There have been quite a lot of days when I’ve been questioning the purpose of this trip. It all started last October when I decided it was time to take a break and do something exciting. My decision to come was also heavily influenced by a book, which was the first good glimpse to what Israel and its people are like. In December I was getting prepared with a hint of fear of what it would really be like to live so far from everything familiar, and come January I was already here filled with naive excitement of how the trip would change everything into wonderful.

By February I had already gotten used to work, the coldness and new environment. I was getting comfortable with my new roommates, and we were experiencing some precious bonding time. I was enthusiastic at work knowing that finally-FINALLY!-I was doing something with a meaning to it. I also got a good start to training my ear with the new language, and somehow I felt very comfortable trying to understand it. It all came naturally.

But March came too quickly and with it came anxiety, stress, fear and the feeling of unbearable loneliness. The country showed its hostile side to it: the rudeness of the people, the terror of missiles, the boredom of the city and the endless routine at work. Desperate times require desperate measures: I took to baking numerous cakes and smoking. It was a Black March.

Fortunately, in April and May things warmed up again, and the biggest relief was that I had made the decision not to stay the whole 10 months I had originally planned. I also teamed up with my roommates, and we took to being collectively pissed off at annoying people. Trust me, these are gentle words I’m using here. I also took some fun trips to Jerusalem, Mitzpe Ramon and a Bedouin settlement in the desert, which gave me an interest to hiking and adventure. April also brought tank top weather and suntan lines into the picture. Then on May 2nd I walked a dog home from the local pound, and our apartment turned into a puppy zone. Our home became complete with the hound.

So far June has been a quiet month. A month of preparation for take-off. Saying goodbyes to people I care, places that have made me feel like home and a culture that gives me mixed feelings no matter how familiar it has become. Mostly I will miss my roommate who became closer to me than a big sister, my other roommate who became closer to me than a little sister, those few friends that truly care and a mix breed 19kg 8 month old puppy, who will howl when he is left behind to wait his turn to fly out of this country.

No matter how I describe this whole Israel experience to myself, I still sit here in wonder of what was the purpose, the FUNCTION, of these 6 months that I took out of my life to come and live in the Middle East. Did I change? Am I more mature now? Am I happy to go back to the original? Do I WANT to go back?

Maybe some day I’ll be able to give an answer to these questions.

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