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Not in Washington Anymore

I awoke in what I guessed was early morning. It was still dark out but I felt clear and rested so it must be morning. I didn’t want to move to check the time so I lie staring at the shadows of a dark room. When I heard the 5am Al-Moazin I knew I am definitely not in Washington anymore. I listened to the morning prayer and tried hard to accept my new reality. I don’t want to wait months to feel comfortable here again. I want to feel comfortable, now! Please. I know I can’t force it but maybe I can speed it up?…

The day finally came. After a week of running errands, packing my bags and chasing my tail, December 2nd arrived. Here we go! Back to Israel. I was nervous, excited and determined; determined to stay myself. At 8am I hoped onto a bus headed for SeaTac airport. Going over Snoqualmie pass with its white mountains and snow dusted trees was so beautiful it brought me happy tears. It was bitter sweet. I’m going to miss winter in Washington this year. I’m going to miss the cozy lazy days watching Christmas movies. I’m going to miss the first snow that always fills me with wonder and joy. I’ll miss decorating a pine tree; hand picked from the forest. I’ll miss sitting next to a fire sipping coco as it snowing outside. Even though I’ll miss the things I love about the Christmas season, I’m open to a new way of Christmas. I don’t know what to expect this year but not expecting is the best way to enjoy the moment.

I took a flight from Seattle to Frankfurt then another to Tel Aviv. I thought I’d have some down time waiting for my flights but I kept busy. Getting to my connecting flight in the Frankfurt airport was a serious mission! I rode a bus from the plane to the terminal, walked two miles to a train, then another two to my gate; which I couldn’t get to without going through a FULL body and luggage security check. I’ve never gone though a more thorough one. The women who frisked me even made me sit down and take my shoes off so she could thoroughly check my shoes and my feet; she rubbed the bottom of my feet. I don’t see their security as unwarranted or unnecessary, it just takes a LONG time. When I did finally get to my gate it was already boarding. If I hadn’t power walked the whole way to my gate I might have missed me flight.

In the Tel Aviv airport I met Ram. The meeting never goes as gracefully as I imagine… I’m always so awkward. Ram approached me with flowers and went in to kiss me but I turned to give him my cheek. I was so uncomfortable. I felt so exposed and put on the spot. I hate the way the greeting area is set up there! It is just like a stage! Everyone is waiting in the bleachers when you walk out onto an empty stage. Somehow the big crowd around you has vanished and you’re left alone to entertain the crowd, off the cuff. Everyone stares asking themselves “what will she do next? Who is she meeting? How will the embarrass go?” I could feel everyone silently judging me. Ram didn’t care, but I was really uncomfortable feeling their prying eyes. If I was in my prime I wouldn’t have cared either but I had 24 hours of travel on me.

It’s very strange to be back in Israel; to be back in Alonim. Everything is so different from the US, but this time I have three months of past experience to help me adjust. It’ll be much different this time because in nine days we’re going to start the Israeli National Trail; INT for short. I wanted another hiking adventure as soon as we finished the Colorado Trail and here we are, a little more than two months later about to!

“We thrive not when we have done it all but when we still have more to do.” -Sarah Lewis

“Completion is the goal but we hope it is never the end” -Sarah Lewis

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