Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home?

Prior to arriving in Israel, I had done some research to find a good gym in Jerusalem. I knew that was something I would need in my daily regiment in order to hone some sort of complacency in my new home. The results? After researching thoroughly online and reading advice blogs from other invested 'olim', I had every reason to be wary of finding a modern health club that would fit the bill. I think we would all agree that we are spoiled in the U.S. with mass produced state-of-the-art developments and our gyms are no exception. As for my gym at home in southern California, I have been a member of L.A. Fitness for nearly 10 years, where for just $34 a month, I have complete access to modern, high-tech equipment with fans, TV's, radio and audio. Additionally, I can go to as many classes as I want as part of this plan and there are large, comfortable locker rooms with clean showers and sophisticated saunas. It is clean, comfortable and highly affordable. In sum, for just a minimal fee, we seem to be spoiled in the U.S. with all sorts of daily comforts that we may arguably take for granted.

I was prepared to give all of this up when I moved to Israel. I questioned whether exercise would even be a part of my daily life. My mind, filled with misperceptions and worries, for some reason anticipated that moving to Israel meant giving up all the modern conveniences that I was used to having on a regular basis. Although good friends - and you know who you are - tried to assure me that Israel had everything I could find back home, fears are simply fears for a reason and they do not acquiesce until they are proven wrong. While to some extent it may be true that there are certain conveniences I am having to give up, I am relieved and excited to share with you a new comfort I have found: my new home away from home. Well, okay, that's going a little far to say that my new gym is a home, but I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Entrance to Hebrew University's Gym
High-tech workout room overlooking Mount of Olives
A cafe on the gym's 1st level with million dollar views
An outside green area with chairs to laze in the sun
A world-class pool
Rafi enjoying a massage chair
Juice Bar with fresh fruit and vegetables
Pretty nice, isn't it? My jaw kept dropping and my eyes kept bulging as we continued throughout the four-story gym, finding more and more surprises with every turn on every floor. Sometimes, it's so much better when you expect the least, only to be pleasantly awed by what you find. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to see my fears and worries evaporate before my eyes, as my basic comforts and worries are restored. It reminds me a little bit of Maslow's hierachy of needs - a shout out to my graduate school studies - and yes, I did just refer to a psychological theory. This is what happens when you get your degree in counseling; you start psychoanalyzing your life and the lives of those around you as well. It's an inside joke identifying what theories you see jumping to life around you, whether it's a character on a TV show, a good friend or family member, or even a barista in a coffee shop. This is much the same way that a law school graduate or a medical school student might start speaking in their own language with their peers, labeling the people and world around them on a daily basis in their everyday encounters.

Maslow's Hierarchy
If I might, let me enlighten you for a moment. Getting back to Maslow, his theory basically states that we, as human beings, are motivated by the need to meet unmet needs. Maslow discusses how our basic needs must be satisfied before we are able to achieve true growth, which in my case means truly experiencing all that Israel has to offer. As for now, I am still adjusting to being here. Among these needs that Maslow discusses are (from the bottom of the hierarchy on up) physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, social needs, self-esteem needs and finally, self-actualization. Long story short, I am working hard to put into place all of my physiological needs, including making sure I have hot water to shower (not as easy as you think because you have to wake up early and switch the hot water filter to 'on'), figuring out how to use Israeli shekels, learning where to buy food and what exactly it is that I am looking at, buying all of my necessary appliances (i.e. blow dryer, hair straightener), and in today's case, finding a gym so that I can breathe and recharge every once in awhile. I'm taking baby steps and my previous studies assure me that I'm adjusting properly and in a timely manner.

And now, back to the gym. Although it's nearly double what I would be paying back home, I am thrilled to know that I have access to the fanciest gym I've ever been a member of, which was never something I anticipated. And this four-story modern masterpiece it's just around the corner from home, which makes it walking distance. Not only does it have everything I had at my gym back home, it has more. This should train me to open up my mind to the unexpected. Certainly, it also does not hurt to have a view like this when you head out for a run:

View of Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus Campus


  1. Wow!! Amazing!! I can't even imagine looking at that amazing view while working out! Although I'm only paying $29/mo, I've got concrete walls as a view!

  2. Haha, that's funny Michelle! Yeah, concrete walls are not going to cut it. I hope you have music to distract you! :)

  3. I am really enjoying reading about your adventures!! As always, your writing is superb :)

  4. Erin, you are seriously too freakin adorable. I am vicarioulsy experiencing the excitement of a new country via your blog and I am so happy that you are finally setting up shop with your man ;) Keep the awesome posts coming, you are quite the author!!

  5. Thanks guys! I have decided that blogs are the new facebook and I want everyone to have one so I can be a voyeur in your daily lives, haha! :)


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