So it’s round three of the big leagues, and I think this will be my last hurrah living abroad for the foreseeable future. Kneeling before my bulging Kipling suitcases last night (one was 62 lbs), I mentally envisioned Tel Aviv. Beautiful beaches, beautiful people, history, machine guns… Not a bad place to spend your spring if you’re young and nothing’s holding you back.
As much as I love Cairo, and am glad I spent the fall semester there, I am happy to be spending my spring in Israel. Especially since Egypt is engulfed in protests.
I may not come home from Tel Aviv, but for a different reason than I originally thought. I have been sitting in my little aisle seat of the plane for the last several hours clutching the armrests, squinting my eyes and clenching my jaw. This turbulence is unbearable, and when I shut my eyes to try to calm myself I keep envisioning the horrible crash, myself sitting atop a broken wing with my knees pulled up to my chest, shivering uncontrollably.
Maybe some fetching Israeli, whom I have yet to notice, will join me and we’ll have a dramatic farewell à la the Titanic. But seeing as we’re in the middle of the Atlantic, it would only be a matter of time until the sharks came for me. Swimming across the lake at my cabin this summer probably didn’t prepare me for the choppy, freezing Atlantic.
The distraction of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the fact that we are now almost in French waters has saved me.
When we landed in Tel Aviv I started talking to a girl who appeared to be my age, thinking it was possible that she was also studying abroad and we could find the university together. She was wearing a dark headband, a dark skirt with black tights and Prada flats. It wasn’t long before she said she wasn’t a student, but she decided yesterday that she needed a “break” and booked a flight to Israel for the week. Oh, and she’s 24 and has two kids, because she got married when she was 18 and this is quite normal if you are Orthodox. Interesting! Apparently she works in the toy business and, since it’s a family thing, she can basically travel whenever she wants. Before we parted ways, she invited me to Passover dinner.
Author’s note: I wrote the post above in 2011, when I studied abroad at Tel Aviv University for a semester.