O hey guys! I'm in Israel now! Thought you ought to know. I left the US on Jan 30 and arrived on Friday the 31st just in time for Shabbat. My program officially began that Monday. So far we've been doing a lot of orientation sessions and bonding things. We begin Ulpan (intensive Hebrew lessons) tomorrow. There are so many interesting people on my program from all over the world! It is very cool. I live in a building right by the Namal, which is the Tel Aviv port. I have a beautiful view of the sea and there are fun little shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars all around the area. It promises to be an exciting time.
Before I embarked on my previous trip to the Holy Land I gave myself 3 challenges. However these past week in Israel has brought me into a different mindset. This time I am going to pose some important questions that I hope to/think I will answer (or at least explore) by the end of my program.
1) Will I stay or will I go? Some of you may or may not know this but I have a one-way ticket. I obviously love Israel and enjoy my time here very much. My interests and career desires make it so working in Israel is a huge possibility. Of course I've been goriwing Jewishly so much in the last few years and being here helps with that a lot. I feel a very strong connection to this place. I also feel a very strong connection to America and love it with all my heart. My whole life (literally) is in America. However, I honestly have little-to-no idea about if I want to move here for the rest of my life or not. My hope is that during this program (and possibly the few months afterwards) I will have a decision. Do I want to come back to America? If so, what will I be doing there? Do I want to stay here? Is the best fit for my desired life here, or somewhere else? It is hard to tell at this moment if I'll be able to answer this question by the end of the next 5 months, but I'm sure going to try.
2) What are my new priorities? As your life progresses and changes so too do your priorities. Before my priorities were finish school, try to have fun as possible with my college friends, save money for after college, etc. Now I'm in a new place in life. I'm out of college and am moving towards something new. What exactly that is, I have no idea, but through discovering what will now be my priorities I will be able to make a more fitting decision for my future.
3) What is my place in the world? I feel that the past 22 years of my life have been mostly a dictated path to some degree. When we are kids we go to primary school, then secondary and then high school. During this time we are generally under the control of our parents. We live where they make our home and we exist in a very symbiotic way. It's not like we don't have free will or freely developing personalities, but we aren't in a 100% independent environment or mindset. Now things are different. I am an adult who will decide what I want to be contributing to the world and what I want to be getting out of it. Who am I going to be for others? And what do I seek from them? And of course this all goes back to where will I exist in order to fulfill these things.
Here are a few photos from the past few days. I promise to start taking more and posting things with more substance once I get settled and begin work!