No, it is not a secret that I took my first ever Eurotrip. I guess I did not want to post on the blog because I felt that it would create some sort of unwanted expectation on me to document it for my readers. Sorry you guys; I love you more than anything but this trip was an important experience for me. I wanted to embark without any added pressures.
But I am back in Israel now and want to share the adventures with you. There is a lot of processing of photos, writings, thoughts, and feelings, that needs to happen. Over the course of the next few weeks I hope to share a post on each stop I made. I feel that I've grown a lot as a person over the short (or long?) 20 days I was in Europe. I hope to be as authentic as I can with you all. After all, honesty is the best policy, right?
One of the biggest things I came to realize during my travels is that I truly am happy to be living in Israel. Around the 3rd or 4th day I started to feel homesick. I told my Dad this and he told me to come home. However, his thought of me coming home meant back to the US and mine meant back to Israel. Although it was thrilling to be in new places with new people, cultures, food, etc., I often found myself going to sleep missing Israeli people, fresh produce, my flip-flops, Goldstar beer, and all kinds of other arbitrary "Israeli" things. Meat with cheese is delicious. Scarves and sweaters are cute. People minding their own business is nice. But I craved salad for breakfast, endless summer, and a variety of people offering to help me get where I want to go.
On a similar note, it was a bit complicated to answer the question "Where are you from?". My boss and I spoke about this before I left--would I feel more American or more Israeli as I traveled to these new places. To be completely honest, I'm not 100% sure of the answer. When initially asked the question I started with "California" for 2 reasons. Firstly, to explain both my physical appearance and my accent. Secondly, because not all people in Europe are excited to hear you are from Israel. As I got to know certain people better I slowly revealed the details of the fact that I actually live in Jerusalem and, for all intents and purposes, ended up moving to Israel because I'm Jewish. Of course not everyone reacted the same way and I left many confused, but hopefully also enlightened. I'm a walking lesson of Israeli and Jewish diversity. Sometimes it is challenging. Sometimes it is amazing. But no matter what, it is always, always interesting.
Stay tuned for more. If you really, really just can't wait, I suggest checking out my Instagram feed. I did a pretty good job of documenting my travels there while they were happening.