I’ve never been to the Middle East. With everything that’s going on right now, I wasn’t in a big rush to get out there. One day, I thought. For now, I think I’ll wait.
But when Kyle asked if I wanted to come to Israel with him for a few months, I didn’t hesitate for a second.
It was a no-brainer.
This trip to Israel is very different than my trip from last year. Instead of meticulously packing into a backpack, utilizing every square centimeter of space, I packed my stuff into a suitcase–one that has four wheels (you mean I don’t have to carry my stuff everywhere like a lopsided turtle?) and super fancy mesh inner pockets (I’m big-time now).
I finished packing everything from my list (I have lists for everything) and anxiously looked down at my suitcase—holy moly, I still have more space in here? That’s never happened to me. Ever. I usually have to take out a few items and seriously re-think that second t-shirt that I packed. And my socks are always stuffed into my shoes to save on space.
This time, I had so much extra space that I started to worry that my stuff would jostle around too much while in transit. In a panic, I started haphazardly throwing extra shirts, jackets, and shoes into my giant rolling bag.
Much better, I thought.
My suitcase was sufficiently stuffed and I was ready to go.
I started my trip out by almost stepping in someone’s vomit while waiting at the MAX station. In case you were wondering what vomit in NE Portland looks like, here’s a picture for your viewing pleasure.
One of my layovers was in Frankfurt. To get to the gate for the flight headed to Tel Aviv, you have to go through an additional round of security. Everyone that goes through that security check is on the same flight and going to the same place–Tel Aviv. I fell asleep in one of the chairs because I was crazy tired and when I woke up, everyone was gone. In a panic, I got up and started running towards the gate like a baby deer learning to walk for the first time (and consequently ran into a chair because I was still very hazy and disoriented). Seriously. It’s dangerous to go from sleeping to a dead sprint in 0.5 seconds.
Somehow, I made it onto the plane in time. I was the last one to board, but I made it.
I’m still wondering why nobody thought that maybe, just maybe, they should poke me and let me know that our flight was boarding?
More than 24 hours after I left my house in Portland, I landed in Tel Aviv. I was dirty, hungry, and very tired. It was a very long journey.
I made it through security! For some reason, I’m always shocked when countries let me through their borders (like why would anyone trust me in their country?). Once I got the approval to go through, I wheeled my bags as fast as I could towards the exit while trying to keep a “there’s nothing suspicious happening over here” facade.
And then I saw him.
All my feelings of anxiety, exhaustion, hunger, crankiness, annoyance… melted away when he wrapped his arms around me. It was then that I knew that everything would be ok.