My return to Israel has been nothing short of miraculous and, in fact, I almost hate to use such a descriptor because it doesn't seem to do justice to just how extraordinary my first few days back home have been. After sleeping for 13 hours on my first night back I was refreshed and ready to go bright and (not so) early in the afternoon on Thursday. After doing some much needed grocery shopping with my roommate Morgan, I came home and prepared myself for what would undoubtedly be an amazing night reuniting with my other three roommates who I hadn't seen yet. Ben, Ben's girlfriend Bar, and Gary were the first one's home and seeing them was so amazing. I missed them all so much and was so happy to finally be home with all of them. After catching up for some time we all decided to go down for a much needed sushi dinner. It had been almost a month since I had good sushi and my withdrawals were starting to get serious.
After a delicious, almost decadent, dinner we all came back to the apartment to get ready to go out for the night. At this point Michael had come home so the house was finally complete and filled with all of the roommates. Only a short time later the complementary French crew that pretty much came with the apartment were all here as well. The house was so full and lively, and I really started to wonder how I ever managed to leave despite the relatively short amount of time that I was gone for. After some obligatory pre partying we all went out for a fantastic night on the town. It was so wonderful getting reacquainted with the vibrant Tel Aviv night life despite the fact that my jet lag was trying to keep me down a bit.
The next night was equally as eventful as the one before, and this was the night that I finally reunited with my good friend Susanna who had just made Aliyah herself. I was so excited to finally see her and have her meet all the boys, and we took full advantage of making Friday a fantastic celebration of our newly gained citizenship.
It was a fun filled night of dancing, drinking, and thoroughly enjoying being home with my favorite people in the world, and I couldn't have asked for a better "welcome home" celebration.
|Laying down the law with my crazy roommate Morgan|
|Baby Gary!!! <3 <3|
|Stephane and his obligatory apron|
|When in Tel Aviv :-)|
|I really wanted to keep this shirt but I don't think Stephane would have liked that|
|Observing Michael's craziness|
Once the dream weekend was over reality set in and it was back to university! I was so excited to see everyone in my program, and so excited to get back to studying what I love most, that I really didn't mind having a class on a Sunday (thank goodness it was just one and didn't start until 4:15 pm). The class was on the History and Historiography of the Arab Israeli conflict which, for those of you who know me know, is an issue very close to my heart. My professor was so adorable and sweet and he really made me very excited for the semester ahead. God help anyone who has a cell phone go off in his class (he had daggers in his eyes when he was telling a girl to turn her's off), but assuming that that doesn't happen too frequently, I don't see why he shouldn't be one of the sweetest professors I have ever had. Sunday came and went quickly enough and I slept another 12 hours which was much needed due to a combination of jet lag and sleep depravation. Today I had one class (which was unaffected by the strike that is happening at the university right now) on the development of the Arab State system with another fantastic professor. I am so excited about my educators thus far and really feel that this will be a dynamite semester. We didn't go over too much content since this is the first week and much of the material is administrative and introductory, but I learned enough to know I'm very excited about my seminars.
And so, a killer weekend combined with a wonderful first few days of school have made this homecoming really perfect. I still have a few more things to take care of in terms of my citizenship but with Purim on the horizon I don't think I'll have a problem getting everything done so I can enjoy what is bound to be an even crazier weekend than last. For those of you who don't know Jewish holidays, Purim is a holiday commemorating Queen Esther where it is common to dress up in costume and drink A LOT of alcohol (kind of like a Jewish halloween + booze). You can only imagine what Tel Aviv will be like that weekend. And, of course, since there is a fast involved we don't have class on Thursday so it is a 4 day weekend!!! I'm certainly not complaining :-p.
As much as I miss my family and wish they were with me, these few days home have truly affirmed that my decision to permanently settle in Israel was 100% the correct decision for me. Everyday as I take the bust to and from campus, travel to various parts of the city to visit friends, or just get out of the apartment and walk around, I am constantly reminded of all the things that make this place more my home than anywhere else in the world. I have fallen madly and deeply in love with everything about this place and am constantly overwhelmed that I did what I needed to do to make sure that I never have to leave. People who have't made Aliyah find it so hard to believe that I could know at such a young age that I want to stay here forever, and I can't count the number of times people have said (including members of my own family) "well you don't know what will happen in the future", or "you can't know you will stay forever", and so on, but I can tell you with almost 100% certainty that aside from visits to the USA to see family I will never not have my home be in Israel. This is where I want to get married, raise my children, work, and spend my life. America will always be my country and the home of my childhood and early adult life, but Israel and the Middle East hold my future, and I couldn't be more complete, happy, and excited knowing this.
Stay tuned for class and Purim updates including my trip to Misrad Hapnim to get my official Israeli Identification card!
Until we meet again ya chaverim <3,