I’d say I finally had a teensy feeling of homesickness recently. I’m not entirely sure what conjured it but I’d never felt so excited to be in the Philadelphia airport on June 8th. The first place I’ll be where when I ask a question I won’t have to think twice, I will get no confused faces, no rough or rude answers, and I will most likely get a smile along with a kindly explained answer. I’m so excited.
I still love it here. I wouldn’t have Israel any other way really- but it takes so much more energy to survive on a daily basis than it does back home. Not to mention, you know exactly what to expect back home, where here it seems that literally everything runs on absolutely no schedule whatsoever. In this regard American culture is so much more lazy, because we don’t have to stay on our toes from dawn to dusk. There’s also much less arguing and pushing. Things tend to be slightly more ‘bumpy’ here.
Exam week was ‘gehinom!’ as my horrible Hebrew would translate. My essays for my first class could not have possibly had a more vague prompt, which of course meant she received an essay probably substantially longer than what she was expecting. Serves her right. If you’re going to frustrate your students with a vague prompt, vague answers when they ask questions, you are going to get a long danged essay! So I think I know what she was doing all break… The frustrations continued all week as I was trying to prepare to get to England. It became a very packed schedule to study for my exams, write my essays, clean everything, pack, and of course, get a hold of my new phone for England (which turned out to be ridiculous).
I’d really like to fast forward to the tube ride from the airport to South Kensington- where I met my mother.
So I had forgotten the joke Katelyn had told me about the phrase ‘Mind the Gap,’ but while I’d found it funny, I’d never heard it actually used seriously. I started laughing out loud in front of a bunch of tired looking travelers when I heard the speaker say: “Please mind the gap between the train and the platform.”
After walking out of the station I was feeling pretty darned satisfied. Everything had gone smoothly, I had made my flight (and a friend on it), gotten through passport control (where the guy asked me if I’d been living on a kibbutz. Random? And how many Englanders know about kibbutzim?!), found the tube station and bought a ticket using the pounds that I’d so cleverly had exchanged from shekels earlier in the Israeli airport (granted it was really my mother’s clever idea). I walked out into the street and waited to meet my mom. I plopped down my stupidly heavy bag- that also stupidly doesn’t have WHEELS- and waited to see her. London was cool looking. There was a scone shop right in front of me with people sipping coffee and reading the paper. Double decker buses whizzing past on the wrong side of the road. The fashionable pedestrians made me want to shower immediately and put on something besides my- wait for it, wait for it- white tee shirt and jeans (I know that shocked everyone), which is really a feat. Bravo England. Katie’s thrilled I’m sure :)
I was waiting for about three minutes, thinking to myself “oy I’m waiting for my mother looking like the most obnoxious tourist outside of a tube station. WHY isn’t she here,” when I saw her looking right into the exit I had come out of. You see I’d conveniently taken about five steps to the left so that I wouldn’t be smack in the middle of traffic in and out of the station. So I guess I was out of sight, but no matter. While I would have started walking towards her, I couldn’t bring myself to lift up my wheel-less bag again. So I screamed her full name- the one she’s expecting to hear from a reporter. Needless to say she saw me, and came over into the biggest hug ever. I really don’t know how I went three months without seeing her. I don’t think I realized how hard it was until I saw in person how much I was missing.
After eating a scone and discussing the plan for the day, my mother informed me that it was about a 12 minute walk to the apartment. Definitely not a problem. Except I really didn’t want to carry the stupid bag anymore. So we had dad and Gavry meet us halfway. I had this crazy hug with both of them. I’m sure the Londoners that passed probably thought we’d been reunited after years of separation. It’s weird because it definitely never feels like that when I’m in Israel but seeing my family in person was a different story. It felt like it had been ages.
That day was mostly filled with a shower and a long walk, visiting all the places my parents used to go to when they were there. We ate dinner out at a pizza place (trying to get as much bread in us before the carb free, eight day diet- I mean- Holiday.
Overall England was amazing. Couldn’t have possibly asked for a better vacation.
-Windsor Palace: Jaw dropping. Absolutely incredible. It doesn’t make any sense to me that people can live in a place so huge and obviously royal. What the devil do you do with all those rooms?! I’d think the tourists would be so annoying. We saw Queen Mary’s Doll House, which boasts a working vacuum (because that’ll be useful when it’s completely encased in glass), and plumbing (also obviously very useful). All snide comments aside it was awesome. It was incredibly detailed and entertaining to look in all of the rooms. The vacuum was cool, and if I remember correctly there were also miniature crown jewels. Oy! We also saw the staterooms inside the castle, which were nothing less than grand. Huge, beautifully furnished, and packed with history, each room had a different story. Call me weird but my favorite part of every room was the ceiling. They were gorgeous and intricate. It’s obvious that the objects and art on the wall are going to be more than worth looking at, but it’s so hard to remember to look up sometimes. I tried to make a point of it. The art on the ceilings were very cool as well. Basically, Windsor was insane. Amazing, but insane.
-Oxford. While being a much smaller town than London, it’s no less awe inspiring. I couldn’t get over the architecture of the university. I saw the stairs that Daniel Radcliffe walked up in the first Hp movie when he’s about to be sorted (any fans there?), and everything looked like a dream. College campuses can only try to look like this one- and I have never seen anything like it. The rest of Oxford is just as charming. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It has all the architecture beauty that London royalty does, but with a small town feel.
-Harrods: Good G-d I couldn’t believe that store. Store might not really be an appropriate term, but maybe this will be closer: Let’s-go-broke-in-5-minutes-because-even-the-queen-could-live-here-without-realizing-this-isn’t-actually-a-residential-building. Honestly I would be afraid to know the total square feet that building is. Not to mention they had a huge section devoted to coffee and tea (it was obviously my favorite section). The escalator was insane!!!! There were advertisements for South Carolina on the walls (I have absolutely no clue why), and a lady singing something really high pitch (could I sound any less cultured?!).
-The Tardis: So while we did venture out to see the Doctor Who store, which was SO cool to see, there was something Whovian that I thought even cooler. We found a Tardis just chillin’ right outside a tube station. It was the coolest sight ever. Gavry and I went crazy and probably confirmed to my dad that we’re abnormal.
Gavry and I also watched more television shows in that week than I could have hoped for. It wasn’t even that much really, but it was more than I’d watched in a while. We usually fell asleep by 11 or 12 at night though because we were exhausted by the end of the day.
On another side note, London food was tasty. Not only did I have the best coffee of my life in London (which says something because Israeli coffee is kick butt), but their idea of fast food is vastly different from what America has. Soups and simple sandwiches and fruit are offered almost everywhere- and I seriously wonder if we found and replaced every Mc Donalds, Chickfila, KFC, Burger King and TacoBell with the places like EAT. and Pret A Manger if America would look different in another generation. I very much think it would. And I think it’s a brilliant idea. Too bad American capitalism would definitely not permit it haha. Not that I’m dissing America. It was just a thought.
After returning to Israel for the rest of Pesach I went to Tel Aviv with one of my roommates, Tara. We were on the beach for maybe 2 hours tops and we both look significantly tinted now- luckily I somehow escaped getting burned though. I’m actually pretty proud- and I think Rebecca would laugh at me right about now… We also went to Qaesaria, a gorgeous and ridiculously overpriced port city (where of course it rained). Honestly though, after returning and hanging with my cousins, and finally ultimately returning to Jerusalem I was thrilled to see my bed again. Absolutely and completely thrilled.