4:00 AM twisting and turning in a plane seat; I am trying to sleep, but the snores around me keep me alert and awake. To my surprise, I look at the screen from the EL AL television monitor, and discover there is only an hour left. No longer irritated; I am anxious and excited for the arrival. I will be traveling with a group for a while, and then with my own family, but will Israel be scary or a wonderful place. As I am sitting and contemplating, the plane descends to a seemingly abrupt halt. I hear loud clapping all around me, and I am in "The Holy Land." Now, with newfound excitement I get ready to go sleep in a comfortable hotel bed, only to find out I missed my rest, and the touring begins immediately. At least, I will be able to sleep easily, I think. Then, I hop on the tour bus with friends and family, with adrenaline rushing through me. I am finally here. I am in in Israel which is ,“the holy land” for many people, including me. Israel is now not a mere dream, but a profound reality. Almost in a trance, I get off the bus to see Haifa, the first stop on my trip. My reaction, is immediate. Haifa is a paradise, and I feel like the luckiest person. My huge fear of bombs, rockets, and missiles fade slowly as the moment captures me in awe. From there on, I am ready to soak in the sun, and absorb as much as I can about this place. After seeing these beautiful gardens, we go to dinner, a hotel, and continue towards the archeological sites. Everything seems surreal. Everyone walks through these places, admit tingly sometimes bored, but fascinated. These are buildings that are more than 3,000 years old, yet some remains, not repaired or altered, but left untouched. In a somewhat materialistic world, this surprises me. However, I am so glad to see these places. They are not just old remains, but beautiful and intriguing. After one, we go to many other, but this thought just lasts for me. Hotels, are the pretty buildings I can rest in at night, but I am here to see as much as I can. 6 weeks sounded like a long time, but as weeks pass, it is feeling so much shorter and shorter. Eventually, the tour group leaves, and it is just my family remaining. This is where I relax. Everyday, we go to new places, but relax too. Although the Dead Sea was amazing to float in, looking at the clear Red Sea I think this is just as captivating. I even swim with dolphins. Seeing all of this truly changes me. I now realize how huge the world is, and how little I know about it. I want to see places, learn things, do things. I feel free! That’s when it hits me, I am no longer thinking of Israel as one little space because although it is tiny in nature, there are so many cultures, habitats, and people in it. Everywhere, I look is unique, but nothing takes away any of the beauty. The cities and towns are beautiful in their own ways, and if Israel is like this; I cannot begin to think about the enormous differences, and beauties in the world. I think now, keeping out an ear to learn anything new, knowing there is always more to learn.
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