I finally, finally arrived in Israel on Thursday night (after a three year journey I think). It’s nice to come full circle – I’ve wanted to spend a good amount of time in Israel for the past few years and I am finally here, doing what I said I would do. From the moment I passed security at Pearson Airport (which was extremely lax, by the way), I had this huge smile on my face. I knew I would miss my family a lot, but I was finally going to live in Israel for a few months and explore this land and my identity on my own. It was a little difficult to make the decision to come here but so far I am so glad I did it. I know I will be having life altering experiences here.
Once I arrived, I took the sherut (taxi bus) to my sister’s apartment in Bayit Vagan. Spending the past few days here has been absolutely beautiful. The views is breathtaking – I wake up and from her balcony, I see the entire city of Jersualem. I didn’t need to ask which direction I should be facing when I pray. Walking around this area, all you see are religious couples and families, talking Hebrew and French mostly, little kids playing in the street (I saw a little girl, she must have been no more than four years old, playing in the street by herself and my first instinct was to say – where’s her mother?? I guess that’s the Canadian in me…), and there are tons and tons of yeshivas. Everyone I look is another one, filled with the beautiful voices of people learning.
I spent shabbat with my sister and we woke up on Friday morning to start cooking. I was pretty hopeful that in the battle of Vicky vs. jetlag I would win. But around 4 pm on Friday I literally could not help but close my eyes. I was reading a book on my sister’s bed and I got one of those awful book imprints on your face. After sleeping for an hour, we went to this nice Carlebach synagogue nearby. It was completely packed and definitely one of those shuls you have to visit on a trip to Israel (though I probably wouldn’t go more than once – too busy and no room to breathe!) In the middle of dinner, I got that fatigue feeling again and I went to sleep at 8 pm. I thought I was so tired that I would fall asleep until mid day Saturday, but I woke up at 4 am and couldn’t go back to sleep – the sounds of the birds chirping and the sunshine streaming through the window forced me to wake up.
After shabbat, I met up with some Montreal friends who I haven’t seen in awhile, which was really nice, although I did discover that Americans in Israel are soo annoying! Walking around ben yehuda at night is just filled with American seminary girls and boys who yell and scream and make me want to pretend I am Israeli so I can feel better than them.
Right now, I’m about to go move into the Hebrew U dorms – I’m really excited to finally be settled, not living out of a suitcase, and to meet my roommates and start my new life here.