October 29, 2010


I had a very different adolescence than the crap o see on tv. (there is a one tree hill marathon on one of the Israeli tv channels and so the idea behind this post.)

I was quite often alone during my adolescence. My best friend from elementary school became quite a bigot and though I took the racism silently I never really felt all that comfortable hanging out with him. I lacked a true best friend, one you could talk to about anything. So I began to slowly crawl into a protective shell in order to make it difficult for things to hurt me. And it continues onto today. Except the shell is so thick for defense now plus it has spikes stocking out for offense that it is near impossible for me to interact socially. The shell is defensive - shielding me from harm - and offensive - turning people away without intent - that I simply don't know what I can do about it.

And just so it's clear that I am not blaming my situation on a former best friend from adolescence it shod never be discounted the damage done by the death of my mom when I was ten. There's a study somewhere that links an adult's anxiety to how they were protected and nurtured by their mother during their formative years. Well I sure missed out on the wisdom my mom could have imparted on me, and it affects me every day in many ways.

I miss her so much.

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hey jealousy

One unforeseen emotion that is occurring quite often lately is jealousy. I didn't anticipate being jealous as a result of being around people as much as I am these days. I knew there would be a struggle for me to be social all the time and to mix and coalesce with the people around me, but jealousy never entered my mind.

But jealous I am. I've noticed I am jealous of others who seem not to have any problems at all. I'm jealous of guys who always attract the girls. I'm jealous of guys who seem to have girls around at all times. I'm jealous of everyone who doesn't wake up like me and slog through days of depression.

So, yeah. That's quite unexpected.

Monday, October 25, 2010

On the bus to Jerusalem

So we have left Ashdod and are on the way to Ramla and Ness Ziona to pick up more Oranim peeps.

It's a little weird like deja vu to be on a bus traveling across Israel but it is definitely cool.

We'll see how my mood endures tonight.

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Bus back to Ashdod

Yeah still not that good in crowds and tight spaces for a log time. Plus I kinda crawled deep inside my head and kicked up just enough self-loathing and doubt to convince myself of the fact that I am absolutely incapable of the simplest social interactions, and therefore will be alone for the rest of my miserable existence.

Fun times, huh?

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mega event in jerusalem

goin to jerusalem

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Running again

Today's run was good. I felt really good and was really energized. I'm glad I ran today.

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Out the other side

So I am over this last bout of depression. It seems that each time no it gets worse, but I'm not sure if the duration changes or not. It also may just be due to still adjusting to living halfway around the world. I don't know. I also don't really ever figure out how I get out of the depression, but I have concluded this (again): I must be physically active, as that speeds up the lifting of the depression. Endorphins and some such. Anyway, I am in the middle of cooking for the week. I have cooked two large chicken breasts, and have a third ready to go. I am now making potatoes. Tonight after my run, chicken and potatoes it is. Tomorrow for Lunch, chicken and cheese (yep, not kosher) in a pita. It's good, it's easy to cook, and it's high in protein. I also have to make sure NOT to buy things like brownies and cookies etc. If it's not around, I can't eat it.

Funny, lots of those things in the previous paragraph were already said and declared on this website. Amazing, isn't it? I can come to the same conclusion more than once. If only I followed my advice.

school with small children

So today I was in a classroom with - you guessed it - small children. We sat in on classes in first, second and third grade. Let me tell you, it was quite the assault on the senses. The children were really excited that we were there, and spoke to us in english, which for most is "Hello," "How are you," etc. - which isn't too far from my level of hebrew. The big thing though is the cultural difference. The interaction between teacher and student is so much different and the kids are so rowdy. It's gonna be an adjustment. But I enjoyed it, and the day went really fast. So we'll see how tomorrow goes.

I am in the middle of making a meal plan schedule, because for lunch we walked to the schwarma stand, and I can't keep doing that, because a) it's 29 sheckels a day and b) it's really not all that good for me to be eating. So today I hammer out a plan for the week.

I'll be back on here later on.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Getting better...

I woke up yesterday and cleaned the apartment. Cleaning for me is both physical - in that my surroundings are cleaner and more organized - and mental in that it allows mind to shuffle things around and get organized as well. I worked up a good sweat and the endorphins certainly helped out as well.

Today I went running and did some interval training and also tried out some of the bodyweight machines that are along the beach road. I certainly worked hard and anticipate a soreness in the morning.

I begin my volunteering in the school tomorrow. I will be teaching English in Ofek elementary school in the Tet-Vav area of Ashdod. I am looking forward to it but also right now more apathetic about it, which I find rather curious. I'm going to bed early which should make it easier to have a good morning tomorrow.

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Gotta get back to basics

I noticed the last few meals that I am eating way too much. I have been depressed so my appetite is screwed up, but it's now time to fix this problem. I was not eating at regular imtervals, instead waiting until I was really hungry and then gorging myself on whatever was there. This is a return to my eating habits before I started losing weight. I will begin to address this today with the hope of pitting a stop to it and stocking the kitchen with nutritious snacks that I will eat instead of the crap I have been eating.

It's te to come back to the simple things that I did that allowed me to lose the weight to begin with.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:הר מצדה,Ashdod,Israel

Thursday, October 21, 2010


It's safe to say that I feel the worst I have felt since arriving in Israel. I am at times so depressed that I wonder what I am doing here and at other times so apathetic that I couldn't care at all about what I am doing. It is completely obvious to me that I have not recovered to the level of being self sufficient and able to be around people nor have a job where I am required to be somewhere every day. I M so depressed and I am convinced that I will never recover to a level which allows me to live a somewhat normal life. I should give up the illusion.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:הר מצדה,Ashdod,Israel

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Had a bad day again

More mistakes, more neglecting my physical and mental needs and more stress on my mind and my body have made today another bad day in a string of days that seems to continue unabated.

Let's just hope that I can get out of this soon.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Har Mesada, Ashdod Israel

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Self-maintenance. Part 2

It is 1020am and I slept 10.5 hours last night. So I went from too little sleep to too much. It's gonna take a day or more to get my body back on the groove. I shouldn't go out tonight but I have a feeling I will anyway because I am rather stupid.

Location:Ulpan, Beit Canada, Ashdod Israel

Monday, October 18, 2010


I am so tired today. My body is rebelling against me because I have been neglecting it. I need to go to bed early tonight. No getting around it. If I don't take care of myself, I am setting myself up for failure.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Ulpan, Beit Canada, Ashdod Israel

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Before the new week begins

This weekend was great! I was able to recuperate and get over most of my sickness so that is fantastic. I went out with my roommates and some new Israeli friends Friday night to a club in Rehovot. It was an interesting experience. I really enjoy seeing the difference in the culture between Israeli and American people. The club was part frat party, part rooftop bar, and part Jersey Shore Jews. It was certainly amusing. For those who are unaware, as I was until the other night, there is such a thing as a jewish Guido. I can't do it justice in a blog, but it was a cool time.

I haven't ran nor exercised in a few days on account of being sick, but plan on running tomorrow night to get back into the swing of things.

In other news, I talked to an Israeli girl at the mall tonight and gave her my number. It was a small step toward being more social and active. Honestly it was scary. I was saying to a friend of mine recently that there are some social situations that I am more scared than when I was in combat in Iraq. But I ended up giving her my number. It's a step. It can only be easier next time, right?

Anyway, I hope y'all are doing great - thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I am feeling physically sick today. I have not been sleeping well, and there is some sort of bug going through our group. Since I have been sick and congested I have been unable to use my CPAP machine, which in turn has caused my sleep to be very poor lately. So add physically sick to mentally and physically tired and you have the recipe for one unhappy and crappy Daniel. This sucks.

In other news out of the last five days coming into today I have gone running three times. So that's one ray of hope in this shitty period I'm going through.

I am really trying very hard to fight off my depression and it is becoming more of a losing battle each day. Because of this, it is increasingly difficult to be social and fit in. The cynic in the back of my head is getting louder telling me that I am not like anyone else and I cannot do this.

This isn't going to work for much longer.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

sunday stretches

First off, in FAT GUY NEWS: I went RUNNING for the second day in a row! It was a good run, I'm starting to get back in the groove. I enjoy running around the neighborhood, and at some point I will get down to the beach - there are some exercise equipment at intervals along the beach highway, so that's my first actual goal, is to run there and back, and then i'll get to using the equipment.

We started ulpan today, and I am in the advanced class. I feel really proud and happy that I can understand hebrew and learn more and more these days. It feels good to learn new things, and I am totally gonna work towards being fluent at the end of the five months.

We visited Enosh, which is a mental health agency, where some of us will volunteer. I am really impressed with the services they offer, and it is a subject I am into, due to the fact that I have a mental illness, and I think it would be really rewarding to work there. So we'll see the other volunteer places, and then make the final decision.

I'm still adjusting each day, and each day brings new challenges, but I am meeting them head on, and taking it one day at a time.

Thanks for stopping by.


Update on Volunteer Teaching

So, I am going to be teaching in a secular elementary school. Very pleased with the idea, will see the school this week and find out more. Off to ulpan!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Swimming in October? Yes, Please.

So, I spent today along the beaches on the Mediterranean Sea. The water was absolutely fantastic and it was beautiful weather! Swimming in October is not something normally done in New York, and it was great. I spent some time walking along the beach, and then I went with some of the people from our trip to a Cafe/Bar type place and had some awesome food and good conversation. Definitely one of the most chill/awesome days I have enjoyed in quite a long time.

I haven't taken enough pictures yet. I plan on getting some tomorrow, I didn't bring the camera to the beach for obvious reasons, but will definitely have some beach photos to upload soon.

Tomorrow we begin our ulpan, which is an intensive hebrew language course. I hope I am placed in the advanced course, because I am really enjoying how much hebrew I remember and am able to communicate enough to get by so far, and would love to learn as much as i can.

IN FAT GUY RELATED NEWS: I went running today! Yep, I got my fat ass out there and ran a mile and change. I didn't run fast, mind you, but I did run. I also did some situps and pushups. So that's exciting.

OK, well time to get changed, and then do some food shopping. Hope everyone on the other side of the world is doing great!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

funk. not the good kind.

I am feeling really vulnerable and separated from the group right now. I domn't know why. I was invited to go out with them and I didn't, and another group of people is watching a movie in the apartment, and I just feel as if I'm not wanted. It's not anything that someone did - it's just the things in my head.

EDIT: Originally written at 2040 Oct 7 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


We had a bonfire down on the beach tonight. I brought my guitar and played a bit! I was able to keep up and play some simple songs, and sing along too, which was such a great feeling! It was the first time I played in front of anyone really, and I was really excited about it. I'm very glad I decided to bring the guitar with me. I was really jet-lagged and dragging ass around 330 today, but now that it's 1222am, I'm wide awake again. LOVE IT!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Now reporting from Ashdod, Israel!

The travel is over, and the trip now begins. I am in my home for the next five months, here in Ashdod Israel. We're set up in awesome accommodations! I have a great view of the Mediterranean Sea from the balcony in my apartment. I live with some awesome people (well, they seem awesome now, stay tuned for further updates) and am really excited about this. I am no longer really apprehensive, nor anxious, I have pretty much gotten settled in, and it's absolutely certain that this was a good idea, and it's going to be a very good five months.

Hope yall are good halfway around the world. Thanks for stopping in.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Last-Minute stuff

Really have been all over the place with emotions and moods lately. I think the apprehension and fear is manifesting in erratic ways.

Made a mistake and watched some of the History channel's "102 minutes that changed America" documentary featuring footage from individual New Yorkers on 9/11. Definitely not something I can handle watching.

Spending today getting more things done, then hanging with the kids and who knows what else...

Thanks for stopping by.

T-minus 50 hours till I need to be at the airport...