Never Been A Passenger

Today is January 18, 2015. Exactly one year ago I was packing my shit to leave for Israel.

Last December 2013, I was in the TV lounge of my dorm, crying to myself in the dark while watching the Britney Spears’ I Am Britney Jean documentary on E! It was the last day before we were all kicked out for winter break. As I watched Britney undergo grueling preparations for her Las Vegas residency, I knew she would understand my wild flux of emotions. She’s someone who’s been through it all: from feeling wholly loved and rejoiced by the world, to feeling desperately alone; both polar emotions swirled in my head as I sat among the empty chairs.

I was finished with finals, my room was emptied and I was packed up. I wanted to hang with friends until my parents came to pick me up. A winter stream of uncertainty rushed through me and I needed to be alone and not alone at the same time. I waited to go home at the bitter end because I am used to it that way; I am a sentimental person who is usually never ready to say goodbye.

My thoughts were comprised of the future: flying to Israel by myself, studying and living in a land where I knew no one. I was scared to leave the home I embraced as robotic and repetitive at times because it was all I knew. I pondered my blessings and the people I met and worked with who shaped my life and molded me into who I was in that moment of strange solace. Anxiety blossomed within the cavities of my doubt as I wondered how my life would change abroad without the people I loved.

A few weeks later on the way to the airport, I texted my closest friends my final farewells, wishing they were accompanying me and my family. One of the texts read “Good luck! Have a safe trip!!! May God bless you! Write as often as you can please keep in touch! And enjoyyyy my love! Xoxo.” Perhaps it was the simplicity of it all that made me start crying. Nonetheless, it felt like God had dumped a bucket of love on me that he carefully collected from all of my dear ones. The night before, I stopped for a moment as I was packing and asked myself “Am I ready for this? I don’t have to do this. Can I do this?” The fear was silly but relevant. Was I truly prepared to embark on this journey alone, knowing all that I did? My heart always knew the answer, but the way it greeted me that morning just hours away from my departure was gorgeous and unforgettable. The Verrazano bridge gleamed bright as the tears fell fast and quiet; I tried not to make a sound so no one would know I had become a fountain of tears and snot.

After six months of living in Israel and traveling throughout the country, I look back at that moment of isolation in the basement older and wiser. That fear has long peeled away and I have never felt more of an adult than I do now. I am beyond proud of myself for doing the things that I’ve done and extremely grateful for my parents for working tirelessly to provide for me and my family and friends for being there for me whenever I need them. Thank you for all the love and support. Now let’s see where I go in 2015.

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