A Bittersweet Goodbye

My six-week program in Tel Aviv flew by so so SO fast. Last week I began my long journey home to America. Luckily, everything ran smoothly and I (along with all of my luggage) arrived back to Florida in one piece. I have only been home for a week, but it feels like I have been away from Tel Aviv for months. I’m happy to be home to spend time with my family and friends; at the same time, I’m sad to have left the vibrant city that is Tel Aviv.

One thing I miss is the suite-style apartment I called home for six weeks. I miss yelling “good morning!” to my two suitemates, Adira and Sheer, who became my closest friends on the program. As we packed up our stuff, we reflected on the first time we met each other. I remember that Adira was the first person I met on the program. I was a sweaty mess; I was lugging two huge suitcases up a rocky path when she passed by me and smiled. It was a refreshing gesture after my long flight with grumpy travelers. After climbing two flights of stairs, I entered the apartment and met Sheer. Sheer offered to help me set up my bed but I politely declined her offer. Instead, she looked on as I awkwardly attempted to move a person-sized wooden drawer from the bed to the floor. We laughed at the memory.

Another thing I miss is city life. The public transportation in Tel Aviv is both reliable and clean. I rode the bus any time I needed to get somewhere further than walking distance. The beach was only a 15-minute bus ride away. I definitely took advantage of the beach’s close proximity, but I still miss it. I miss the morning shopping trips to Shuk HaCarmel before class. The shuk had the best food; I loved getting fruit smoothies and freshly baked rugelach. The shuk was also a great place to go food shopping. I bought a pack of pita bread and a bag full of fruits and vegetables for less than $10; you can’t beat that. The city is constantly bustling with activity and there was always something to do or see or… eat. If you couldn’t already tell, I very much enjoyed the food in Tel Aviv (especially the ice cream- it’s the best!).

It was tough to leave Israel but I plan on returning to the country in the future. I just do not yet know when I will have the opportunity to go back. This was my fourth trip to Israel and, dare I say, my favorite out of all my past trips. It was nice to have the freedom to explore — a change from my previous trips that were completely scheduled out ahead of time. I did what I wanted to do and still spent a great deal of time hanging out with my friends. It was always fun when we would all spend time together at the beach, sing karaoke through the night, or roam the city streets looking for the best late-night shawarma. It’s the little moments that I’ll remember most (it’s cheesy, I know, but it’s true). Until next time, Tel Aviv!

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