Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 1: Arrival in the Holy Land

On Monday, July 25th, 2011 I packed up my 2 suitcases, said goodbye to all of my family, loved ones, and friends, and got on a plane that would take me 7,000 or so miles away from my home. As daunting as it may seem, leaving home for 15th months, I can't begin to describe how, when my plane touched down in Israel, I felt like I had just arrived home. Until tonight it was hard for me to pinpoint why I was so calm about this big change in my life; I should be nervous... I'm moving thousands of miles away from home for a very lengthy period of time, I have two languages to learn, and Master's degree to obtain, about a zillion countries I want to go see, and I'm totally alone!!! But despite all of that, my usual nervous stomach, accompanied by my very annoying nervous ticks, were simply... absent. This came as a huge shock to me, and then, when my plane touched down this afternoon to the sounds of clapping and cheers from all of the passengers, it all clicked. Nothing can describe the feeling that I felt when the wheels of the plane touched down in Israel. I didn't feel like I was leaving home for a foreign country. Quite the contrary; I felt like I was leaving one home and arriving in another home. Maybe you have to be Jewish to understand (I don't know since I've only ever known being Jewish), but to be in your homeland, surrounded by your people, is such an overwhelming feeling of joy that pushes out any sort of nerves or fear. 

Then I thought, well shouldn't I be missing my family and friends more? Shouldn't I be more sad to leave them for so long? But why, again, was I so calm? I will answer this by saying, though modern technology is a pain in the ass most of the time, it has allowed the world to stay so connected, that you can be thousands of miles away, and feel like you are sitting at home with your family. I skyped with my mother as soon as I was settled in my apartment, and it was like I was back in my living room. I could see her, she could see me, and it was like I was back at home for a brief period of time. As long as efforts are made to stay in touch, no great amount of time has to pass without my friends, family, and loved ones seeing me, and vice versa. Since we are so well connected, it is hard to miss more than the intimate nature of being face to face with someone. I am very sad at the fact that I will not be in the presence of some of my most dear friends for over a year, especially when keeping in contact, though made easy by technology, is still an effort on both ends. But I am confident that these 15 months will fly by and be filled with new adventures for every one of us. And it is because we are all important to one another, no great amounts of time or contact will be lost, and we can all (family and friends) grow together, while finding ourselves very far apart. 

And while I am talking of friends far away, it is important to note that there was a very dear friend close by who helped me so much today. My dear friend Sam (who I met 3 years ago on a Birthright trip), took a day off of work to meet me at the airport, help me unpack, go shopping for things I needed, and show me around Tel Aviv. I got a feel for the city, sort of learned which busses to take (and might I add that the busses are EXACTLY like the ones in Berkeley! Talk about feeling like home), ate some fantastic food (belgian waffles and pizza!), and then saw me safely back home. It was so amazing seeing him, and it was nice to know that though my main support system is so far away, help and friendship is always close by :-) 

And so, as I am lying in my new bed, in my new apartment, in my new city, in my new country, I send my love to everyone who is dear to me and far away from me. You will all make this adventure so much more amazing because I have you in my life, and when times get hard, and struggles are near, you will be the ones to pull me through. Now it is time to try and fight this jet lag and sleep so I can be ready for my orientation and Hebrew Placement exam tomorrow!!! 

Lilah Tov (Good Night for all of you non Hebrew speakers :-D),
Jordana Simone  

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your blog again!! I cant wait to hear all about your first day tomorrow!! Love you