First Few Days of My Journey

The past few days have been crazy and they feel like a blur.
First, I spent Tuesday exploring New York City with my fellow teammates. Part of the fun was that we didn’t go to any landmarks in specific, but rather drifted through the city exploring and talking to each other.
All my teammates are really cool people. I can’t wait to get to know them more over the next few weeks. Both of the girls are cool too, I’m just not sure how much I can tell you about my fellow athletes since this is public but I’ll speak generally. One of them is a very high-ranking international athlete who has many international medals and is 3-time-Olympian Steven Lopez’s sparring partner. If you don’t know who that is…he’s a big deal in the Taekwondo world. Another is a Cornell grad, another is a Peak Taekwondo Miami athlete (I’m a Peak Taekwondo Minnesota athlete so we’ve got some connection/friends in common). They’re all awesome though.
We then stayed overnight at the parents’ house of one of the other athletes. They were wonderful hosts. They fed us a bountiful meal of kosher hotdogs and hamburgers, which we ate like animals.
On Wednesday we left 5 hours early (don’t ask why) for our 7 pm flight to Israel. I sat next to two different coaches and rather than sleep, spent most of my time talking to them. We talked about Israel, shared a few laughs at the expense of their athletes and swapped iPods to learn the other person’s music tastes. Oh and the plane was a double decker…How cool is that!? Filled to the brim with like 300 Maccabi Games athletes.
Oh and I was actually disappointed that the Israelis didn’t ask me any interesting questions in security. All they asked was if I had been to Israel and if I had any relatives. My coach got asked if he was circumcised! Someone else was asked what they’re Haftorah portion was! That’s a tough one. I bet you remember your Torah portion, but probably not your Haftorah portion (mine is a section from Isaiah 56)
Everyone was overjoyed to find that, “The Incredibles” was one of the movies playing on the flight. Love that film.
The plane landed. We were hungry, tired, grumpy and dressed unprepared for the heat. We looked beautiful.
The buses took us to where we would stay for pre-camp/Israel Connect programming which is in a place called “Kibbutz Shefayim.” It’s gorgeous here.

Kibbutz Shefayim

I’m sharing a room with two roommates, which is really fun. We’ve been having political conversations about Israel, socioeconomic issues relating to income tax and constantly quoting various movies and TV Shows including: Anchorman, South Park, Zoolander and Monty Python.
A few of us took the little hike down to the beach today. It was gorgeous. We didn’t have bathing suits to go swimming so when I asked if they wanted to go in I got a few skeptical glances…but we took lots of pictures 🙂
Tomorrow (July 12th) is the first day of training and I’m psyched. We’ll train in the morning and then explore some of Tel Aviv in the afternoon.
That’s all I really know so far.
ps. Sorry if they are typos, I’m paying $2.50 for 15 minutes of Wifi so I had to write fast!