Our Trip up to the Galilee
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Today (and by that I mean the last 36 hours) was a GOOD day. Yesterday morning we ended ulpan early and HUC traveled up to the northern region of Israel near the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Kinneret. We ate lunch and spent the afternoon at the Rothchild Gardens (yes, the famous Rothchilds) and had a wonderful time learning about the First Aliyah (First immigration period in Israel) and what it was like for those that came then. We spent a lot of time walking around the Gardens and taking time to "stop and smell the roses". There were a few Arab couples there that looked like they were taking wedding pictures in the Garden, but we couldn't decided if they were really couples or just models...either way, they all looked beautiful. Their dresses were quite....busy...but pretty nonetheless. From there we went to the nearby city of Zikron Yaakov where we spent some time at the First Aliyah museum. From there, about 10 of us found a cute little restaurant and had the most picturesque dinner. From my view I could see the cute little town shops, the hills of the Galilee, Josh and Rachel Crossley's lovely faces, the restaurant fountain, and all the people milling around. It was wonderful. Then a few of us went shopping before we loaded the buses and went to the Kibbutz that we stayed at overnight. Now, I'm not exactly sure, but I think that it was the same Kibbutz that I stayed at when I was here 3 years ago on my Birthright trip. If not, it was unbelievably similar. Anyway, I was rooming with Rachel Crossley, Lisa Delson, and Jen Frenkel (Cincy Girls....what, what) and we spent the evening playing frisbee, having beautiful t'fillot, splitting my pants (don't worry, it wasn't a fat kid moment, I just caught them wrong while I was sitting down). This morning, when I woke up, I was really cold and distinctly remembered turning the air off before we all hit the sack. Well, everyone who knows me knows that I sleep like a log and during the night Lisa and Jen apparently were trying for like half and hour to get the air on b/c it was so hot. But the a/c was up really high, almost by the ceiling and they are pretty short girls, so they were like stradling over my bed and trying not to wake me and Rach up. Even though it sounds funny, I must have passed out from heat stroke because I didn't hear or feel a thing.
This morning we went rafting on the Jordan River. My raft was AWESOME!!! It had Joel Gadol (meaning big) and his buff ladies- me, Amy Rossel, Erin Ellis, Rochelle, and Lisa Delson. It was hysterical because we all kept jumping and pushing each other in the water, and waging war on all the other rafts. We even got our raft leader in...it was very fun. Since we were the first raft done, there were some rapids, a term I use very loosely, and we were able to go Body rafting a few times. This involves jumping into the rapids at a perpindicular angle and then quickly straightening out your body and floating on the current. Don't worry mom, I wore a lifejacket! Then, after everyone finished they all joined in and we had a blast!!!! I really love activities like that, so it was a perfect morning for me!
Once we all got changed we went to lunch at a restaurant called "Decks" which is physically on the Kinneret and ate a very greasy, but lovely meal there. After that we went to learn about the Second Aliyah period by visiting a significant site and the graveyard where many famous people were buried. Now, it was interesting...but I have to tell you that up in the Galilee in August is unbelievably oppresive and hot. We were so lathargic at that point that all we wanted to do was get on the bus and sleep. But the view from the cemetary was gorgeous and we were able to sing some songs that we learned in our ulpan classes that were related to some of the stuff we were talking about.
I think the thing I love most about the trip , as Joel K'ton (small) put it..."it was a great opportunity to meet people and spend time with them in an informal setting." I had great conversations with so many people and learned lots about so many of my classmates...it was truly incredible. At times it felt a lot like a NFTY and/or Birthright trip, but i sort of enjoyed feeling a real sense of commraderie and bonding with my fellow classmates in that way. As I watched the sun go down tonight with Ari on the bus ride home, I told him how lucky i felt to be in this place and time, doing what we are doing, and for all the blessings in my life....my health and happiness, time, energy, money to do the things I want to do and can do...and just the life that I have in general. It was a great moment...and a great day. It's not that my experiences thusfar have not been equal in wonderment, it's just that this was so intense and so fulfilling all at the same time, there was nothing I could do but sit back, enjoy the aches and pains and discomfort of my worn body, and be truly thankful for all that I have.
Posted by Elizabeth
at 10:59 PM