Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Two Decades

This past Friday I arrived at a milestone. Well, at least I consider it one. I have officially been a living, breathing, human being for two decades on this earth! I keep repeating to myself, twenty…twenty…twenty. It hasn’t stuck yet, and I think I know why. There seems to be a pink elephant of a question in the room preventing me from internalizing my new age: do I have to be a real person now? A real adult person?
Though my boss seems think I’m the youngest person alive, and I don’t necessary feel older (no wrinkles yet…phewf), I do feel new sense of responsibility now that I’m in my “twenties.” Are the reckless teenage years really behind me? Perhaps not the reckless bit, but definitely the teenage part. I like to think I left that part behind and replaced it with a classy edge I had lacked throughout my lowly teenage years! How exciting!

In the spirit of emerging classiness, I celebrated the big 2-0 dancing like a crazy person to an overly energized Israeli rock band at a street party in Tel Aviv. The event: “White Night”. The attire: white. The significance: all night rave/dance/beach party with all walks of life from around the country.

Certainly, the birthday fun did not die with the rising Jerusalem sun. By the time I made it back in a Sheirut (shared Taxi) to my apartment, my birthday had only just begun. Sleep took over my world until about eleven-thirty am when I awoke to phone call from a gap year friend, Josh, who was in town for a few weeks. We caught up over iced coffee and chocolate croissants, shared our first-year college stories, and talked as though no time had elapsed since May 2011. As I said in a previous blog post, coming back to Israel is like entering an alternate world that simply picks up where it left off, no matter what happened in between.

My birthday dinner, which coincided rather perfectly with Shabbat, might as well have been a snapshot from my gap year. Ingredients from the bustling marketplace? Check. An overly-ambitious recipe? Check. Enthusiastic potluck participants? Check. A quaint park to place a blanket, candles, and gourmet food? Check, check, check. We had it all…and I must say, it was perfect. Over wine and Italian food we (new friends on the program) shared childhood embarrassing stories and expressed gratitude for life’s simple pleasures.

Soon after I cozied up with a few friends under a blanket and put on a movie, which lasted a grand total of five minutes. The sleep deprivation of the weekend had kicked in and I was out cold before I saw a single character in the movie Everything Is Illuminated.

My birthday weekend is just one of many adventures I have had so far during my time here. I wish I could describe every one in vivid detail, but unfortunately I must live in the moment. Instead, I will let you stare at some magnificent photos that I did not take myself! It’s a good thing I have friends with the motivation to take photos, because I otherwise would have none. So thank you dearest friends for capturing some beautiful onlyinisrael moments! 

Scavenger hunt in the first week! The three confused boys are random Israelis we had to pose with. 

A Shuk delicacy...mmmm

With my cousin, Shaked, at a pasta restaurant in the marketplace

Picking cherries like a champ

Cute Jerusalem alleyway 

A view in Jerusalem, taken with itouch