Israel

TBT: The Vacation that Wasn’t

Originally posted April 12, 2010

Wow Haifa is beautiful. I’m sitting here in a cafe called Capiot (Kap-i-yot, meaning spoons in Hebrew), just working through the afternoon. Lots of work, but at least the view is unbeatable. The air has cleared, the sun is shining, and the weather is not to hot and not too cold, just warm enough.

I’ve had a tough two weeks; having vacation has been great, but I have been working a lot. It’s been really tough because I’m feeling quite lost; I’ve called Haifa my home for nearly 8 months now, and the thought of leaving is really tearing me up. I feel so at home here, and yet so much like an outsider the more I think about returning to my real home, in good ol’ Massachusetts.

And yet, I don’t feel like MA is really my home anymore, much less since I started college and even less now that I haven’t been in the US since August. It’s been so long and I feel like I’ve changed so much, and yet I wonder how much I really have changed. I know I’ve learned a lot, in school and out, but I have no idea what its effect on me has been. I guess that will be up to everyone else to judge once they see me. But keep in mind, I’ll be pretty screwed up for a week at least, just a general warning. Reverse culture shock is a pain, to put it nicely. I thought by traveling I’d find myself, figure it all out. Instead I just have more questions, I feel more confused. Who am I? Am I a product of my country, my town? Or my parents? Or my friends? The society? Who am I?

On a lighter note, my friends here rock. My roommate Rachel organized a surprise birthday dinner for me the night before my birthday and it was just great. Rachel and other friends were cooking all day two floors below my apartment and they got me out of the house so that when I returned they surprised me. One of my friends sorta accidentally told me, but I expected the party to be at my friend Dani’s apartment, and was sorta sad when there wasn’t anyone there. Then walking back to my apartment I saw through the window that no one was there but Rachel, so I walked up the stairs ready to see only my roommate, no one else. Truly a great 21st birthday. A little less monumental than it would have been in the US, but they did a good job of making it quite special nonetheless. It’s nice having that memory to think about when I’m feeling confused right now.

Another light note is that our friendly neighborhood lady Ethel (read: annoying cat who lives in the dorm area) had babies. They are adorable and I really want to “adopt” one, but a) I’m allergic to cats, b) my roommate Audrey is allergic, and c) I’d have to abandon it in just 2 months. But they are just adorable, and growing really fast. In the picture they’re a day old, they’re now almost double that size at six days old. A few of my neighbors (human neighbors) have taken it upon themselves to care for Ethel, the momma cat, and provide her with cooked hot dog and water. I’m especially tempted to kidnap the striped one, it is just so cute!

Finally, my friend Will came to visit this past weekend. We worked together in Peru and he’s studying in London so I visited him while I was there in January, and he came to visit me here during his break. I had to send him on to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv without me, unfortunately, as I have a lot more work to do on my major than I planned on having. I also realized that this is the first vacation that I have actually spent in one place since August; every other vacation I’ve been traveling, so it’s not so bad to actually sit around and get work done at my pace and not worry about travel plans and arrangements for once. Instead I’m worrying about my major (a whole blog entry on its own), what I’m doing this summer, where I’m living next year, and what classes I’m taking next year. Some of those things I’m excited for, but it’s all just a lot of work to me right now. Basically, it’s been a really rough vacation, and I’m still fighting with it. I’m working as hard as I can to find something to do this summer while working constantly at my major and I feel like every time I try to move forward I end up taking two steps back. Not a great time for me.

The only good news I have for now is that I got offered a research assistant position for the summer, 10 hours a week, unpaid, working remotely with a professor at Framingham State on his research of electoral campaigns at the state level. I’m really hoping to find something else to supplement it; I did get a 2nd interview for a canvassing job (paid), but I’d honestly rather work in an office of an interesting non-profit. So I do have some things lined up, but I’m still hoping for more opportunities to come my way. Until then, I’m off to wrestle with the dragon that I so lovingly call my major, wish me luck.

-Kate

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Categories: Israel, TBT

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