Long Island, Israel, Future Plans & School, Mad Cow Disease

Long Island

Getting home to Long Island was certainly an experience, after hours of delays at the airport, there was a good two hours of traffic. As my father described to me the terrors that lay waiting for us on the road, the snow, the ice and the tundra which we would no doubt have to brave in the spirit of the explorers who traversed the arctic, I was beginning to expect the worst…and then as we got onto the road and I saw the conditions that lay for us ahead, I breathed in a sigh of relief and relaxed. Because, as Buffalonians would call this, it was “a dusting.”

Any Buffalo native would have been going around 80mph, with the stereo on, talking on their cell phone and been just fine…the Long Islanders saw half an inch of ice and veered into trees and each other in a mass panic the likes of which I’ve never seen before. This in turn, caused large delays which then caused more accidents because people were getting frustrated and began to drive recklessly as they let out their road rage which they coupled with their intense fear of the non-existant snow.

Because of all the airport Delays, I missed my doctors appointment and now have to come back in two weeks or so and try again. Life happens, get a mop, what you gunna do?

Israel, Future Plans & School

I booked my ticket’s to Israel Yesterday!

I’m incredibly excited. I decided to only go for close to one month rather than for two months, varying slightly from my original plan. My primary reasoning behind this was because I didn’t want to miss out on a lot of the summer festivities because this will be the last summer I’ll be in the United States for quite awhile and I sort of wanted to get everything in (including Fourth of July in Vermont).

The other reason being that if we are having a summit (which is up in the air at the moment, but which I want to plan for in case we are actually having one) in Montreal for the Harry Potter Book 7 release, I’d never give up a chance to see my HP Crew (I get to see them so rarely, and it’s such a gift when I do get the chance to see them, that I’d hate to give up the chance to do so for the final Harry Potter book release). If it turns out that we aren’t having a summit, maybe Carrie, Stephen and I will hold a mini one in Boston? I booked that week as “Harry Potter Week” and wrote “Summit” on my calendar, so really now it’s just a matter of figuring out where it’s going to be and who’s going to go where :o)

However, I’m fairly sure that I’ll have more than enough time to see a lot, get acquainted with the layout of everything and do some really neat stuff.

I started my list of things that I want to see and do:


    • Yad V’Shem.


    • The Wailing Wall.


    • Party at Club TLV on their Gay Night.


    • Tour the Tel-Aviv University Campus.


    • Jerusalem (in Jerusalem there’s a hostel where you can sleep on the roof and see the sun rise over Dome of the Rock, I want to stay there, I have to find the name of it).


    • Walk on Water (or do my best) at Nazareth.


    • Ride the Subway in Tel Aviv (I get the tickets from the random subways I ride and paste them in my date book, it’s my goal to ride every subway in the world at least once).


    • The Salt Caves.


    • Swim in the Sea of Salt.


    • Visit Jordy at Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land (I’m told that he’s friendly).


    • Hiking, lots and lots of hiking.


    • Tour Givat Haviva’s facilities, get information on their programs.


    • Prayer Services, wherever and whenever, I really just want to ground myself and reconnect to my faith.


    • Meet with my contact at Nefesh B’Nefesh and say hello…I’ve harassed her often enough, the least I can do is buy her a cup of coffee.


    • Meet Itai (nir1) and put a body to the name and the face, and hug Shirah (stoicdaydreamer) because I haven’t seen her in months and I miss her terribly and say hi to Tova because if I don’t, Shulamit will kill me.


    • Pick up some Arabic & Hebrew Club/Rave/Trance CDs because you’d be amazed how little you can find pirated on the net and there’s almost nothing for purchase on iTunes or at Borders.


    • Play Shesh Besh, Smoke Hookah, Drink Coffee and Relax

Future Plans & School

I opened up another Savings account to start saving for Givat Haviva’s Arabic Program (NIS21,000.00 which is currently around 5,000.00US) and also for Grad School and the ATAs professional exams (which aren’t cheap). Though it looks like I’ll have enough to cover Givat Haviva in about a years time with some extra padding for unforeseen expenses. I’m also opening a third savings account when I get back to Buffalo to start saving for future travel expenses. I would like to start saving now so that I can have the luxury later of traveling at my convenience in the future, rather than traveling at the convenience of my bank account.

The other day I gave Mom (munchkinqueen54) a video tour of my apartment (which has rapidly become minimalist) and she gave me permission to sell Dranny’s antique dresser set that’s in my bedroom (Dranny was my Great Grandma) so that I can put the money into the education account I just created, which is exciting.


I have to say, I’m a little sad…well, perhaps nostalgic is more accurate, or maybe annoyed, I’m honestly not sure. We’ve been given essentially the final word on whether or not there will be an Arabic V. The answer is no. The University won’t fund it. They will fund Sanskrit (I know, I took the course), they will fund Irish Gaelic, they will fund Latin to fluency…but they won’t fund more than Arabic I – IV and it kills me. The only way to ever make a difference is through cross cultural and cross-lingual communication and The University is doing themselves and their students a disservice by not providing adequate Arabic Language Instruction. This means that the courses I’m taking in my final semester are:


    • Phonetics with Dr. Jeri J. Jaeger.


    • A TA-Ship


    • CSE111 (Math Requirement)


    • the second half of Nutrition.

It all seems rather anti-climactic actually. Four classes and…I’m done…it’s not like I expected to walk out of my last class and have streamers go off and a marching band begin to play, I think it’s just that college life gets so much hype in the media you expect to feel slightly different when you’re at the last lap. I graduate at the end of the Fall Semester 2007 though my diploma will read Matthew L. Schwartz, B.A. Linguistics, February 1, 2008 because it takes them two months to verify that you’ve actually done everything that you have to do.

This semester’s research paper is exciting though, because Dr. Wölk is going to do his best to let this paper count for two courses (his course as well as Linguistic Anthropology). The paper is on AAVE and it’s a dialectical translation of AAVE into SE and then an analysis of the musical works.

I also get to fill out my application to Make Aliyah after this summer which is also incredibly exciting. As far as future plans go, I’m looking long term, but sticking to vocalizing the short term which is: finish this semester, go to Israel this summer, finish my fall semester, and make Aliyah and we’ll take it from there.

Mad Cow Disease

My brother bought me Mad Cow Disease….no, for real:


(Image Courtesy of giantmicrobes.com)

Does he know me, or what!? Dude…it’s so cool!

Okay, time to get some sleep, my grandparents are coming over today for brunch. G’night all!

~ me