The Final Countdown

So begins my last few weeks in Israel. I haven’t really gotten emotional yet, probably because it hasn’t really set in yet that I’m leaving.

I think part of the reason why I’m not as sad as some of the other people on my program is because I’m coming back next year. Even if I haven’t tried all the restaurants in Tel Aviv I’ve wanted to or haven’t gone to visit certain sites around the country, I’m not that worried telling myself that I have next year.

As most people are trying to check things off their Israeli bucket list, I’m trying to figure out how to store stuff for three months over the summer. I don’t think it’s safe to leave clothes in suitcases for three months, won’t they get mildewy or moldy?

What did finally hit me today though was how different next year will be. I’ve gotten so used to living and working with people on my program, I haven’t really had to worry about making friends. There’s always someone around to go to the grocery store, the movies with, or shopping with (even though we can’t afford it).

Next year will be totally different. None of the people I met this year will be around, well maybe a select two or three that are staying for another year like me. Some of them live in Australia and South Africa, making me wonder if I’ll even see them ever again. Even the ones that live in America will be halfway across the world once I’m back in Israel. I’ve spent one of the most memorable years of my life with these people whom I might never see again and that’s just…weird.

I don’t know when I’ll get emotional about the end of the program. Maybe it’ll happen when I pack my suitcase, or when I’m on the plane. Maybe it won’t even happen until I’m back next year and have to start all over again making friends.

School has been winding down. The kids are crazy because it’s the end of the year. Most of our days have been filled with rehearsing for the final ceremony and playing go fish. A game I will never be able to play ever again after this year.

I’ll miss the kids but probably not school itself. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my time working with these kids. Not only did I teach them English, but they also taught me things about myself. I’ve learned to be more laid back, as no matter how hard you plan things with the students, nothing will actually get done until the last minute. But I’ve also learned to be more optimistic. Because even though all that stuff is done the day before or day of, if somehow always turns out great. These kids really know how to pull through.

I’m not sure if teaching is in my future. For my brother, this program taught him he never wanted to teach again. I on the other hand am still undecided. I had my good days and my bad days. But nothing beats when the kids come up to me to show me their end dress or smile at our matching “friendship” bracelets. And it’s even better when after hours of explanation, they finally understand what I’m teaching them: the figurative light bulb going off.

Tonight we had our closing ceremony for the program. I was extremely nervous about it because my students had to perform a song. Every year my school does a performance at this ceremony, so this year Amanda and I decided to teach them Shiny Happy People. They didn’t like the song at first, saying it was “ugly” and they wanted to sing Rihanna. But in the end it turned out great. They even memorized the words which was an added bonus. There was some breakdancing and silly dancing at the end. I was proud!

closing ceremony

The group!

closing ceremony 2

Student selfies!

A week from today is my last day in school. We’ll see if the finality of everything has hit me by then!

The Seven Stages of Insomnia as Told by Me

The past few weeks I’ve had a little bout with insomnia. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night around 4am and toss and turn until my alarm ends my suffering. I’m not sure if it’s because of the heat or our new noisy neighbors, but something is definitely affecting my sleep. While lying awake at night feeling sorry for myself, I named the seven stages of insomnia I experience each night.

  • Beginning—Something makes me slowly come out of whatever dream I was having. I throw my blanket off of myself because even though the air conditioner is blasting I am sweating. I try to resist the temptation of my phone, but I give in to sadly see that is only 4 in the morning.
  • Denial—Its’ probably the worst part of insomnia because it’s when I realize that I won’t be falling back asleep the rest of the night. No matter how many times I tell myself that I can fall back asleep, I know that it’s a lie. I press my eyelids even tighter together as if to force sleep to come.
  • Distraction—In the middle of forcing myself to count sheep or think happy thoughts, I realize that I have to pee. Even though I have only been asleep for about 5 hours, it’s an emergency. I roll over, telling myself that I don’t have to pee and I’ll fall asleep soon.
  • Defeat—I get out of bed and use the bathroom. At this point, there is no getting back to sleep.
  • Frustration—I take a few sips of water, pace back and forth and little, and climb back into bed. I know they say the light from your iPhone is bad for sleep, but I read some articles anyway, wishing my eyelids to droop.
  • Panic—I start to panic. I won’t get enough sleep and then I will be tired the whole next day. The day will be ruined and I won’t be able to focus at work. I try to calm down thinking I’ll take a nap when I get home, but then I worry that if I take a nap, it’ll affect my sleep the next night. Endless scenarios play out in my head.
  • Acceptance—I roll onto my back and stare at the ceiling. I am now wide-awake at 4:30 am and there is nothing to do but relax and wait for the alarm to go off.

This happened to me almost every night the past few weeks. I recently started making my air conditioner colder at night and that seemed to help a bit. Hopefully by next week I’ll be back to my normal self who can sleep until 11am no problem.

Besides my insomnia, these past few weeks have been pretty uneventful. Kayleigh and I went to a bonfire to celebrate Lag Baomer last Monday, I ate at an amazing restaurant called Bread Story which centers all their dishes around bread, great for the carb lover I am, and went to a used bookstore in Tel Aviv that sells a ton of English books. I also celebrated Cinco de Mayo by somehow finding good Mexican food in Israel. Yesterday we had our last educational seminar of the program, which really made it feel like things are coming to an end.

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Happy Mother’s Day Mom!!!!!