I'm still settling in here, and trying to get into the swing of things with chevrutot. I've been to morning gemara shiur 3 days so far, and the attendees have been slightly different each time, so I haven't settled down with a chevruta yet. I'm also looking to find a chevruta to learn Chumash with Ramban. Someone photocopied me a bookmark with a short English-Aramaic dictionary on it, so that I can learn the most common gemara words quickly, and that seems to help a bit because most of my shiur can handle the structure of the gemara quite well, but several people need a lot of help with translation. Hopefully that just comes with practice and a little bit of a cheat sheet.
I went on a trip with the yeshiva to Meron for Lag LaOmer evening. We went to Tsefat first, then Meron. The kever of RaShB"I was packed to the point that it was constant pushing, and there were additionally thousands of people on their way up and down. I was disappointed to see so much activity from the Na-Nach Breslov segment and the Yechi Chabad segment, and felt that it was really inappropriate for them to be piggy backing off a holiday that really had nothing to do with them.
On the way back from Meron, we stopped at the Kotel for shacharit slightly after hanetz. Since I had not yet been to the kotel, I had to perform k'riyah (and I was wearing an old shirt specifically for that purpose). I was exicted to visit the kotel, and excited to perform this halacha, so I couldn't really understand how I could be feeling mourning that would motivate tearing the shirt. Then I did it, and realized that the k'riyah and the paseukim help to spark the feeling of mourning. There's always some amazing feeling every time I visit the Kotel (and it's always a different one).
For shabbat mincha and arvit of motzia'e shabbat, I was back at the kotel again. (After searching the old city for another yeshiva that I couldn't seem to find.) I had seudah sh'lishit at the kotel and joined a couple of different groups that were singing zemirot. I guess I was in a musical mood because I was somewhere in the middle of the lachash of arvit (with a really slow shat"z who spent 3 minutes on the first paseuk of she'ma) when I started singing the shemona esreh to myself softly (in an improvised melody). It took me about 20 minutes to finish shemonah esreh, but when you can get yourself to go that slow, you can start to have kavanot about the words you're saying.
I went to the kotel for kabbalat shabbat, and afterwards Jeff Seidel (who arranges meals for students at the kotel) sent me with a large group of other people to "Hippie Joe" for dinner. Someone mentioned that he was very kabbalistically inclined, so I was a bit worried. In my world, that screams "Kabbalah Center." Why is he called "Hippie Joe?" It turns out that this is because he follows the Ben Ish Chai to the letter, but also has a kiruvy approach of explaining precisely what's going on to his guests who may not always be frum yet. (The combination translates into an appearance of a deep interest in kabbalah.) And he has a preference for organic products, so it could come off as hippie, but he's certainly among the yirei shamayim. Certainly somebody worth meeting again.
Most of the meal was spent introducing the people there and getting each to give a short d'var torah. I shared as a d'var torah my experience at the Kotel that morning, and all the girls were impressed. (I chose that over sharing something that I had heard about Rabbi Akiva's death that would have been on the same theme that several other people had talked about, and very technical.)
Mashiach (another bachur in one of my shiurim) finally clued me in to the location of the sepharadi yeshiva that's "across the street". It turns out that it's across the street, through an apartment complex, and then at the on the other side of the park (Arzei Birah). Navigation in Jerusalem is confusing with a few main streets and lots of little cul-de-sacs that don't show up on maps. But I found the place, and apparently it's a kollel affiliated with Yeshivat Chevrat Ahavat Shalom, and Rav Yaakov Hillel davens there on shabbat. Mashiach told me that the shul starts shacharit at 7:30 on shabbat, so I went at 7:30, only to find that they hadn't started yet. So I went elsewhere and on my way back I found that they actually start at 8am. I shall have to make it back there some time.
Next weekend I'm going to plan to go to Amukah and that will probably involve spending Shabbat in Tsefat. Hopefully my chevrutot will get more settled and more focused this week.