I thought it was not possible to build upon the amount of new things I experienced from my first week, yet unbelievably my second week topped it. It was an interesting week being able to witness first-hand the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Hearing the sirens and explosions in the skies from the Iron Dome spurred a mixture of feelings from danger to curiosity. Although portions of the country have fallen into a state of unrest, the people, particularly in Tel Aviv, have reflected a different image: locals walking their dogs, taking the bus, and sunbathing in the beaches. In other words, people continue with their everyday routine activities. These routines have reassured me that despite all the troubles, I should be safe if that is how the locals feel.
Prior to the mentioned incidents, I had got involved in Tel Aviv’s tenth annual “Water War,” with thousands of youths gathering at the Habima Square armed with water guns and overflowing buckets. It was an overwhelmingly fun event, strongly recommended to anyone who does visit the city during this time of the year. I also got to explore the wonders of the Carmel market, filled with cheap food stands to clothing sales, and local specialties like spices. On my latest visit, I even took the opportunity to test my Hebrew and negotiate for more reasonable prices on my fruit and vegetables. The friendly and approachable Israeli community encourages and rewards my efforts to integrate into the culture. Furthermore, relaxing on the beach at night while watching the World Cup games epitomizes why I made the right decision to come and explore Tel Aviv.
Nevertheless, work continues as does life. One aspect of the Israeli culture to which I certainly need more time to adjust is the Hebrew calendar, where working days are from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday being considered the weekend. Anyways, on Sunday, I was given the task of providing biographies of 28 professionals for a total of thirteen pages of research notes, needed within four hours. Although my fingers were exhausted afterwards, I felt like I had accomplished a worthy achievement.
My next project comprised of locating top Chinese internet companies relevant for the organisation to investigate, and my final main project was editing Elevator’s program schedule intended for its upcoming class of fresh new start-ups. Overall, the intensity of the work does not compare with last week’s workload as external distractions impacted slightly this week’s work hours. The main message for this week is that, regardless of what happens, work and life resumes; what matters is what will happen in the future opposed to what happened in the past.
This is an experience that will stick by me for the rest of my life. However, it is now time to absorb the experience, leave it behind and look forward to the rest of this adventure. Long live Tel Aviv’s joie de vivre! (French expression to enjoy life)
Chuk Chan (Jeffrey)