Adapting and Embracing my New Home

Sometimes, plans don’t work out the way you envision them. Many plans that i arranged have had to change due to unforeseen circumstances or mistakes of my own. For example, this morning I was supposed to leave with a group in my program to spend a night in Northern Israel for some hiking and outdoor adventures. Unfortunately, I’ve learned to shut off my phone alarm in my sleep and when I woke up, my group was well on their way and I was still in my apartment at Tel Aviv University. While situations like these can feel upsetting, I’ve learned that it’s important to accept that everything happens for a reason and learn to just adapt, move on, and make a new plan.

Being able to adapt to situations like this a precious skill in life and traveling really has helped open my eyes to this. While my weekend did not turn out how I initially had planned, I managed to find an awesome rock gym down the road from me and gather a group of friends to make Shabbat dinner with for tonight. It’s also pretty nice to embrace a day to relax since my days have been packed with exploring the city and trying every dessert imaginable in this country.

Tel Aviv is home to a mix of street vendors and marketplace stores for unique delicacies. I love stumbling upon a new place to eat that I never would have found without getting a little lost.

Halva is a very popular dessert in Israel. It is made primarily from tahini, nut butter, and sugar and is available of flavors. My personal favorite is Coffee Bean.

The picture above was taken in the Sarona marketplace. This was a site of a recent horrific terror shooting earlier on my trip but my opportunity to travel here was significant in the theme of adaptation and making the most of every moment. I once asked a friend in the Israeli Army currently if he ever worries about what could happen. His response: “Why should we worry? Living in Israel is a blessing and you can’t spend your life worrying about what could happen. Instead, live day to day and enjoy everything you can”.

Spending time in Israel without the protection of an armed medic or the knowledge of a tour guide has shown me the real aspects of the country. It’s really important to be aware of your surroundings and travel in small groups. Despite having to have a little extra care, my friend is right about taking the time to just enjoy my time and embrace every opportunity that Tel Aviv offers.

Choosing Tel Aviv as my city to study abroad is a decision I will never regret. Tel Aviv is a city of many wonders from its beachfront living on the Mediterranean to the Old City of Jaffa to the urban city landscape. I’ve loved taking the time to listen to my professor for my History and Memory of Tel Aviv- Yaffo course and just explore, take detours, and get lost. It’s busy and energetic atmosphere prevents me from ever having a moment of wondering what should I do now? or struggling to make a new plan.

This is the view of the city beachfront from an overlook in Jaffa. The view does not do the crystal clear water justice or the miles and miles of white sandy beaches.

The historic city of Jaffa is an ancient port city with significance to all three major religions. Every building is a source of history combined with a modern touch of shopping and cafes.

This picture is one of the beautiful views on the Tel Aviv University campus. The campus was designed to have an open garden-style layout with sporadic buildings of differing architectural design. Walking through the university is like walking through a park and stumbling upon a new piece of art in every direction you look. It also has a unique location that has a view of the Mediterranean Sea.

Tel Aviv has begun to feel like a home to me. The first time I traveled to Israel, I was always just told that Israel is home and my journey there was actually my return as a Jewish individual. I understood the context of this statement and I did fall in love with Israel on that trip four years ago. However, I still felt like a tourist intruding on a culture that was not my own. Now that I have been in Israel under my own guidance and free will to explore, I feel the connection that I was always told I would feel. I use the public transportation and shop in the grocery store for ingredients I’ll use to cook dinner later that day. I know where the nearest Aroma and Coffix are because it’s impossible to survive here without blended ice coffee and a restaurant where every item on the menu is five shekels (approx. $1.25). Finally, I’m most proud to have learned to be okay with making mistakes here and learning to adapt to every new situation I’m presented with.

 

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