Yalla-a word I have said more times in the past month than all of my times in Israel and hebrew class combined. Besides the fact that it is the name of my magazine, it is also what has been racing through my mind nonstop. Let’s go let’s go let’s go!
The past few weeks have been absolutely crazy, but in a great way. While in Israel I was told that I could officially begin an awesome, but time consuming project-creating a magazine about Israel events in South Florida. Thanks to my internship and other sponsors, this magazine was made possible. As soon as I got home I had two weeks to create a magazine for the community to see. TWO WEEKS! BY MYSELF! Now of course I had a handful of writers who were great and extremely helpful. But when it came down to it, I only had myself to make sure that at 7 pm on February 1st, people had a magazine to see. With only one minor breakdown regarding having enough time to get ready for the party I managed to finish.
In times of stress, there are a few ways of coping. The night before the party, I was working quickly to finish ten pages, and eventually upload it. I decided the desserts for the party should be cake pops, and I left none other than my incredibly talented cousin Marcy in charge of such a seemingly easy, but difficult task. While I typed away and read things aloud, my cousin Rose said “Brooke, it is time for a break. What do you think about a face mask?” A face mask? Why would I want to do that in the midst of everything. A cup of tea-or three-maybe, but face mask? Rose whisked me away into the dark living room, put a towel over my head and made me bend my head over a steaming bowl of water. We walked upstairs and put rejuvenating masks on. It was the most refreshing thing I had done in the past two weeks. It sounds so silly, but I am so thankful for that face mask and the time I got to spend with my cousins that night, even if I was the one that was in their kitchen until 7 am putting the last touches on everything. The things that seem so little like baking cake pops and face masks actually feel like the biggest gives, because they were baked and applied with love.
I had twelve hours to make sure everything went off without a hitch. With less than a three hour nap, I had to get back to work, because the platform that shows the digital magazine was not working. With the help of my incredible web master, everything was uploaded perfectly. I couldn’t believe it -a real (digital) magazine. At 7 pm I revealed the cover, and we flipped through for everyone to see exactly what a digital magazine is. It was so exciting and people were very interested in it. About 70 people showed up to enjoy the delicious treats and see the whole thing come to life.
After cleaning up it was time to go home and pack up for the weekend. No resting just yet! After much convincing I agreed to go to the Florida Loves Israel conference up in Tallahassee and show the magazine to the many students from all over the state. I told my friend in charge of the conference the only way I was going was if I could come when I wanted…meaning stops in Orlando and Gainesville to visit my friends first. I arrived at Orlando at 3 pm and thus began my celebratory tour of sushi in Florida. We normally go to KOBE a sushi and hibachi restaurant with an awesome happy hour just outside of the UCF campus. Laura told me about Kyoto, a sushi place that does happy hour from 4-6 with some pretty cool rolls that we should check out. I got a smoked salmon roll and an eel roll for a total of $7. Yay happy hour on sushi!
After sleeping in and watching my usual show at Laura’s, The City, I was off to my next destination, Gainesville. I was greeted by Amy and Cheri and we went to my favorite place-Rolls ‘n Bowls. I don’t know how there are not chains of these around South Florida, it is top notch. I got a rice bowl (sushi rice) topped with salmon, tuna, crab delight, avocado, masago, and shitake mushrooms. You can also design your own rolls-pretty cool. When we got back we watched some 30 rock. Well, Cheri slept, Amy and I watched. After dinner at an Italian place, we watched Bridesmaids, The Soup, and before we knew it, it was time for bed. Unfortunately I couldn’t go out at UF this visit because I had to wake up early.
At 7 am Cheri dropped me off (true friendship) on campus to start heading over to Tally. By 9 am we were at the FSU Hillel. I haven’t been to FSU since 2009 so it was cool to be back. After staying for one session, I was ready to hang out with my friend Missy. She lived minutes away from the Hillel so we hung out until it was time for the rez. I told her about all of the activities ahead of time and she agreed we’d do many things together, including hanging out at the lake or Rez area. We drove over and met everyone in time for BBQ. After listening to a speaker discuss Iran, I met Missy and Melanie on the beach.
Missy said since I was on a whirlwind tour of sushi places, she would take me to Jasmine’s. For just $10 we got a miso soup, salad, and two rolls. I was loving the deals this weekend. We went out that night but spent more time getting there and getting back home than at the actual bar. Overall, the night was still a success.
The last activity that Missy and I were participating in was lox and bagels meet and greet-my time to show students what Yalla Israel Magazine is. I got incredible feedback and people were interested in writing-I was so happy I came up. At 1 o’clock my friends and I were ready to leave-only I was going back to all of the places I came up to first. I went back to UF for less than an hour before heading to UCF. Laura and I only caught the half time show before falling asleep to The Voice. I woke up at 6 am ready to drive back to school.
The past week has been much more relaxed. This month is crazy but I’m trying to manage my time to the best of my ability. When I had some free time I made some spaghetti squash, spinach, and chicken for lunch. It was so delicious-who needs pasta!
This weekend I had lots of play times with dogs and kids. Between sword fighting, twister, science fair projects, and playing with puppies I am exhausted! Time to do homework.
If you haven’t already, be sure to visit www.yallaisraelmagazine.com your only guide to all things Israel in South Florida.