University of Wisconsin–Madison

Abroad is not a time for sleep

The past few weeks have felt like a complete whirlwind. Between Ulpan ending, classes beginning, going on overnight trips and having my family come to visit in between, I’ve just accepted the fact that part of being abroad is having no time to sleep! For our first overnight trip, we headed up North to the Golan Heights for some ATV riding, wine tasting, and kibbutz living. We drove our ATVs up to Ramot Naftali, which overlooks a breathtaking view, and that of course called for a photo shoot to be taken. Then we headed to Galil Mountain Winery, where we were able to gain some knowledge on how to use all of our senses to enjoy wine to the fullest. Then, right before sundown, we made our way over to Kibbutz Keshet, where we shared a Shabbat dinner with the Kibbutz members. The trip was a short and sweet getaway that left everyone on the program feeling closer with each other. What wasn’t so short and sweet though was the last week of Ulpan that we came back to. I’m not saying that I was sad when Ulpan ended (because you can be sure that I went out and celebrated the end of an era on that last Ulpan Thursday), but Ulpan ending also meant that one month of my time abroad had already passed and that was a depressing thought. But as they say, as one door closes, another one opens and so Ulpan ending just led to class beginning… Coincidentally enough, the week that classes started was also the week that my family came to visit! So being that I had to prioritize… I chose to skip class to tour around Israel with my family instead of sitting through 4-hour classes (no exaggeration). One thing I love about Israel is that there is always so much to see. Even when I went back to places that I had been to before, I saw things from a completely different perspective. Being that they were only here for a week, we had to pick only a few places to see. We decided to spend time in Jerusalem, Safed and Haifa, which are each so different but equally amazing. From the Western Wall in Jerusalem to Kabbalah artists in Zfat, to the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa, having family here was just another excuse to not only see more amazing places in Israel, but also to indulge in amazing food; I mean after all, I do have a list of restaurants that I need to go to before my time here is done, so a week of eating out with family definitely helped me cross a few restaurants off my (long) list.

Well now that family is gone, I am back to my not-so-real reality. Yes that means 8:30a.m. Hebrew classes, but it also means lying out by the pool in between classes, having our biggest dilemma be where we are going to eat dinner, and enjoying a nightlife that is NEVER boring.

I fall more in love with this place everyday and that was quite apparent to my mom too. Although she was hesitant to admit it at first, after seeing me here for one week she completely understood why I don’t want to ever come home…

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