I'm now safely in Israel, at my cousins' house in Talpiyot, and excited to move into my new apartment tomorrow! Here's some writing I did over the past couple of days that I'm just having the chance to post now....
El Al flight 2, about an hour and a half til landing...
This all seems surreal still. Am I really landing in Tel Aviv to begin this next great adventure? And also like deja vu...the EIE group I'm flying with is exactly the same as my own - almost 7 years ago! They sat in a circle at the gate playing Dispatch and Oasis on guitar, attracting a group of adorable toddlers. A woman came up to me and was shocked to find out the teens had just met each other.
I read my plane letters as soon as we were off the ground. Special shout-outs to Mom and Matt Lowe for making me cry and laugh with their letters, respectively!
On the list of ridiculous, "only in Israel" (or en route to Israel) moments: as my checked bags are being screened, the baggage handler turns to ask me a question, and instead says, "Hey! I know you!" Hey what's up Evyatar, fomer Eisner staff member?
On the way to Jerusalem...
On the bus from Haifa, going "up to" Jerusalem. The Mediterranean is beautifully blue to the right, and to the left are fields and mountains. It's Sunday morning, most of the other pasengers are soldiers returning to their bases. One of them, a boy, looked so young. It strikes me taht today my brother is celebrating his 20th birthday, and his biggest responsibility is doing well in schoo.
The reality of this adventure is starting to hit me. This isn't a vacation or a trip - this is life. I had a bit of a panic realizing that my entire life ispacked up unto 3 suitcases and a backpack. If everything goes as planned...this is home for the next 2 years - that's longe rthan Somerville was home. This crazy, twisted, exciting country is my home, at least for now.
As the plane was landing, last week, when it was at the point when you hold your breath waiting for the wheels to tuoch down, the passenger next to me murmured, "come on..." That impatience of just waiting to be back. I realized that as we took off from JFK, I strained my neck for last glimpses of New York - not America. But when we were descending....it was Israel I was looking at, the whole country....holding my breath, waiting for that moment when the wheels touch and everyone claps.
Haifa and Tel Aviv were fun - lots of Hebrew around me, which helped get my ear back. We went to a festival on Friday afternoon (Hebrew word of the day: פסטיבל festiVAL - shockingly, it means...festival) called קלבתשבת Kalabat Shabbat, a play on Kabbalat Shabbat. The band that sings L'olam b'ikvot hashemesh (for Eisner folks - swim, swim, back, back, to present, to present!) performed. We went out in Haifa on Friday night with some of Orly's friends. It's hard explaining to Israelis what I'm doing here and what Pardes is...something like a yeshiva? One guy asked if I was religious, and I pointed out that I was sitting in a bar on Friday night - at the same time, I'm not sure I want to be sitting in a bar on Friday night.
Listening to the Israeli circus playlist - shoutout to LPG!
I finished the Maya Angelou memoir I was reading: All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes. My favorite line in the book: "Be careful, sweet lady. You went to Africa to get something, but remember you did not go empty-handed. Don't lose what you had to get something which just may not work."