Birthday’s + Bike Rides = Breakthrough’s!

For those of you who know me, you might recall I had a minor bike accident in 2008.  I was 45 minutes into my spinning class at the gym, (yes, on a stationary bike), doing one of the intervals switching between riding the bike standing and sitting.  This class became rather intense, standing up biking as fast as I could, and my handlebars FLEW off of my bike, causing me to fly over my bike, with my head landing rather close to the bike in front of me.  Not to worry, I was not too physically injured, but mentally, I was a little shook up.  Fast forward to August 2012, when I finally decided I was ready to ride a bike again.  I went on two bike rides in Portland.  Nice, flat, land. (I had tried riding bikes again before, but every time I would get on the bike, my whole body would start shaking).  Well, October 1st my group in Israel went on a bike ride.  Little did I know we were going mountain biking, but I got on that bike and rode along the rocky trail.  I flew off of my bike 3 times, leaving me with some nice battle wounds and bruises, BUT I was proud of myself for continuing to get on that bike.  Enjoy the pictures below, of this adventure.

Group shot, pre bike ride!
Me, back on a bike.
As you can see, I was in no way prepared to ride my bike on this type of terrain. In truth, none of us were. Certain areas we walked down, other areas we rode down.

What I realized about my bike ride experience was one that frustrated me.  I each time I flew off my bike, it was only because I would look down at the huge rocks and my mind would freak out and tell me I was going to fly over the bike, so I did.  Whenever I was focused on the end of the road, and not the literal stumbling rocks in front of me I was fine.  I got pretty frustrated with myself, but then regathered and realized, there was a bigger lesson here.  Do not focus on all of the small rocks that prevent me from getting to the end of the road.  The end of the road will be smooth eventually.  Focus on the little problems that are directly in front of me, and I’m bound to fall.  Keep my eye on the prize, and those stumbling stones can’t stop me.  

Moving on to my birthday! On October 2nd my Madricha Oshra told me there was a group of disturbed teenage girls who all left their homes and needed someone to talk to them about the Jewish Holiday’s that occur during the month of Tishrei (Tishrei is a month in the Jewish Calendar, when we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot).  Oshra thought I was the right person for this job.  While this didn’t quite make sense to me, I said I would love to, as I tend to get along rather well with disturbed youth.

Little did I know, Oshra and the rest of the participants on my program (i.e. my friends), were all planning a surprise bonfire on the beach for my birthday!  Oshra picked me up from Ulpan, with 3 of the guys on my program, said she was driving them to ge their groceries, and then we would go to my speech.  We took a detour to pick up a cake at a shop, because Oshra told me she needed me to pick on out for her friend.  (This might be a regular sign for some, but oddly, Oshra has had me pick out cakes for other events for her in the past, so I really didn’t think too much of it..). Anyway, as we were driving to the grocery store Oshra said, let’s take a quick detour, I want to show you all something…she then drove to the beach and the rest of my group was there making the bonfire, preparing the potatoes and vegetables, and waiting for me to arrive.

The crew, getting ready to get settled. I was feeling overwhelmed with gratitude in this picture.
Starr, Andrew, Josh and Me.
Abby, Heather and Me. The flowers on my head and neck, were a gift 🙂

We sat around the fire, made s’mores, listened to music, played guitar, and improv’d songs.  I was really not expecting anything for my birthday, and I feel so blessed and grateful to be surrounded by such amazing, happy friends.

Happy Birthday to me 🙂

On October 3rd, my actual birthday, I woke up, went to Ulpan, followed by a nice Hike through Hanita forest, with Andrew, Josh and Yoni, and then we went to Akko for the Akko Theatre Festival.  The first play we saw was a play titled, “Not your average play,” put on by the adult community of Individuals with Disabilities.  This was a lot of fun and a really special play.  We then went to the Akko street festival, which was packed with people, street performers, food vendors, and Israel fun.  We then went to another play put on by the Shlomi Theatre; a play about a woman who died and got to meet all of her past souls.  Interesting.

This was cool.
Don’t I seem more mature now? 😉
Street cool.

Thank you to everyone for the warm birthday wishes on facebook, by e-mail, and phone.  27 is already a great year!

On Thursday night, there was another festival in Haifa!  I have never spent time in Haifa before, but it was a really nice city, with the worlds smallest metro, 5 stops only!  Heather, Abby, and I went to Haifa, where we couchsurfed for the night.  (Couchsurfing is a safe webpage designed for people who are traveling and need homes to sleep in for the night.  The couchsurfing community opens up their couches, to those in need and help give advice about happenings in the city). Couchsurfing is also a great way to make friends in different cities!  Anyway, there were a couple free concerts happening Thursday night so we went to Gan HaEm where we saw one awesome show, and then got onto the metro and went to the bottom of the mountain to Kikar Paris, where we went to a dubstep, DJ’d show, and danced with our eye’s closed and our hands in the air. 🙂

Ladies going out in Haifa
Abby and Me at the concert

On Friday, we walked around Haifa and went to the Bahai Gardens.  A beautiful Holy Garden, where I met the strongest tree of my life.

Heather and I, often walk down the “road less traveled.”
The first tree, I ever listened to. This tree reminded me of my own inner strength.
Abby, Heather and Me at the Bahai Gardens.
Bahai Garden walkways.

This past week was one full of adventure and life!  I am having fun, but I am ready to begin volunteering this coming Tuesday!  I love you and miss you all!

Shabbat Shalom!

With love, gratitude, and appreciation for all,



One thought on “Birthday’s + Bike Rides = Breakthrough’s!

  1. Juju,

    Thanks for sharing your week with us! It’s great to know everything you are doing and your perceptions of the inner meaning of everything!

    I love and miss you!

    Love you,



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