Turning 21 abroad is extremely underwhelming. The anticipation for the past few years of the day I would finally be able to legally drink was tossed out the window when I started my travels in Europe and realized that here, a person’s 21st birthday doesn’t contain the same luster involved in the legalization we experience on this day in the U.S. Here, it pretty much just means we’re getting old, and there’s nothing special about that. My birthday landed on a Thursday this year, which meant I had no classes, and also meant that I could go out to bars and clubs at night with my school friends. That night, my friends and I had a small party in our university bar (the Moadon) where my friends surprised me with a cake they made (a difficult feat considering most of us don’t have ovens) and fun games to play before hitting the town. Needless to say, I felt extremely loved on my birthday and I am so grateful for my new friends.
The next weekend was the weekend of Purim. Purim is an Israeli holiday which honors the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, who’d planned to kill them. It is celebrated a bit like Halloween in that everyone gets dressed up in costume and goes to parties, bars, and clubs. I spent the weekend with friends in Tel Aviv. The city is so diverse, lively, and home to some of the best clubs in the world, making it a tiring, at times stressful, yet overall perfect holiday weekend that only left me with the desire to return to Tel Aviv to experience more as soon as possible!
This past weekend, my friends Kate, Brian, Alanna, Sarah, and I decided that we would spend Shabbat in Tiberius, at the Sea of Galilee. We arrived at our AirBnb late in the afternoon and voyaged down a nearby trail in our “stretchy pants” to try to catch the sunset from a mountain top. We ended up traveling off trail up a steep, rocky cliff, scraping our knees, falling into pricker bushes, and stepping in poop left by the roaming mountain cows. When we reached the peak, our shirts were drenched in sweat and our bodies were covered in dirt, but the view of the Galilee was breath-taking. To descend, we had to quietly pass through a herd of cows, trying to keep distance between us and the babies while apprehensively eyeing the massive horns of the adults not 4 meters away from us. We were forced to trespass on about three different olive farms to find our way back to our home for the night.
The rest of the weekend was spent exploring the beaches along the sea, relaxing in the summery weather, and enjoying the newly blossomed wild flowers of the Galilee. The incredible views and perfect company make every weekend in Israel feel like the best weekend of my life. It may sound as though I’m putting more emphasis on the “abroad” part of “study abroad”; however, with midterms coming next week, it’s time to buckle down and start reviewing. Wish me luck!