For our Sukkot holiday I decided to go to Tel Aviv for a few days before flying to Athens Greece! I had very high expectations for Greece, but we will get into that later.
I had been to Tel Aviv before but when you go on Birthright it is a very quick snap shot of many cities. You don’t have the ability to really understand the city. During this vacation I fell in love with Tel Aviv; I was able to get lost in Tel Aviv, and I met many new people during my vacation.
Tel Aviv is a very busy city, a city where you don’t just hear Hebrew, you can hear Arabic, Russian, English, French, Spanish and much more. It makes you feel like you are back in the United States, hearing so many languages.
I spent much of my time in Tel Aviv walking around and getting to know more about the city and find little gems all around the city.
And of course eating some fantastic food!
After my days in Tel Aviv I set off on my adventure to Greece! My adventure was not what I expected. This was my first solo travel trip and I loved traveling on my own, it forced me to get out of my comfort zone and talk to more people then I usually do. The issue is any travel anxiety that you can normally share with your travel partner was subjected to only me. So any issue I had to face head on a deal with instead of having the help of someone else to help me.
I loved traveling by myself because I could see what I wanted and skip what didn’t interest me. I saw a lot of cool things in Athens, but I do wish I would have been able to stay on one of the islands because Athens was ok, but I felt like I needed a little more. All in all it was great vacation! Of course there is always things that I would change, and do differently if I could go back but I learned a lot about myself after spending so much time on my own! I also got rid of a lot of the fear of traveling alone and I can’t wait for my next trip!
This week was eventful to say the least. As a group we spent more time exploring the city and learning more about Beit She’an. We have also branched out a little more on our own without our coordinator.
The common theme this week is “Home away from Home”. Everyone from the Partnership office (P2G), the people at the Shuk and grocery stores, or Hebrew teacher; have offered us knowledge about how to live in Beit She’an. Many have offered us a meal in their home. It reminds me of why I decided to come to Beit She’an in the first place.
On top of the warm welcome we have had I’ve also felt at home because of the constant reminder of Cleveland. Cleveland is a huge part of Beit She’an, from park signs, traffic circles, basketballs, to the overall love of Cleveland residents of Beit She’an have.
The Valley of Springs… I don’t think I have been closer to paradise before…
And just as you need to work hard to achieve paradise, the same is true about the Valley of the Springs. Unless of course you bike, take the bus, or drive. We didn’t do that; instead we walked. It was not incredibly far from us at all but we have not acclimated to the heat yet; but the walk/heat was worth it. The beautiful clear water, with tiny fish who swim with you. Those fish… they also give you a pedicure if you can stand still long enough!
We walked to different springs and each one I fell more in love with the city and the springs. I could have gone to a big city, or gone to the sea; but instead I am in Beit She’an and I know that I made the right decision.
I think I have my own little slice of paradise. . . and I can now call it home.
I’ve now been in Israel 6 days and let me tell you how fantastic it is! We went to the Golan Heights for a seminar and spent time with the other MASA Thalim members from Beer Sheva and Netyana. It was great getting to know other people from our trip and spend time as a whole group instead of our little foursome.
I’ve been loving the activities we’ve been doing including: hiking, swimming in a spring, going to Mt. Hermon (when it’s actually supposed to be closed), and did I mention hiking?
In the last 3 days I hiked about 6 miles and loved it! Of course it’s hot but I’m getting use to it already.
As a small group those of us from Beit She’an continue to grow close. I’m loving the growing family atmosphere that I think we are starting to have. We can each make fun of each other and joke around without upsetting the other, because we know that if we seclude ourselves it will just make it that much more lonely.
Yesterday we went for a 3 mile walk on the El Al trail. It was beautiful seeing small streams and then the beautiful spring. Overall it was a great hike. After that we went to Mt. Hermon which so far has been my favorite. Despite the slightly terrifying ski lift ride. Once at the top, the view was gorgeous.
I couldn’t get over the beautiful view and the beauty of being up so high. It put a lot into perspective for me. Being up there showed me part of the reason that I decided to come to Israel in the first place.
All in all this was great first weekend in Israel. I can’t wait to keep having adventures and to see as much as I can in the year that I’m here!
I’m on a plane to Boston, which normally wouldn’t be that weird, I’ve wanted to travel to Boston for ages, but have never gotten the chance to. But today it’s different. It’s different because this isn’t a normal vacation where in a few days I’ll be on another plane back to Cleveland. This time I’m going away and won’t be coming back for awhile.
I’m moving to Israel for the next 10 months. Looking back on it, it wasn’t hard to make my decision. I knew that I wanted to explore the world, and that I wanted to live abroad. As I wished I would have done in college. But now I know, I wasn’t ready to do this in college. Maybe I would have been ready had I made a plan, booked a flight, and left. Except now looking back I think I was too immature, I wasn’t prepared for what leaving how would be like.
I am so excited for this opportunity even if it means leaving my family and friends. I am excited to meet new people and experience things I ne er have before.
Israel you better get ready because I’m coming soon!