It means I’m in Israel! And I can’t sleep. Perfect time to blog.
The past week has been a whirlwind. While in NY/NJ, I was able to spend some quality time with my cousins, for which I am so thankful. Throughout the few days I was there, we went into the city and saw a Broadway show, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, ate at an amazing Thai restaurant that we fell upon on the street, visited the Museum of Arts and Design and enjoyed beautiful walking weather in the city.
My journey to Israel began at 4:45 am two days ago. Flying British Airways was a good choice, except for the fact that the turbulence was so terrible during my first flight. Enduring up and down, side to side bad turbulence for 45 min straight was not a great start to the journey, but I had high hopes it was going to look up from there…
After arriving in London for my two hour layover, I found that my flight was delayed for an hour. Given that, I thought it was a perfect time to skype my mom! After reminding her of her username and password, we video chatted for the very first time as middle-aged English men sitting behind me creepily looked on in amazement. If I hadn’t of already recognized the power of technology, it was at that moment when I knew that keeping in touch will be a little easier than I previously thought. Thank goodness for that.
My second flight was much better than my first. After going through passport control, I picked up my luggage, which, by the way, I thought I did very good for 6 months of traveling, but according to planet earth, I way over packed – surprise surprise… After attempting to push around a broken luggage cart for 10 minutes, all while walking backwards through crowds of people because the wheel wasn’t working, I decided it would be best to get another cart. I realized that if I left my luggage sitting for less than one minute by itself, it most likely would have been blown up in fear it was a bomb and so that being said, I knew that probably wasn’t the best option so I kept on with my backwards walking, obtained a new cart and reached my destination. Mission accomplished.
After encountering many Israeli stern stares, I made my way down to the Ben Gurion train station where I waited for the next train to Nahariya. After settling onto the train and shoving my luggage in random places under the seats, I finally was able to soak in the beautiful sights. As I looked outside the train window, I was home again.
And just when I thought it was smooth sailing…
I arrived at the train station and was greeted with a broken elevator, which should have taken me to the exit. After a nice man helped me take my luggage down the two flights of stairs, I finally reached the outside just to find that my Uncle was nowhere to be found. After walking around for 15 minutes, unsuccessfully asking a foreign woman for help and practically passing out from heat exhaustion, I see a familiar smiling face coming toward me and I couldn’t have been more thrilled! We headed to the north where we were meeting the rest of my extended family at Hagoshrim – a beautiful kibbutz resort near Kiryat Shmona. The ride up to the north was another journey in itself. The hour ride turned into a two-hour ride up and down the winding hills sitting on the border of Lebanon. If I wasn’t nauseous already from the 25 hours of traveling, this car ride sure didn’t help. After spending my time counting down the kilometers until we reached our destination instead of thinking about being carsick, my uncle realized we were a little lost. Oy. We turned around, headed back down and around the winding hills until we stopped at a gas station.
If the journey couldn’t get any longer, I then got locked in a tiny, hot bathroom for about 7 minutes. As I pounded, kicked and yelled for help, the lock finally opened and I was free! I couldn’t believe it…but, yet again, I could. I was in Israel and this journey was a sign that not everything was going to run as smoothly as it probably should…
After stopping on the side of the road because I got pretty sick, we finally found our way. As we pulled into the parking lot, I see to my left the foreign woman who I asked for help from at the train station an hour (or 2) away! It was such a coincidence…I wonder if her journey up here was anywhere similar to mine.
After a total of a 29 hour journey, I took a shower, settled into my beautiful room and then passed out…for the rest of the afternoon. It was Shabbat and the entire family, 24 of us, sat in the Kibbutz sukkah for a wonderful Shabbat dinner and as we caught up with our lives and relived some distant memories, so many of my worries vanished and I couldn’t be happier to be back.
It is now 6 am and I hear the birds chirping outside my window...I think I'm ready to go back to sleep for a few hours. I spend the rest of Shabbat here until Sunday when I head back to Tel Aviv to meet my program…until then, I hope you all enjoy your first beautiful weekend of Fall! :)