A year and a half ago, a plan began to take shape.
For several years, I have been wanting to go to Israel to learn Hebrew and to immerse myself in the Israeli culture. The challenge of going to a foreign country where I don’t understand diddly of what people are saying and of learning a foreign language in order to happily exist in said country truly appeals to me. At the time when this idea was born, I was 16 years old and there was no way my dad was going to let me go traipsing around the Middle East by myself. Still, I looked at all sorts of programs: summer volunteer programs, kibbutz ulpan programs, etc. I even looked into finishing high school in Israel. I was bent on the idea that I was going to serve in the Israeli army, therefore I needed to get over there A.S.A.P so I could become fluent in Hebrew. And I am not even Jewish. Nope, not even close.
Hmmm. Looking back on those ideas, I am not sure what to think of myself now.
Anyway. That didn’t happen.
What did happen was that my younger sister Jabniah was about to turn eighteen. That was a year and half ago. Suddenly, my mind beheld the amazing opportunities this significant number brought. If my sister was 18, that meant that she was old enough to participate in the programs I had been doing so much research on. That meant that she and I could go together. And if we were to go together, there would be a much better chance of getting my dad’s permission and blessing to embark on such a journey ( you know: the buddy system).
I told my sister about it. She loved the idea. We asked my dad. He said YES! Wow.
So, here we are–18 months, 500 e-mails, dozens of phone calls, hours of research and planning, and 3 lbs. of bitten fingernails later–only 24 days from departing. It does not even seem that this is really happening.
In Israel, we will first spend five months on a kibbutz on the Mediterranean coast learning Hebrew and working on the kibbutz. As soon as that programs comes to an end, we will go to a dance course in Karmiel. Finally, we will attend an intensive first aid course in order to then volunteer as paramedics at the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross.
I know, it seems very simple, summarizing nine months into three sentences like that, right? But, I am certain that every blank space between every letter will soon be filled with adventures small and large, surprises, new things seen and learned, and, yes, even let downs and disappointments.
Well, alright then. Let’s saddle up.