Originally posted May 6, 2010
Many other people have gone to the beach earlier in the semester, but I kept putting it off for some reason. I said I had work, or I was tired, or didn’t feel like making the shlep all the way down the mountain. Finally Saturday, I went and salsa’d on the beach. It was a beautiful day, though a little too cold to swim, so we danced instead. One of my friends brought a small stereo and on the boardwalk we talked and danced and danced and talked. It was a lovely afternoon, not crowded but definitely full of happy beach-goers, children riding bikes, grandparents with grandchildren, young people swimming (the brave ones), parents running after children.
Then getting back from the beach yesterday I hung out with neighbors and friends, who were celebrating “Lag B’Omer”, a holiday now marked by barbeques and bonfires, though I’m still not sure what it was originally for. It was an especially beautiful day as the night before I finally got another draft of my major proposal completed, an unexpected accomplishment for a Friday night.
Earlier Friday I went with Dani and Sara to the Tel Aviv artists’ market and to Max Brenner for brunch. The market was nice though it rained a bit, and brunch was full of chocolate-y delicious waffles, so all in all it was a good day. It was April 30th, and May 1st is Labor Day here, so there was a gathering. Not a protest or a demonstration, but a rally of workers (apparently socialist). Two were holding a sign (see the picture) that said “Workers – Israelis, Palestinians, Foreigners, all of us are brothers”. It was nice to see that some people do want peace and cooperation that stretches beyond ethnicity.
Things have been sorta quiet over all, I guess. I’ve been thinking a lot about transitioning back, and in the last two weeks everyone else has started to as well. Israelis are asking me when I’m going to leave, I’m talking about it more with my international friends, it’s becoming quite real, and yet it is still unbelievable that this place I call home will not be home for much longer, only another month and 3 days, a very short time in comparison to how long I’ve been here. For the sake of putting a number to it, I figured out that I will have been in Israel for exactly 229 days, only 34 days of which I have left. Hah, so in 5 days will be day 200. Wow.
I was thinking just now, is it really easier to be the one leaving? The people you leave behind, sure they may miss you and notice your absence (or heck, they may not). But you, the one leaving, are going to a different place, different people, different everything. You have to adjust and adapt like crazy after disrupting so many things in your life, that hardly sounds easier. Of course I’m looking it from the perspective of the one soon to be leaving, but really whoever said it was easier to leave than be left probably was sick of being left but never left themselves. It’s not going to be easy, and knowing this makes it even harder. I’m trying to enjoy my time left as much as I can, but sometimes it feels like I’m leaving next week so I get anxious, and other times it feels like it’s not going to happen at all. The only good thing I guess is that now other people are talking about it and I don’t feel so confused by myself, we’re all confused together.
The only other thing of note that’s been going on is that my major still sucks. No, my lack-of major sucks. I’m not getting anywhere with my special major, so I’m looking into trying to be an IR major, but the problem is that it has requirements and I’m not sure I’d be able to fulfill them in time, which is quite worrisome. It’s especially frustrating that I can’t make any progress with my planned special major as I had finally written a good major proposal, one that I felt good about and that I really thought could work, but no luck. It’s so hard to do this from abroad, I can’t say it enough. Hopefully it will be straightened out in a few weeks, before I leave. I may have to take Spanish all next year and 6 classes each semester in order to finish, but I swear I am finishing on time. I’m starting to get that feeling that I got junior year in high school. I’m starting to be ready to move on. Sure I’m looking forward to next year and to playing house with Sarah Moffatt in NoHo (hopefully), and to maybe joining the UMass Ballroom team, not to mention the really interesting classes I’ll be taking. And even though I don’t have any concrete idea as to what I want to do after college, I’m starting to slowly prepare for it, and actually look forward to it. The independence is part of it, but also moving forward with my life. I’m moving out of academia for the first time since I was 3, and reintroducing myself to the real world, 18 years later.
Alright no more philosophical ranting, time to bring this to a close. This weekend I’m going on the last hike to the North with the International School. It should be a lot of fun, a lot of my friends are going (aka Dani, Merav and Sara, whom I never seen to get sick of) and I’m looking forward to getting out of the University for two days, I’ve spent too much time here recently.
Oh I forgot to mention, I had my first volunteer session at the Leo Baeck school in Haifa, as a part of getting a MASA grant. It went really well, they’re very nice and the kids are so cute. The only problem is they hardly speak English, and I don’t speak very much Hebrew, but it worked out. I tutored a few kids in the English alphabet, and helped with after school programing. Unfortunately, it started so late in the semester that I’ll only have time to go a few times before I leave for home.
Other than all that, I’ve been salsaing a lot, and that’s about it. More to come as the month goes on, I’m sure I’ll have news of other crises, but hopefully good things as well.