Two years ago, I moved from Hoboken, New Jersey, to Brooklyn, New York, in order to attended the World History M.A. program at New York University. This wasn’t a big relocation, nor was it far from Philadelphia, where I attended college, or northwest Connecticut, my childhood home. In two months, I will fly to Israel with my wonderful girlfriend to live and work for a year. This will be the longest I’ve ever been away from the northwestern United States.
Whatever unease I feel about the distance from home, it pales in comparison with my excitement about what awaits us on the coast of the Mediterranean. In graduate school I studied Middle Eastern history, but I’ve never actually been to the Middle East. I don’t think I can truly understand the area, the people, or the history until I’ve seen it all first-hand. This is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I’ll get as much out of it as I possibly can. I want to walk in the Negev at sunrise, learn Tel Aviv’s bustling streets, attend Israeli basketball and soccer games, and wade into the Mediterranean’s clear blue expanse.
In all of these adventures, it is my greatest blessing to have Taly (a more experienced world traveler) for companionship and guidance. We first met working at NYU last spring, and while it may have taken me a couple of months to ask her out, I noticed her immediately and wished she’d talk to me. Regardless of how I might feel about NYU (graduate school can be disappointing, but I’d say it was a good experience for me), I can’t, and I don’t, want to imagine what it would be like if I never met Taly there. Together I think we managed to make the most of our last year at NYU, cooked and ate plenty good tasty meals (accompanied by as much avocado as possible), and slowly formulated this plan to live together in Israel for a year. While we come from different backgrounds and come to this trip with different experiences, we both realize this is an important and exciting step for us. Personally, I hope to be able to hold regular conversations in Hebrew with Taly by the end of the trip.
Hmm….I think I’m forgetting something. Lets see, what haven’t I mentioned? History, check… Taly and I, check… Learning Hebrew, check…. Oh, of course! I forgot to mention all the wonderful food we will eat. I can’t wait for Israeli salad, halloumi (or, haloumi) cheese, pitas that don’t fall apart, lamb kebabs. And, of course, hummus! I’ll eat lots and lots of hummus. I should probably get ready by eating some now. I wonder if I have any in the fridge….