Apples Dipped in Honey & Camels at Sea Level, I think I’m home.

3 Nov

I find it hard to begin writing this post because the amount of significant experiences i’ve had in the past month could be written for days. But I figured that the most important will be decided by the first stories that come to mind. An important thing to know, though, is that Israel has become my home.

When I first told my friends that I was studying here, some of them said, “please come back, i’ve had friends that have gone there and never wanted to come back.” And hearing that at the time sounds a bit ridiculous, but as time goes on, and the people who exist in your life on a daily basis change, that ones little sentence makes a whole lot more sense. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my home, but when I leave, I will again, be missing my home.

September, to the Jewish people, is the time of holidays. And lets just say, I experienced those holidays to the fullest. First up, Rosh Hashanah, THE NEW YEAR WOOO! I got to celebrate that with two of the three families that my Ema & Aba call their best friends. (A little background, my parents lived here before I was born). In short, I got to see some amazingly cute photos of Shai and Talia, ride a camel, see all different parts of Jerusalem, and get to know friends that are more like family. I learned so much more about my parents and the lives they lived 35 years ago, and admire them even more than I did before. They are two of the most inspirational people I know, i’m lucky to have gained just some of the wisdom they have taught me through out the years :). I have always felt this way, but their friends were a huge reminder of that.

After a liiiitle studying and hebrew, next up is Yom Kippur. Normally back home, this holiday seems somewhat insignificant to me because I go to a school that is probably 1% Jewish so it is next to impossible to “celebrate” it the way it should be. But in Israel, they make it next to impossible not to participate. EVERY store is closed and not ONE car is on the road. I didn’t go to services, but I did have the chance to reflect upon the past year (and I lasted until the next morning in fasting…one day i’ll make it I swear!) Having the chance to participate in a holiday that is celebrated (and i hate that word for Yom Kippur but I can’t think of another) through out the whole country was unlike any other experience. Of course I have experienced Thanksgiving since I was born but there is something special about an entire group of people stopping their daily routines to do something that most of them do not look forward to.

Next up, Sukkot. The Jews love their holidays. This was an entire week and I could give you the background, but the most significant thing that affected me throughout this week was eating every meal in a Sukka which is basically like a tent that has to be under the sky. Quite an experience. This was when I had the privilege of meeting the third family of friends that I had never met before but would now consider family. I remember when I was younger I would always hear my friends say how they were celebrating holidays, attending weddings, or going to birthday parties of their family friends and I always just had my family (well except for a few!). Those people that my parents call their best friends live here. (okay now I’m gonna get really corny) You know that song “I left my heart in San Francisco”? Well I think my parents left a piece of theirs in Israel (hey if you’re reading this Ema and Aba, time to come backk!) Anyways, what I’m getting at, is that I learned a lot about where I came from and the people who raised me just from meeting friends from the past.

And the final step to this whole second home schpeal was Greece. Now you wonder, how was being in another country helping you love the other? Well I think I just put the answer in the question, clever eh? Greece was amazing, beautiful, and in financial debt. When Cortnee and I (Cortnee is my partner in crime) stepped off the plane the first thing we thought was, DAMN it’s cold and the second, OMG WE ARE IN GREECE. We were ready to explore this place that we thought only really, really rich people or like mythological creatures went to. And it was great, we ate some amazing food, met some really cool locals, and saw some beautiful historical monuments. But, because of the protests going on due to the financial crisis, we were unable to leave Athens (in which we planned on staying one day and moving our way down to Crete). Don’t get me wrong, Athens is cool and all but I don’t consider it the best example of Greece. Tourist season was over which has its pros but also its cons. And on one of the last days we were there, Cortnee said to me “is it bad that I’m looking forward to going back to Israel?” And was it? Was it bad that this “vacation” we were having was only making us think about going …home. And it was then I realized, we wanted to go home. And not Washington College and Salisbury University home, but Beer Sheva, in the middle of nowhere home. I missed the language, the sense of pride, my bed, and hanging out with our friends, sitting around, and playing Kings for the thousandth time.

I don’t think it was leaving that made me feel this sense of home but it definitely helped in turning a light bulb on up there. It is everything, it is getting my small cappuccino every morning, bargaining with the locals at the shuk for apples, repeating that one phrase i’ve become fluent in knowing “Anee lo medeberet ivrit!” (I don’t speak Hebrew…”), and writing on the group page to see what everyone is up to that night. And sadly, most people don’t realize what they had until it is gone and I was lucky enough to experience that half way through, now I have a month and a half left to really live it up.


Wake up call: Wine tasting, 9 AM- Golan Heights

22 Sep

HI! I’m still alive!!!  Sorry it’s been so long since my last post, I guess I’ve felt like I haven’t had anything interesting to say, then I remember I’m in a different country so things that I find normal now probably aren’t so normal back home, and thus interesting!

Hmm, so I think the last time I left off I was going to Tel Aviv for the weekend which seems so long ago now. It was a fun weekend, I did some necessary (or actually unnecessary) shopping…got AMAZING sandals, spent a countless amount of hours frolicking on the beach, managed to get kicked out of a British themed bar (my friend decided it would be a good idea to steal a 10 ball off of the pool table, needless to say, the bar owner told us to never come back …) and met some people from the UK and South Africa in our hostel (which by the way was super nice). As you can see by our Myspace pics, we had a lot of fun =).

I graduated Ulpan last week!!!!! Although i’m still taking Hebrew three times a week with the same magnificent teacher (I had a picture with her as you can see). So now I am officially in Alef + …whatever that means. My classes began this week and OH EM GEE am I excited for this semester.

1.) we have Critical Decisions. This class gives me a nice background on every decision the state of Israel has made to create the land we live in today. That is ….60 years of decisions. Let’s just say it’s a lot more in depth than History 101.

2.) Next we have Violence in our Lives: Cartoons to Mass Murder & Back in which during it’s four hour duration I learn about a topic that has to do with violence and the media such as “the logics and values of mass violence: war, genocide, and the movie 300” in which I will be watching the movie 300 and picking it apart. During our first class we watched Ice Age …i’m excited for this one.

3.) Internet Society. I’m particularly interested in this class because I just think the internet is such an amazing phenomenon, so who doesn’t want to discuss it for 2 hours?!

4.) Israel Society as Seen Through Israeli Film. This class is taught by a man who seems like he could talk for days but luckily half of the class is again, watching some of the best Israeli films there are. I think the title is pretty self explanatory.

So, now do you understand why this semester is going to be amazing!?

This past weekend I went to the Golan Heights up North. My weekend was full of kayaking, wine tasting, LOTS of praying, and shots of Jager mixed with Goldschlager AKA liquid cocaine (according the Jeff Seidel, creator the Jeff Seidel program AKA Jews from America hangin out in Isreal and learning a whole lot more about our religion). It was definitely a weekend in which I learned a lot about myself and my religion. I won’t go into too mu

ch detail but we stayed on a religious Kibbutz which is absolutely beautiful, such a refreshing change from the desert. And I experience my first real Shabbaton. And can I just say, going through a prayer service in which you have no idea what is going on AFTER having drinks is NEVER a good idea. I didn’t know the prayers would be an hour, okay?!? I was SO hungry. But needless to say it was a reaaaal experience. But I met some really cool people from Tel Aviv U and Hebrew U and learned just how small our program is. We showed up with 10 students while TAU showed up with 70. So.

I’ve started to realize it is a lot harder to write about things because no one reading this knows any person that I’ve met here, and it’s those people who have really made this experience unforgettable so far. Any one that has ever traveled knows that it’s the people you are with and those you meet that really help you realize who you are and what you’ve learned (yeah I know this sounds SUPER corny)…but it’s so true!!

I’m only two months in but I can already tell you I’m coming back with a LOT more than I came with. Now the only thing I need to figure out is where I can get a vaccuum around here to seal all of my clothes in my suitcase, THAT is going to be a serious issue. Until next time, I’m Ron Burgundy??

Rougher Feet but Softer Skin

4 Sep

This past weekend we headed to Nahal Arugot and the Dead Sea in Ein Gedi, something I have been looking forward to since I knew I was definitely studying the semester here. And of course, like most of my experiences in Israel, it exceeded my expectations. We woke up bright and early at 7 am to get there around 8:30. We started our hike along what looked like the standard mountains I had experienced on my last hike (a hike in which I had hoped to never experience was HOT) but within ten minutes we entered a valley of water and trees shading us. Soon enough, some of us changed from sneakers to flip flops and trekked through the small streams. As you can see in the pictures, it was beautiful being there, but I didn’t get to fully capture everything around me. I never thought of myself as a hiker, but after going on a hike like that, I could definitely see myself doing a few more of those. After an hour and a half of dodging branches through a narrow stream, climbing rocks up a mountain, and drinking multiple liters of water, we ended our destination at a beautiful waterfall. At first I was a little hesitant to go in, because who really knows what’s at the bottom of the water?! But after eating an apple, I came to my senses and decided to go right in. I’ve never been to a waterfall before and this one was definitely something that will be hard to top. The water was refreshing, but not as satisfying as the fresh water from right under the waterfall. Something that made an already enjoyable hike, much more of a memorable experience. After taking a lunch break, we headed back, onto the bus, and finally to the Dead Sea.

My only knowledge about the Dead Sea before Israel was that it is called the Dead Sea because nothing can live in it and when you enter the water, you float. And the day before my trip I went to a lecture on the significance of the Dead Sea as a part of Israel and learned a few more facts. So with all of these facts I stepped off the bus in anticipation of reaching some water I could float in. But, what I didn’t anticipate was how breathtaking the view actually was. Now let me stop there for a second and say what is probably on your mind. You’re thinking, okay how many beautiful things can you see before they all look the same? I mean really, every weekend is it something new? And the answer — yes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some areas of slum

and umm passing by dumpsters never smells good, but what is so amazing about this country is that every little part of it has something different to offer whether it is the aroma of spices as you walk through a shuk in Jerusalem, the cool, silent breeze as the sun is setting in Sde Boker, or the loud music blasting and taxis honking from every corner in Tel Aviv at 2 am. But enough of that– when we got off the bus, we were at the top of a hill and looked down at the crystal water and across to Jordon. We quickly changed into our suits, swayed the lifeguard at his stand to give us some mud, and finally dipped in the sea. Now although this was a great experience and blah blah blah, can I just say dipping into that water with the slightest cut hurts like a BITCH. Along with that, entering the sea with the rocks covered in crystalized salt is not the smoothest thing on your feet. But once in, it was as smooth as butta. Of course, what they say about you floating, it’s really true … it was hard to actually do anything BUT float. So after some drifting in the water, we decided to cover ourselves in mud (something that people pay ATLEAST 50 dollars to do back home) waited for it to dry, took some sweet pics of us looking a bit like avatars, and entered back into the sea. After ten minutes of wiping off, we were smoother than a baby’s bottom. Of course putting mud on my face wasn’t the brightest idea, seeing as I had to take the salty water and rub it all over my face, but it was worth it when I felt my face later that day on the bus ride home.

It was something that I could not see missing during my time in Israel. And I may have rougher feet but I certainly have softer skin =)

Only two weeks of Ulpan left then classes begin!! I’ll tell you all about them at a later date (as soon as I figure out which ones I’m definitely taking) but trust me, I’m sure they will be worth talking about. This coming weekend is a free one in which we plan on traveling somewhere, where that is I don’t know but as I’ve said before, anywhere I go, there will be a story or two to bring back.

50 Shekel Cover?!

29 Aug

So this past weekend I finally was able to visit Tel Aviv. Now for those of you who don’t know the different cultures between cities, Tel Aviv is the closest thing to New York that Israel has. It is known as the city that never stops, needless to say it was a fun, eventful weekend. Unfortunately, I was only able to stay one night but you better bet your bottom dollar that I will be going back very soon.

We arrived around 12 o clock on Friday in Jaffa. Jaffa is considered to be one of the Old Cities (which basically means it has been there since ancient times) and it was absolutely gorgeous; filled with beautiful flowers and trees and right on the edge of the water. In my photos you can see the view from a hill which overlooks Tel Aviv. I won’t go into too many details but it was very insightful to learn more about Israel from many, many years back. And after a short tour, we walked into Tel Aviv (about a 15 minute walk away and checked into a hostel about 3 minutes from the beach. I shared a room with two friends from the program, a girl from Australia (who talked like Ja’may from Summer Heights High, it was hilarious), a girl from Canada, and a girl from I have no idea because she spoke two words the whole time we were there. It was an experience like no other. As someone who has never been out of the country, I had never experienced a real hostel. Before coming, I thought a hostel was something like a small, dimly lit room in which you get pick-pocketed if you don’t have your wallet right next to you. I have NO idea where I got that image from, but I was very surprised at what it was actually like. We had a beautiful porch over looking the streets of Tel Aviv, and no door is locked. In some ways it is like one big family while you are staying there. Of course, there were lockers to put valuables in, but for some reason, you get this feeling like you are safe from crime (something that is hard to achieve if you were to stay in a hostel in let’s sayyyy New York City). Most of the guests are young adults and there was a lounge, kitchen (in which you wrote your name on your food), computer area, showers, and a pool table. At night, some guests went on the roof top, myself included, and I met some really cool people. There were Australian, Canadian, European, and of course American.

Once we were settled in, we decided to shop around (but only until 4:30 because at that point most shops were closed for Shabbat). I witnessed something that had been described to me many times by my parents but did not do it justice until I saw it. On one of the main streets, we entered something like a flea market where it was stand after stand for almost (it seemed like) half a mile. Israelis were selling EVERYTHING from fruit to sunglasses to delicious candies (some of which I had to taste…) to beautiful jewelry. And they had these fruit stands where every type of fresh fruit was laid out and you decided which you wanted in a drink. Then, they grinded it up and Voila! Some delicious freshly squeeze orange juice or carrot juice. Along with that, they had this drink that was like lemonade with herbs and delicious naturals things in it that was only 3 shekels!! which is like 50 cents. Needless to say, we had a good time shopping around.

At night, we decided to go big and hit the port. It is about a 10 minutes taxi drive to some of the biggest clubs in Tel Aviv. Soon enough, we entered a long line of people waiting to get in, somehow (I have NO IDEA how this next part happened) we were at the front of the line. We were then asked to pay 50 shekels each (AKA 20 bucks) to get in. Again, somehow, one of the guys from our program sweet talked his way into getting us ALL in for free (about 10 of us). How this happened you ask?! no idea. But, I can tell you it was a fun night! The club was huge with two bars and vines hanging from the ceiling (and a great DJ!). And I quickly learned why Tel Aviv is known as the city that never stops.

Once again, I witnessed a totally different culture in which trends are very important, bars are on every corner, and the beach seems a little like paradise (it is just like the Caribbean waters for those of you who have been there.) Of course, Tel Aviv is not the city for me. The prices were WAY higher (just as if you were to go from MD to NY) and I don’t think studying would be possible in a city like that (not to mention the humidity did horrible things to my hair!) But it is definitely something that I plan on visiting often (only an hour and a half away from Be’er Sheva.)

And before this whole experience, I was fortunate enough to visit a place called Ayalon Institute in Rehovot. Now there are many, MANY interesting things I learned from this place, but to save you from reading for days, I’ll give the general overview. It was a tour of a Kibbutz from before 1948. Before this time, Israelis were very low in number, and anyone seen with any sort of weapon for defense had the penalty of being hung. So, in their struggle for freedom, they realized that there was no way for this to happen unless they had more bullets. So a small group established an underground factory. And in THREE WEEKS, did you read that right?! Yes you did. THREE WEEKS, they created this factory in which a Kibbutz was the cover. On one side of the factory a bakery was created (not just for profit but to mask the smell of the gun powder). On the other, a laundry room was built in order to hide the noise. Of course, how many times can you wash the same clothes over again just to run the thing all day? So, these amazing people thought, “what is we make a business out of it and take the clothes from the surrounding areas?” So, along with this disguise comes profit. And not every one is able to work in this factory, because how weird would it look to enter a Kibbutz and see no people? So, they had these people called “giraffes” (which got it’s name from the animal in which it sees all except for right what is under it’s feet). These people had NO idea what was actually going on, and never found out. They thought of everything, from the secret passage in which they had three minutes to exit in order to meet everyone for lunch (because everyone in a Kibbutz has to eat together) to the UV Rays they were lacking from being underground (so they created a heat lamp!). They even did test shooting underground which you can see in the pictures (which is VERY dangerous). By the end of the two years in which the factory wasn’t need anymore (because Israel was now an established state, yayyy!) something crazy like 2 million bullets were created. So much for making that short…oops!

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Needless to say, it was a great weekend in which  I learned SO much more about Israel and got to explore just a small new piece of what it has to offer.  Enjoy the pictures!

The clearest night and the freshest air

25 Aug

For some reason, I was dreading this post just because it has been such a long week. Last everyone heard, I told you about my first rocket experience, and at this point, the rockets have been kiiiinda a regular thing. Last weekend was pretty relaxing, except for the LONGGGG hike we went on. It was a bit too much for me, but I got some really cool pics of this water hole we visited in the middle of the desert and I got some great exercise =).

When we got back, there was atleast one siren a day, and on Saturday there were three rockets in one day. Sunday morning came, we woke up bright and early for Ulpan, and every hour for three hours, there were rockets. The directors of the program decided they had enough and took us to Sde Boker. This is another part of the campus, but it is 45 minutes in the opposite direction of Gaza. It’s actually were I went for the hike and also the same place as Ben Gurion’s tomb. It is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous and peaceful so we didn’t mind (and the free breakfast wasn’t bad either!). Never have a seen stars so bright as I did on the edge of the mountains. Of course, I was unfortunate enough to witness no shooting stars while one of my friends saw 6….typical. But there is nothing like it. One morning we woke up to watch the sunrise which was breathtaking, and I was lucky enough to take some great pics (although they don’t do it justice.) All together it was a great trip, but I’m happy to be back and get into a regular schedule. There has been two attacks since I’ve been back (even though apparently we are back to a cease fire…awesome Gaza.) But don’t worry, a majority of these attacks have been shot down by something called the Iron Dome. In a nut shell, it was created to counteract the rocket in air, so it never lands (made by Israel and Amuuurica =) and it’s pretty awesome).

Ulpan has been pretty hard this week because as soon as we moved to Sde Boker (where our teachers drove every morning to meet us) my teacher got sick. So I have gone through two different teachers this week, and it’s pretty hard to be taught by someone else who has different methods when you are taking such an intensive course. Still, I’ve improved and am getting better each day.

I apologize for the lack of enthusiasm in this post. I’ve started to realize that not every day is going to be something new and exciting, but that’s exactly what is going to make this feel like a second home to me. But don’t you worry, because bright and early tomorrow morning we are heading to Tel Aviv which is the city that doesn’t sleep. I’m hoping to come home with a few stories and some interesting pictures from that! Enjoy some of these pics from Sde Boker (the pictures that look like tents are from a Bedouin group that lives there, in the middle of the Negev) and GOOD LUCK with hurricane Irene. But don’t worry about updating me on it, I get all the full updates from every one of your facebook status’. YALLABYE!

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Cat straight CHILLIN’ on a dumpster.

18 Aug

I wanted to wait to make another post until after this weekend, but I figured I’ll probably have too much to say by then! Yes, it is the weekend for me. I’m still grasping the idea that it starts on a Thursday. Anyways, i’ve really settled in and become comfortable with my apartment and the campus. And by that, I mean … I don’t feel awkward making pasta in the kitchen and I actually know how to get to Ulpan in the morning 🙂 and GUESS WHAT?! I found a BOMB sushi place that isn’t that far which was a small victory for me.

Ulpan is … going. At first it was all very exciting because we are learning the ABC’s and when we would be able to spell at word out like … PI-ZZA, there was an applause throughout the room, but now we are learning feminine, masculine, and many many verbs. It’s challenging but I find myself able to understand daily conversations between Israeli’s more and more which is AWESOME. Because anyone that has gone to a foreign speaking country knows that it absolutely sucks not being able to read menus or argue with the taxi driver because you just know they are ripping you off. And what is great about the class is that it’s not like i’m doing this to find the easy way out in class just to get an A, the purpose is to actually learn for my own benefit. Kinda makes me realize what college is actually all about … oops.

Anyhoo, let me tell you all about our adventure the other night. So a bunch of us decide to go to this house party that we are invited to … because you know, everyone loves the foreign kids, and a very very interesting thing happened. Now I was very hesitant to write about this because everyone knows that if you aren’t knowledgeable about Israel, you will think … get out of there NOW!! But I figured throughout this whole blogging schpeal, I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone and sprinkle some knowledge on your souls. So at around 11 PM, I was talking to a very nice Israeli gentleman I met (who by the way spoke perfect english!) and suddenly a siren went off. And of course, me being the underage college student that I am, ask this nice gentleman, is that the cops?! Of course he laughs and says “hmm the warning is usually louder than that. No, that is the warning siren, a rocket is coming.” After that statement, I look around me to see everyone calming scattering to the walls (oh by the way we were outside, surrounded by a cement wall, really cool party though, DJ and bartender and the whole deal!). So, immediately I look at him for more information and slash or direction of what exactly to do. He just says, just keep calm…soon you will hear the rocket land and it will be over. So, the whole party is silent and we just wait … eventually we heard not one but two bangs … everyone clapped, and it’s safe to say the party ended after that (atleast for me, some folks hit up the bars!). I asked him about it after and if it ever freaks him out and he just said, “it’s hard to relate because we are so used to it. You know, it comes, and there is nothing we can do. If you die, you’re going to die.” And I strangely understood completely what he meant. They are living there either way, and why choose to live your life in fear? People die from things every day. But just to keep your minds at ease, the rockets landed in the middle of nowhere. This isn’t some sort of daily occurrence, but it does happen (not since March though!). Oh and the rockets came from Gaza, I think like 20 something miles away? And he told me about the last time the rockets hit. Funny story. He said the sirens went off, they were waiting, and he said some people could see it in the sky, and you see the Gaza rocket then the Israeli rocket hit it directly to stop it. Needless to say, people cheered. Patriotism at it’s best. (Although don’t quote me on that story, my memory is a little fuzzy … ).

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we are heading for a hike to Avdat Park and I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it =) I have just a few pictures of a night we went out, a cat straight CHILLIN on a dumpster, a picture of a picture of this girl who looks EXACTLY like my friend Corinne (hayyy gurl.) And only family will get the book picture … I found it at this little coffee shop that sells book, crazy!!

Anyways, I’ll have a lot more pictures soon I hope!

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Oh ps a burger, fries, and a drink from McDonald’s here is atleast 35 shekels, AKA 10 dollars. WTF?!?

P.P.S. – I’m craving Chipotle like no other.

Learning the alef-bet

12 Aug

So this past week has been crazy because i’m trying to get into the routine of things and create a schedule. I started Ulpan on Sunday (I know it’s so weird to hear a work week starting on Sunday, definitely something to get used to!) And it was a HUGE wake-up call. Of course i’m starting out at the lowest level (alef AKA a in the alphabet) along with a majority of the students in my program. And I never thought the pace of learning would go so quickly. We went through the alphabet in 3 days along with learning vowels and then taking away the vowels. Of course, I’m still learning the alphabet because we have to know the cursive symbol which you write with and the print symbol which you read with. I can honestly say I haven’t studied this hard for something in a while haha, which is sad but at the same time, i’m studying so hard because I really want to learn it.

It’s totally weird being in a city where you have no idea where the nearest market or coffee shop is. There are buses that take you everywhere, but not knowing the bus system yet kinda leaves you helpless. Of course each day I learn more and it is only helping me learn the language and culture quicker. Today, I few of us decided to try and find  a breakfast place, and after 30 minutes of walking in every direction from campus, we took a taxi to a restaurant, then proceeded to pay an extra 14 shekels each for a salad that was put on our table haha but as our waitressed explained to us, to the Israelis, nothing is free (although we did get a free dessert out of it!).

Yesterday we took this amazing trip to Ben Gurion’s Heritage Institute (and for those of you who don’t know, Ben Gurion was the first prime minister of Israel). and it is right on the edge of these beautiful mountains in the desert. In the pictures you can see two tombs, one of which was for Ben Gurion and the other was for his wife. The view was breathtaking and I don’t remember the last time I had been in such a peaceful silence (along with the type of breeze that makes you never want to go inside). It’s something that I can describe, but it just won’t do it justice. We made a Poike dinner which is basically a mixture of chicken, veggies, rice, and potatoes put in a pot which is then put directly into a fire. It’s drizzled with honey and beer along with other good stuff and tasted deliciousss when it was done. Then we went on a full moon hike which was unlike any kind of hike I had ever gone on before. We were on a path along with mountains and the only light was from the moon (although the fact that there were leopards, hyenas, snakes hidden in the mountains wasn’t too comforting). I was exhausted by the end of the day, but the experience was like no other.

When people asked me why I was going to Israel out of all the countries I could have studied in, it was hard to answer because all I had was explanations from family members who have been there. But I really can’t imagine being anywhere else. The people I have met, the cultures I have already learned so much about, and the places I never knew could exist have already made this so worth while. 

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Enjoy some of the pics, and I promise to put my face in some of the next ones =)