A quarter of a century . . .

. . . is today! I don’t think I’ve ever prepared so much for my own birthday, but I’m glad I did. I thought this would be an appropriate day to share with my blog readers 25 things they might not know about me and while this took me a little longer than I originally suspected, I had a blast remembering, something I immensely enjoy. So, sit back, grab a cup of coffee to keep you awake for some parts, and be prepared to follow my wild adventures on other parts.

1. My first childhood memory is in the airplane. I remember looking down at my dress and my sandals as I stepped out onto the airplane stairs. No wonder I love traveling so much.

2. My favorite color was always blue or shades of blue, now it’s teal. While growing up I used to always say its pink, just because we had a sister rule that we couldn’t copy each other and Dina happened to pick blue first. At about 13 I realized we are not playing that game anymore, so many years of sacrifice.

3. Apple juice is my favorite, but I don’t like eating fresh apples.

4. I collected stamps as a little kid; I still have my first collections.

5. My favorite piece of clothing is socks. I just love how new socks feel.

6. I enjoy Disney movies. I would pick a Disney movie any day over any other one.

7. My favorite food is pita bread with hummus, especially the one from a small restaurant in the Old City, Jerusalem.

8. When I first tried baking bread, the yeast didn’t rise until the third time I tried doing it and I almost gave up on baking, thanks for the help mom!

9. I had 13 roommates in college. One for a whole year, the others just for a semester or summer.

10. I love school and studying. I remember stopping by the school when I was little and walking through the empty halls and wishing that I could always be there. As a senior in high school I didn’t want to leave and thought it couldn’t get better than this. Once I got to college I was even more excited and prolonged my college experience until I ran out of classes to take, I should have added a few more majors ☺.

11. In college I was known for “hanging out with Lib” a phrase my roommate Stacie first created and passed on to others, for the endless hours I lived in our campus library. Some were gullible enough to believe that Lib was a guy.

12. I first learned about manual exposure on the shore of the Dead Sea, when my friend Steve was teaching me how to photograph the moon.

13. I drove a taxicab in Jordan, it was the driver’s idea, I promise.

14. I jumped a fence in Jericho. I brought my three friends there just after sunset and the site was closed, so we found another way in.

15. I got lost in the wilderness at Timna Park, Israel (Fall ’04). I was on a trail with a group and I happened to be at the very end. I decided to catch up with the people in the very front and started passing the other students until I reached a fork in the road and followed the wrong trail mark. I started running to catch up with the group, but it got quieter and quieter and the trail grew narrower with a cliff on each side of me. My heart started racing. I realized that I was lost. I had an idea to climb up the cliffs and see where I was, but they were too high. Once I found a place easy to climb I reached the top and witnessed one of the scariest moments in my life. A barren wilderness with only the wind breaking its silence. I was afraid to break down into tears and just stood there frozen, starring at the rock where we originally started the trail, which was by now only a size of my hand. I didn’t have my glasses with me nor water, but after some time, which seemed like eternity, I made out a yellow dot slowly moving on the brown landscape and ran towards it, with all my might. Once I got close I was overjoyed to find out that the yellow dot was one of my fellow student’s shirt and no one started a search for me yet. I continued the rest of the trip on the bus in silence, trying to calm my fears after the shock and the funny thing is, hardly anyone knew what happened, and I was relieved that Ibex didn’t have to end because of me.

16. My first week of college I saw a small Sri Lankan girl from afar in the cafeteria and really wanted to be her friend. I thought that she was too popular to talk to me, since I always saw her in a circle of people, but I still decided to introduce myself to her. The second or third week of college she was walking right in front of me to class, so I caught up with her, introduced myself and told her I wanted to be her friend. That was very bold and unlike me thing to do, but believe it or not, the curly haired Sri Lankan girl became one of my closest friends in a short amount of time. Little did I know that Naomi, the girl I desperately wanted to meet, would be driving home with me to Sacramento to spend Thanksgiving with my family in only a few weeks, and in a few years down the road I would be one of her bridesmaids as she got married. Ahhh, I love this story.

17. Talking about remembering details, I have a very selective memory and often remember the most random things that didn’t always help on the exams.

18. A birthday I remember very distinctly is my 22nd one. I planned only one thing for that day, to sleep, since the night before I packed and went to the airport to see my professor Todd and his family board a plane for US. While driving back from the airport, barely awake, my friend Jodi suddenly turned to me and said, “It’s your birthday, let’s go to Jerusalem!” I love spontaneity; another fact in itself, and I told the bus driving to take us to the Holy City. Jodi let me pick a few of my favorite places to visit, so we headed to the Holy Sepulcher-Calvary, then to the Western Wall, stopped by Naser’s and Tarek’s shops and walked to Davidka Square to the bus station, taking my favorite Jaffa Street. Thank you Jodi for spending my birthday with me, I loved it! On top of that each of my family members sent me a card to Israel. It was also that same birthday that I got a scarf from England with Oxford emblem, thanks Mark.

19. One of the favorite compliments I got was that I was a Jew from New York. It came from two British guys who volunteered together with my friend Jenae in Jerusalem.

20. Talking about Jenae, together we escorted an Iraqi kid, who just underwent heart surgery, with his mom to Amman, Jordan, and put them on the plane to Kurdistan. We spent three days driving to and from airport until finally there were seats available for Omar and his mom Siham. My Arabic went up significantly that weekend, since neither of our companions spoke English.

21. I missed a flight while in Istanbul, Turkey. The next one was in twelve hours. After several hours a guy from Tunisia sleeping on a bench next to me asked me, what a blond girl from California was doing alone in Istanbul, at that point I wondered too. He ended up buying me dinner and paying for my taxi ride. I sent him a card to Tunisia once I was back safely in Israel. Before I boarded the plane I spent another hour or two surrounded by about a hundred men dressed in white robes, boarding a plane for Mecca. That was another experience worth missing the flight.

22. My sophomore year in high school I met Alexandra, a girl with the neatest handwriting, who inspired me to write neatly. It took me two and half years to perfect my handwriting, and to my surprise, by the time I entered college I had my own neat handwriting.

23. If I could repeat an experience from life, I would go to Egypt with Mark and Phil, float down the Jordan River, and go for a night boat ride with Dave and Jodi on the Sea of Galilee.

24. I’m so happy and satisfied today like I haven’t been on many past birthdays. I approached my birthday with an attitude that I completely don’t deserve anything, and all I have is from Christ and the only reason I am able to enjoy it is because of Christ and the blessings he bought for me at the cross. And that is the best place to be in.

25. I took these 25 things too seriously.

Yom Huledet, Adi!

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12 thoughts on “A quarter of a century . . .

  1. My dearest Yuliya, Happy Birthday!!!!! you are a really cool sister, ani ohevet otach meod meod meod!!!!!!
    . . . by the way I’m sorry for stealing your favorite color

  2. Cuz, you rock, and I love you.
    Hope that in the next 25 years we hang out more then we did the first.
    Its been truly a pleasure!

  3. yuli!! so…#21…was that when we went? i had no idea!?!?! and i really love #18. =) miss you sweet friend!

    1. Yep, Number 21 was with you, I guess I never had a chance to tell you the story. lol. I miss you too. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  4. Wow, amazing! Thanks for the time you put in to write that, very interesting,totaly enjoyed reading that. my favirite is your favorite color, i totally remember that, you did always say pink,it might have been my favorite color, maybe that’s why i said purple. Thank you amazing sister. you’re great!!!

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