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.


5 Responses to “Apples Dipped in Honey & Camels at Sea Level, I think I’m home.”

  1. Abba November 3, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    Lani; as good as your other posts were,this one totally expressed your feelings for Israel,your family and the fact that you have 2 homes now.We love you and miss you; make the few weeks that you
    have left as good as the previous ones. love you,Ema&Aba

  2. U Sam November 4, 2011 at 1:51 am #

    Hi Lani,
    What a moving bit of writing. You are so much more insightful and introspective than I ever knew. You seem to be learning more in a few months than many people do in a lifetime.
    I’m really looking forward to seeing and talking to you!
    U Sam

  3. Gina Warsaw November 8, 2011 at 5:09 am #

    lani,lani.lani..u brought it back to me.i have gotten so far away from home.emma

  4. Auntie Lisa November 22, 2011 at 2:18 am #

    I’m happy you’re getting a lot of new life experiences. My favorite holiday when I was on the kibbutz was Purim. Everytime I see a hamentaschen it takes me back =] I hope you make memories every day. Taking time to understand and learn about someone else will inevitably teach you more about yourself. Enjoy the journey.
    Auntie Lisa

  5. nermin foundas January 13, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    Hey Lani – sorry to jump on your blog here, but I don’t have your cell # anymore. Can you text me? I need to talk to you about something. thanks!! xo


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