SURPRISE! I have been telling little white lies all week to stay under cover so that my family wouldn’t find out that I was coming home, and here I am! Yesterday I flew in to the states to surprise Sarah for her 21st birthday! You can see the video of everyone’s reactions here:
Sarah thought I was mad at her and not talking to her, and that I “didn’t even care that it was her birthday!” She was angry that I hadn’t posted anything on any social media accounts and that I had only texted her happy birthday with a silly picture of a puppy. She was telling everyone she knew that I could have at least called! Little did she know that I couldn’t post anything on social media because the post would have shared my location, plus I was on a flight to surprise her, which I think is way better than any Facebook post or phone call 😉
Now it’s 4am and I’m jet lagged and wide awake, so I’m eating my first real avocado in months and writing this since I promised to share my plans once they were set in stone. So here’s my plan:
I will be home this week to see my family and friends (and to buy a new toothbrush, etc. etc.). Then I fly to Italy on the 15th to be an Au Pair in Chieti-Pescara for 3 months! After that I’ll be coming home for real. I’m excited to eat Chinese food, spend time with friends and family, and go to Target lots of times this week! And then I’m thrilled to be continuing my travels in Italy, a country that I’ve wanted to visit my whole life.
Thoughts on Tel Aviv (written last week)
I don’t quite know how to leave Tel Aviv.
I have had a list of things to do that has been growing, and getting crossed off, for about a week or two. Get the cookie recipe, no go. Buy spices, check. etc.
Today I went to the Levinski market to buy spices, get one last bureka and one last artisan soda. It was more bitter than sweet, unless you count the soda and then it was all sweet. Benni mixed up a delicious persimmon, beet, carrot and vanilla soda for me. Seeing people for possibly the last time is really weird, and I wonder where I’ll buy spices in the states. It is hard to believe that I have all of these things available to me here, but I won’t have them at home. It is hard to accept.
It’s hard to accept that I won’t live next door to a bakery with the most fantastic oatmeal cookies. I won’t live across the street from a place that sells ice cream in a pita for only 5 shekels. I won’t live walking distance from the shuk. I won’t live walking distance from the beach. I won’t live HERE. Here, in Tel Aviv, where I have made a home.
Thoughts on Leaving TLV (written in December)
I have been paralyzed with fear of leaving Israel twice in the past 24 hours.
Surprisingly, it’s the little things. On the phone with my Mom earlier last night I blurted out, “I’m just ready to go home!” but I meant home as in back to my apartment in Tel Aviv, not back to Arizona. On the drive to Tel Aviv, I noticed the lit up green street signs in the city, which are different from the brown state park-esque ones near the Dead Sea where we had just come from. Those street signs meant we were almost home, and not home as in AZ – home as in Beit Leni.
The second time I felt this was just a few moments ago, as I sit in a new cafe that I’ve never been to, and I overhear conversations between baristas who I’ve never met. One of them greeted a friend with a kiss on the cheek and all of the sudden I realized that in a short time I won’t be surrounded by this amazing language. Who cares if I can’t understand it, there’s something comforting that comes from being around it. It’s kind of like a cushion of familiar sounds that don’t really translate, but they still make sense in your heart. Now I understand why Israelis miss the language when they leave – not only do they often go to countries where they can’t speak their native language, but Hebrew has a beautiful, exciting, and completely unique sound to it. I’m going to miss being surrounded by it, even if I have to ask Hebrew speakers to speak slowly, or to translate it to English.
It is really, really strange to think that I will probably be leaving Israel in two short months. I remember when it was October 1st and I couldn’t believe it was already October- now it is nearly December! The time here passes in an odd way; the days are long but the weeks and months are so short. Already more than half of my time here has passed, and I feel like I’m just getting started. I now have to strategically plan my weekends that I have left so that I can be sure to fit in everything that I want to do, like seeing the drum circles at Banana beach, going to a certain Mexican place, making a trip to Sfat, and so on.
Many people questioned my decision to travel, and that left me questioning it myself. But now I know that I made the right decision. I know that this is where I am supposed to be, and these are the adventures that I am meant to live. I’m excited to see what comes next, but not yet ready to accept that the time to move on is quickly approaching.
So how does one prepare herself to leave a country which she considers home, to travel and eventually return to her other home country? It is a weird concept. Two months will fly by and we will be looking back, bewildered.